Mirroring Vs. Empath

To post a reply, login or signup

LoconnorO
@loconnoro
last year
151 posts
Hey everyone I hope we all are well. This post is definitely aimed towards the fellow INFJs here but everyone is welcome to share thought or opinions too. Thanks to another user on this site I've been able to self explore after finding out I was also an INFJ, but after doing a lot o research I've realized I barely know myself because I mirror what everyone wants to see, which can definitely feel like empathy, especially because it can help people be happier.To understand the difference, people who do the INFJ Mirroring often find themselves feeling almost fraudulent or different with different people they interact with. They see the wants and needs through intuition and are able to mold themselves to help. This is different from feeling the emotions of someone else, don't let this hit you in a negative way though, as it mad me mad when I found out and realized it was actually true.Now this isn't to say that INFJs can't be Empaths as well, I know I'm also an Empath, and I'm sure people who are INFJs that have mistaken Empathy for Mirroring, but we do have every thing in place for being an Empath, it takes us understanding who we are and standing firmly in who we are to realize when we are mirroring and when we are feeling someone else's emotions.The only way I know how to describe this is I found a rare person who genuinely wanted to know me and get to know me. At the time I had no idea how to act and I had this feeling of anxiety constantly because I didn't know how to act around him, but that's because I didn't know who I was to be able to be genuine and completely myself around him. Months after not understand this experience I finally realized this, but in the times that I would be around him I would be able to feel all the emotions of him and the people around me and now I realize that there is a difference, and I have a lot of work yet to truly be able to understand when I Mirror and when I'm feeling someone's emotions. Anyways I just wanted to share this because it's made me realize that I have a lot of work to truely find myself, but I know feel like I'm headed in the right direction instead of pointlessly wandering. I hope this helped someone and please feel free to leave any comments or questions or concerns... See you guys around and I wish the best for everyone!
updated by @loconnoro: 03/11/17 07:30:28AM
LoconnorO
@loconnoro
last year
151 posts
Something I want to add: once you realize who you are and can tell the difference of what it feels like to mirror what someone wants to see and to feel the emotions of someone else, you'll be able to become a better empath and that's when the gift will truely be able to shine as you can help and see anyone you meet, especially because you can see what they see in you which is just another advantage to understand people.
Rene''
@rene
last year
1,194 posts
Ummm...I may have done this unconsciously to get out of uncomfortable situations but all and all, I don't do this because I don't have to. Unless using nice words to get my point across. I usually don't know what's coming out of my mouth until it's out. I actually feel someone else's emotions if they speak or not and what I feel about it usually comes out in random words. Nothing practiced. I'm pretty blunt, but nice. Sounds sorta like a chameleon or a survival instinct. I do adapt to different personality very easily but I thought it was due to my opened mind and trying not to be judgmental.Why would an Empath need to mirror? The look on our faces is usually a dead giveaway. Lol. I have met people who knew all the right words to say to make someone feel better. I didn't know they was using their intuition to do this. I thought it was "the use cars sale man" mentality. Always knows the right words to say.I got to do more thinking on this. Very interesting.
Lotusfly
@lotusfly
last year
410 posts

