So I've had someone I recently met, but have come to trust completely, tell me I'm an empath.
I had a rather difficult childhood fraught with many types of abuses. An alcoholic father always calling me too sensitive and emotional. A narcissistic mother depending on me/using me constantly. Early on, I developed my own worlds in which to escape, was a prolific reader and learned how to ignore "intense" people. I was a loner who people constantly wanted to be friends with but I remained that type of person who wishes only to have a very select few in my life. Being a bigger guy, it was easy to live a life of inclusion, but separation.
I developed a keen sense of people and machinery and knew I was meant to be in conflict. I was drawn to conflict but detested violence. Yet I found myself in many circumstances during a 20 year military career where I was surrounded by just that. Extreme violence. While I would avoid violence and confrontation, I was good at it when it was unavoidable. Then, I would suffer with crushing exhaustion for days, sometimes weeks or longer, afterwards. Some injuries during my time in war has removed certain things I thought were important to me but were, in reality, not something I was supposed to continue being focused on. My military career being concluded, I started seeking help for PTSD. That path has led me to this point.
Over the last two years, I've found myself tossing off a couple of addictions I was using to deal with all the trauma I've experienced in life. A slow awakening has been happening within me and being told I'm an empath last week has me understanding SO much about my life experiences. The things I thought could only be a product of fiction, well, some aren't.
Right now, I'm trying to meld what is with what has been. In many differing definitions of that one sentence.