I can identify!!
There is a quote I used to use quite often in fact:
"I am cursed with the ability to see both sides"
So many times it makes it impossible for me to have an opinion. I keep returning to the fact that there are two sides to every story. It is not so much that I know both sides, but rather what is true in my situation. It does not mean there is a right and a wrong answer, but a truth for what I need to do.
Typically I am going to try to help. As time goes on I learn that people need to learn lessons, and see when my help will not benefit a situation. I help those that help themselves.
I do not judge, but I do know what I can or cannot get involved in at the time.
I realize that I can be a drain on others if I allow myself to. I have tried to give back when help is given whenever I see a way. Under normal circumstances I do not see people or they do not reach out to me for help. But when things get really low I will get calls like you can't believe. I do feel fortunate that people who are in darkness would see me as a light in those times. I do not think about the why's so much anymore.
I try to help those that I KNOW have helped me or would help me, or sometimes a complete stranger. I do not have alot to give other than a listening ear and advice, and my time to do that lessens the last few months. In many cases I believe I have gone through such hard times so I can understand and help those around me find a way to keep going. I do filter what I say because sometimes I do not have a way to say what I need to. I am more.. don't tell me.. show me.
Hang in there! Sometimes truth will set you free
You wrote, "I intuitively place myself in another' shoes without second thought..." I relate to this more than I can express.
And I also relate to almost everything that you said
I must admit that I don't confront these situations as well as I wish I did. But I think combining validation of the other person's feelings with your own thoughts and opinions is the best way to go.
I definitelyrelate to this. It is my first reaction to everything; a wonderful trait if you are being a peacemaker between two arguing parties, but kind ofawful when you need to help yourself.
I, like, many people on here, have the rare Myers-Briggs personality type,INFJ. Not all empaths are INFJ and not all INFJ are empaths, but someone once gave me a warning about my personality type that is helpful in these situations. If you are in a business meeting with 11 other people and you are discussing ideas, your first response will be to listen to everyone's point of view and come up with some sort of compromise with your own. However, when you do that, your view only gets 1/12 of a 1 voice when everyone else's gets a full voice. I try to keep that in mind with my empathic side as well. Yes, my instinct is help everyone, but I have to remember that I am a person as well, and I need to be as much of a priority as anyone else, especially in my own life, because if I don't fight for my emotional well-being, who will?
The empath survival guide and other tips people have mentioned can help you just make it through walking down a crowded street; however, I still find it difficult to deal with friends and family members just because when I feel close to people I have an emotional connection those people. Sometimes, I am even quite aware that they are acting badly towards me, but I justify it and let it go on for far too long. Many people see this as a sign of weakness and will continue to take advantage.
In the end, I've found the thing that works the best for me is to take non-empathic stock of what is going on in this particular relationship. I do this much better when removed from an emotionally charged place, like while going for a walk in the woods. I center myself and think of how I feel about this person and their actions. Rather than think thoughts like, "Are they taking advantage of me?" which can lead to all sorts of justifications, I ask myself if I "Has this person done anything that has directly led to me being hurt?" "How do I feel about this person?" or "How do I feel when I am around this person?" If I come to the conclusion that a person is hurting me, regardless of the reason, I make up my mind to talk it through with them to try to work through the problem and I make mental note of all the reasons that I feel that way (so that I can hold onto them during the discussion when the other point of view seems to take precedence over my own); while confronting there person, I try to actively not put myself in their shoes and just champion my own point of view (I am usually only semi-successful in this attempt, but semi- as better than not at all). If the other person is not willing to work through the problem with me, then it doesn't seem reasonable that I should spend so much effort making their world better especially at the expense of my own emotional well-being.
Nearly all of the advice people give about arguments is geared towards people who struggle with empathy and putting themselves in other's shoes. You are on the other side of the spectrum so in order to survive in the world, you kind of have to do the opposite, haha. Seems like bad advice, but you have to do what you have to do to fight for yourself because no one else is going to do that, well no human that is. Even doing this sort of thing, I still am told that I am sweet and too nice. Even being what I consider to be mean, I apparently act in a way that most people consider to be overly kind; you are probably the same way. Find your balance and fight for yourself; you will probably still be a lovely person with the added bonus of being personally happier
Verbal... oh the struggle.
I have found that the ability to feel others (since as far back as I can remember) made it difficult for me to speak to people. Having said that I can be in a room full of people that would not talk to each other because they are so different, but I can speak to all of them and appreciate their differences.
We do have the ability to speak many languages without using different lingo. Sometimes this is hard so I simply show by my actions instead of words. Words can really make a mess sometimes.
Cultural differences influence our use of words and can contribute to the blinders that people wear. It can be hard to find another person to speak freely to.Having the ability to feel another person gives the opportunity to hear them. I find I have relied on this my whole life. And yes, it can annoy others that you can "get" what they say. You would think they would be happy about this, but when you are a "feeler" it can irritate everyone. Ohjoy
Small moves right? A common phrase for me is "show me, don't tell me". It has guided me all of my life(I tireof empty words..). It helpsfor someone to feel they areheard so they cangive that in return. I have been accused of not caring.. but this is simply not true.I find that when someone is ready to hear me.. they will. Even though it is often in the lowest times.
I also have to admit that this is the second time I have written this. The first suddenly disappeared. I made a remark on the firsttry about me babbling on. When I am "inspired" to say things and not sure why..I feel as though I am crazy.
Iwant to bring up that answers are often in the "background". The everyday moments that we do not normally pay attention to.If you take special notice to everything around you and watch the world as if you are watching a movie ~you may see what I mean. When youobserve this,you can point out what should be obvious and bring it to the forefront. It will not be comfortable per se, but this is sometimes imperative for the changes you seek.
Grounding has been the best thing I have learned so far.
May you find calm in rough seas and always have a lighthouse view.