The “Sensitive Type”

There are great strides continuing to be made in human-kind’s knowledge base when it comes to things we–out of prejudice, fear, ignorance, et cetera–as social beings couldn’t understand as a whole before, which is why I’d like to take a minute to bring up this issue that is near and dear to my heart.

If you’re like me you’ve probably heard in one form or another the “sensitive type” remark in passing about yourself, by those who know you best, and love you the most, but have maybe never truly understood you.

Perhaps I’m beginning to sound like a broken record talking about emotion and the like, or maybe I’m finding the voice and platform for my blogging experience, I don’t know yet, so please, if I’m beating a dead horse, for the love of tacos, please let me know, that horse deserves tacos (you can thank my fiancée for that little joke), not a beating.

Anyway, getting off topic, the “sensitive type”, we all know it, and perhaps, like myself, you are “it”. Growing up as part of the male persuasion, you hear absurdly teen movie quotes like, “don’t be a pussy”, “suck it up, Buttercup”, “did someone forget to take their tampon out?”. We laugh about it when it happens, smile and shut up because it is obvious that what was an attempt at trying to tell someone we trust how we feel, is being viewed as nothing more than petty whining. I’ve learned to harden myself as the years have passed out of some misbegotten necessity, I learned to “be a man” if that is easier to understand. But this is against my nature, and I’m sure it shows, in fact, I know it does. 

I’ve had to create this façade because as a man, even in the twenty-first century, it is still relatively unacceptable to be completely open with menfolk, to be at arms length from each other is still the most preferable method of interaction. Men, listen up, no matter what you were taught, sensitivity is a unisex trait, it’s okay to be human. I’m realizing as I get older, giving in to that form of thinking, letting it mold me into that gruff “gone fishin'” type of man my grandfather was, is hindering my ability to form lasting emotional bonds.

I don’t know what it’s like growing up as a woman, I never had that experience, but from observation women seem to be at least marginally more comfortable talking about their feelings, emotions, problems, and everything in between. I feel that men as a whole could learn a great deal from women, though that is not even close to being an original thought, but it is a thought that seems to still be largely ignored.

There are exceptions to all of this, of course, I know some very openly emotional men, as well as women who just refuse to show their emotions, so please note, I realize you exist. I’m also not advocating a movement to open manic weeping in the streets, just meaningful interaction with other human beings without the stigma that opening up is a weakness.

The point I am ultimately making is that the “sensitive type” remark that may not seem harmful, but, when said in those hushed tones–with that figurative hand shielding the mouth from view of said sensitive person in an effort to “explain” their behavior–is condescending, and should be looked at as a derogatory remark. This sensitive person is only doing what comes natually to them, and parents especially should take note of that, a child that grows up unhindered in that respect will have a better chance at knowing later in life that they don’t have to put up a wall, or filter their emotions to fit in.

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8 thoughts on “The “Sensitive Type”

  1. Humans are inescapable to emotions. While we do laugh at the ‘man it up’ jokes, am sure we are sane enough to understand its just a comment. Yes, the comment is prejudiced.
    But I think everyone understands the shallowness of it. Everyone is the sensitive type, they show it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish everyone understood how shallow it is, but I’ve known those in my life who actually believed sensitivity was a weakness, little do they know that it takes more courage to lay bare their soul to the world, but you can’t convince everyone.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It is definitely more difficult to bare your soul. As a proud introvert, I have a slight panic attack every time I tell someone something deep about my thoughts or feelings. It’s the same feeling I get when I share my poems or stories. They are so very personal that for someone to reject them is to reject me. I am truly sensitive and I’ve been told to “get over it” or “suck it up” my entire life. My kids don’t have to suck it up though. This, to me, is my way of making the world better. I teach my daughters to open up. They act like they hate it, but then I catch them getting their friends to open up about their struggles. Like every prejudice, we must chip away at it every chance we get until it is nothing but history.
        Love. This. Post.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Men resisting their emotions, to appear ‘manly’ is an absurd idea and needs to be thrown outside the window. It’s degrading and insinuating such stereotypes are detrimental to people- especially young boys. Being emotional and sensitive is important for personal growth and I find comments such as “Man up”, low. Great job writing about this important topic! More people need to know about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I’m happy to hear I got my point across, I was worried it may have not been clear, but the response has been really positive. And yes, I agree with everything you said, and more folk most definitely need to be aware of this.

      Like

  3. I knew I’d love it 😉

    I try to remember that most people’s reactions to things are more of a reflection of their own fears than a judgment of mine (or others) behaviour. A person scared of their own emotions is far more likely to throw out a “man up!”.

    I’m a contradiction, myself. I’m an extremely sensitive individual, particularly to those around me, but I don’t like my own vulnerability so I’m rubbish at opening up to people. Typical Gemini…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you did, thanks!

      You couldn’t be more right, other folks reactions in such ways are nothing more than their own fears projected on their target. As adults we can choose to ignore it, or engage that person in a discussion, but children, especially when it comes to their parents, tend to just accept what is said about them or to them in the first few years. I’d love the parents with these issues to start an active dialogue with their children rather than talk down to them (they may be short, but they’re perceptive!). If those parents did that, the likelihood of social interactions later in life being as condescending as they still can be today would go down significantly.

      Liked by 1 person

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