I am an Empath.
People have other names for me as well…but I am definitely an Empath.
And right now, this Empath is DRAINED.
My post for today is about self-discovery, educating yourself ‘about yourself’ and specifically the dangers of engaging with ill-intentioned people, especially if you are, like me, an Empath.
I’ve self-diagnosed btw and I’m NOT an expert. But I have realised that I need to become more self-aware.
Just now I feel totally, totally exhausted by PEOPLE and LIFE in a way I have not quite experienced before. If I’m aware of what I am then I can perhaps learn how to have a healthier relationship with myself…which can only be a good thing.
Though I feel weak right now, I am not weak; I’m not a ‘lover of people’ let me say. Give me a dog or horse any day…but an Empath…oh yes I am…and now I’ve realised this I’m finally beginning to understand why I feel how I feel all the time and why I am so drained.
Right now all I want to do is run away.
Be alone. Be quiet. Be by myself. Preferably out of my own head if that was ever a possible thing.
Because my head is full of stuff I’m completely overwhelmed by. Crappy people’s stuff that’s somehow become my stuff…not necessarily of their making, but because I’ve been sucking it up for years.
I’ve got space for my friends’ ‘stuff’ and I should have, because that’s part of being a good friend. But, I haven’t made space for my own stuff, a realisation that has hit me the hardest.
The main problem has been continually giving headspace to the residuals. The people who I. MEAN. NOTHING. TO. and add nothing to my life except worry, pain, baggage, stress and guilt.
I can’t take them on anymore…Haha! That actually upsets me…and let me say this again…‘I am not a people person and I’m also explaining that I feel pained about saying ‘no more’ to all of the ill-intentioned that have left their baggage in my head.
Allow me to reel off the top 10 traits of an Empath…as stated by an expert in the field (‘Dr Judith Orloff’]…as this might help you too…because I’m possibly not making much sense to any of you right now!
1). HIGHLY SENSITIVE
I am…to everything…be it a small act of kindness or more…a look…a glance…a gesture…a gesticulation…the atmosphere of a room I walk in to…body language…somebody’s tone…a throwaway comment…a facial expression. I’m highly sensitive to everything and I’m reading it all to decide if I like you and the situation I’m in…or not. My guard only comes down when I believe (misjudged or otherwise) that I can trust you and I’m comfortable in my surroundings.
Anything/anybody that touches/moves me…and to the other extreme anything that has the potential to get my heckles up…I’m on it; especially if I don’t feel I know AND trust you and your motives yet and that of the environment I’m in.
I can read you though…I can read you quickly and I find out your intentions quickly cause I’m good at listening…but very occasionally I’m not quite quick enough which is very crappy for me as an Empath if you are an ill-intentioned person…User, Abuser and/or Asshole.
2). ABSORB OTHER PEOPLE’S EMOTIONS
Yep…I drink them up…their emotions become my emotions.
For example, if somebody (could be someone I like or a stranger) is crying because of some injustice, loss or hardship or if they’ve achieved something great that they’ve worked for, I’ll be (genuinely) crying too – sad or happy tears accordingly…or trying my hardest not to.
If a friend/loved one is angry and I agree with them, or if they are being used or taken advantage of my anger/hurt will match or exceed theirs and it will churn me up – I sometimes feel physical effects too, and sometimes I have to ask not to be told the finer details because I know it will affect me too much for me to deal with on that particular day.
If you’re being a dickhead – I’ll tell you – as I do have my own, unwavering opinion(s). But if you have reason to be upset, distressed, hurt or happy, euphoric etc, I’m feeling that too and as intensely as you are. I’m more than a sucker for (what I believe to be) a genuine sad/happy story…
In ‘crowds’ which I call ‘more-than-say-four’…hell yeah, I am a total introvert…unless I don’t have to engage…so a music concert, pub, the cinema for example, is perfectly fine…a party, group gathering etc is NOT FINE AT ALL. This is getting worse as well as I get older.
