Monday, August 31, 2009

The Hardest Thing For An Empath.........

The 'Hardest Thing For An Empath....' is an interesting topic, because in this discussion we will cover some of the things Empaths have the hardest time dealing with, so if your squeamish or find this discussion not to your taste, please feel free to read something else.

Its an important discussion, despite the discomfort it might cause some. Its important to realize the limitations one sets upon oneself, for whatever reason. This is particularly true when it comes to heightened emotions such as deep passion, intense rage, plummeting sadness, deep ingrained heart stopping fear, and emotions of the same ilk.

Its important to know where we draw the line at what we can handle for our own sanity. And its also important to understand what limitations stop us from helping certain types of people because they fall into these categories which we avoid at all costs. Sometimes its better to stay behind the line of our boundaries, for our own safety, and sometimes we must push ahead, beyond the walls we have so carefully erected in order to do what we are compelled to do. Knowing the difference between these two times is pivotal to helping others and still keeping ourselves whole as we work as Empaths.

This of super importance because sometimes there is a particular person that we focus on and want to help, but we end up running away from them because they exemplify something we have pushed passed our own limitations, so they are out of bounds. And then we become eaten up by guilt. We always come back to thinking about that person, and what we could have done, but didn't. And we are left feeling guilty and ashamed of our own inaction. (I say 'we' because this includes me)

So lets look at a few of the hardest things for an Empath, and see where we draw the line. And is that line one that should be crossed or one that should be kept in tact?

Please understand, though, that this is one subjective perspective on the topic and everyone is free to disagree if they wish. These are not rules that are set in stone, but information to help open you to new ideas about yourself, how you think, and how you work and interact with other people, on a normal and empathic level.

News Media
Most, but not all, Empaths tend to have an extremely hard time watching the news and reading printed news for any long duration of time, because of all of the global atrocities that happen on a daily basis in this world. And the news reports these things one after another, compounding the negative on top of the negative. For an Empath, its like dropping one brick after another on their big toe.

Because of this, quite a few Empaths tend to cut themselves off, almost all together or all together, from news media outlets like television news broadcasts, newspapers, and internet news websites. They tend to shy away from information with videos or images, more often than simply printed text news, because it is easier to disassociate from the situation when there is no visuals of the situation. Easier still, just to avoid it completely.

Gory Movies, Books, & Video Games
The premise here is much the same as the last one, because whether it is out of the imaginings of someone's mind or a stark vision of reality depicted on the news, an Empath is sensitive to the core emotions being depicted with in it. Horror, pain, suffering, trauma, and such are all things which touch an Empath at their center because they are based in a heightened state of emotion......that of fear and terror. And for an Empath, depending on how sensitive they are, there is no desensitizing to this kind of thing.

But there is a way to work through it, if one can find the core events which lead to this kind of sensitivity to certain subject matter and work through them. But I will focus more on that later on in this discussion.

Real Life Suffering
An Empath who tends to avoid the above things, will also tend to avoid real life suffering of these types in others. They will see someone that they know they can help, but turn away, because of that sensitivity they have which causes that person or their situation to be set beyond their limits our boundaries.

This can be universal or specialized toward a certain type of person or suffering. It can take the form of unacknowledged fear through avoidance, prejudice, and even malice when it is pushed to far into their faces, as well, because it cuts to close to the Empath's comfort zone and boundaries. And in its extreme, it can cause an Empath to become reclusive, isolating themselves from the world outside in order to keep their boundaries intact both physically and mentally.

The Hardest Thing For An Empath......

Is to step out of their comfort zone and see beyond the walls they've erected around themselves. Why? Because most, but not all, Empaths.........unlike the popular belief that it is a genetic occurrence......have had some kind of events in their lives that have literally punched a hole within them which make them feel and sense deeper, and as a result, shy away from what causes the trauma.

Seeing things like a woman being brutalized, a destroyed home due to a hurricane, a homeless person, or any other type of suffering is like looking into a mirror and seeing your own reflection. And Empaths are notorious for hating pictures of themselves and not being able to stand looking in a mirror for 30 seconds without looking away. Whether its one's own face, or the faces of others who are suffering, an untrained or unwilling Empath has trouble facing that reality.

