top of page

HSP: Be careful not to fall into the victim's trap!

Being sensitive doesn't mean being pushed around and letting anyone else take advantage of you, of course, and that goes for everyone. But it does not mean either to pose as an eternal victim!

But to start and in a few words, what does a highly sensitive person look like? What differentiates them from less sensitive people? Hypersensitive people deeply feel their environment, their emotions but also those of the ones around them. They have an extraordinary sensory sensitivity, well above the others. A large majority are introverted (70%). But contrary to what one might think, supremacy does not go to women, in fact 50% of highly sensitive people are men. Many sensitive people are spiritual, benevolent and creative. They are also perfectionists and conscientious and have high empathy. They are allergic to violence and do not like conflictual situations. They also need a lot of downtime or rest to recharge, and they don’t do well under pressure. The pressure cooker effect of deadlines or multitasking are not really their preferred situation.

HSP: Be careful not to fall into the victim's trap!

Heightened emotions, downtime, perfectionism, creativity, compassion… all of these characteristics do not sit well with the materialistic, productivity-obsessed culture in which we live, a culture climbing the dizzying path of glorifying narcissism.

Being aware and insightful, benevolent, intuitive, with an extraordinary sense of detail and a lot of empathy, are not the qualities required and appreciated in life in general and even less in the job market.

On the other hand, performance, taste for challenge, ambition, resilience, composure, versatility, have all the appreciation and admiration of the world in which we evolve.

As a result, being sensitive is often wrongly worth just standing back and remaining silent. It is also often taken for weakness.

Under these circumstances, it’s tempting and oh-so-easy to decide that the world has wronged you and to withdraw into a web of self-pity.

So many highly sensitive people feel exploited because of their benevolence. Likewise, they feel abused because they always want to be of service and are very attentive to the well-being of others. No surprise if they often feel underappreciated, misunderstood or isolated. When you are in this legitimate state of mind, the risk is to adopt the victim mode. It is tempting and oh-so-easy to decide that the world has wronged you and sink into self-pity, but be careful! Although I can understand where you’re coming from, and I have certainly organized pity parties for myself, more than once in the past, locking ourselves into a victim mentality can only harm us.

No one is after you! And the world has not set its sights on you to harm you.

The real danger of being in victim mode is triggering fear. This will develop into anger which will turn into hatred and will inevitably lead to suffering. All these negative feelings can only feed your feeling of inadequacy. It is also and above all wasting your gifts and locking yourself in for fear of failure and rejection.

I don't deny that being highly sensitive can be difficult and complicated at times, but we also have incredible strength within us. If we repress this force by suppressing our emotions and stifling our sensitivity, we lose all the advantages that our trait offers us.

Take this short quiz (below) if you want to know if you are a highly sensitive person.

test : are you highly sensitive

HSP: Be careful not to fall into the victim's trap!

It is therefore important to learn what I like to call "the rescue-kit for HSP". These “tools” will prevent you from falling into the victim trap.

Here are seven ways that have helped me.

1. Be informed…be informed…be informed!

I can't say it enough! Knowing our traits is the “must” to be able to know how we work, in a first step. Self-knowledge leads to acceptance and then self-appreciation.

Being highly sensitive isn't always easy, I'll grant you that, but it's a trait full of magic, if we know how to channel it and stop seeing it as a curse. (Do you know any superheroes whose lives are easy? Do Disney heroes have happy days early in the story? Me neither.)

Let's take stock of our super assets… We have the ability to see details that the average person won't. First advantage! We are radars of lies and ineptitude not to say the word BS. Second great asset! Apart from having a great sense of smell and being a real fire detector, we also have a flair for nonsense. We only have eyes for you, and yes! the gaze of compassion. We have taste (for beautiful things), but not for bad jokes. We don't just hear, we listen and are all ears, because this sense is very developed with us! Touch… well… a super sensual asset but shh… Our senses, our five senses… five assets to the power of 10! We are creative, intuitive and emotionally intelligent. Super asset, super asset, super asset!

