Empaths and the Struggles with Relationships

    Hello, everyone! I am returning to the roots of one of my first ever blog posts: the discussion of empaths. I’ll briefly talk about what an empath is before digging into the topic of this blog. An empath is someone who feels emotions on a much deeper level than the average person, to the point where he/she is able to absorb the emotions of those around him/her. Empaths are also more intuitive, emotional, and intense. Such traits create difficulties for empaths in cultivating meaningful relationships for a few reasons:

  1. Empaths crave deep relationships and despise shallow interactions.
  2. Empaths are more likely to become drained from the emotions or presence of others, especially if those emotions or people are negative.
  3. Empaths need more alone time to recharge than the average person.
  4. Empaths are more likely to be people pleasers.
  5. Empaths struggle to implement boundaries for themselves and others.

    As someone who is an empath, I am able to relate to the struggles in developing and experiencing healthy relationships due to these issues. I will touch on these points from sources and from my own personal experiences.

    First off, empaths are not looking for shallow, temporary relationships from people; they want deep, meaningful, and long-term relationships. According to Lachlan Brown from Idea Pod, empaths are very honest, open, passionate, and self-aware. They like to ask the hard questions, and don’t often tolerate fakeness or superficiality. Empaths repeatedly feel let down in their relationships with their peers or romantic interests due to the lack of deepness, accountability, and honesty others are willing to give them.

   Likewise, I have had my share of difficulties in cultivating many deep relationships. I experienced many friendships in which they were shallow because the other party was unable to not only be honest with me, but also with themselves; thus, I was often disappointed and hurt to the point I felt that I was either crazy or misunderstood. Partly why I also had issues in dating was because the romantic interests weren’t interested in being emotional due to their own insecurities or their own apathy. And for me, I need to develop deep interactions in order to have true, genuine connection with those who are in my life.

   Secondly, empaths are like plants: they absorb the emotions of those around them-be they positive or negative feelings. As surmised by Krystal and Company from Life by Krystal Elle, empaths are able to consciously or unconsciously feel and carry the emotions of others to the point they begin to experience those feelings as their own. Diane Katherine from Awakening People notes that empaths will often feel angry, exhausted, apathetic, or even nauseous from absorbing the negative emotions of others. Thus, empaths must have healthy, replenishing relationships in their lives, as well as clear and concise emotional and spiritual boundaries.

  The concept of empaths absorbing others’ emotions will lead into the next point: that empaths need much alone time to recharge. Judith Orloff, M.D., the author of “The Empath’s Survival Guide,” emphasizes the importance of an empath focusing their self-care on many moments of solitude due to how emotionally drained an empath is able to become from noise, crowds, and even one-on-one interactions. Unfortunately, not everyone who is friends with or in a relationship with an empath will understand the need for this space. They may feel unwanted or uncared for; ironically, empaths take much alone time in order to be emotionally available for themselves and others.

   Points two and three strike heavily for me. Since I was a child, I often found myself being weighed down by others’ emotions more so than others. Emotions such as anger, bitterness, sadness, and loneliness became my constant companions out of my own personal issues and due to being around negative family members,friends, and relationships constantly. I went through a period of my teenage years in which I barely wanted to be in social situations due to how much they drained me.

  In the past seven years, I’ve learned the importance of self-care. I began to write poetry and to use art as ways to center myself and to cope with any barrage of emotions I might face. Frequent alone time had its periods of sadness, as I did crave company. However, alone time gave me perspective on who I was, who I wanted to be in my relationships, and who I even wanted in my life. I began to listen more to my gut, and have cut off numerous toxic interactions in my life-especially the ones that paid no mind to my emotions and used me to the point I was running on empty fuel. I’m fortunate to now be around people who understand my need for space to be recharged.

  Now, for the fourth point: empaths are more likely to be people pleasers. People pleasers, as defined by Sherry Pagoto, Ph. D, are those who constantly put others above themselves. They barely say no to requests, no matter how busy their schedule is. The desire to intensely please or care for others, Dr. Pagoto notes, is from fears of rejection or failures. Likewise, empaths, with their deep emotions, become overly consumed in taking care of or pleasing others, and end up losing some or all of themselves. Patti Capparelli agrees with these points, and adds that empaths are severely self-sacrificial to the point their healthy relationships and they suffer from the lack of self-care empaths give themselves.

