Intuition vs. assumption
Thank you all for your input!
I came across this question: What is the difference between intuition an assumption? The best answer I could give is that I feel what I consider intuition from my heart and what I consider to be assumptions from my head. However, I don't feel entirely satisfied with that answer, and that is bothering me. What do you think; how would you define the difference between intuition and assumption?
I think my experience has changed with age. When I was small, I experienced other people's emotions much more strongly than my own. I know this because, as an adult with more nuanced emotions than a child, I can recognize that the feeling I remember feeling in a certain situation was a lot more complicated than what I would have felt as a child. I can look back at the memory and find that little piece of emotion that was mine.
As an adult, I eventually got better at what I suppose is shielding or at least knowing what emotions were mine, and I now feel more of an intuition with sympathy towards the fact that they are feeling sad with a hint of guilty and anger, for instance, without it feeling like my own emotion.
Hi eri-ameonna, I don't want to assume anything (like your age or exactly how you are experiencing this), but the way you are describing this reminds me of when I have had a particular kind of crush on someone that I think I shouldn't like. By "shouldn't" in this case, I mean age or something like that rather than personality, and it has happened with people that I do not feel physically attracted to; just kind souls that I want to connect to more. In contrast, when I interact with manipulative people, they don't generally feel kind and caring; rather, I get sucked in more by them feeling intriguing, or there is some part of me that can sense something negative under the caring.
If this is the case (and I am not saying it is), I want to say that the only thing that has helped me keep my head in those situations is focusing on what I am doing rather than the person telling me to do it, but, in my experience, it doesn't go away completely with anything but time.
Good luck with whatever it is you are dealing with.
I usually don't tell people. I grew up in a kind of conservative environment and even though one parent recognized something was a bit different about me, she talked about it as something I shouldn't mention. I think she was protecting me from the reaction I would get from my extended family. I've mentioned tiny pieces to people but usually only after they've noticed a pattern and I usually dribble a little information before slamming them with it. I am also around scientific minded people a lot (I work in a STEM field). I wouldn't say anything to a work friend although I get the feeling that they wonder why I am always so emotionally supportive, haha.
I also think my case is a little different because I always knew something was a little weird about me (I could guess what month people were born in based on their appearance, I would get physical symptoms of non-contagious sick people around me, I would feel more sad for others than for myself, I'd know when shuffling a deck of cards when it felt "right" and I'd always win those hands, I knew where pressure point were long before I had ever heard of the term, etc) so I never had a big coming to terms with what I was moment that I would need to share with others. I just had a "oh, good there is a name for this and other people feel it too" moment. In church, I was always told to listen to the voice of God, and I guess I always thought my intuition is what it meant; in retrospect, I don't think the people telling me to listen to the voice of God would agree.
To be honest, I don't think my not telling people is entirely fair to me, but in character. I am so concerned by how they may feel that I forget to worry about how I feel and that I need to sometimes be the emotionally supported rather than the emotional supporter.
Loconorro, specific to your first paragraph, I wanted to share with you a quote that I have loved for a long time. It is about faith of a religious nature, but I think it relates to intuition and faith in what is guiding your intuition, whether or not you happen to believe in a higher power. Reason and faith do not have to be opposing forces.
From the point of view of someone who was a student not all that long ago (at least it doesn't seem that long ago), who has done a little bureaucratic university work, and who knows professors and others who work in academia, it may be the environment. When I was in school, most people I knew were constantly stressed and trying to find happiness in unhealthy ways. While drinking, frequent casual sex, and some drug use are probably normal and possibly healthy to some degree, constantly trying to escape feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, etc combined with a lack of meaningful social connections (thanks age of social media) is normal, but certainly not emotionally healthy. For perspective, I had what is considered to be a difficult major. Out of the 20 or so people in my year with that major, at least 3/4 of them took illegal drugs to function. Probably 4 or 5 had any sort of meaningful romantic relationship during those 4 years, and most people's idea of fun was just going to a bar and getting blacked-out drunk (fine on occasion, but have some variety in your life and don't use it to deal with life). I've even had roommates threaten to kill themselves because they were so stressed out. The people in the "easier" majors didn't seem much happier. Most people told me that the were happy, but they just weren't; I could feel it.
Although I suppose it depends on exactly where you were working, my experience is that school's funding is being slashed and staff members are not exactly feeling appreciated, and sometimes not as if their job is safe. Unappreciated and scared people get grumpy (to put it mildly) and take it out on others. Plus, they give off a lot of negative feelings.
Between less grant funding, fewer tenured positions, and schools hiring part time adjunct faculty to teach classes to save money, faculty is feeling pretty grumpy in general as well.
So, yes, I'd say that the college environment may certainly be a more depressing place to work than many others, particularly for an empath.