I literally can’t deal with even an intimate little back garden party. I can feel my stress levels and irritation rising with the arrival of each new guest. I’ll try and stay to please you (if I like you) but it will always reach a point where I become overwhelmed and I’m off…I won’t be having one more drink, I’m out the door – there’s no goodbyes.
4). HIGHLY INTUITIVE
Well yes, I am 9 times out of 10, apart from when my intuition is fucked because your bullshit has managed to mess with my intuition – it happens occasionally…and if you’re a User I’m at this stage out of my depth!
Because if you are a User, you’re probably going to start off by ‘saying all the right things’ and ‘giving off all the right vibes’…so if I miss a bit of body language or overlook a red flag or ignore a gut feeling…you’ll probably have me fooled.
It doesn’t happen often and the ‘fooling’ doesn’t last for long…but by the time you’ve fooled me I can’t let you down because your sad story, your disadvantages, problems, feelings, emotions etc that you will have bamboozled me with will have become mine. The worst thing that can happen to me as an Empath is having my intuition let me down!
5). NEED TIME ALONE
For large parts of each and every day, please, otherwise I can deal with a close-plus one; but that’s my limit. I’m reactive remember, so if I’ve heard a happy story, then a sad story, then an argument, a bit of injustice, then I’m dealing with people I don’t necessarily like I’m taking on board A LOT of emotions, thoughts, feelings from all of these people allllll day long; I guess that explains why I absolutely need time alone.
6). CAN BE OVERWHELMED IN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS
Yep…is all I can say to that!
7). A TARGET FOR ENERGY VAMPIRES
Absolutely…sometimes I feel like a battery…they charge off me whilst I drain! But I don’t realise they’re charging and I’m draining until it’s too late and I’m totally drained. Every single one of my romantic relationships has done this to me; bar none along with a couple of past friendships and this can emotionally damage an Empath, as I’m now very aware of.
8). REPLENISH IN NATURE
All I want is to live on a beach by the sea – I’d replenish a-plenty there and I’m in no doubt that my mental health would improve dramatically. Lots of people want to live by the sea, but I think, as an Empath, it would hold particular significance since we value nature for replenishment purposes.
There’s no sea near me…there’s a park, but…it’s not the sea. Some years ago now I spent three weeks at sea and thereafter I felt the strongest, the best and most confident I ever had in my life…until I misjudged a User and shit fell apart!
9). HIGHLY TUNED SENSES
If you are a loud person, like you talk really loud and laugh really loud in a bar or public place or we’re conversing and you’ve got a microphone stuck in your throat we aren’t going to get on.
I bloody hate louder than necessary PEOPLE.
Excessive noise and sudden noise makes my blood boil – this extends to children laughing, babies crying, loud unexpected bangs etc, exaggerated yawning, making something over a sneeze and going over the top on the clearing of your throat…the list goes on.
I can sometimes be fun too!
10). BIG HEARTED, BUT SOMETIMES GIVES TOO MUCH
This gets me into trouble…ALWAYS! Not everybody sees this side of me as I am quick, very quick to rule out who I do not want in my life; highly sensitive and intuitive (and a bit of a bitch) you see.
But if you’re a stranger who seems decent with a problem, or if I like you…genuinely like you (platonically, romantically etc), whether you’re a good person or not, you’ll see this ‘Empath’ side of me very quick. It’s all about how I feel about YOU and NOT how YOU feel about ME.
Tell me you feel sad, or something bad has happened to you and I will feel heartbroken. And I’ll still feel heartbroken every time I see you and throughout the rest of the day and when I can’t sleep at night. It’s quite extreme. I don’t mean I feel ‘pity’ or anything patronising towards you. I want you to be ok, I don’t want you to feel sad or down or traumatised or lost or like you’re on your own and I want to help and it consumes me A LOT – it sticks in my head, and I’ll go well out of my way to help you when I deem you worthwhile.
If I don’t like you you’re not getting shit because my intuition has told me not to bother.
I might start off being aloof to overcompensate if I can’t quite suss you out (if I’ve sussed you out and I don’t like you, I won’t engage)…which I have to pay myself on the back and say that this is a very wise thing for an Empath to do.