     People pleasing has been a huge component of my past and present. I became a people pleaser to my parents, my friends, and to my boyfriends in order to achieve acceptance and love. Being a people pleaser is awful, to say the least. It caused much unhappiness, confusion, and frustration in my life and in my relationships. This year, I officially decided to discipline myself to stop being a people pleaser. I want to be able to give my loved ones the affection and accountability they want. However, I will no longer lose myself in order to gain acceptance and love.

   Lastly, empaths face difficulties in laying down boundaries in their relationships for their own sake and for others. As stated in the other points, empaths may completely ignore their own needs in order to prioritize their loved ones’ feelings and needs, which is able to create devastating consequences. However, while empaths ignoring their own needs is unhealthy for them, it is also unhealthy for those around them. According to Robyn Reisch from I Heart Intelligence, empaths may act parental in their interactions with others due to how deeply they feel and how much they want to help. Friends or significant others may endure an emotional and mental suffocation by empaths and feel as if their personal space is being encroached. Empaths, as honest as they are, may feel the need to solve problems on their own internally sometimes due to their emotions. Thus, they’ll face complications with others who were either unaware of problems to begin with, they didn’t have the opportunity to discuss their viewpoint, and they didn’t have the chance to see the empath’s perspective.

   Point five is something I’m working on in my life. In the past few years, I’ve come to see how my desire to help others and to fix situations actually ended up encroaching on people’s boundaries and left them feeling frustrated, hurt, or upset with me; thus, problems that were easily solvable were made worse. I’ve also seen how-in my demeanor and perspectives on things-I had tendencies of parenting my friends and boyfriends out of misconstrued want to care for them and to protect them. I’ve learned about the importance of giving others space, being clear in communication, listening to and understanding people’s perspectives, and accepting that I don’t have to parent those around me.

   I hope this blog post gave more of a perspective and understanding of empaths for those who didn’t know much or anything about them. And for those who are empaths like myself, I hope this was able to bring you encouragement and accountability in how you view yourself and how your relationships are. Thank you, everyone, for reading!

 

References:

Advertisements

Some Relationships Are Meant to End-And That’s Okay

    Hey, all! I wanted to share something I’ve been learning in the past few years. It also has been something I’ve especially been understanding more in the past six months. I’ve come to realize that some people are meant to leave your life-and that’s totally okay.

    We all want to feel loved, accepted, and cared for by the ones we love. Most of us crave to experience an emotional connection with other human beings. Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t have fulfilling relationships with others; instead, we endure painful, humiliating, and draining interactions with those we love the most. I understand these relationships all too well in my own personal experiences.

   Due to my past, I struggle with feelings of abandonment, loneliness, and rejection. These feelings have had periods of escalation in certain friendships and in my romantic relationships, which led to some negative consequences from my end. Out of my fears and desires to be loved, I held on to some…well, to put it bluntly, garbage people. I allowed myself to be walked all over, belittled, ridiculed, manipulated, and sometimes abused by people who I thought had my back-people who I believed loved me, but treated others and me like objects because of their own issues. On the other hand, I experienced some negative friendships with people who weren’t necessarily bad…but, who didn’t add much positivity to my life, and vice versa.

  I want to start by saying that none of you deserve negative relationships. You deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and compassion from those around you. No one is justified in making you feel like you don’t matter-because you do. You, however, are 100% justified in cutting any relationship that hurt you.

  As a side note, no one is perfect. You will be disappointed at times by those who genuinely do love you. Likewise, you will hurt those you love dearly. But, at the end of the day, if you and the other party truly care about each other, and you want to grow collectively and individually, you will overcome the bump(s) in the relationship. You will grow in accountability, self-awareness, empathy, and support for each other, and even for yourselves.

  Likewise, just as you are justified in cutting off negative interactions, you are justified in trimming away relationships that don’t necessarily benefit or harm you. I’ve been learning that, for myself, I’ve had tendencies to hold onto friendships that truly don’t have much substance; yet, because I don’t want to hurt anyone, I wrestle with wanting to end the friendships. But, it’s okay to end friendships that don’t do anything positive for you.

