I can be quite firm and strict. There are also situations that leave me defenseless. e,g, My wife blames me for ruining her life, and that of our son, because I have ADD. It makes her cry and this makes me very, very upset. I understand her reasoning and it is sound.But it is not helping. Here is why:
The morning after our converstaion I spoke to my son and I gave him a To Do list for the day for his grades are dropping fast. I could tell he was not listening, but I also had to go to work, and if I did not fix this my wife would call me up at work crying, which I thoroughly dislike (second only to having a quarrel before going to work). So, with rising frustration but still patient, I had him repeat what I said to him to make sure he understood. One minute before we finish my wife starts crying that this is not what she wants! I felt frustrated and appaled at such a lack of reason.
I was wrong of course. My wife did have reason to cry. In her eyes I was botching up the job (which I was not and am not). When she acted on that feeling, I was defenseless and could not switch my attention fast enough from my son to my wife and back. Question is: What could I have done to defend myself against the onslought of her depressed feelings? Becaus this is something I have to cope with if I want to be "connected".
Fortunately there are several options. In this specific case I should have been sensitive to my spouses's plight. But I should never have let her put a guilt trip on me (falls in the category Emotional Blackmail). When she did I should have taken it as a sign of her distress. I should never have coerced my son in to listening in such a childish manner (also Blackmail, bedsides it violates my first personal belief). But how can one defend oneself?
There is a number of resources out there to help. Sonia Dabboussi has written a rather good blog on the subject. You could try emotional analysis. (always recommendable). But the more profound solution is offered by mrs. Aron. She quotes Forrester :
"I believe in ... an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky."Aron feels the HSP should turn to ethics to ground them in daily life and help them to find their station in life. According to her we should not be kings but trusted advisors. Not the king but the Cardinal? Could work. I always did feel a stronger attraction to Merlin than to Uther Pendragon. Fits my current position as Financial Controller.