If your an Empath, then your going to recognize what I'm going to be writing about below. It is the different levels of connection we form with other people, from the random stranger to the deeply connected relationship between parent and child. At whatever level the connection is, all Empaths have some experience in this area.
The Empathic Link
The Empathic Link is the lightest of all empathic connections, in that it can be formed anywhere and at any time, with any person. This means this connection could be formed with a random stranger found on the street, on a bus, or anywhere else for that matter. And it will compell you to get closer to that person.
Sometimes, this is alright to do. But other times, it is wiser to ignore these links, because it carries the risk of putting the Empath in harms way. So the stronger your boundaries are, the easier it is to walk on by, even as you are pulled.
While its true this may leave you feeling guilty and ashamed that you didn't reach out, it also shows that you are aware of yourself within this equation, and your own needs and safety.
The Empathic Bond
The Empathic Bond is formed with people you feel close to, It develops when the Empath becomes intimate with others, not in a sexual context, but in a deeply emotional way. (Side note: Sexual contact can deepen this cord even further) So this bond is formed with people like your parents, your siblings, your relatives, your lovers, and your friends. Seems like alot of bonds, doesn't it? But each one also has its own level within the context of empathic bonding.
For some the bonding could be much deeper toward a parent than with friends. While for someone else the bonding could be deeper with a lover or with friends. It varies from person to person, dependent on their personality and how they were raised. This is only to say that everyone is different. And that there is nothing wrong with having your personal bonds differ from other people. ^_^
Empathic Link Vs. Empathic Bond
The Empathic Bond rises out of the Empathic Link. A good metaphor for this would be to imagine the link as a single thread which connects you to a person. And imagine the bond as a thick cord which connects you to a person. The difference is in the intensity of your focus. If you are linked, you have the ability to easily break away from the person with only a mild sense of loss. While being bonded means that the connection is so deep,that severing it would cause deep and severe trauma to the Empath.
The Empath also runs the risk of this thick cord reappearing over and over again during the time of initial separation. And it will pull the Empath, hard, toward that which they are trying to leave behind. It is wise to spend time with other people that are deeply bonded to the Empath at this time, so that the pull is lessened over time.
We've been over what this is in different discussions, so I will refrain from describing it here. I only bring this particular type of bonding up because it a deepening connection of the Empathic Bond. This is the type of connection, that when formed, can scare the other party because of its intensity. The Empath seems almost obsessed with the other party, they are connected so deeply. While in some cases this is true, for most it is simply a misunderstanding on the part of the host.
But when this kind of bonding is mutual, imagine the possibilities.
Its very important to be aware of the level of your bonding with people. Otherwise its like walking around with your hands out in the dark, screaming Marco in the hopes of getting a Polo.