As a empathic child (now adult) whose parents had a very bad relationship and eventually separated and got back together repeatedly and finally culminating in divorce (there was abuse (physical, emotional, and verbal) and some associated PTSD from the other parent), I can say that my parent's approach for my sibling and I was not good, and was about the exact opposite of what said. I think that encouraging me to feel all the feelings rather than telling me that my crying or any sign of anger was me "being bad" and I was "too sensitive" and "just trying to get attention," would have been helpful. I mean, I was in preschool not an angry teenager. I'm okay now, but in retrospect, I think it would have been really helpful for someone to let me know it was okay to feel. Also, in my experience as a fairly sensitive child, dealing with the effects of the abuse on the abused parent was, many times, a lot worse than being around the abuse to begin with. Please remind yourself of that when your 3 yr old cries about daddy leaving. In the end, he will benefit by having a mommy who is actually able to be there for him emotionally when he needs her.
I'm a bit late hopping onto this thread, but I find that feeling like you are part of a higher purpose is a good way to feel better about your work. I don't mean burying your head in the sand and pretending that the negative stuff isn't happening, but rather finding a unique niche for you to use your gifts to make whatever it is you do better, better for whomever you work for and better for the world.
Thanks visitor for the input. However, I don't think eye contact is the best way to judge people. There are cultures that tend to avoid eye contact especially in cases they are trying to be polite. Also, I tend to not like to look people in their eyes because it makes their emotional connection stronger for me and that can be overwhelming. I do try to look at the face though so as to not make people too uncomfortable. I definitely agree about the person paying attention and being polite though.
I don't think that is the case for her. When I interact empathically with people (e.g. someone is sad, but trying to hide it so I do something to cheer him/her up) she is very curious about the interaction and tries to ask questions about how I can figure this stuff out; she even acts a little jealous I think if she was ever empathic, she would have already known how I know that sort of thing.
When I first met this friend, I definitely had a pushing on a bubble feeling when she was trying to figure me out. Luckily, I think she has stopped trying to manipulate me (for the most part) and that may explain the void. I'm trying to phase her out now though so I think it'll be alright Thanks for your input Rene'!
I have a friend with whom I don't feel any emotional connection. If she is telling me a sad story, I will still feel sad, but I don't get any emotional "vibes" until that point. This is strange for me because I feel at least a little something from almost everyone I meet, and usually, this grows upon getting to know someone better. I know that, in the past, she has manipulated me and I've seen her manipulate other people, but you don't need to be a sociopath to manipulate people. This led me to wonder if someone being a dead spot in my empathic network could be a warning sign of sociopathic tendency (sociopathic radar? sociodar? socar with a soft c sound?).There is also a possibility that because I know her to be manipulative, I am somehow subconsciously shutting her out. What are your experiences? What do sociopaths feel like to you?
Based on personal experience (not a medical professional) I have some ideas:
1.) I always had trouble breathing during certain exercises and attributed it to being unfit, but I tried other exercised and found that I had no trouble breathing. It turned out that it was exercise-induced asthma, but no one picked up on it until I was an adult and could explain my symptoms a bit better.
2.) Acid-reflux doesn't always feel like burning, it often feels like a tightness in the chest. Maybe it is that. Things like raising the head of your bed, probiotics, and some over-the-counter medicines can help with that.
3.) Sometimes, when you eat the same thing every day, your body can form sensitivities to those foods. If that list of foods is actually all you are eating and you eat it every day, your body may be telling you to switch it up.
4.) Every body is different, but you do not sound like you are eating enough. I'd pass out if that is all I ate.
5.) Are you anxious? Tightness in the chest can be due to anxiety.
Hello, Sorry to have taken so long to reply. I hope that if you decided to indirectly ask her about it, it went well. If she can sense them, then it is very likely that she is sensing despite you trying to hide your worries.
I am still in regular contact with both of my parents. I did not feel that I had to choose between them (until the divorce and the inevitable "who would you like to live with" talk of course. I ended up as more of a peacemaker and saw my role to be the person that kept things from getting too out of hand. As an adult, I find it strange that I had that reaction; I didn't think I ought to keep my parents together or tear them apart or really do anything on that front; I just wanted to make sure no one hit anybody or broke things... Although I felt my mom's pain more than anyone else's, I tried to not let that affect my peacemaking.
On the nice side of things, I think I learned some important lessons pretty early on. Before kindergarten I'd learned the power of perspective in that people can do one thing; you can see them do that thing, and they can be completely convinced that they did something else. Also, I'd learned that in arguments in which participants have opposing views, both views can be right. Mostly, I learned that the truth can be buried somewhere under the different perspectives of people and I may never know what really happened unless I see it with my own eyes. I guess what I am trying to say is that I didn't feel that I had to choose because I knew that my mom was sad/hurt, etc and I knew that my dad was angry, but I also knew that they both loved us and I just wanted to help them both be less angry/upset/worried.
