“You’re just being sensitive.” Does that phrase ring a bell?
Many women, whether married or not, have been told they’re too sensitive at some time or other. The reasons and scenarios vary. Maybe you’re feeling upset about a disagreement or an unmet expectation. Your spouse might have criticized you. Or, you might feel that your efforts for them have fallen short. Can you relate?
Regardless of the reason, hearing someone say that you’re too sensitive hurts. After all, your feelings are very real. You deserve to be heard, right?
Whatever the situation, it hurts when someone doesn’t relate to what you’re feeling at the moment. If your husband says you’re too sensitive (or wife, if you’re a man!), here are a few things to consider.
Remember that you can’t always please everyone.
Many people, both men and women, have the “disease to please.” We act in good faith to be there for each other, showing love and support from day to day. When we’re getting validation that our efforts are appreciated, that makes us feel happy and fulfilled. But when we receive criticism or sense that someone we love is disappointed, it can be heartbreaking.
It feels good to make others happy, but it’s impossible to make anyone happy all the time. We can’t always do and say everything perfectly. In marriage, it’s unrealistic to expect that your spouse will always be happy with everything you do. And when they’re unhappy with us, it can feel crushing.
You might have prepared a meal that was no good or planned an outing that flopped. Maybe you made an honest mistake that disappointed your spouse, and you’re feeling rejected as a result. Rather than getting defensive, take a step back and remember that this, too, will pass.
Everyone makes mistakes and missteps–and better luck next time! You and your spouse still love one another, despite imperfections or bumps in the road.
Consider whether your spouse is being overly critical.
Sometimes, we might react to loving criticism defensively, and that scenario requires us to step back and reframe the situation. But in some cases, we’re actually being subjected to unfair or overly harsh criticism. If that’s the case, your response may not be “too sensitive” at all; it might be perfectly appropriate.
If you’re wondering whether your spouse is being too critical, you can assess the situation by asking:
- Is my spouse’s reaction disproportionate to the situation?
- Is this issue easily fixable?
- What consequences might arise as a result of this situation? Are they serious enough for harsh criticism?
- Does my spouse have a history of critical or disparaging behavior?
If you determine that your spouse is, in fact, being too harsh, you’ll need to address how their reactions make you feel. Try saying something like, “When you said I was being too sensitive, it made me feel hurt and unheard. It also prevented me from expressing myself fully. Can we revisit that conversation, please?”
Go easy on yourself.
If your feelings have been hurt, it’s a good idea to address that with your spouse without being reactive or lashing out. But remember, you might not always get the response you’re looking for. Either way, we could all benefit from being kinder to ourselves.
Remember that no one is perfect, so perfection shouldn’t be your goal. Work on cultivating your own sense of self-worth and validation so that even if your spouse doesn’t understand where you’re coming from, you feel more secure within yourself. We all have our strong and weak moments, and that’s just life–”too sensitive” or not. Focus on the love you have for each other and put your best foot forward every day.
Focus on creating more happiness.
All of us could use a little extra happiness–don’t you agree? Our book Making Happy is a guide to helping you and your spouse create more happiness together. If that sounds good to you, you can grab a copy here.
Has your spouse ever said you’re too sensitive? How did you respond? Leave us a comment and let us know.