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Being an Empath when Tragedy Strikes

Over the years I have always chalked up my sensitivities to everything as just being overemotional.  Then I heard the word Empath.

What is an Empath you say?  An Empath is an individual who feels others energies and plays off them.  Life is unintentionally influenced by others emotions and moods.

I’m going to take a quote from a blog by Christel Broederlow, as she describes it perfectly.

“Being an empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others.  Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods.  Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions.  Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people.  You either are an empath or you aren’t.  It’s not a trait that is learned.  You are always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that you really feel, and in many cases take on the emotions of others.  Many empaths experience things like chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains daily.  These are all things that are more likely to be contributed to outside influences and not so much yourself at all.  Essentially you are walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others.”

(Source: http://themindunleashed.org/2013/10/30-traits-of-empath.html)

 

Reading through the sigs of an Empath, I just kept nodding my head at each point. 

Need for solitude, yep.  Creative, yep.  Constant fatigue, yep.  Taking on others symptoms, yep.  Always looking for the underdog, yep.  Digestive and lower back problems, yep.  Loves adventure, freedom and travel, yep.  All applied except for a few.

Sometimes, when misfortune strikes, all hell breaks loose inside my head.

A tragedy here in town happened last week.  I’m not going to get into the details, just that it didn’t perhaps affect me directly but it did affect my friends and my husband.

Being sensitive to people’s energy can be debilitating when there’s something devastating happening.  I can pick up intuitively on the feelings of someone else, including those that were affected by the tragedy (a personality trait of an Empath…not a paranormal kind of thing). I easily connect with people that are suffering and experience the heartbreak they are encountering passionately, even if the situation doesn’t affect me.

It’s a weird thing - feeling a strong sense of grief through someone else.  It’s frustrating and painful and a little guilty feeling as well.  Guilty because of not necessarily being directly involved in the situation, but still feeling immense grief.   I spent a few days bottling up my emotions because of this guilt.  It built up inside me and eventually threw up into an overwhelming sense of anxiety.  It’s impossible to understand how one minute I could be completely fine and the next BOOM, I’m feeling someone else’s grief.  Sometimes it’s difficult to understand which emotions I’m feeling as my own and which one’s I’m feeling as other peoples.

To some of you, this whole Empath thing might sound crazy.  But to others, you may be nodding your head.

As I learn more about Empaths, I’m slowly getting used to finding ways to separate myself from others emotions during difficult times.  Talk therapy for sure.  Spending time with positive energy (I’m lucky enough to have amazing friends with an energetic and upbeat aura) in order to “pick up” those vibes instead.  Setting limits.  Knowing my mind and recognizing when empathy has gone too far.

Being an empath, absolutely has its perks as well.  Creativity, intuition, daydreaming, adventurous, great listener…and so on. 

Never a dull moment in this world.

**I'd like to note that I am not in any way comparing feelings as an Empath to those of anyone grieving directly