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  • Writer's pictureJanis E. McKinstry, MA

HSPs become super powered with bright and beautiful boundaries, or How to repel vampires

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Highly Sensitive People are LIGHT Workers...

HSPs are typically open hearted people, very intuitive, empathic, and have a warm healing light about them. We're inviting simply by who we are. We don't have to do or say anything for people to find us because we're easy to be with, empathic, understanding, and offer a our warm glow just as we are. This innocence can lead to problems and abuse, so boundaries are very important for us because before we learn our superpowers in being truly and authentically empowered to be ourselves and shine as brightly as the sunshine we tend to be burdened with takers.

We're just being our kind, open, empathic us, but some of the people that do find us are those who will use our warmth and openness to fill their cold empty void. I've heard it explained like the moth attracted to the moonlight. The moth is cold inside and is constantly attracted to warmth. The warmth of the compassionate empathic heart of the HSP is what they're looking for. Those people wear masks that display who they're not. They're needy, predators, energy vampires, hungry ghosts, leeches...whatever you call those people that drain other people's energy, take, take, take to use and abuse.

Have you experienced that? I have! I've ignored the personalities because I was a nice girl not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings. The one I hurt was myself.

Now, I see clearly and I am clear with my boundaries. I had to learn healthy boundaries the hard way and I would like to help you learn the easy way with me. Healthy boundaries are central to healing and remaining healed to become empowered.

Having healthy boundaries leads to feeling safe, self assured, and self loving for who we are, not needing to abandon our true selves to seem other than who we are, to feel aligned in our own integrity, and to be known as trustworthy for ourselves and for others. When we have unhealthy boundaries and say yes when we mean no, allow someone to repeatedly hurt us, strive to please or fix someone, control a situation, behave inauthentically, or go along with the crowd, we're expressing codependency (behaving in a people pleasing way we've been programmed to operate) and betraying ourselves.

We HSPs need to transform our inviting warmth into clear sunlight with our boundaries so that the vampires, hungry ghosts, and leeches won't even attempt to intrude in our space. We need to create bright, clear, boundaries so that we attract the vast sparkling galaxy of respectful love to us instead of the dark and damp dwellers; the ones who take and take.

How do boundaries look and feel?:

Healthy and unhealthy boundaries occur in the physical, emotional, mental, material, and energetic realms of oneself. Unhealthy boundaries may look like these few examples with [healthy] examples in [ ]: Feel free to come up with more

1. Physical: unwanted touch, spatial intrusion, unwanted sexual or physical comments or contact...[respectfully asking for consent and honoring the answer, refrain from comments about the physical, view the other person as sacred and act accordingly.] Example of a healthy boundary: Extending a hand to shake hands with a new acquaintance instead of hugging.

2. Emotional: assumptions, projections, dismissive comments or behavior, rejecting comments or behavior, emotional dumping onto another, gossip, talking over someone, interrupting, not giving time to think and respond, constant talking, inappropriate questions or comments...[being honest, consideration for feelings and honoring the emotional space of the other person, respect other's privacy, don't talk about people without their consent, allow space for response and honor it, view the other person as sacred and act accordingly.] Example of a healthy boundary: Ask appropriate questions about how the person is feeling instead of projecting your feelings onto them.

3. Mental/Thought: belittling/dismissing other's thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and values...[be curious, listen carefully to understand with an open heart and mind to create space for differences, respond when appropriate, give time and space, respect other's views, view the other person as sacred and act accordingly.] Example of healthy boundary: Listening carefully with respect to understand the other person's viewpoint and responding with that's interesting and I hadn't considered that, tell me more, or thank you for sharing your views with me.

4. Material: mistreating your belongings [asking permission and how to treat the material and following through, view the other person's belongings as sacred and act accordingly.] Example of healthy boundary: Asking to borrow a car, and a timely cleaning and refueling before returning it.

5. Energetic/Time: demanding attention, continually breaking plans, ghosting, no show, intrusive contact, energetic assaults, demanding favors, expecting free labor [carefully consider the invitation and be honest from the beginning, honor the requests and time, don't ask for free professional labor, view the other person as sacred and act accordingly.] Example of a healthy boundary: Keeping clear around personal time, work time, family time, social time and not allowing intrusion into them.

How do I learn boundaries?