At least in my experience, yes, she very well might. I am fairly certain empathic abilities come from the maternal side of my family, and my first and strongest empathic connection was to my mother. My parents did not have a pleasant marriage (cheating, emotional abuse, etc) and I think that strong of a connection might have hurt me in the long run, but I can tell you that it is entirely possible for your daughter to feel your feelings, perhaps more strongly than she feels her own. Perhaps, you could try indirectly asking her about it.
I grew up around toxic people so I didn't have an "aha" moment in which I realized there are a lot of selfish people in the world. However, I do go through periods of liking having empathic abilities and then hating them, and sometimes, I even dream that I could be meaner and not take people's feelings into account and fight back a little more. Two things help me with the negative feelings: 1.) Boundaries. I have to be important too and if I keep letting people take advantage of me, I won't be okay enough to help the people who actually need it. 2.) I have to believe that I was put on this earth to make it a better place than if I hadn't been here. That belief doesn't require kindness from others; just from me so it is harder for it to be shattered by others' behavior. I like this quote:
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the best you've got anyway.
in the final analysis it is between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.
-Mother Teresa (modified fromKent Keith)
For the most part, I don't tell people about it unless they need to know. The first time that someone different was going on, I was really young. My mother noticed that I tended to get sick every time anyone in my family got sick even if it wasn't contagious (knots my back when she had them, a tendency to get a fever only when someone in my family had one that ended almost immediately after theirs ended, etc). She worked in a hospital and, although she didn't quite believe in this stuff, she acknowledge that some people may be more sensitive to that sort of thing than others since she had seen it in the loved ones of some of her patients as well (e.g. sympathy pains husbands get while their wife is giving birth). For the most part, this was acknowledged in a way that made it clear to me that this was not something I should talk about and was only mentioned in terms of possibility of careers choices ("You should be a doctor since you seem to be good at healing," with that last part said in an embarrassed whisper). As for the emotional aspect, I do not think she wants to know; I do not think anyone really wants to know that anyone wants to know that their child remember being a toddler and remembers feeling the pain and heartbreak that comes from one parent cheating on the other and violence in the house and all of that but in the nuanced way adults involved feel it, not in the more simple emotions of a small child or remembers the feeling of completely loosing control due to rage even when never having lost that kind of control herself. The rest of my family would just think I was crazy and probably recommend I go on anti-psychotics.
To get back to your original question, if I am around people often enough to start having physical symptoms when they are sick, I eventually have to talk to them about that particular thing (but not about the rest of it) because I have it enough under control that I can generally avoid the symptoms if they avoid certain things. For the most part, if they are good friends, they eventually think I am eccentric but they love me anyway, and, if not, they think I am insane and distance themselves. I haven't had any problems with someone threatening to tell others, which would actually be a problem in my career field, but I am careful of who I tell.
There hasn't been as big of a problem with claircognizance because a lot of people who believe in a higher power can accept wording like, "It just really feels like I need to do this thing" as the voice of God leading you in the direction He wants you to go in (I grew up around Christianity so I am most familiar with the protestant Christian wording of this phenomenon).
There are some people that I have told, but I usually only tell people from cultures who are more accepting of this sort of thing. They generally think I am lucky and are happy to learn about it.
However, I find that not telling people leaves a huge gulf and if the person becomes important enough that it is better to risk a bad reaction than to continue to have that gulf between you, then it is probably time to risk it
I like that idea Chris, And I am sorry to hear about your health challenges during your childhood.
Thank you for sharing you insight Jennifer!
Thanks so much for sharing your point of view Susan
Thanks for sharing Halime! I like that idea.
Thanks for sharing Karenew. My family would also think of my gifts in the same way and have seen me in a similar way. I am glad to have this outlet to talk to others so that I feel a little less crazy
Thanks for sharing Karen I am glad to hear that a supportive mother can make empathic gifts flow well!
Thanks for sharing PeaceOnEarth I think a lot of us get more hyper-aware when in stressful situations.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience Bill!
Thanks for sharing your experience Kim! Was your family receptive and open to the idea of you having gifts? I am asking because I hope that nurturing gifts can lead to strong empaths rather than just dealing with negative circumstances.
Wow. That sounds painful even if you may have been too young to remember. Thank you for sharing your experience
I am sorry to read about your experiences. I haven't had your experiences, but I find when I am feeling hyper-aware of my surroundings and I am getting overwhelmed, I can do something like a mindfulness meditation to bring my awareness back to me. Maybe that'd help your situation too. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I can definitely relate to that I was also the emotional caretaker of my family from a very young age and I can't quite shake the need to keep that up even with people I hardly know. Thanks for sharing your experience!
