Thoughts on modern attention problems – the ‘oversensitized personality’ – problems of an ‘absorbing-dominated’ lifestyle

It seems to me that we are beginning to see more problems with attention recently.  Though this is usually looked at as a children’s problem I think it is just as prevalent with adults.  There are many forms and difficulties in which this manifests itself.  It seems that it causes a tendency to go in two directions:

  1. Difficulty focusing and paying attention. 
  2. Too much focusing.

In many ways, there is a difficulty in being able to “manage” attention.  The way in which a person has difficulty determines which direction they go.  It seems that difficulty focusing and paying attention generally reveals a more extrovert-like personality.  Too much focusing reveals a more introvert-like personality.  If this is the case, then it would show that a person’s personality has a great influence on how it manifests itself. 

I’ve often felt that this is a direct result of a WAY OF LIFE.  In other words, how we live tends to cause this problem.  As a result, being brought up in this society makes it more prevalent and solid in the minds of the youth.  Some of the things it causes include Aspergers Syndrome and Attention Deficit Disorder but there are many other personality and character problems it creates, as well, that are probably not even recognized or known. 

In general, I tend to feel that it’s caused by oversensitivity.   This creates what I call the ‘oversensitived personality’.  This personality is caused by simply being too oversensitized by things in one’s life, sort of like an ‘sensitivity overload’.  It’s not because they have oversensitivity problems necessarily.  It’s a ‘normal’ person that has had too much sensitizing in their life that it, in a way, becomes overbearing.  This is done a number of ways:

  • Too much things to be seen.
  • Too many things heard.
  • Too many things learned.
  • Too many words.
  • Too much activity.

And so on.  Almost all of their senses are being overwhelmed!  I’ve always said that kids, nowadays, see, hear, and do more in the first 10 years of life than a person experienced in their whole life time in the past.  They are literally bombarded with different sensation and often continuously.  The great bulk of the people of the past never had to deal with sensory-overload on this scale.

Whats interesting is that it is not a condition that causes any real ‘discomfort’ or apparent obvious ‘problem’ symptoms.  What often does appear is easily described as a ‘fidgetiness’ or something similar, a common everyday thing.  Its only when it gets really bad that it is looked at as a problem.  As a result, it tends to not be noticed.

In actuality, when one looks at it closer, it becomes apparent that the condition of being oversensitized causes more problems than attention problems . . . that’s just one of the effects.  It causes a large number of problems such as:

  • It makes it difficult for them to ‘focus’ on sensation.  They develop a tendency to ‘look away’ from sensation because they keep being ‘oversensitized’ by it.  As a result, they cannot ‘focus’ or concentrate that well.  In effect, by ‘looking away’ they are keeping sensitivity to an acceptable level but, in doing so, they create another problem:  attention problems.
  • It makes them uptight, ‘jittery’, and nervous.  Being oversensitived tends to ‘wind a person up’ which causes these reactions.  Its like sensitivity is an energy that enters them and must somehow be released.  Since there is so little outlet it ‘comes out’ as an uptightness, ‘jitteriness’, or nervousness.  In extreme cases this can be so bad the children become unmanageable.
  • They get ‘wound up’ with things, often getting too involved with things.  Sometimes, sensory overload as if  ‘draws’ them in, sucking them into it, pulling them into a great abyss which they can’t get out of. 

These are now so strong and prevalent that they can create a specific personality type that displays some or all of these qualities almost continuously:  the ‘oversensitized personality’.  Since these are not healthy traits they can adversely affect a person and greatly affect a persons growth, particularly in their younger years. 

Once the actual personality type forms its hard to get rid of.  This is because it becomes a part of who they are.  But a person can still display oversensitized personality traits but not have the personality type.  In this case, it means that they have only limited aspects of themselves that succumb to being oversensitized.

Some of the things, nowadays, that help create this condition include:

  • The media (TV, radio, music, etc.).
  • Electrical gadgetry (games, internet, phones, etc.).
  • Too much education (too much info to learn and digest).

These things are practically dominating kids life’s nowadays.  Because of this, the lifestyle, itself, is whats causing the problem, the conditions of our life works against us.

In many cases, it seems that people develop the ‘oversensitized personality’ type because they sit stagnant while sensory stimulation is thrown at them.  In other words, they are sitting there while things are going past them . . . at a hundred miles an hour.  I have always felt that this stagnant condition is a major reason for this overload.  Because there is no outlet all they are doing is absorbing sensation second after second.  This shows a common pathway, or so it seems, that goes:

sensation>>>>>>>>>>>>>outlet

This means that we need an outlet for sensory stimulation.  We can’t just sit there and ‘absorb’.   To just ‘absorb’ is abnormal.  This is not to say that making kids ‘active’ will get rid of this problem.  Though it may help, the problem, as I said above, is a way of life problem.  There is simply too much ‘absorption’ going on all the time:  at school, watching TV, the phone, etc.  Everywhere you turn you see kids ‘absorbing’.  Very seldom do you see an outlet, and what you see is miniscule compared to the ‘absorbing’.  We’ve basically created an ‘absorbing-dominated’ lifestyle where we predominately do nothing but absorb sensation with very little outlet. 

In so doing, we created a crisis for the children, in particular.  It is particularly difficult, I think, for boys who tend to have a more ‘uptight’ character to begin with and who naturally need a lot of outlet in their life.  Being deprived of this, boys almost seemed to of come to a ‘halt’ as people . . . its like they’re not developing as much.  In other words, boys have become “outlet deprived”.  Girls, on the other hand, have become ‘swallowed up’ by much of the stimulation.  They have become ‘wound up’ with it, letting it dominate and control their life.  They have become ‘absorption-dominated’.  In both cases, the ‘absorbing’ lifestyle turns them stagnant, but in different ways because their characters are different.   

This entry was posted in Children and play, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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