   It’s okay to make room for more fulfilling interactions. If certain relationships are meant to be in your life, they’ll come back to you, and they will be stronger than ever. Some relationships are meant to end-and that’s okay.

Fall into Victory or Despair

Hey, everyone! It’s me again, coming to you with another blog. This follows up to my other recent post, in which I discussed finding myself in bouts of severe loneliness. I touched on never giving up on hope, no matter how bleak things may seem. I wanted to discuss that further in this blog.

   I believe that we are given two choices in the midst of our struggles. We are able to fall into despair when our troubles seem overwhelming. We could become despondent when relationships, jobs, health, or finances don’t go the way we planned. We could become hopeless as situations continue to worsen or continue to stay the same. Or, we are able to fall into victory and conquer our issues. We could become determined to overcome any obstacle that heads our way. We could become hopeful in the inevitable solution or closure that is at the end of the road.

  How we react to our circumstances measures how much or how little we’ll be able to grow; to become stronger or weaker in our relationships, our goals, and our own character growth. We may not have asked or allowed certain situations to occur. However, we have the choice to choose an attitude of victory or despair.

Finding Myself in Loneliness

    Hey, everyone. I apologize for not posting anything in awhile. May has been a tumultuous month for me, to say the least. Yet, in a way, I found some peace in the chaos: I’ve been learning more about myself, and finding more of who I am in loneliness.

   Losing relationships-romantically or platonically-sucks, to say the least. You feel as if a part of you has been ripped away from you, leaving behind less than half of a human being. You feel as if there’s no way you’ll ever be whole again. I’ve had my fair share of lost relationships, and this year has been no different. I had to let go of some relationships in my life, as well as lose one very dear to me (that also still infinitely crushes me when I think about it).

  I know in my spirit and in my mind that I’m better off without a lot of these relationships, for they were very toxic; these people overstepped boundaries and prodded into situations in my life of which they had no business to do so. I do feel at peace in cutting away these interactions from my life. I also know that I do have people who love me enough to support me and keep me accountable (which I need a lot of accountability, because I’m stubborn as can be).

  Yet…I still feel lonely; and, May has truly been one of the loneliest months of my life that I have experienced in quite awhile. Most of my friends who are there for me either live far away and are unable to consistently see me, or are trapped in their own situations to be completely there for others or for me. However, out of this loneliness, I truly have began to learn more about myself…and also find myself.

  I rediscovered my worth as a person; not only that, but I began to implement the advice I’d give others into my life. I’d always encourage my loved ones to cut off toxic people from their lives. I’d claim to do the same…but, I kept holding on to toxic people in my life. I’d constantly give them chances and allow them to poison the positive relationships in my life, as well as allow them to worsen my mental health needs and self-esteem. I found the strength to finally let go of relationships in order to detoxify my mind, heart, and spirit.

  With me cutting toxic people out of my life, I also started to cut toxic things out of my life. I made the decision to cut most to all of social media out of my life. I realized-sadly too late, it seems-just how much I allowed social media to dominate my thoughts and actions; not to mention, I gave it permission to influence my view of others and myself. Thus, I came to the conclusion that I needed to wipe it out of my life. And, honestly, it’s been great not having social media. I feel like I’m able to focus on my hobbies and passions more without being distracted. I’m seeing people and things outside of a social media lens. And, I came to the realization that I’d be okay with deleting all my accounts for good. However, I have decided to give one social media website another chance in the future (mostly as a way to network my writing), but it’ll be on a new account to have a healthy and positive fresh start, with barely any toxic people on it. I also will implement stricter amounts of time I do go on it.

   In regards to helping my mind, I’ve also been helping my body in trying to eat better and to exercise more. Lastly, I’ve been helping my spirit in getting more in touch with my faith. I’ve been discovering more of my identity in God, and in less than the opinions of others. There’s a song I’ve been listening to a lot recently called “Thy Will,” and it’s reminding me that, at the day of the day, God’s will for my life will be done, and it’ll be so much better than what I could ever anticipate or imagine.

  Loneliness is able to be an awful, yet beautiful, experience in opening your eyes up to the world around you-and to how you view yourself. If anyone is going through a period-or a long time-of loneliness, I want to encourage you that things will be okay. You will get through this. And you’re able to find yourself in loneliness.

