THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING AN EMPATH AND EMPATHETIC
I have been told a lot lately that I needed to be better about making introductions. So, instead of telling you how much I love margaritas and tacos, I wanted to let you into a different part of myself. I am a full blown empath. This doesn’t mean that I am only capable of relating to others or understanding feelings. On a scale of 1-10, I am at the tip top. Let me tell you, its dark up here. Its consuming and its overwhelming. People associate empathy with a beautiful trait to have. It is, but I pay a very large price.
My first memory ( I would say I was about 6 ) takes place at the fair. I was with my family. I had won a piece of butterscotch candy, tried it, decided I didn’t like it and spit it out. At some point after that my dad asked me if I still had that piece of candy and if he could have it. Obviously it was long gone and sitting in a trash can somewhere and I broke. The guilt I felt for not being able to give him that piece of candy still consumes me to this day, over 20 years later. Its simple things like that stupid butterscotch candy that make me feel like I am drowning. I have tried to tell myself for over 20 years that it was JUST candy and that my dad was in no way mad at me. Something as small as a piece of butterscotch candy has shaped me so much.
I have always been passionate and caring, but it wasn’t until last year that I started to put two and two together. I had somebody ask me why I constantly made my life chaotic (at the time I was fostering 8 dogs, had three dogs of my own, two cats, three kids and a husband). I told her that the chaos in my life was nothing compared to the guilt I would feel if I chose not to help. Obviously, I am still beating myself up over a piece of candy from 23 years ago. So, I choose chaos. Im not sure how my husband deals with it, but he does with so much grace. I know there is a healthy middle ground, but I have absolutely no idea how to get there.
Lately, it has developed into a new monster.
I was in the bath one night and I dropped a glob of face wash into the bathtub. I sat there and watched it fall apart and sink to the bottom. My heart absolutely broke. I felt like it was drowning. I tried to scoop it up and it dissolved into my hands. So, I dipped my hands back into the water and squeezed another glob of face wash into the bathtub so the first glob wouldn’t be alone.
I KNOW THAT FACE WASH DOES NOT HAVE FEELINGS. I have tried to tell myself that over and over again. For some reason, though, the guilt always wins.
Another thing is dishes. It literally pains me to use dishes out of the dishwasher because I feel so sorry for the dishes in the cabinets that don’t get to come out.
Its not just dishes and face wash, its truly everything in my life. I love my life, I like to think of myself as a “Keeper” of some sort. I truly believe I was put on this earth to help, maybe just not help the face wash globs. I am trying to teach myself a healthy way of impacting and helping while not losing myself.
When I think of being an empath, I think of treading water in the ocean. I know how to tread water, but sometimes I get tired and I start to sink. It’s a slippery slope between drowning in chaos and drowning in guilt. I hear all of these beautiful stories about empaths and how in tune they are with life and I am over here spinning.
So, here I am. Most likely crazy, but very much so here. Saving the face wash globs.
I do also really love margaritas and tacos.