Had an interesting conversation with my husband today.
He's not naturally very empathetic. He tries, really hard, for me. But he still isn't very good at putting himself in other people's shoes. This isn't always a bad thing, because it means, unlike me, he's not paralyzed at the idea of doing something that might make life a fraction less easy for someone else. But it does make things a little harder for me than they might otherwise be. To be fair, though, I also make things harder for him. probably more so than he does for me.
Anyway, I had a dream this morning about something that raised a concern for when we have children. One that hadn't occurred to me before the dream. When I brought it up, he said that wouldn't happen, and tried to tell me not to worry about it. At that point, the conversation was no longer about the concern I had, but about how he has a tendency to dismiss my concerns as small.
He doesn't mean to, I know. And he feels bad when I point out he's doing it.
So, as it went on, I realized that I felt like I was doing something wrong. Not in the conversation, really, but more as if maybe the small things and details that I see aren't really there, and that's why he's so dismissive of them. He protested, vocally, about this. He pointed out that he's not always right. To which I replied that he is right more often than he's wrong. Which is true. He can think logically and without emotional influence. I do not possess that capacity. Well...most of the time. I can do it, but it's really, really hard, and doesn't happen often. I usually use my feelings to gather information. But all that means that he's more often right. So, naturally, I start to believe him when he says something isn't that important. And then I wonder if I really see the things that I do.
We talked about it a lot. At the end I asked him if he really believed that the things I see are insignificant. He said no. I choose to believe him. He's not as detail-oriented as me, and therefore less likely to realize when he's treating something as not important. He's never given me any other reason to believe that anything I say is unimportant.
But it did raise a few things to the surface of my mind.
How much of what I see is something the rest of the world would not? How should I handle the details and conclusions I draw based on those things being dismissed by people who can't see them? How can I explain the things I see to people who don't understand them? How many other HSPs go through something similar, but without the support of other HSPs or supportive non-HSPs? How many learn from negative experiences to suppress their perception? How damaging is that to them?
Being an HSP and married to a non-HSP has some unique challenges. But I've been blessed with a sweet, loving husband. He drives me crazy sometimes, but it's all worth it. And as long as we can continue working together on our challenges, I believe we'll make it.
I still have to wonder, though. Just how much do I see and process that other people miss? How much of that is accurate, or true, or really exists? Can I trust my perception all the time, or only part of the time? And if only part of the time, how do I differentiate?