WHERE EMPATHS START TO UNRAVEL
When an Empath likes an ill-intentioned person…hmmm…it’s not nice. I can honestly vouch for that. Remember, I take on people’s feelings, internalise people’s problems, their trauma, their sadness, their issues, their rage, their abuse and I want to help them, even the ones that prove my intuition was out of whack when I began to like them. So then they take advantage of my emotions, kindness and uses.
If I did like you and now I genuinely don’t you’ll cause me guilt, which you generally won’t know about…because I’ll internalise it which is a further emotional drain as I’ll be trying to deal with the fact that I now have to work out how to say ‘no’ to you when previously I said ‘yes’ which I’d rather do without hurting your feelings.
That’s traumatic for me too and sad and overwhelming and stressful to the extreme. I’d rather say ‘yes’ than ‘no’ because depriving myself (if it comes to that) is easier for me to reconcile than depriving you.
I’m not a people pleaser. Not in the least. I don’t feel this way or do things to ‘please people’. It’s not that. I don’t much care what anybody thinks of me unless I like them and value their opinion. It’s when I like an asshole that the problems arise. And throughout this post you can take ‘like somebody’ to mean not only ‘romantically’ but also in the capacity of ‘friend’.
Being an Empath has caused me A LOT of heartache and exhaustion and a lot of blocking my OWN stuff out because I don’t have the capacity to deal with my ‘self’. I trust hardly anybody but if I do have a friendship or relationship with a User, I’m literally toast…so I’m extra, extra cautious about who I let in now because I have to be!
THE EXAMPLE OF THE LENGTHS I’D GENUINELY GO TO
I’ll give an example…NOT of somebody who is ill-intentioned…on the contrary, but to illustrate just how fast this Empath thing can come on…and the extremes I could honestly foresee myself going to.
I recently met somebody online, I suppose I put out ‘a cry for help’ early one morning and by chance this person was there and he helped me through some very traumatic hours with purity, honesty and patience. The kindness of a stranger always astounds me…even though I completely have the capacity to be that type of stranger.
And he’s got his shit going on too. He has issues that cannot be solved. And as his story unravelled with mine…I just felt grief and sadness and I felt his loss and rage towards those responsible for his hurt and all I could think was ‘how can I help?’ and ‘what can I do?’ and ‘how can I take his pain away?’ etc…EVERY EMOTION WAS GOING ON…and tears and heartbreak and sadness over what he has endured, is enduring and will continue to endure because of one dreg of society.
It’s not just ‘oh no…that’s so sad…now back to my own life…’, it’s way more than that. I actually feel pain, like it’s my own pain…as though I’m going through it myself, living it myself…and I want to put as much effort (if not more) into solving things as though the problem and heartache is my own. Now, if this were my own child, or spouse or parent, ok…but…y’know…
Those feelings are still with me now; some weeks on. I feel THAT emotional over another person’s life who I’ve never met and shall never meet. I can be here for him if he needs to talk, but I can’t help him from a practical sense, I can’t resolve his problems, but if I could and he wanted me to I’d be there…3,000 mile, one way journey, the little problem of that stretch of water, the Atlantic Ocean, wouldn’t phase me…I’d be there…in a heartbeat…and I’m not exaggerating, because…
1). He’s endeared himself to me – a thing that happens now so very rarely as my intuition is finely tuned and has definitely passed the ‘better to be safe than sorry’ stage.
2). I can literally feel the pain he’s in, his emotions and the total injustice of what’s going on and it hurts through to my core.
3). There are other people involved who are being unjustly and unfairly treated too…so I’ve taken the emotions and damage I perceive them to be experiencing on as well.
4). I’m an Empath!
No word of a lie, I’d put helping this person out if I could above anything at this moment in time, because the total injustice resonates in me.
I hate injustice. It pains me. A person being used/abused or having an otherwise hard time. A story of hardship and hurt and loss and depression and desperation or any of that. It plays on my mind more than is healthy.
