What am I?
I pick up on sadness more strongly than any other emotion, and can easily be moved to the verge of tears from any slightly sad story if I allow myself to connect with it. I tend to pick up when someone isn't feeling well, even if I don't know them well. It's of course difficult to tell if that's true since if they're hiding their negative emotions on purpose they have no reason to confirm that aren't well. Whenever a friend told me online or in person that something good happened to them I'd feel relaxed listening to them, and when they told me of strife I felt like I was writhing, trying desperately to find some way to help them and turn the situation around. My parents would tell me I was too sensitive about anything I got upset over for longer than they personally thought was acceptable for the situation. Even my mother would, who was far more emotional than my father, who was an emotionally and physically abusive narcissist. When I was young, pre-teens and early teens, I could break down at the smallest things of someone being upset or something with sentimental value not even to me but someone I knew being broken or lost. 2 particular cases I remember was once when I was watching a cartoon a child dropped an ice cream cone on the ground, and I almost instantly burst out crying. The other was when I was reading one of the Goosebumps books, the main character's little sister would frame him for things that his parents would punish him for, while she got off scot free, and after reading only 2 or 3 pages of it I threw it down enraged and never went back to read it. While I want to help people who suffer negative emotions or mindsets, prolonged exposure to them feels like it drains me of my emotions themselves, eventually to the point where I stop caring and/or have to put distance between us so I can regenerate. Prior to being able to turn my emotions off I hated the news because of all the negative stories and misleading information that would just bring me down to a state of depression towards everything that could easily longer than a week from a single session of reading the news. I hate it when people lie to me because I find it incredibly difficult to imagine they ever would in the first place. Because I trust people so innately, when I find out someone lied to me it skips all the way to disgust with them as a person if they weren't lying for any particular reason, or if their lie could have hurt someone in some way. While I assume someone isn't lying, I tend to pick up when someone isn't being entirely truthful and often means I'll refrain from making decisions based on what they've said (makes it REALLY hard to buy a car). Perhaps because of my hatred towards liars, I have a disdain towards anything that can't be proven. I don't believe in spiritualism or religion. I have to see quantifiable proof to fully trust what someone says. Which is of course ironic when trying to figure out if I'm feeling emotions of my own creation or if I'm receiving others' emotions. I tend to pick up on the smaller nuances of which particular word someone used and analyze every meaning it could possibly have, which I'm not sure if that's a common practice or not.
I can quickly and accurately pick up on the general mood of a group assuming they're interacting with each other or the same subject of interaction, even if I don't share their emotional state. I get mentally drained by being around or interacting online with many people, while I can spend hours alone reading or playing a game by myself and never experience the same drained feeling. I've gotten better with crowds since learning to turn off my emotions, but I still avoid them if possible. It's almost as if there's this annoying "white noise" that's too weak to pick out specifically but just strong enough to make things feel off. When I was younger I dreaded having to go to stores of any kind. I can't remember the exact feeling that made me hate it, but I remember feeling generally extremely uncomfortable and wanting to be alone in the quiet and out of direct lights. I do suffer migraines, which obviously can be triggered by bright lights and loud sounds and make those exponentially more intense once started, but I felt that way about crowds long before I had my first migraine. To this day I have yet to be wrong about whether I 'like' or 'dislike' a person in general upon our initial face to face meeting. Perhaps there's a rose tinted glasses case in there based on initial bias, but every person I felt disdain for immediately ended up proving me correct to judge them in that way within the year.
Things that seem to be of little or no consequence to other people often move me and make me passionate about them, whether its a person, idea, or object. I'm highly creative but I'll get bored easily if something isn't challenging me in the slightest. I feel like I slowly go mad when I don't have something to work on or think about. I hate talking about myself in a positive light and generally question my own abilities and thoughts constantly. I also hate talking about my problems because I don't want to trouble anyone with them, or have them pity me or look at me differently than before. I have a hard time ordering my thoughts as they tend to drift quickly to connected subjects, making it easy to forget something (Probably why writing this in a logical order has taken nearly 3 hours). Sometimes my mood will swing and be negative or positive for no particular reason when my usual homoeostasis is fairly neutral, but that could just be the chronic depression I suffer occasionally coming along to make me lose interest in everything. I have a fundamental inability to comprehend what we call mindless violence. I cannot bring myself to understand why someone would ever want to hurt other people or animals without a meaningful reason.
The negative emotions will cause me physical distress from the classic knot in your stomach and tight chest to inability to focus or even move my body and speak smoothly. Many thoughts and emotions manifest mentally as an image from a fragment of a memory or a general "atmosphere" that can be a compilation of colors and sounds. I feel like these emotions I feel or simulate never fade and get stored inside me like an experience pooled into some kind of gated resevoir that I have to keep closed, else risk the black memories within drowning everything else inside me. Whenever I let myself feel too much it feels like the walls of the dam crack, and I'm overloaded with sadness that will reduce me to crying and heaving uncontrollably until I either slam it shut and turn everything off or I go raw and numb after hours and my emotions leave me, only to slowly recover over the course of days or weeks, always only to leave me feeling like some part of me died and I'm a different person from before, because whatever I lost can never be retrieved or even remembered. The latter has only happened a handful of times, and each time I've been far more effective at shutting my emotions off afterwards.
I tend to invest 100% of myself into relationships, even newer ones, in every way. As a result, when I have separated from partners in the past it's a wrenching experience that leaves me feeling like I'm dying. I always put my partner on a pedestal and spoil them in every way I can, truly believing they're worth all of it and more. Then when they don't want to be with me, the rejection of all the effort and dedication I put in to them feels like a total rejection of my worth in existence. It ends up feeling like I've cut myself into pieces that I gave to them, only for them to take them and walk away, leaving me stripped of parts and empty.
