What are Intense Sensitivities?

Intense sensitivities are a unique combination of intensities coupled with an intuitive or spiritual sensitivity that enhances the intensity. I call this intense sensitivity because the sensitive nature of intuition and spiritual connection is enhanced and explodes within the intensity of varied overexcitabilities. For gifted and 2e folks this can offer great challenges and great opportunity.

This synergy of intensities and acute spiritual connection/intuition can be experienced in a myriad of ways. The most common expressions appear in deep empathy, deep listening, strong intuition, and the ability to “know things”. Often, strong intuition and intense empathy can feel overwhelming to the person who is not yet aware or practiced in using these gifts in a productive and healthy manner.

Having intensities/overexcitabilities has its advantages and its challenges in everyday life. As a child I was told by my mother that my bladder was too close to my eyes because I was so sensitive. I remember feeling deeply and not being understood by otherwise understanding parents and teachers. This emotional intensity felt very raw in my early days.

Intensity brings its own opportunities and challenges. For gifted and talented people, being intense or overexcitable often comes with the territory, whether we like it or not. Being intensely sensitive is a qualitatively different experience than either being intense or sensitive alone. You may be thinking that I am talking about being a highly sensitive person. Intense sensitivities are qualitatively different than being highly sensitive.

When overexcitabilities/intensities are enhanced or combined with spiritual sensitivities, your life takes on a deep, intense, multidimensional experience in all areas. Social interactions are impacted as are academic and vocational pursuits. Often you may walk around feeling misunderstood or not understood by others.

Many of my clients are intensely sensitive, they have both the spiritual sensitivity/giftedness and the intensity or overexcitability. Many are multipotentialites and are interested in many different things. Their interest has an intensity or fervor that is rarely seen in their peers. The moment you begin to uncover the synergy of your intensities and your sensitivities, you will experience awe and a new excitement.

Many who have intense sensitivities are visionaries, healers, people who bring a qualitatively different view to a family, team, or project. As I have been working with gifted people for decades and I am an intensely sensitive gifted 2e woman, I began to see how creating some common language is useful in assisting growth and understanding.

Intensely sensitive people are a unique breed. They often say that parts of other models applied “but not really”. I began to seek that something more and as I deeply listened to my clients and re-read much of my journaling, I noticed a theme. Spiritual sensitivity to the energetics including intuition, empathy, and deep connection to sentient beings. I noticed this spiritual sensitivity being compounded by intensities or overexcitabilities on one or more levels. As I used the descriptor “intense sensitivities”, it resonated with me and others. Alisa’s story offers a brief example of intense sensitivities in action.

Alisa is a gifted woman with intellectual and emotional overexcitabilities/intensities. She was struggling with her interactions with some co-workers in social interactions at work. Alisa is highly sensitive spiritually and is very intuitive and has empathetic skills which is part of what led her to her profession. She was naïve to the fact that not all people had the sensitivities spiritually and was easily frustrated because she thought they should know better. Alisa struggled with some depression and began to see to be understood as she often was misunderstood by others. With some exploration and inner work, Alisa became aware of her intense sensitivities, and she could see that her experience was different than her peers. With this understanding, she was able to share and engage more effectively and increase her rapport with her co-workers. Her ongoing inner work has opened doors of self-understanding.

This is one quick example of someone who struggled until she gained understanding of her unique constellation of intensities and sensitivities. I call them intense sensitivities. In using a common language, Alisa can now share her experience and feel heard and understood.

This complex and often perplexing constellation of characteristics is common in the musicians, artists, creatives, athletes, and scientists that I work with and personally know. There must be more to this that was immediately obvious in my work early on and now, with decades of self-examination and work with creatives, the intense sensitivity is a shared experience that can have different mosaics in expression.

Making friends with your unique combination of intensities and sensitivities allows you to move through this often-insensitive world more effectively with greater confidence and competence. Understanding your way of processing the world opens doors that were previously closed. Let’s open our doors!

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