So, how do you change poor boundaries into healthy boundaries? We can do this together in counseling sessions, and for now here's a little offering. Mindfulness is key. When we are aware of the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that keep us in codependent patterns of behavior, of breaching our own boundaries to please or control someone else, we can learn to understand where the beliefs came from. We pay attention to how they feel in our body and heart, explore them with non judgmental curiosity to learn all about them. Then inquire how they've been serving you and discover if they have kept you stuck in a dysfunctional pattern. If so you can decide if you'd like to change those patterns, and we begin that process. You really do have the choice & ability, and with time and attention you'll be on your way to feeling more authentically empowered to be you. We explore what we need and desire in our relationships and lovingly ask for these 100% of the time, feeling aligned and attuned with our true self. We become authentically empowered to be ourselves more fully each and every day.

Curiosity without judgment is key here (and just about everywhere when it comes to my style of psychology.) Over-giving, people pleasing, intrusion, fixing, dismissing, self abandonment, showing off, inappropriateness & control over, and unhealthy relationships go together. Unhealthy boundaries may be porous in trying to meet the other person's needs, and/or they may be rigid and fixed with harsh righteousness that halts any sort of dialogue to find common ground. These create resentment and distrust. All involved suffer because they're not honest nor respectful. If you're sacrificing your own needs so someone else is happy, practicing shoulds, or manipulating a situation to get your own way, then that is not honest or respectful. Trust is broken when dishonesty is the policy, even if in subconscious compliance. So, mindfulness shines the light on these hidden patterns and we become aware of them more clearly so we can change them if we desire change.

Awareness will lead the way toward understanding and liberating ourselves from these subconscious programs of codependency. We can be curious and observe ourselves and others for the sake of learning. When judgment comes in it often means that our inner judge is showing up to be sure we're complying with what we've been taught (by our well meaning parents, culture, education, religion, society....) and we either comply in codependence with poor boundaries, or we begin to question these and they loosen their power over us. Our consciousness can take a closer look at how we truly feel, what we truly desire and need to be healthy, and how to achieve this. We examine these beliefs with compassion and self care so that we express our self respect and self love through our well communicated respectful boundaries while setting appropriate consequences for violations.

Boundaries create trust, inner peace, self respect and respect for those around you. They communicate what kinds of energy you allow in your personal space, how you will be touched, spoken to, and treated. As you become clear and are able to communicate your boundaries you'll notice your confidence, self respect, and self love becoming stronger. As you become more comfortable and confident in your own ability to communicate your boundaries you'll also be more able to respect and honor other's boundaries. The people in your life who truly love you will be honored to share this intimate part of yourself, and you'll learn that we all deserve this kind of honesty in who we are in every way every day. If the other person is not willing to listen and respect your wishes you'll need to decide the consequences and consistently honor them.

Here are the steps to creating boundaries:

1. Decide how you'd prefer to be treated (ie: I feel let down and disrespected when my friend is late for our dates. I really want to be able to trust that my friend values our time together and will be on time for our dates.)

2. Communicate it with clarity (ie: Please be on time for our dates so that I can trust that you value our time together.)

3. Communicate clear consequences for boundary violations and enforce them (ie: If you are late again I will not wait for you and I will no longer make plans with you.)

Having healthy boundaries will feel foreign when beginning the journey, and it's well worth the effort. Healthy boundaries will help you create a life of ease and grace as you share who you really are with the world and create deeper intimacy with those you love through honesty. You'll still be warm and openhearted, and now you'll be able to deter the moths and leeches.

My hope is that you will embrace yourself and commit to learning healthy boundaries for your well-being, liberation, comfort, and an authentically empowered life. I hope you try it and let me know how you feel, and I'd be honored to guide you on your self love empowerment journey. Let's talk.

Thank you for loving yourself

❤️ I offer breath work & somatic awareness with mindfulness because it informs the body and soul that it is healing and ready to fully self love from here on out. It's inclusive, expansive, and effective. This breath-work signals the nervous system to relax, release trauma, and restore balance in the body, mind, & soul for emotional well-being.

Please accept my free gift of a 10-minute video that guides you through simple breathing and an introductory mindfulness and somatic release exercise. It will give you a short experience of how we might start a session and begin the greatest adventure of your self exploration. You'll receive this short meditation and my monthly blog.

A self examined mind leads to a meaningful life.

Warmly, like the SUN


I invite you to check out my interview on MysticMag 👀

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