I like that thought Thanks for sharing Lindsey!
I agree Jennifer
Thanks for sharing! I will look into reading that book
Thanks for sharing Halime! I definitely agree with this article. I've definitely met HSP's that are not empaths; I am fairly certain I am related to some. Personally, I don't think I project much (although, of course, I do some). I actually get frustrated with empathic abilities because I can't know exactly what is causing the person to feel a certain way. Sometimes, I wonder what the point is until I get some context. Then, I feel that it is helpful. When someone finally tells you about the troubling events in their life but try to hide how much they are hurting from them, but you know how upset they've been because you have been picking up on that for the last month, I find that it is helpful to be an empath. Also, I have a tendency to know when people need to talk about something, but I have no idea what so I just start talking about something random and see what happens. Almost 100% of the time when I feel this way, someone ends up sharing their problems with me, but until they do, I have absolutely no clue what is going on or why I feel that I need to talk to them.
Also, that is interesting about your heritage. That reminds me of a TED talk about the perceptions of psychosis vs spiritual awakenings in different cultures. . It does not talk about empaths and I do not have the abilities mentioned, but it spoke to me as someone who tends to hide empathic abilities at the to lessen the risk of sounding insane, although I am a bit more open about it with people from certain other cultures, namely more collectivist ones.
Thanks for sharing Dice
This gives me hope Thanks for sharing!
I think that it makes people uncomfortable if they can somehow sense that you are picking up on something they do not think you should be able to pick up on. I think of this as being akin to finding out that someone likes to sneak in your house and watch you sleep: it just isn't something people should be doing, it is an invasion of your personal space, and it is creepy. Now, of course, we can't really help that we pick up on their emotional states, but if they can't quite comprehend being an empath, most Americans I've met feel very uncomfortable with the idea of someone reading their emotions even when they are trying to hide them.
Reason I think this: I grew up in a conservative Christian family in the southern US. Although I had a mother who sort of acknowledged I was a bit more sensitive to certain things, it was said in a "please don't bring this up outside of this conversation" tone of voice. For the most part, I live my life "in the closet" as far as empathic gifts are concerned so I've become very skilled at pretending I do not know a lot of things that I do know. For instance, if a coworker is obviously upset about something, I wait to ask if something is wrong until after they show obvious outward signs of it. Usually, people find my concern sweet when I do it that way. Occasionally, especially when I am tired, I just go ahead and ask if they are alright because I find it more exhausting to be constantly watching for outward signs than to just feel it. In those circumstances, I usually get an uncomfortable response. Even when I transition with friends from waiting to react and just reacting, there is a few interactions that make the friend uncomfortable because I am interacting in a way they do not comprehend until it they logically justify it with"oh wow she just knows me so well that she can read subtle signs that I do not know I am giving off."
In short, unless you are paying really close attention to your reactions and mannerisms, yes, people can probably sense that you are seeing through their mask and that probably makes them uncomfortable.
Hi Lily I definitely had people tell me similar things as your mother told you. I am not sure about the community in which you grew up, but I know that, looking back from an adult perspective, I couldn't really go around saying that I was an empath; people might either think that I was insane, that my parents were insane for teaching me that "nonsense", or that I was possessed or something. As much as I would like for that part of me to have been affirmed and accepted more, I think my family was trying to discourage me from partaking in non-sociably acceptable behavior and thinking. (I am in my mid-20s so this did not take place in the conservative 1950s or anything. Your situation definitely sucks, but maybe this will help you on your journey towards forgiveness. Maybe through your empathic journey, your illness can self-correct at least a bit.
Thank you for sharing Bigg Hoss I can definitely relate to a lot of this.
Oh my goodness, that sounds difficult. I am sorry that happened to you.
Thanks for your reply The Importance of being Jonny! I am sorry to read that happened to you.
Thank you for sharing TigerLily! I am sorry to hear (read) that you had a traumatic event and that you are having a harder time dealing with your gift now. I do not think very many of us our experts at managing this; I am certainly not an expert
Thank you for your reply Visitor!
Thank you for sharing GenX-Em! During your childhood, did you have any reason to me more aware of your surroundings than perhaps the average person (If that is too personal a question, I won't be the least bit offended if you do not answer)? My current theory on why some people end up being more strongly empathic (not just sympathetic) is that some people are probably born more connected to that part of themselves, and sometimes, when people are put in certain situations, suddenly they rely more on this sixth sense they have, and this develops their ability. This story seems to be prevalent among stories I have read on here. However, I hope that when people have families and/or communities that recognize empathic traits and lovingly nurture and support them, a similar effect is seen. Regardless of why we are the way we are, I am glad that you have found the word for what you are and a community of like-minded people As someone raised in a conservative Christian family, I can definitely relate to parts of your story.