Highly Sensitive People
People that are classified as a Highly Sensitive Person ( HSP ) are perfect targets for a bully. Particularly if their self-confidence is lagging in any way. It is extremely easy for a bully to scare them or to make them cry or to make them over react, thus increasing the bullies effect and his pleasure, as sick as that might sound. This is exactly what the bully wants. This is what they are looking for. This is a perfect example of what I am talking about when I say that humans are the only animal that seems to derive a reverse sense of pleasure from harming or scaring another person. The greater the over-reaction from the HSP, the greater his sense of enjoyment seems to be.
What bullies don’t seem to understand is that they are doing just as much harm to themselves as they are to their victim. It is a well established fact that both the bully and the victim will suffer long term consequences due to the bullying. Most research into teen bullying tends to focus only on the victim. This means we know little about how the bully is affected. An Australian study shows that teenagers who have been both a victim and a bully are at greatest risk of mental health problems, including self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
WHAT IS HIGH SENSITIVITY?
Dr. Elaine Aron described highly sensitive people in 1997, purporting high sensitivity to be a personality trait that occurs in about 20% of the population. She further described this trait as stemming from differences in the nervous system, where there is a greater sensitivity to stimuli.
Highly sensitive people tend to perceive things more intensely and have a stronger awareness of the subtleties around them, making them generally respond differently than most to their environment. Highly sensitive people are often known to be gentle, emotional, intense, and of course sensitive.
The same wonderfully positive traits that make this population stand out can lead to highly sensitive adults being misunderstood or perceived as weak, overly emotional, haughty, or pushovers.
People who are classified as HSP’s often have specific traits in common. These are sometimes labeled as gifted. Gifted traits often include keen observation skills, fast thinking, and a strong sense of justice, which can potentially make gifted individuals sound like know-it-all’s, system challengers, or tattletales—common marks for people who bully.
Even people generally considered kind may feel uncomfortable about, or threatened by, the characteristics often associated with gifted and highly sensitive populations. And the people who have these traits do tend to notice. The Gifted Identity Project (Malonai and Duncan, 2015) reported that most gifted individuals feel lonely, isolated, quirky, and different.
While gifted and highly sensitive people might come across as different, the quirky aspects of giftedness are multifaceted and sometimes incongruous. Gifted traits often include keen observation skills, fast thinking, and a strong sense of justice, which can potentially make gifted individuals sound like know-it-alls, system challengers, or tattletales—common marks for people who bully.
Even adult HSP’s get bullied. The fact is, HSPs are likely targets. You can probably imagine the reasons:
tious workers, and especially dedicated when they find their work meanin• We can seem weak because we prefer to be soft spoken and kind.
• Our first defense is to try to please, which makes us seem to be accepting domination.
• Or we opt for peacemaking and compromise rather than go on the offensive, another sign of weakness to a bully–the predator is only excited by all of this.
• We have stronger emotional responses, so bullies can see when they are getting through to an HSP.
• HSPs are usually consciengful. So we are often quite popular with those above us in rank as well as anyone counting on us.
We also often have the best ideas and the most knowledge about the task and how it needs to be done within the context of the larger goals of the organization. And especially compared to bullies, we usually have greater integrity and higher moral standards. Since bullies lack all of these charms and are doing as little as possible, or else scheming their way to the top, an HSP is often making them look very, very bad