After years and years of thinking something is wrong with me, I finally learned that I am (or could be) an empath.
I've always been a highly sensitive person, even as a child. When I was very young, I used to cry every time I heard "Endless Love" by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. I had no idea what an endless love was, but the outro always made me very emotional.
Fast forward many years later (as an adult), I recall a time when I my mother, brother and I were chatting. My brother has never been one to express his thoughts or feelings openly, but I could tell something was bothering him that day. I felt really sad for him and didn't understand why. He was sitting there having a normal conversation. Later that day, my mother told me that my brother informed her that his ex-wife might be moving across the country with their daughter, whom he absolutely adores. That explained everything.
Since my adulthood, I started really noticing how I seemed to attract emotionally- and mentally-unstable people. Most were strangers or people in passing, some were co-workers or even family members. Others were old boyfriends, who appeared to "have it all together" in the beginning of the relationship, only for them to reveal their true selves months later. My most recent relationship ended a year and a half ago, after almost 6 years together. We connected deeply in an instant; therefore, the relationship advanced quickly. Weeks later, reality set in and he revealed that he was bipolar. We spent almost every day together, so I absorbed every emotion he was feeling. His manic moods were very intense and he became emotionally and verbally abusive. (I'll spare the details of what I've endured. Some of you probably already have an idea.) The night I ended the relationship, he had gotten angry about situation that I thought was really trivial. We discussed the issue and I thought everything had been squashed, but I could tell he was still very agitated. In the past, he hardly ever let trivial matters go and would be upset for days, re-opening arguments that had already been considered "settled" by both of us. This particular night, I'd planned to spend the night at his place. Since I knew that he would be tossing and turning all night from being agitated – another emotion that I would absorb, preventing me from getting any sleep – I decided to just go to my own home for the night so that I wouldn't have to deal with all that and to get good rest. (At that point, we'd already been arguing about it for nearly 3 hours. Actually, HE was the one arguing for all that time.) Anyway, he completely lost his temper to the point where he almost assaulted me. It was then that I decided to end the relationship.
After that, I felt this HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders! I realized that whenever our relationship was happy or in a good place, it was because HE was feeling happy. Times when he was uptight or agitated about something, I tried my best to bring some positivity or happiness into the situation, but his emotions usually overpowered mine. I just didn't understand how or why I seemed to soak up any overwhelming emotion he was feeling. I couldn't make it stop! Is this some sort of condition? What is it called? Is something wrong with me? One day, I googled something like "feeling others emotions" and for the first time, learned about Empaths.
I took a few quizzes which stated that I am a highly sensitive person and an Empath to a degree. I love animals, but I don't feel I have a deep connection with them or nature. However, I've always attracted broken or troubled spirits and had a hunch on how someone was feeling, whether sad or ecstatic. Sorry for the long post, but I'm just excited that I can talk to others like me and can get advice on how to handle being an Empath. Naturally, I do like to help people and have been told I'm a great friend and listener.
I guess my first question is: How can I protect myself from absorbing other people's emotions, particularly angry, negative or depressing emotions?
Thanks for reading/listening!
updated by @sensi-sante: 07/30/17 09:36:35AM