I am new to this site, but not new to being an empath. I have been aware of it for about 15 years. I embrace my gift and am usually able to protect myself fairly well from negativity but lately I have been having an issue and I am not sure how to deal with it or why it is happening now. I am hoping some of you may have some suggestions that could help me out.
I know that we are often used as other peoples dumping ground for emotional baggage and I have been pretty good at protecting myself from the negativity that comes from it but in the last few months it has been happening more and more frequently and it is now a problem for me.
People I have known for many years to people I have just met seem to want to unburden themselves to me and it happens on a very regular basis now, where before it was only once in a while. Before it began happening so frequently, I could easily deal with it but I have not been able to do this so easily now. I dont know if I am just worn down from having to keep my defenses up or what but I cant seem to control it anymore and keep people from unloading on me. It is getting worse and it is having a very negative effect on me. It has gotten so bad that my SO (he is not empathic) has even noticed and asked me Why do people always do that to you? Its like you have a big sign on your back that says free therapy.
I am a social person and enjoy meeting new people and helping people and my job also requires me to interact with many people on a daily basis. I actually enjoy being able to meet people for the first time and just know things about them because it fascinates me. However, my recent negative experiences make me want to crawl in a hole and hide. I am now very wary of meeting new people because I am afraid of being dumped on and have been avoiding family and friends for the same reason. I dread going to any social gatherings and even the grocery store because of this. The really bad part is, I can just look at someone, whether I know them or not, and warning bells go off in my head if there is potential that they are going to emotionally dump on me. If this happens, I try to politely excuse myself and leave, but that isnt always possible.
I guess my questions are: does anyone have any tips on how to keep others from doing this aside from being rude and just telling them Im not their shrink? Also, I am wondering if anyone had ideas as to why this would start happening so frequently when it had not been a problem before? Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated!
updated by @lcb468: 04/10/17 08:49:09AM