Struggling With The Empath In Me
Thanks to being an Empath, life’s rules don’t seem to apply to me. There…I finally said it! Where others seem to plod, claw and struggle, doors open easily for me. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t become lazy, arrogant and apathetic, because I did, and what appeared to be a blessing soon became a curse and almost led to my demise.
As early as I can remember I knew I was different. It wasn’t something you could see on the outside exactly, as I participated in most things that children did, it was something on the inside. I had this knack for people, all types of people. Not just family and friends mind you but strangers as well. I could instantly tap into what they were feeling and create an avenue of deep communication and bonding that most people dream about. This may leave you with the impression that I’m a “people person” but this is far from the truth! In fact do NOT confuse empathy with sympathy most of what I feel bleeds through regardless if I give a crap about the person or the situation! It’s been no picnic although I will say being an Empath proved quite useful growing up in an inner city environment although challenging at times.
I’ve talked my way out of more than one bully bashing and have befriended many junkyard dogs in my time. I’ve had complete strangers tell me the most intimate details about themselves and my friends range from criminal to scholar and everyone in between. I have no enemies and both my ex wives are dear friends to me, in fact I’m currently living with one of them. You’d think this ability would have taken me to the upper echelons of society but it didn’t. In fact it brought me loneliness and the depths of addiction, where in which I lost my family, friends and almost my life.
When I was a kid it was cool and flattering to have people seek you out for advice or just be an ear for them but I soon began noticing something. Long after they departed I was left to bear the weight of their crap. Don’t misunderstand me, I didn’t mind helping people, I really did but the more they’d purge the worse I felt and ultimately it began to eat me up from the inside out as I became some sort of an “emotional dumping ground” for others. This led me to high anxiety and of course with teen years a lot of self medicating.
The journey from friendly, empathetic, sensitive young man to reclusive, drug addicted bum was a sad and short one. It seemed the more I listened, the more I absorbed and the less I was able to let go of it. The only relief and comfort I found was in booze and drugs. Fortunately, after countless overdoses and a dozen detoxes, I’m coming up on twenty years of sobriety this July.
I wish there were some magic plan for an Empath to follow that would allow them to opt for self preservation over service to others but it doesn’t exist. As this is NOT the natural way an Empath operates!
Here’s a short list though of what seems to help me:
- Try to make a conscious effort to keep yourself first in life.
- Don’t feed into drama – Their drama becomes your drama!
- Beware of “soul suckers”. You know the type, dark, dreary and all about them.
- Take the time to meditate and let go. Even just a few minutes helps!
I will be adding more info, advice and articles on life as an Empath in the future…See you soon!