Highly Sensitive People and Conflict

“When introverts are in conflict with each other…it may require a map in order to follow all the silences, nonverbal cues and passive-aggressive behaviors!”
― Adam S. McHugh

No one enjoys conflict. However, highly sensitive people find it more intolerable than those who do not have a heightened level of sensitivity of their body’s central nervous system. As long as we live, there will always be conflict. While we may be able to successfully side-step some conflicts, others are simply unavoidable. Sarah Stiefvater on PureWow provides us with three steps that can help us get through conflict:

  • Don’t put it off too long. You know when you don’t want to do something so you procrastinate and make excuses until it gets even more daunting? Avoiding necessary conflict is the same. The longer you put it off, the harder it will be.
  • If you can prepare, prepare. This doesn’t apply to sudden, unexpected conflict, but if you know you have to have an uneasy conversation, visualize it in advance. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to get flustered and overwhelmed. By mentally mapping out what you want to say and what you want to get out of an exchange, you’re more likely to say your piece.
  • Unwind afterward. Tough conversations can take a lot out of anyone, but they can be particularly crushing to highly sensitive people. Now’s the time to focus on self-care and healing. Take time to check in with yourself and how you’re feeling, and give yourself a little extra TLC.

Conflicts with our significant other are particularly tough on highly sensitive people because our sensory system becomes over-stimulated and sometimes our responses can be out of control. This leads us to saying or doing things that we later regret. So, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Pick the right time, if possible, to address this issue. Engaging in a conflict at the end of a bad day will typically end badly. Initiating the conversation when both of you are well-rested and relaxed improves the chances of a successful resolution.
  • Keep the conversation based on the behavior (not the person) that is causing the conflict. Behavior is tangible and be addressed.
  • Be respectful and caring. Our objective is to resolve the issue causing the conflict, not to hurt the feelings of the other person or to cause permanent damage to the relationship.

Let’s allow our sensitivity to be a tool in successfully resolving conflicts.


To contact me directly, please send your email to mbrown.ec@mail.com.


My Other Websites

Life Under Change
Quotes that inspire, motivate, challenge, and comfort us.

Frugal Plan (Blog)
Spend Less | Save More

Published by W. M. Brown

I am a retired U.S. expat living in Ecuador. I was a business owner for 32 years before retiring in 2012.

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