” Small, a nothing made me cry, I felt all the emotions with a tenfold power, remembers Guy, 32, administrative agent in Annecy (Haute-Savoie). My family still say today that I was a sensitive child. “
Thirty years ago, we didn’t talk about hypersensitivity. “ This notion did not even exist, also testifies the philosopher Fabrice Midal. I was an orchid child, according to the beautiful image of the child psychiatrist Thomas Boyce, whose book I prefaced (1), but my parents did not know it. I often felt like a crayfish thrown into boiling water and they were completely confused by the way I overreacted to everything. I couldn’t stand woolen clothes, for example, and they took my reactions for whims. “
” The impression of living on edge ”
It was not until the mid-1990s and the work of the American psychologist Elaine Aron that we became interested in hypersensitive people. Even though the term has a negative connotation, it has shown “How creative, intuitive and, more often than not, empathetic these children are “, Recalls Saverio Tomasella, psychoanalyst and doctor in psychology, author, too, of several books on the subject.
→ TESTIMONIALS. A hypersensitive child often destabilizes the family
” Hypersensitivity means either a strong receptivity, or an emotivity, or a great expressiveness, he decrypts. It manifests itself by the impression of living on edge, of feeling everything very strongly, of not having a filter, of needing time to assimilate information and of not putting up with violence, noise, agitation or strong odors. “
But hypersensitivity is not a disease, he insists. ” All children are very sensitive until the age of 7, then only a few retain this characteristic. Some are introverts, other extroverts, there is no typical profile and there are as many girls as boys “.
Fabrice Midal also rejects the image of fragility often associated with this temperament. ” Hypersensitive children are not small natures, he storms. It is not vulnerability that defines them, but sensitivity. And sensitivity can flourish in joy, success, beauty, and commitment. “
“A third of the population is concerned”
Today, hypersensitivity is considered a specificity and is the subject of scientific research because ” on realizes that there are a lot of hypersensitive people, notes Saverio Tomasella. According to a recent American study (3), a third of the population is concerned “. What does not surprise Fabrice Midal: “ our society denigrates sensitivity so much that there is a return of repressed He said.
→ MAINTENANCE. Hypersensitivity, “the threshold varies depending on the time”
Élodie Crépel, family mediator, specialist in hypersensitivity, wonders if there is not also “a fad” combined with “a barnum effect”, this tendency to recognize oneself in the descriptions of a personality. ” As with hyperactivity, high potential or DYS disorders, hypersensitivity is sometimes a catch-all term, but it is often a necessary step when a new notion emerges.. “
Marie, mother of two little girls, did not know this term before doing some research on the Internet. ” I knew the four-year-old was a sensitive child, but as I researched how to support her, I realized that she was even hypersensitive. I did the Elaine Aron test and she ticked all the boxes except one, tells this 36-year-old mother, a tango dancer in Redon (Ille-et-Vilaine). Asiri is a little girl with a developed artistic sense, she sings and dances very well, she is also very observant and will, for example, notice the slightest change in clothing. On the other hand, it does not support changes of atmosphere. When you go to your grandparents or if a friend arrives unexpectedly at home, it is immediately the tragedy. However, on a daily basis she is rather happy and calm. If we don’t stress her, everything is going well. “
Children who get tired quickly
Very receptive, hypersensitive children and adolescents often feel abused in a society where everything goes very quickly. ” They get tired more easily than others, notes Saverio Tomasella. And when they are overly stimulated or stressed, they experience a saturation phenomenon. “ Overwhelmed by their emotions, they cry all the tears in their bodies or get angry, much to the dismay of the parents. ” Emotionality is the first difficulty that leads families to consult, notes Élodie Crépel. However, heightened sensitivity is not always a sign of hypersensitivity. It can sometimes hide a particular suffering such as mourning or violence. “
To help a hypersensitive child, you must first accept him as he is, specialists insist. Sentences such as “you are too sensitive” or “too sensitive” are obviously to be avoided. “Faced with strong reactions, nervousness will only increase the child’s distress. The best is to let him calm down on his own, in a room of his choice. “, advises Saverio Tomasella who also suggests creative activities and sports that involve balance, such as rock climbing or rollerblading.
Relaxation and meditation are also very suitable. ” But not mindfulness meditation, which involves clearing your mind and observing your thoughts., warns Fabrice Midal, founder of the Western School of Meditation. Rather, hypersensitive people need full presence meditation that helps welcome emotions fondly. “
Sometimes experienced as a handicap, hypersensitivity is an asset when it is valued by those around it. So Guy, the little boy who ” cried all the time », He found the joy of living, in adulthood, thanks in part to the Association des Hyper-Sensibles. ” I realized that it was a chance to have this gift and today, he confides, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. “
According to Savério Tomasella, the great specialist in hypersensitivity in France, there would be, somewhat schematically, six large families of hypersensitive children, without this typology establishing a hierarchy:
♦ The prudent child: discreet, independent and observant.
♦ The jolly child: expressive and expansive, it requires a lot of attention.
♦ The tired child: very demanding of himself and very scrupulous.
♦ The protective child: energetic and devoted.
♦ The rational child: precise, meticulous and willful.
♦ Stressed children: can give the impression of being defiant and provocative.
The psychologist advises not to label the child as hypersensitive. He must be allowed to express himself freely, even if it means telling him punctually that he is sensitive and that this sensitivity is a quality.
For the parents :
♦ Long live the zatypics, Audrey Akoun and Isabelle Pailleau (Pocket).
♦ My child is highly sensitive, Elaine Aron (Leduc).
♦ My school of happiness, Fabrice Midal (Geo).
♦ I help my hypersensitive child to thrive, Saverio Tomasella (Leduc)
♦ Hypersensitivity for Dummies, Saverio Tomasella and Cédric Vitaly (First)
♦ The orchid and the dandelion, Thomas Boyce (preface by Fabrice Midal) (Lafon).
For kids :
♦ Laughter and Tears, Brigitte Labbé and Michel Puech (Milan)
♦ Anger, Sorrow, Catherine Dolto and Colline Faure-Poirée, (Gallimard Jeunesse)
♦ Max and Lili, a series by Dominique de Saint Mars and Serge Bloch who answers children’s questions (Calligram).
♦ Ycare, a sensitive child, Élodie Crépel and Fanny Vella (Wings & Seeds)
Some suggestions of films to watch with the family, from a long list.
For the little ones :
♦ My neighbor Totoro, Hayao Myazaki
♦ Kirikou and the Witch, Michel Ocelot
♦ The adventures of Little Brown Bear, Bayard
For the older ones :
♦ Vice-versa, by Pete Docter
♦ My life as a courgette, by Claude Barras,
♦ Azur and Asmar, Michel Ocelot
♦ The jungle Book, Walt Disney
♦ Spirited away, Hayao Myazaki
♦ The kid, by Charlie Chaplin
One association, one site
♦ Created in 2016, the Hyper-Sensibles association organizes meetings between hypersensitive people and conferences on the subject. Rens. : www.association-hypersensibles.fr
♦ Ultrasensitivity Observatory: ultrasensibles.com