My Very Best Advice: Do not buy a sub-compact or a compact pistol.
Small pistols are experts' tools. They are not for beginners.
If you are "recoil sensitive," a small pistol will only make it worse. They are difficult to hold, difficult to control, and difficult to shoot accurately and effectively.
A beginner is best served by a full-size, full-weight, all-metal pistol. Any child over the age of 10 can be taught to shoot one effectively.
Weight absorbs felt recoil. A full-size grip makes hanging onto the gun easy. A full-length barrel and sight radius makes hitting the target easier.
Further, I suggest that your full-size, full-weight, all-metal pistol be in .45 ACP caliber, because that cartridge delivers a "softer" recoil than does any other self-defense loading. It is a "push," rather than a "jab."
Recoil is controlled by pistol weight, bullet velocity, and tightness of hold.
If you grip a full-size pistol extremely firmly, and keep your arms solid, recoil won't hurt you.
If you grip the gun loosely, it will have a "running start," and shooting it will hurt.
If you expect to use your pistol for self defense, you should take at least one class in pistol technique. After that, you should practice. Frequently.
Regardless of what you see in the movies and on TV, pistol shooting is not easy to learn. It is not easy to do well, either.
If you are defending yourself from an attacker who is 20 feet away, it is more likely that your shots will miss, than that they will hit. Go pace off 20 feet, and see just how close that is.
Find a shooting range where they will rent time on several different pistols, and try out as many as you can, at the rate of about five different guns per day's session.
Take notes. Pay no attention to accuracy, since any gun you will be shooting will be more accurate than you are—by a great deal, actually. Look only for comfort in your hand and easy access to controls, and then for the reputation of the maker.
Only you can choose your own pistol. Nobody here can tell you what to buy. We can only tell you what works for each of us, but we are not you.
Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
BTW: This area of the forum contains several "stickys," all of which are worth your time. Read them all, because they will answer most of your questions.