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Unapologetically Sensitive

We explore how sensitivity weaves itself into our lives; the richness that it adds, and the strengths we have BECAUSE of our sensitivity--and some of the challenges it poses as well. You may learn to live a bolder, brighter life.

Nov 23, 2021


Listener Question: Difficulty in Close Relationships


Solo episode


This episode addresses boundaries, attachment, codependency, emotional dysregulation, managing conflict, C-PTSD, being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and more. A listener shared that they struggle with conflict and cannot formulate a response during an argument.  In their family, there were explosive outbursts that were unpredictable.  The listener finds it’s easier to be alone because they are impacted when their partner is grumpy. They are overwhelmed by strong emotions, judge and push people away.  


  • What is attachment
    • Attachment theory John Bowlby
    • We’re wired to expect connection
    • We have a biological need for attunement.
    • It’s a primary survival response—emotional bonding
  • Why is attachment important
    • It’s our blueprint for life
    • It dictates our sense of self-esteem
    • We learn that people are safe, we can trust and that we are cared for
  • What fosters a secure attachment
    • In childhood, children need a safe haven and a safe base
    • Caretakers/parents receive you
    • You have a safe place to turn to
    • You and your needs are responded to
    • ARE—Available, Responsive, Emotionally Engaged
  • What types of things create insecure attachment
    • Neglect, abuse, emotional neglect, childhood emotional abuse, having parents who are emotionally immature
    • Inconsistency in responding to your needs
    • Codependency on the parent’s part—role reversal
    • Over focus on independence
  • 4 types of attachments:
  • Secure 
    • You still will have insecurities
    • Can communicate your needs
    • Respect yourself and your partner’s needs
    • Can set boundaries
    • Don’t worry about getting too close or being engulfed or abandoned
  • Avoidant/Dismissive
  • Withdrawn
  • Keep people at arm’s length
  • Don’t have needs
  • Very independent
  • Minimizing other’s needs
  • Aloof, uncaring
  • Can be related to Narcisstic Personality Disorder
  • Ambivalent (Anxious)/Preoccupied
    • Hyperactivating
    • Focus on the partner
    • Concerned about being left
    • “clingy,” “needy,” “too much”
    • Tuned into relational needs
    • Miss red flags
    • Don’t trust love when they receive it
    • Can be related to Borderline Personality Disorder
    • Disorganized/Fearful/Withdrawn
    • Due to overt trauma
    • Push/pull
    • Come here/go away
    • Insights about the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and attachment
      • Highly Sensitive Children (HSCs) and parents have mismatched nervous systems
      • Can create a disorganized/fearful/avoidant attachment
      • HSPs tend to internalize
      • How do attachment injuries show up in relationships?
        • Problems with intimacy
        • Ruptures in relationships
        • Missatunements
        • Mistrust
        • Conflict/avoidance of conflict
        • If we’re experiencing an attachment injury, what are things we can do to get that feeling of security
          • Lean in/lean back
          • Imagine your partner either extending to you, or you taking your energy back
          • Body scan for a relaxation
          • Imagine the people who love and support you around you in a peaceful place you imagine
          • Repeat, “In this moment, I am safe.”
          • Imagine your inner protector/outer protector


Patricia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Coach.  She knows what it’s like to feel like an outcast, misfit, and truthteller.  Learning about the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), helped Patricia rewrite her history with a deeper understanding, appreciation, and a sense of self-compassion.  She created the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive to help other HSPs know that they aren’t alone, and that being an HSP has amazing gifts, and some challenges.  Patricia works online globally working individually with people, and she teaches Online Courses for HSPs that focus on understanding what it means to be an HSP, self-care, self-compassion, boundaries, perfectionism, mindfulness, communication, and creating a lifestyle that honors us 


Episode 109 with Jessica Fern: The Power of Attachment Styles and the Highly Sensitive Person 

HSP Online Course--

Unapologetically Sensitive Merchandise-- 

Online HSP Course Materials (no group included) 

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Editing by Shelly Aaron Productions-- 

Music-- Gravel Dance by Andy Robinson