True peer relationships may be rare and demanding, perhaps especially for people who are exceptionally talented, creative, intense, sensitive, gifted.
For some people, high sensitivity to others may demand protective isolation from hurtful relationships, even family members.
Choosing to be solitary
Following his death in 2019, many people have commented on the impact of Karl Lagerfeld, especially on fashion design and business.
A news article notes:
He was the “iconic couturier whose designs at Chanel and Fendi had an unprecedented impact on the entire fashion industry.”
Former supermodel Claudia Schiffer credits Lagerfeld as her mentor, and called him her “magic dust.”
“What (Andy) Warhol was to art, he was to fashion; he is irreplaceable,” she said. …
“Lagerfeld was open about his homosexuality — he once said he announced it to his parents at 13 — but kept his private life under wraps.
“Following his relationship with a French aristocrat who died of AIDS in 1989, Lagerfeld insisted he prized his solitude above all.”
“I hate when people say I’m ‘solitaire’ (or solitary.) Yes, I’m solitaire in the sense of a stone from Cartier, a big solitaire.
“I have to be alone to do what I do. I like to be alone. I’m happy to be with people, but I’m sorry to say I like to be alone, because there’s so much to do, to read, to think.”
Designer Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s global icon, dies in Paris, Los Angeles Times Feb. 19, 2019.
See more quotes by and about Lagerfeld in my article Don’t Be Normal To Be Creative.
In a scene in the tv series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (200-2015), forensic scientist Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) says to Gil Grissom (William L. Petersen) in a deeply ironic tone:
“You’re right, you know. I should be just like you. Alone in my hermetically sealed condo, watching Discovery on the big screen, working genius-level crossword puzzles.
“But no relationships… Yeah, right. I want to be just like you.”
(That was an amusing scene when I first saw it – and one I could relate to all too well.)
Hard to find peers
In her article Can You Hear The Flowers Sing? Issues for Gifted Adults, Deirdre V. Lovecky, Ph.D. notes that many gifted adults “are lonely because of a lack of true peers.
“Feeling comfortable with oneself, having a wide variety of interests, knowing that there are some people who value at least parts of themselves, and viewing lonely times as a chance of further self-care and self-exploration are ways of growing in personal power.”
Intimacy or identity
Salma Hayek portrayed gifted artist Frida Kahlo in the film “Frida“.
She has commented on one of the more destructive problems with many relationships:
“We always think that you have to stand by your man, but women who do that usually end up sacrificing everything about themselves.
“Frida Kahlo stood by her man all the way, but she never stopped being who she was.
[Hispanic Magazine, Oct 2002].
A fun anecdote in her imdb profile indicates something of Hayek’s own sense of self:
“She was sent to a boarding school in Louisiana at age 12, but was soon sent back home after getting in trouble for frequently terrorizing the nuns.”
Everyone can have difficulties with relationships, but being a highly sensitive person can bring additional challenges.
Elaine N. Aron, PhD is one of the leading writers and researchers on the personality trait of high sensitivity (sensory processing sensitivity) and how it affects us as highly sensitive people or HSPs.
She said in an interview about her book The Highly Sensitive Person In Love that people with more sensitive and excitable constitutions and personalities “need help with intimacy.”
Intuitive Psychiatrist Judith Orloff writes:
“Loneliness gets to some more than others.
“But why it hangs on isn’t always apparent when read by traditional medical eyes.
“In my practice and workshops I’ve been struck by how many sensitive, empathic people who I call ’emotional empaths’ come to me, lonely, wanting a romantic partner, yet remaining single for years.”
See much more in the article, including material by psychologist and relationship expert Margaret Paul about her Inner Bonding program – acclaimed by Alanis Morissette, among others.