Thanks to our innate qualities, outside the common, highly sensitive people are leaders, artists and healers of the soul and the body. The more you learn about your trait, the more you will realize that what some may perceive as a weakness actually gives you some big advantages! So cultivate your qualities, cherish them, claim them and honor your needs. You will have a whole new look at your hypersensitivity, and will come out of it stronger and happier.

banner discovery call

2. Stop being everyone else's emotional dumpster.

Ok, highly sensitive people are deeply empathetic, and some are even true empaths. We capture the emotional waves of others and anticipate their needs

So far so good! But, too often, we fail to distinguish between what belongs to us and the energy of others that we have absorbed.

This super asset can then become a handicap because we make it our mission to ensure the well-being of others, and do everything we can to please and satisfy them. Hello, savior syndrome! From superhero to martyr, the margin is small, so beware of this savior complex! It can only upset the balance in our relationships.

It's one thing to sense the needs of others, but that doesn't mean you have to meet them. No, you are not everyone's spiritual advisor, nor everyone's support system, nor everyone's banker. You too have your own troubles to manage!

Do not cry selfishness! We all have worries. Quite simply, stop being the emotional dumping ground for others. You will not receive any medals for helping everyone. On the other hand, you can become exhausted by meeting everyone's expectations (and who wouldn't be!).

Also watch out for energy vampires, you are particularly on their radar, they revel in empaths! As for those with bad vibrations, avoid them, they will depress you. Put your little intuitive antennas in motion, refocus and make the firm decision to no longer be the one to whom others turn in case of problems or emotional needs. It's called respecting our limits, our next tool in our rescue-kit!

3. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!

Another delicate subject and yet so crucial!

We have to be honest, we are not particularly good at setting our limits, if we even have any in many cases.

This is a subject that is particularly close to my heart, because most of my life I have been a “no boundaries” person. I had to break my nose hundreds of times to finally understand the lesson. Not too great with that one, girl! But admit it, you're not particularly talented at it, either. ;)

But what a difference when it finally clicks and we start to set our limits.

Being available is good, very good even, but not to our detriment, not to the detriment of our physical and mental health, not to the detriment of our self-esteem. So let's protect ourselves, because our health is sacred. Without it, our quality of life would suffer, we would suffer. So spend your time and energy wisely, these are our most valuable resources.

Attention I do not make the apology of selfishness and egocentrism. Your family, your loved ones and all those who respect your time and your limits, are and should always be a priority. Here I was referring to profiteers, energy vampires and all those who pose as victims without ever lifting a finger to improve their conditions. I'm talking about the people you meet by chance whose dramas suck you in and make you immediately put on your savior costume. Keep your distance, put your little intuitive antennas back on and refocus. These situations exhaust you, even from a distance. Also beware of relatives who could abuse you, they know you so well!

This is all pretty, but it's only theory, so in practice?

In practice, start by saying “no”. I know, not really easy, but definitely the nr.1 solution.

If you can't say “no”, your bullies won't improve, and you'll only get worse. Any type of close relationship should be a source of strength for both parties. If a person makes you anemic by absorbing all of your energy, due to constant cravings or negativity, it's time to take a step back. Now is a good time to re-examine the balance of your relationship. The balance between giving and taking is certainly not on your side. Be aware, givers have to set limits because takers rarely do.

Remember, this is not selfishness, this is self-defense! Save your energy for people who respect you. If you can't completely erase someone from your circle, distance yourself and space out your meetings or interactions.

4. Don't let yourself be weighed down by the misfortunes and suffering of the world.

For us hypersensitive souls, carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders is not just an expression. This is also one of the reasons why most of us do not watch television and avoid reading the news. This is a great source of distress for us. So of course, there are situations when we can't do anything, the information has been passed on to us or it concerns a loved one, and we have to face the reality of a sad or cruel event. What is the solution in these cases that we unfortunately cannot avoid? Carry all the weight of the world on our shoulders? Wrong! This is really not the right answer! Show coldness or indifference? Wrong again! And anyway, we hypersensitive people couldn't do it. So what's the healthy alternative to the emotional meltdown?

Come to our senses and get involved! Become active to really make a difference.

Of course you can't be everywhere at once, don't even try to do it! Identify what is particularly close to your heart, a cause that interests you the most and go on a “crusade”. If, for example, you can't send financial aid or do anything for pediatric cancer, volunteer at your local hospital, visit the children. Or go on social media where you will unfortunately find too many cases and support the families. Even daily messages of support make a huge difference to those dealing with this cruel disease. Just do what you can do.