For most of my life I have felt relatively alone in the world, as other people seem to have difficulty understanding me and don't invest any time in me if I haven't for them by helping with their problems. I've had people tell me I'm as intense as the sun even though I'm generally very quiet and used to be cripplingly shy. I've had people who said they loved me turn around and say they want nothing to do with me without clear reason or in one case because they couldn't handle me. I'm not violent in the slightest and I'm extremely independent from being raised under the mindset of "don't ask for help until you can do it yourself." That person I helped through a great deal including suicidal thoughts, self harm, and drug use online, as they lived several states away, on and off over the course of 7-8 years. The only conclusion I could come to was they felt like they were a burden to me, or some form of guilt became too much to bare.
I often wonder if I have some form of dissociative identity disorder, AKA split personalities, because of my ability to turn off my emotions. My morals are generally dictated by what I feel, and when I stop feeling I end up not having the same general morals (I still respect laws, but ethics tend to fade in value). I also sometimes catch myself talking to myself internally, but I don't consciously think of the responses I give myself, while I do consciously think of the questions or prompts. I don't think I have any of the black outs in short term memory telling of split personalities when one takes over and the other "sleeps". Most of my memories are blank spaces in time defined by moments of high emotional events, and for the older memories I can't place them in a chronological order unless my body is part of the memory, which lets me at least guess my age at the time of the memory. My general memory drops off sometime between 1 and 2 weeks, and anything specific seems to only last 2 or 3 months. As far as I can tell, if they're split, they share information and memories, but have separate values, where one is selfish and the other is selfless.
I have never told anyone any of this before, and I never would out of fear that they would see me differently, especially in a negative light.
There is a book I have been reading that you may find helpful. And it's free. It's called the book of storms here is the site:
Also if you're open to it there are a number of grounding crystals you could wear or carry. Most of the time you know as soon as you pick up a Crystal but some are more subtle.
Only when pared w/sardonic
Meditating can be wonderful. There are many different styles. You can choose which works best for you. Guided, quiet sitting, walking in nature, Buddhist, focusing on the breath, mindfulness.
Not knowing about you're an empath or simply being an overloaded empath can cause many mental disorders. So therapy is a useful tool. My therapy focuses on cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapy.
Cognitive is about realizing control on the direction of your thought process. Focuses on the the positive because it is just as ever present as the negative. Since for survival we are programmed to spot the negative we will all was see it and it requires no focus. By bring focus to the positive we automatically see both. When we see both we allow ourselves to see with a wise mind.
Empath tend to feel what we focus on.
Dialectical therapy is about learning to live in the moment. As an empath I have found this helpful as this connects one to the body. Most empathic communication comes from the body. Having awareness of what is being taken in allows self care to come more easily.
Hope this was helpful,
It does sound like you are an empath. A sociopath is something completely different. I think the reason you mentioned that possibility is that you feel like you are losing your mind and seem to be picking up on and are feeling the energy of others you encounter. You’re basically an empath newbie. And that can be a strange and challenging time. But it can also be exciting as you realize who you are and start learning to get a handle on it.
made some good suggestions on how to calm your mind and better yourself. I would suggest spending a few hours going through blog posts on this website to learn more about the empath community. I think you’ll find we all have or are currently going through what you are at the discovery phase. And there is a lot for you to learn and get caught up on right on this website.
Below is a quick article as well as an empath quiz to help you get confirmation on your empathic abilities. I would suggest that you start there. And then feel free to ask away any questions by posting on this site.
updated by @womanwhowalks: 01/12/18 10:18:58PM
CrystalSage - I love your response and that you mentioned DBT. I have felt like a bag of emotional and mental illnesses and complexes and now I am beginning to see the empath connection in all that. I loved hearing someone mention DBT in terms of dealing with being an empath. I have had to use some of that to deal with overwhelming emotions, which of course, has always been pathologized in our culture.
That link you posted looks very interesting.
WanderingFrog - Have you ever taken the MBTI personality test based on Carl Jung's typology?
I found out I am an INFP and that has been very helpful in understanding how I operate in a cognitive level and why I tend to capitulate into hermit mode with a cup of tea in a homey environment when I get overwhelmed by a more extraverted intuitive function along with an introverted feeling function.
updated by @wileycat: 01/30/18 03:47:54AM
"Something that helps me is knowing that our contacts with certain people is limited....nothing is forever.....we help people they move on and so do we...sometimes it hurts...other times it's a relief to be dun....it's kind of like a job...there isn't a lot of consistency when it comes to making long term friends and i find a lot of people just too shallow...and confused...empaths ARE different...we see INTO people and we don't lie and most people don't want to know the truth...lol...so That's what they probably mean that your too intense..."
Wow. Thank you for this. I often feel like I have a strange way of helping people - sometimes it is simply to crack someone open via a chink in their personality armor. Even my therapist pointed out that I was really intense - but not in a bad way. I think she is an empath and can see a lot in me that is probably obvious to others.
Do you find we have an "odd" way of helping people at times? Like it just happens and sometimes that includes spontaneous forms of conflict due to truth rubbing up against facade?
I think I need to learn some things from this site and others about disconnecting energetically. I found out I had to get off of social media a lot more. I am already feeling a lot better. I was picking up on the desperation there and had all these peoples' stories and lives in my head - and all the stuff they were not saying.