Being an Empath isn’t a special ability that only some people have; it’s the way we’re made — It’s our birthright to be able to pick up on the emotional energies that are all around us, in the same way that we’re designed to hear sound vibrations with our ears and detect light vibrations with our eyes. Our empathic abilities can give us the ability to feel compassion and empathy, as well as the awareness that tells us where our boundaries are and how to beneficially navigate or completely avoid potentially sticky situations and difficult people.
The ability to have a life that feels worthwhile requires that we feel what it’s like to be authentically ourselves, which serves as a natural ground from which to be aware of our interconnection with others.
Unfortunately, many of us were denied this from an early age by being told what we should feel and how we should think, or being punished for thinking or feeling what was forbidden, so knowing who we are and what we want or what we think isn’t as obvious. For some of us, it was more important to know how others in our lives were feeling so we could avoid getting hurt. This could make being close with others, or having boundaries, feel dangerous.
Three Basic Empathic Survival Strategy Styles
In order to survive, some of us became good people-pleasers; others became good at shutting everything out and being oblivious to the feelings of others; still others took the role of the family scapegoat, holding the others’ pain and either acting out or getting sick or hurt, or sabotaging ourselves in the areas that were most important to us. Many of us have a combination of the above three patterns.
While this helped us survive our early years, it wired us to attract the same kinds of interactions in our adult lives, and left us unable to respond in adaptive ways in the present moment. The result is that for some of us, our lives feel numb and disconnected; for others, we are hyper-aware of what others want but don’t really know our own truth; and still others feel overwhelmingly connected, in a way that constantly feels raw and incredibly painful. Some of us can’t stand to be in groups, others can’t handle being alone, and for some of us nowhere feels safe. Breaking the patterns can seem challenging because they literally feel intertwined with our ability to survive — and so letting them go can feel like a threat to our survival.
I help clients to transition into a healthier and more mutually beneficial way of interacting within the emotional environment, and I’d love to discuss with you whether my skill set is something that could be helpful to you as well.
Call or text 573-239-8637 for a free consult or to schedule a session.