Mirroring Vs. Empath
updated by @loconnoro: 03/11/17 07:30:28AM
I call it people pleasing: changing yourself to cater to those around you. It is a symptom of growing up in a dysfunctional family. I used to do it and I figured out one day I was a chameleon: able to change myself according to my environment. I'm finding my true self now. Granted, it is good to be flexible and change yourself slightly depending on the occasion, but mostly a person should stay true to themselves.
Good luck on your quest to seeking yourself <3
Love and blessings~
What's helped me grow as an Empath (it's been a year since my realization) is coming into my true self, which has allowed me to distinguish where I end and another person begins (in other words, which feelings are mine and which belong to others). Being an Empath, it's easy to sacrifice oneself to please others, because we can feel what they feel. But I have found that working on developing my sense of self (individuality), by discovering who I truly am and what works for me, has helped me to function better in society and to help others more.
Like the saying goes, we can't truly help another unless we help ourselves first, you should focus on yourself first and foremost, and then you're better equipped to help others, which is essentially the life purpose of Empaths (why we were given this gift).
It takes time though. I had to mentally strip away the layers of conditioning and control from 3+ decades, trauma, and past actions and habits I'd absorbed like a sponge, to get to the root of me - my soul - and then build up from there.
It also takes assertiveness skills: setting boundaries and saying no without guilt. It's all about becoming an individual and respecting others' individuality. We're most effective in this world if we become the best version of ourselves that we can be.
I hope that helps! I was a people pleaser/pushover for years, because I was an introvert and an empath. It's a very uncomfortable state, but once you find yourself and practice assertiveness, you will feel better
Kindness and blessings~
I've noticed this... I mirror people because I like getting to the person, beyond their boarders and mirroring someone is a way to get in and change people's lives (Hopefully for the better). I hate that I mirror people so much, but I love that it helps me connect with someone and work with them better... it's just sad that most people need someone extremely similar to them to talk to....
I highly recommend finding your MBTI type. I realized I was an empath, came here some years ago and then moved into MBTI research. INFJ's are likely to research the heck out of this. We have Fe, which is Extraverted Feeling and it pretty much equals HARMONIZING. The online tests are sometimes inaccurate so I do suggest taking many of different varieties, look on YouTube for examples of type, understand the functions, read, read, read. Learn your Enneagram too. Joshua French does some funny talks on Enneagram.
Mirroring in my opinion is energy related and a form of empathy. I understand you are seeing a difference, loconoro, but my mirroring is involuntary and natural, and I feel I have no walls, and energy transfers and I emote this other person. I feel that is different from my understanding what is needed/wanted and giving that vibe. That is Fe, harmonizing and Ni [Introverted Intuition]. Empathy can be separate from mirroring, it's own thing for sure.
There are times when I don't mirror, and just feel pain or discomfort but I don't think I'd be mirroring if an energy transfer was not involved. It feels different than empathy alone, yes. I know both and I usually have to be talking with or closely involved with people to mirror, even in posts I begin to mirror without thinking about it. Empathy without mirroring can come from anywhere and often feels more like a jolt of emotion as you are experiencing it too, than being a reflection does. Mirroring is more like a bizarre ride and often both people are kinda surprised and aware of you being different. With empathy alone, the other person won't necessarily know you know or have felt them.
Editing because as I was showering, an example came to me of mirroring that is not harmonizing. When someone is angry at me, or expressing anger even if it is not about me, I can become angry too, and I wasn't before, and it feels reflective.
At one time a friend of mine was going through a rough patch, and though I didn't mirror her directly, I would come home after being with her and blow up when I got home. It took me several of these happenings for me to identify where it was coming from because though she was showing exasperation and frustration, she was being friendly and not angry at any of us who were with her. So the energy transfer can be held off when your focusing on harmonizing as well.
Dislike can do the same. Throwing a feeling at me can be a bad idea. If I feel disliked or judged, I can feel it bouncing back towards the giver. I will often fight to overcome this, and try for harmony with the person as best I can. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. These last are infrequent, but difficult for me.
And I once picked up a drunk hitchhiker, and felt drunk. He was distracting, yes, but I seriously felt loopy and my driving was worse for it, whereas I'd been fine before he got in the car. I did intentionally make an effort at harmonizing, but the mirroring just seemed to seep into me.
updated by @zeca: 09/14/16 08:17:40PM
I am an INTJ and also an empath, it's fun to see how different an experience it is. As an INTJ I see my husband or other loved ones or strangers and deeply feel what they want me to do to react to them and I am so unable to bend myself to mirror what they want for me. For example my husband wants a huge, unnecessary truck and wants me to love it the way he does and I think it's a stupid waste of money and bad for the environment, especially since we don't need a truck for anything in our lifestyle. I can not mirror his joy or desire at all, I can refrain from speaking my opinion to dash his fun, but I could not mirror his joy to save my life.
So I am an empath who has the ability to really feel what other people feel, but I have a personality that I don't usually care at all how they feel. I just have limited time and resources and have the right to allocate it to my choice of people.
Empathy, mirroring and being an empath are all different things. Empathy is a great EQ skill that can be natural or learned (I liked the book Never Split the Difference), mirroring can be done with or without empathy - copying words and body language, and a real empath just is able to feel other people's feelings from birth inexplicably.
Essentially I have the ability to feel what people want from me 100% of the time, but I don't feel responsible to (or even able to) produce for them what they want from me emotionally. I have the empath skill to feel exactly what they feel, but I am not the type of person to feel the need to be there for them, that is something that I could choose to do sometimes, but not something that I am obligated to do or am naturally inclined to do.
@Sequoia, I sometimes really envy an INTJ's ability to go on their merry way despite other's dramas. I think INFJ's are in the process of sorting this out, learning to see what feels good and right and what is usury. And INTJ's are in process of opening themselves to chaos as well.
And @ John, yes, it becomes our own, or feels like it so much so that you have to get away from the situation sometimes to realize that it wasn't really you. It is kind of like having to ignore a belly growling fiercely for food. The need to please can feel primal. It feels like something that has to be fixed pronto!
But I think as we get older and exhausted, self preservation kicks in and starts refusing to acquiesce, which is a major challenge when we feel guilty already for not doing enough, without piling on more guilt. Still, you can't help much when you are a wreck and self help will eventually help everyone. Being honest about our needs and limits, even though it can feel dangerous, is where we need to be going.