You can't avoid being saddened by suffering, but you don't have to get lost in it either. Focus only on what you can do.

5. The attitude of others is not your responsibility.

As I already mentioned earlier, kindness is too often seen as a sign of weakness, and you will always find someone to abuse it. Do not draw the conclusion that it is your fault that people take advantage of you. You are not responsible for their actions. On the other hand, your way of reacting is entirely under your responsibility.

Are you going to ruminate for hours, days, or even years because you're still waiting for a thank you from your buddy after helping him paint his living room? Will you go back there when he needs you for his kitchen? Are you going to blame your neighbors for ages, because they asked you to babysit their dog, every weekend for a year, but then couldn't pick up your mail when you went on vacation? They were too busy they say (probably with the dog)!

Or will you finally realize that some people don't deserve our kindness, and move on? The bad attitude of others, their selfishness is not your responsibility, your responsibility is your reaction, and what you decide to do with these people afterwards. If you're nothing but helpful and friendly with your colleague and they continue to be haughty and dismissive, that's their problem, not yours.

Keep your attitude positive, but don't waste time blaming yourself for other people's bad tempers, self-centeredness, or rudeness. Never try to "fix" them. But above all stop ruminating!

6. Turn your emotions down a notch.

Having the ability to feel anything intensely is definitely a strength. But if you always feel on the tightrope and often overwhelmed by your emotions and feelings, there are circumstances that don't lend themselves too well. At the cinema, it's fine! At work, not too much. If emotions overwhelm you in front of your superior, try the poker face method and keep a straight face as much as possible. I know, not obvious! Yet in some situations, it is not recommended to share your feelings with everyone, even if you cannot hide it to yourself. Practice as soon as the opportunity arises. I'm not saying that you will immediately become the masters of camouflage, but you will gain experience over time, which will also help you a lot to control any overflow or explosions.

Now when your emotions overwhelm you, freeze frame and identify the catalyst. Then try to analyze your emotions constructively. What put you in this state? What bothered you so much? Try to separate things: Is the comment that hurt you the consequence of something that is your responsibility, something that you can improve? Or is it simply a disparaging and gratuitous reaction from the person who offended you because they got up on the wrong side of the bed?

If you are confronted with a transient or situational emotional overload, try to extract yourself from the situation, thank the person or persons who triggered you, and put yourself aside as long as it takes to protect yourself from the stimuli (noises, people and others). On the other hand, if this emotional overload is constant, it is time to call on a health professional to regain your emotional stability.

Hypersensitivity is by no means a pathology, but it can often go hand in hand with anxiety or depression.

7. Connect with other highly sensitive people.

Feeling misunderstood, withdrawing into oneself and isolating oneself is a problem for many highly sensitive people, but it is not inevitable! We are still 20% to share this trait, reach out to them! Connect, even if it's only online. Being able to communicate and exchange with those who share our traits, always gives a sense of belonging and community. It's good for our mood ! Every time I communicate with a sensitive person, I feel like I can finally breathe fully. I feel like I am able to take off the mask that I sometimes impose on myself to fit in. And then the possibility of talking freely, of debating and exchanging without having to explain the why and how, it's liberating!

Take your first steps here, you will have all the attention and compassion of this tribe!

So I'm not promising you a linear life, for the good reason that you yourself aren't linear, and then you wouldn't like it, but life on a roller coaster isn't easy either. So without stifling your emotions, without killing your sensitivity, without repressing your intuition and all those qualities that make you a sensitive person, learn to say “no”, identify and respect your needs, and above all, protect this precious gift that we each have! Life is rarely fair and the world is not always a friendly place, but we definitely belong here! Never doubt it!


You want to share your story, your struggles and the battles you won, and be part of our circle of sensitive and intuitive people. Come with us and let's chat with other highly sensitive people! Join the Highly Sensitive Empaths community:

Sign up for our newsletters to receive information and stories for highly sensitive people.

Join us on: Instagram and Facebook (private group)


What is your biggest struggle?

  • Feeling emotionally drained

  • Moving on and letting go

  • Criticism and conflict

  • Being under pressure

More articles for and about highly sensitive people here.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page