THE ONLY TYPE OF PEOPLE EMPATHS NEED AND HAVE CAPACITY TO HANDLE
I’m lucky that those I class as ‘friends’ are very naturally inclined NEVER to take advantage of others. They are kind and genuine people. Good people with the best of intentions. Loyal people. I like that I’m an Empath when it comes to my actual genuine friends. Because for good friends being an Empath is a nice thing to be…I think.
WHAT EMPATHS ARE REALLY NOT EQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH
Empaths especially, are not well-equipped to deal with abusers, users, narcissists. One of my exes who was very emotionally (and twice physically) abusive cut his foot open on a razorblade whilst in an absolute rage directed at me and I still feel awful about his foot being sliced open like a melon to this day – like it was all my fault…and it wasn’t; if he hadn’t been pacing like a mad man, throwing things at me and leaving blades on the floor, that wouldn’t have happened… and I know that deep down.
But still many, many years later, the first thing I think about when that asshole comes to mind is… ‘ahhh, yeah, but his foot…I should have at least taken him to hospital’ – forget my own safety, which was definitely by this point in jeopardy. I still feel guilt, sadness and regret for not taking his abusive ass to A&E; and it still really plays on my mind on the odd occasion he enters it.
If you see any signs…get away from ill-intentioned people immediately, do not engage, find better. If you ignore the signs, or hope they’ll change you’re going to end up internalising all their crap, feeling all their emotions and taking their problems on which will do you damage. You might not even realise the damage to start with but if you let these people carry on, the damage will catch up with you at some point.
I’M GOING TO CONCLUDE NOW
If you are an Empath and therefore one to take on people’s emotions, feelings, hardships etc, you need to be VERY, VERY careful with whom you mix and associate – because THIS is draining. I didn’t realise how draining until the last few days – it’s finally taking its toll on me in a very detrimental way…the years of being emotionally available for shitty people has clobbered me over the head.
So, if you are an Empath like me, you need to REALLY start getting to know yourself. You need to educate yourself, understand your triggers and make sure you know how to set boundaries right from the start of any and every relationship you have going forward. If your friends are telling you not to feel guilt, upset, emotions over a certain situation you’ve found yourself in…you need to listen to them and BELIEVE THEM.
An abuser, a user, an ill-intentioned person will pick up on you being an Empath the second you decide you like them. They are tuned into this. Pick your friends wisely. Choose your romantic partners with even more care. Look out for red flags and trust that amazing intuition you’ve been given as an Empath.
Trust your gut feeling – it will NEVER let you down. If I’d listened to mine on every occasion, I wouldn’t have brain data overload I’ve been accumulating and cannot seem to wipe. I’ve had very strong gut feelings that I’ve ignored about EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO HAS HURT ME, USED ME AND ABUSED ME.
Don’t give your energy, time, emotions and headspace to anybody who does not deserve it, appreciate it AND add quality to your life. Granted, that applies to everybody. But Empaths, I think, need the extra reminder and almost permission that it’s ok to not be energy suckered by the ill-intentioned they’ve allowed into their lives…
Also, abusers, narcissists etc…they thrive off Empaths even though my understanding in general is that these ‘people’ ultimately DESPISE Empaths. REMEMBER THAT…
…YOU want to help them – you are naturally inclined to do so, more than the next person. THEY are taking YOUR energy, time etc. THEY are OK with doing that…BUT this causes THEM to DESPISE you; not LIKE you or heaven forbid in any way reciprocate or appreciate.
My day job is to help people who DO deserve energy, time, emotion…but I can’t afford to be an Empath around them because I’d be institutionalised if I took on all their problems, so I’ve learned to have empathy instead, which is a very different (and healthy) thing.
I just need to carry on what I’ve recently started which is separating well-intentioned people from ill-intentioned people in my social life and let the ill-intentioned fend for themselves and not take up my head space for the sake of my own sanity.
Focus on people who are good to you. Focus ONLY on genuine people and friends and primarily, of course…YOURSELF. You’ve got your friends’ backs/they’ve got yours…so now all you have to do is replace the wellbeing of the disingenuous with your own wellbeing – that way, as an Empath, you will have time and head space for those who count and time and head space for YOURSELF.