In her book “The Highly Sensitive Person,” Elaine Aron talks about how highly-sensitive persons often have difficulties with boundaries (phew! I thought it was just me).
“Many HSPs [highly sensitive persons] tell me that a major problem for them is poor boundaries,” she writes, “getting involved in situations that are not really their business or their problem, letting too many people distress them, saying more than they wanted, getting mired in other people’s messes, becoming too intimate too fast or with the wrong people.”
One solution she offers HSPs when they become overwhelmed or cross a boundary is to retreat to, or remember, their “safe containers”: like a spiritual exercise (for me that’s meditation while I run, bike, or swim), or a mental practice (such as journaling), or creative thinking (expressing the frustration by writing a blog post about it!), or a faith ritual (lighting a votive candle at mass for the friend you can’t be a friend to), and so on.
“There are so many accounts of people who maintained their sanity by retreating into such containers while under extreme stress or danger,” Aron writes.