Boundaries on Social Media

    Social media is able to be a platform of positivity or negativity, depending on what is posted. What we see on social media will either increase or decrease someone’s reputation-even how we see that person from now on in real life. Social media has also become a medium in which no boundaries are implemented; thus, some-if not many social media users-tend to express too much of their business online.

    Online consumers take to social media to air out any type of problem: financial, relational, or personal. We all see those statuses in our newsfeed: the ones that are complaining about how their significant other could be better; the ones that belittle or gossip about family members; the ones that bemoan a job or college choice; and the ones that tell us more information than we needed to know about someone. We know most to all of the arguments, interactions, stress, and places social media friends encounter each and every day.

   Now, before I continue, I would like to stress that I would never encourage someone sharing certain aspects of their lives on social media. Social media is able to be used for positive actions and words, without pushing personal boundaries. I believe that social media is able to be used for positive, encouraging mediums.

   I believe that people are justified in sharing their accomplishments and happy life moments, such as graduating, starting a family, or going on an amazing trip. Social media is able to be used to be a legitimate platform for social and moral issues that educate others and raise awareness and passion to become involved in just causes. Not to mention, if one wants to raise awareness and advocacy for an issue they’ve personally be affected by, displaying their testimony is brave, empathetic, sympathetic, and motivating. Social media is able to be used to promote art, music, writing, and other media that is able to be wholesome, moving, and encouraging. Social media has merit in being used for encouragement, prayers (or positive thoughts), and even accountability when someone is struggling and is asking for support. Social media in itself does not cause poor boundary issues; rather, we have made it such.

   Rather than use social media for positive movements, it is used by many as a diary of sorts: a way to push all their issues onto others with the press of a button. It is used to bully those with whom some may have conflict; it is used to display inappropriate content; it is used to demean beliefs, morals, and ideologies; and it is even used for us to belittle ourselves. The biggest problem behind the lack of boundaries on social media is the perceived lack of consequences that come with posting certain content.

   I feel that I see the lack of consequences more in my generation (though, I have seen PLENTY of people 35+ put too much of their business on social media, as well). I’m not writing this just for the people I see post their whole lives on social media. I’m writing this for everyone-including myself. We need to be careful with what we post on social media.

  The content we have on our page-everything from how we view others to how we view ourselves-is looked at by our families, friends, religious/spiritual/moral leaders, and past/present/future employers. What one could have thought as a fun night out with friends may end up becoming an embarrassing piece of one’s history for all to see. What one could see as a harmless status about ambiguously complaining about someone could make you look like the instigator instead of the one actually causing strife.

   Truthfully, not everyone has to know every piece of information about your life. Not everyone needs to know that your friendship or relationship ended recently. Not everyone needs to know about the family drama that had occurred years ago or over the weekend. Not everyone needs to know how you feel about a certain person or situation. Not everyone needs to know how you feel about your job or school. Not everyone needs to know about every event that transpired in your life. Reclaim your boundaries. You’re not less of a person for refusing to post everything that occurs in your life online.

   We ourselves have the power to post the things we display on our social media accounts. Let’s use social media for positivity. Let’s use it as a way to support and to love on others. Let’s use it as a way to be advocates. How we use social media depends on us; therefore, we should choose how to use it wisely in order to not receive negative consequences.

The Crutch of Social Anxiety

    Social anxiety is the pinnacle of fear in interacting with others. You start to overthink about how you act or speak, especially when you’re around certain people or are attending certain social gatherings. Sometimes, you feel so much shame, anxiety, and humiliation that you prevent yourself from attending such meetups and events.

    Social anxiety is able to affect you physically. It makes you sweat profusely. You feel your heart racing out of anticipation and nervousness-mostly nervousness. Social anxiety makes you tremble and shake from head-to-toe. You feel sick to your stomach in social interactions and gatherings.

    One is as much affected emotionally by social anxiety as he/she is affected much physically It’s the feeling of extreme nervousness when saying something as simple as a hello to others. Social anxiety is wanting to reach out, but being terrified to do so; and when you do reach out, you’re stressing over the person’s potential response or lack of response. It’s desiring to make connections, but being afraid of not being liked or not liking yourself enough to handle people or situations in everyday life.

