Why are you being so sensitive?

“You’re being so sensitive.”

Yeah, I am. Why are you being so insensitive? Why isn’t that the question?

Abuse and oppression (which is society-level abuse) teaches us to be constantly vigilant about how we present ourselves, to be on high alert for the next blow. When we seek out safe spaces or yell at someone for saying or doing something oppressive or insensitive, it’s because we’re already wounded, and can’t afford careless blows, because we’re constantly fighting to avoid the harm of those inflicted on purpose.

When someone says “why are you being so sensitive?” in this snarky critical tone when they hurt me in a way they find innocuous, they’re completely disregarding the depth of the harm they’re actually doing to someone who is already constantly waiting for the next infliction of pain.

It’s a lot like hitting someone in the arm exactly where they’re already bruised, and when they cry out in pain, asking why they’re acting so sensitive! They didn’t punch hard!

Yeah maybe you didn’t but I was already injured. Why are you punching people anyway?!

Why do people feel entitled to not be criticized when they are being insensitive? Why is it always the hurt party’s job to somehow not be wounded?

Just because a wound is invisible to you doesn’t mean it’s not there. Bruises hurt, and when your whole body is bruised you walk through the world very afraid of every sharp corner and careless person. Those who think random light punches are fun terrify you.

It’s like that when you’ve been abused, either by individuals or by society. Everyone’s throwing light punches and there are too many sharp corners.

It’s okay to not realize that someone is sensitive in whatever spot. It’s okay to make honest mistakes. It’s not okay to blame us for the hurt you caused. It’s not okay to keep running into places people are commonly bruised on purpose. And I personally think it’s better not to go around punching people in the first place, but I guess that’s just my opinion.

Regardless, we have to take responsibility for our punches. When you know a spot is wounded, just don’t touch it. Don’t poke at it and don’t punch it. And when it’s news to you or you accidentally run into someone’s emotional bruises, you don’t have to and it’s not helpful to be mean to yourself, just also don’t be mean to the person you hurt. It’s completely illogical to blame someone else for the hurt you caused, intentionally or not.

I really think those who are unapologetic, who cry “Why is everyone so sensitive?!” need to really think about what kind of question that is, and why they don’t care about an actual answer.

That’s why trigger/content warnings are so important. That’s why avoiding harmful or oppressive language is important. That is why safe/safer spaces are important.

The reason you have to be so “sensitive” in places full of wounded people is because we are wounded!

I think honestly the sad part is that many of the people insisting that this is isn’t important are wounded, and after years and years of having their bruises punched they’ve got scabs, and they think everyone should, everyone should “grow a thicker skin”

Why is that the ideal though? Why is the ideal that everyone is covered in scabs?

For some of us, those of us with countless bruises, if all those bruises became scabs it would leave no “sensitive” skin left, and we would not be able to feel. Anything. And when you can’t feel your emotions, life becomes very empty.

I would like to live a life that’s not empty. I want to live a full life. And one of the wounds I’m trying to heal is the one saying that I don’t get to do that. But I’m insisting.

So I’m going to continue to be sensitive until these wounds heal. And (at least now) you know that it is very difficult. And I hope you will respect that, and not keep pushing me to cover my body in scabs until there is nothing left for me to feel.

If you do keep pushing, I hope you realize how cruel that is.

And if you are fighting to keep feeling and healing, just know how brave you are, and if you can, acknowledge to yourself how difficult and impressive that is. Give yourself credit. And if you’ve managed to survive and live with all the bruises and scabs, give yourself credit. We deserve credit, and we deserve fewer punches. Fewer bruises. Fewer scabs. We shouldn’t have to grow a thicker skin. And those who make it their job to force a thicker skin to grow on us will always puzzle me. I don’t know how one could proudly be that insensitive.


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