You said that emotionally sensitive children can read other people very well and, at the same time, they can miss social cues. Can you please explain this contradiction?

EnglishSupersensers / By Francheska Perepletchikova

We communicate on two main levels: 1) with words and 2) with the emotional underpinning of what is being said (e.g., tone of voice, facial expression, body posture, etc.). Supersensers are sensitive to their own emotions, as well as emotions of other people. In a way they are human x-rays. This gives them an ability to be very empathic and understanding of others, when they are in balanced states. However, this ability can also interfere with normative interactions. 

Supersensers can clearly read the emotional underpinnings. A person can be smiling, while thinking “I hate you!” Supersensers can read “I hate you,” which, of course, may interfere with their ability to respond normatively to social cues, such as smiling. A child without an emotional sensitivity will just respond to a smile with smiling back. A supersenser who read “I hate you,” obviously, may be less likely to just smile back. Instead, she may become confused and respond with avoidance and even aggression. 

Further, through an invalidating transaction, where supersensers are frequently told that what they do, feel, or think does not make sense (e.g., “Why are you angry? There is nothing to be angry about!”), they may lose the ability to trust the validity of their own experiences and overtime may stop relying on their judgement about the experiences of other people, which leads to further confusion and non-normative responding. 


Registration is open for 2024!

DBT and DBT-C workshops for parents and therapists are currently open for enrollment for 2024.