   Having social anxiety honestly sucks. I constantly feel self-doubt in my social interactions. I desire to connect with others, but the fear of connecting with others sometimes stops me from doing so. I sometimes struggle to follow the simplest social cues because I’m so anxious about doing or saying something wrong. I attempt to be an active friend in my life and reach out to others. But, even that is able to feel like a chore out of my own anxiety and fears. Due to my own past hurts, I sometimes avoid interactions out of panic of being hurt again-being made to feel crazy in situations of which I have no control.

   For those of you without social anxiety: reassure the daylight out of those in your life who have it. Social anxiety is able to be so debilitating and exhausting. Most to all people with social anxiety don’t want it, and honestly feel scared. Let them know you care, and help them overcome their negative thoughts about themselves.

   For those of you with social anxiety: I’m so proud of you in your attempts to overcome your problems and to socialize. I know such things can be scary and difficult. Don’t beat yourself up when you mess up. Just keep trying, and know you’re doing the best you humanely are able to do.

  Social anxiety is able to be conquered; it doesn’t have to be the pinnacle of fear in someone’s emotional connections.

The Fine Art of Stopping to be a People Pleaser

    Recently, I’ve had an epiphany about myself. I’ve always been a people pleaser. I have been for most of my-if not my whole-life. However, my epiphany was this: I didn’t have to be a people pleaser for another day; and, if people were truly meant to be in my life, then they wouldn’t require me to be one.

    From my own life, and seeing other people pleasers in action, I’ve come to realize that we don’t always attempt to make others happy to boost our credibility or career. Sometimes, we simply want to be loved and to be accepted by our loved ones. In fact, we crave such affection so badly that even the most opinionated and independent of us are willing to stifle our own opinions and dreams to please those around us.

   I’m pretty independent. I never needed anyone to control who I was and what I did; I simply went and worked to improve my life-academically, socially, and emotionally. However, growing up in an environment where I felt that I had to perform in order to receive love, I subconsciously fell into the people pleaser mindset, thus falling into plenty of toxic relationships. I still would give my opinions in my friendships and relationships; I never felt the urge to give up my identity to a certain extent. Yet…I still stifled my character, goals, and successes to make these people happy. I made myself go down to their level to make them happy. And honestly….it sucked.

    I hated who I was becoming, feeling like I was losing pieces of myself. I would get weirded out or concerned when people were genuinely kind to me and genuinely wanted to be in my life for the right reasons, because I was so used to being belittled or used by others in my life. But, I still tried to hold onto these relationships out of love and respect for the very people who couldn’t give me either-or at least, couldn’t give me either in a healthy manner. In trying to validate them, I was invalidating my own feelings, which is not okay. I always encourage everyone to validate the feelings of those around them; however, not at the cost of your own emotional well-being.

    My recent epiphany has stemmed from a few recent moments in my life: a friendship ending and running into some former loved ones. All these incidents have been crushing; yet, they helped me see things that I think were always there in front of me…I just needed a couple of situations to open my eyes.

    I used to constantly (and I mean, constantly) beat myself up over lost friendships and relationships. I’d think to myself, “If only I said this or that,” “I should have done that instead of this,” or “Maybe they left me because something’s wrong with me.” We all have room to grow in our interactions with others. There have been situations in my life that I truly could have handled 100% better than I did. Yet, I’ve realized that I really truly did all I could to rectify things and to better myself for people who simply outgrew not only me as a person, but their use of me. The same people didn’t want to put in as much effort of the relationship as I did for them. Realizing these things actually are helping to give me the closure and healing I desperately needed.

   So, here’s my encouragement to you all: Don’t lose yourself over people who didn’t want to put in the effort to keep you as a person. Don’t stoop to someone’s level because they’re intimidated by your character and goals, but don’t want to work on improving themselves. Don’t blame yourself for how others inappropriately treated you. Don’t be suspicious when some people are kind, because those people legitimately care about your well-being and happiness. Lastly, don’t feel that you’re obligated to please others who take advantage of your love and respect for them. We as humans are only able to do so much to work on ourselves and improve ourselves. We don’t have the responsibility-or requirement-to fix others who like being stuck in their ways.

  As I’ve received this epiphany, I’m going to take the steps to better myself and to give my soul a rest from being a people pleaser. I hope you will all give yourself that same healing, and just know that you are loved by the right people, even if you don’t feel like you deserve it; you do.