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~

LoconnorO
@loconnoro
last year
151 posts
So when I would talk about INFJ I mean the personality type... It's kind of how INFJs brains function, they cant help but mirror what they see the other person wants... Maybe you're one too but I just wanted to share my findings that I do mirror for people more often and when I'm mirroring what they want to see I feel fake and it upsets me and it's exhausting, but I also feel people's emotions, I'm just quicker to do this thing called "INFJ Mirroring" before feeling someone's energy and emotions... Idk I just wanted to share because it hit me hard when I realized this and I want to be able to become a really good empath because I want to help people and I feel like this was a huge piece of understanding myself so I can get there...
LoconnorO
@loconnoro
last year
151 posts
Thank you for your kind words and I guess that (having a dysfunctional family) would have that affect on people who are already sensitive to their environment... I never thought of that before thank you for your comment!
Rene''
@rene
last year
1,194 posts
No no no. I wasn't criticizing your post. I was criticizing myself. Sorry if it come off like. that. Your post are wonderful. I love post that challenges me and make me think. If you knew me in person you would know I'm my worst critic. Lol. Thank you for sharing
LoconnorO
@loconnoro
last year
151 posts
Oh sorry hahaha and I'm glad you like them it takes a lot for me to share i honestly hate it but at the same time I just want to see it help people, thank you for always taking the time to read my posts too!!
Cat Whisperer
@cat-whisperer
last year
728 posts
I'm an INFJ also. I am working hard on what Lotusfly has accurately described as people pleasing (mirroring). I have had a tendency to do this for wanting to be accepted (since for the bulk of my life I've been an outcast). I have come to the realization though in doing that I am not being my true self..which feels like almost a lie....and in the end still cannot make everyone happy or gain any true friends in the process. I am becoming more comfortable in just being myself right off the bat.
PeaceOnEarth
@peaceonearth
last year
32 posts
I definitely relate as an INFJ. I think that often since it's not socially acceptable to be an Empath, we will sometimes try to create a person that is more "deserving" of love through Mirroring.
Nikki3
@nikler
last year
116 posts
Very interesting, I did that test but don't remember what letters I am. There have been times when I reflect on a visit with someone and wonder if I had been doing this. I never thought of it as a 'thing' it just didn't feel like empath feeling. Reading the words you put on it brings it to life for me, I do this often and it's completely involuntary. I don't even realize it until after. Sometimes It makes events harder for me if people I know well but are very different attend the same function. I don't see it as people pleasing, that's different and calculated. I sometimes hear people tell me I've changed from when they first met me, I think it happens a lot until i am comfortable being myself around new people (which is actually rare when I think about it). This realization came about shortly after I wondered if I was an empath and started taking notes and analyzing my experiences with people. Thank you for sharing, this is really something to think about.
Dmharvey99@yahoo.com
@dmharvey99yahoocom
last year
8 posts
I mirrored a lot (also INFJ) very naturally and with no intention other than enhanced communication at the same frequency as whoever I'm talking to. No personally don't think that's bad. I used to lose myself. But somehow I know who I am more and I mirror when it's harmless now, in a casual way. I am myself as much as possible. I think since I'm about to hit 50 I got a 'take it or leave it attitude'. Life is short. Be who you are. Just for yourself and no one else. And if you want to mirror, go ahead! It's a natural skill INFJ have. Enjoy it and enjoy yourself. You are beautiful. You are unique.
Heather6
@heather6
last year
10 posts
I would like to know more about what/how lotusfly (very wise, light and quite wonderful) said about people pleasing. This has actually been destroying me emotionally, putting out my light and at times sending me into "hiding". I've just begun my journey and have many things to work on, but this truly is "hurting" me. I do now realize i can not please everyone, and that pleasing even one person at the expense of another is unacceptable. Any thing you have, or know of this please pass it along.Thank you, in love, light and hope
Lotusfly
@lotusfly
last year
410 posts

Hi Heather,

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~

Nikki3
@nikler
last year
116 posts
I looked it up. I'm an INFJ too. Thank you for sharing this, I knew I've been mirroring which I have recognized lately but not been able to put words to until now. Differentiating this from empathy and people pleasing I believe is important and I agree will make a better empath.
Nikki3
@nikler
last year
116 posts
Heather, this is a difficult one since there are so many aspects. However I am a huge people pleaser, like I can't be happy if I haven't made the universe happy. I give away everything for others and leave myself with nothing and never get anything in return. It's left me miserable and lonely. I've made rules for myself, questions really when I'm faced with a decision to give or please someone else. I never say yes right away, I always say let me thing about it so I can go away and ask myself more qualifying questions. Secondly I ask myself if the person who needs from me would do the same and the answer to this question is my answer to the person. if it's yes I still have to ask myself if I have it to give, do I have extra? Then if I do I ask if it will take away from someone I am responsible for, ie my son. you get the picture. Make some rules stick to them.
LoconnorO
@loconnoro
last year
151 posts

I think I agree with you that Mirroring isn't necessarily bad, It's just exhausting for me though... thank you for the uplifting message, it was really nice to read!

Tundra2
@tundra2
last year
57 posts

Just being me and not the people pleasing, has effected many relationships I have with people, have you noticed this? Most of the effects have not been good.

LoconnorO
@loconnoro
last year
151 posts

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....

LoconnorO
@loconnoro
last year
151 posts

Heeyy you're an Intuitive Feeler too! I think all the NF's are empaths or have to potential to be Empaths lol

Lotusfly
@lotusfly
last year
410 posts

That's me too, Rene. I'm a -T. I love that website's personality test :)

Zeca
@zeca
last year
116 posts

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
Sequoia Mendoza
@sequoia-mendoza
last year
6 posts

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.    

Sequoia Mendoza
@sequoia-mendoza
last year
6 posts

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.

Zeca
@zeca
last year
116 posts

@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.

Share This

From Our Sponsors

  • intuitive reading
  • empath book