The Sensitive Man – Crossing the Point of No Return- Violence in America, How HSPs Can Help
A Blog about Sensory Processing Sensitivity from the Worldview of a High Sensing Male
January 6, 2021, was a landmark day in American history. For the first time since 1812, the Capitol of the United States was stormed by violent protestors, armed to the teeth, and determined to plunder, stop the business of Congress, and even kill lawmakers.
As the insurrection investigation continues, it is sure to reveal that this was not a moment of random insanity but rather a well-planned and orchestrated coup attempt by right-wing militia to overthrow the government. The striking thing about this was not the stated intent of this group of malcontents, but the degree that they would execute their cause using aggressive and violent means, including the murder of congresspersons and the Vice President of the United States.
That common citizens would use violence to further a cause punctuates how desperate Americans seem to want affect change. Every day across the country, random acts of violence manifest in shopping malls, grocery stores, parking lots, schools and our highways. To look at this objectively and non-politically requires one to take the acts as a whole, a sociological phenomenon that continues to peak fueled by social media, irresponsible political pundits, and the media's obsession with broadcasting this as if it were a sporting event.
The question begs to be asked, have we lost our ability or capacity to be appalled at the human abuse taking place all around us? Have we lost the ability to suppress our violent rages and appeal to our greater selves? Or is something else at play here?
Hostilities and anger
Where is this rage coming from? Given we are a divided and polarized society – politically, socio-economically, and ethnically. Do these divisions cause the anger that we see tearing our society apart?
This hostility feels like something new, rage to violence amongst normal everyday citizens. Often with no remorse and with intent to do physical harm. Like raging a four-year-old with no emotional regulation, the anger and violence is now condoned as vigilantism, the right to carry military-grade weapons on the street, and the willingness to breach societal norms about restrictions on violence and retaliation. This is now turned epidemic in nature and is something we all should be very concerned about. When you hear calls from people on the left to take arms, you know the violence is going too far.
Inhibition to violence
When humans go beyond the normal restraints on violence to others, the descent into chaos and anarchy is close behind. We have moved beyond self-defense and protection to aggressive violence attacking the "other" intent on solely harming. It seems purgative, and the release of rage is hair-trigger and unpredictable.
Although overall crime numbers are coming down over the last decade, the incidence of violent hate crimes is going up dramatically. These crimes fall along the lines of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion.
Political leaders and authorities within the society remain either neutral, passive, or worse, outright encouraging, sometimes egging on the masses. With this approval, the disinhibition continues towards a violent means to an end that is not clear. This all is an offshoot of unbridled anger and appeals to lesser emotions. It's as if society has become intoxicated with self-righteous indignation that manifests in violent acts.
What's wrong with our amygdala's?
The human amygdala is responsible for controlling our brains' flight or fight response. To some extent, its interaction with other brain areas to activate specific responses seems to be stuck in the on position for determining aggressive fight response as of late. An overactive amygdala rewired by trauma can often lead to behaviors associated with psychological disorders. The amygdala reacting to visual and sound inputs can overact to potential threats, creating a gut, knee-jerk response that can lead to violence. And yes, it can get stuck.
Have we reached a point of no return?
Not to be dire, but HAVE we reached a point of no return? What is causing this triggering mechanism to fire, continually sending out waves of an overreaction? Is it just political rhetoric, social media, or reaching a point of no return? Is there any way to get this under control without a violent revolution?
As a culture and as a species, we are at a pivot point. The world is too small; it moves too fast to ignore this. We can tear ourselves apart or start patching up the human body politic and start the healing necessary to allow us to continue and one day to thrive again. This is no small matter, and the task is great.
Highly sensitive people can be those great healers the world needs. How can we help?
How HSPs can help
Many things can be done, all things that HSPs excel at. But, if HSPs are the cautionary and wise ones that nature has provided humanity to sense and suss out the problems, what exactly can we do to help this situation? Here are some suggestions.
HSPs are naturally suited to being peace givers. We are driven towards harmony and balance. This natural energy can be channeled and needs to be taught to our more violence-prone brothers and sisters. We need to teach today's children how to cope with feelings of anger and frustration, with techniques that have helped us deal with the same problems.
We need to bring the pipe of peace, be the bearers of the light and understanding.
We also need to understand that this is a long-term fix and will not happen overnight. Some of us will have to step out into the fray to break the cycle—no riding the fences on this one. Join peaceful protests, and don't let the anger tempt you to violence. Protect yourself, but always believe there is a peaceful solution first.
Please share your thoughts in the comment section.
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Bill Allen currently lives in Lutz, Florida. He previously lived in Bend, Oregon. He is a certified hypnotist and brain training coach at BrainPilots.com. He believes that male sensitivity is not so rare, but it can be confounding for most males living in a culture of masculine insensitivity which teaches boys and men to disconnect from their feelings and emotions. His intent is to use this blog to chronicle his personal journey and share with others.