But the reason you call yourself an Empath isn't because you feel other people's emotions, or just for that reason, is it? We are, all of us, Wounded Healers which means we have all been hurt in our lifetimes, in some way or another, which we then internalized, repressed and allowed to grow into a hole within us. And from that moment on we learned to instinctively put up barriers when anything came close to touching that hidden shame, pain, or locked down beast we could not imagine taming.

Think about your past. What set you apart for the first time? What caused you to feel different from the getgo? Was it something within you already? Or was it something external that you brought inside you and internalized?

Often times, because of how humans are built, we are the instruments of our own defeat even before we are capable of being cognizant of what we are doing. This is often because something unforeseen or traumatic happens in our formative years, toddler to adolescent age, and we are not mentally capable of coping with it in the proper way.

So the human mind, in all of its infinite creativity, finds an alternate route to survival. But what is best, in the child's mind's perspective of a singular moment, for survival in that singular moment, is not normally a healthy coping mechanism later in life, when it is still being utilized. And by that time, when it is later on in life, it has become instinctive and unconscious, and the person doing it doesn't even realize it exists. Its habit.

It can then begin to manifest itself in many different ways, in how a person interacts with others. It can stretch from anything from maturity levels, to manipulation, to an addiction to cycles of abuse, self abuse, drug abuse, self hate, low self esteem, and the list can go on for quite a while.

And because, like the Empath who does not like looking in the mirror or taking a picture or looking at others who suffer, we do not want to face ourselves headon in all of our sorrow and our pain, as well as joy and happiness. We lose ourselves in ideas of giving ourselves to the cause of altruism. We lose ourselves in our false identities which we build up around ourselves as safeguards to keep us grounded and away from what is holding us back.

Empath, as a title, is one such safeguard. It keeps everyone else out while giving you a place to belong and a name to call yourself, doesn't it? And that is an empowering thing. But that alone is not all you are, and hiding beneath it isn't helping you heal whats hurting inside you. Its only allowing you to push it away and hold it back a little longer.

And this.......this denial and avoidance of self, is what tends to cause the sensitivities of the Empath. It is the root or the core of an issue that extends to all kinds of levels within that person's life, from what they watch on television to who they associate with in their lives, and how close they let people in.

The thing about sensitivities brings us back to the title of Empath, as a safeguard. Your sensitivities are not all that you are, just like one single title is not all that you are, either. And while its true, that they are a very real part of who you are, they don't control all of who you are unless you let them.

So there is a difference between a sense of healthy self preservation in what you can emotionally handle and what you run away from because you think you can't cope with it. In this, we end up limiting ourselves in our growth, in our development, and in our ability to feel Empathy as Empaths. And it stunts us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Ironically, if you've ever had a Dark Night Of The Soul, then you've come face to face with this issue before. Because when we fall and crash, we come face to face with what lays beneath the surface of ourselves. And it causes us to rail against it, fight it, cry out, anything not to deal with it. It can cause one to run away or to finally step into the light, beyond the darkness. And it breeds doubt within the soul, which leads to questioning which in turn brings growth and development as answers are sought out.

And if we run to often from those moments, because they will keep coming over and over again as moments offered to wake up, it can bring one to their knees. It certainly did me. And I was ready to end my life because I couldn't do what I knew I needed to do for myself.

It took someone else's hand to stay that blade, because I didn't truly want to die. I just wanted an end to the pain. But no words could reach me. And in that one moment, in all of that darkness, I saw the single ray of light I needed to reach up and climb.

It didn't make things better for me overnight. It didn't change my issues or the things I had to face and deal with. But it made it easier to see it as something that I could work toward and accomplish, instead of something so far out of reach it wasn't even worth reaching for.

So if you find yourself relating to this post, know it wasn't written to judge you or to make you feel shame or guilt. It was written because you really aren't alone in everything your going through, even when you run away.

As long as you are here, there is time to start fresh with the dawning of a new day. There is still time to change your perspective, to learn, to grow, and to become the person you are fully capable of being and you are crying out internally to be. Think about it.

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