I’m An Empath

It’s a heavy burden to carry

Image for post

For those of you who don’t know what an empath is, I’ll give you my definition: You feel the pain of others.

Webster’s dictionary definition: one who experiences the emotions of others: a person who has empathy for others

And Dictionary.com says this: In general, empaths are people who deeply understand other people’s feelings.

Maybe It’s a Curse

It’s bad enough feeling your own pain, but when you feel the pain of others, it’s a double whammy. I find that the more closely related to the person, the more painful it is.

My elderly mother and aunt lived together. My mother loved poodles. They got a toy poodle and named it Jo Jo. They loved that little dog. One weekend Mom called me crying. The day before, it looked like Jo Jo was limping, so they took him to the vet. The vet gave him a shot of something and sent him home.

Back at home, Jo Jo started showing signs of labored breathing. Understand that my mom and aunt weren’t the brightest lights on the block and knew nothing about dogs. So, they did nothing. Mom woke up the next morning, and Jo Jo was dead. My Aunt Naomi spent all weekend crying and saying, “Wake up, Jo Jo. Wake up.”

To say the least, my weekend was destroyed.

Several months later, Aunt Naomi said to me, “You would think we’d had the sense to take Jo Jo back to the vet.” I wanted to say, “Yes, you would think so!” but I didn’t.

I felt their pain intensely. Writing about this brings back that pain, and I have to break from this article and come back to it later.

Empaths Carry The Weight of the World

I’ve been thinking about wars that are fought. Governments force young boys who haven’t even started their lives to go out and kill or get killed. I feel for those young men and women, the mother’s and father’s on the opposite side. Are we all really enemies? Those people are no different than us. I came of age during the Vietnam War. I wasn’t sure that I ever wanted to have children. Would I be providing my government another body for another war? I took the chance and had three children: Two boys and a girl. Luckily no wars were being fought when they came of age.

Grocery Shopping

I don’t like passing through the meat department in the grocery store anymore. I think of all those poor animals who suffered so humans can eat. Is a stockyard any different than a concentration camp-like Auschwitz? They fatten them up instead of starving them, but they’re all waiting to be sent to their deaths.

Yes, I understand that we are omnivores, and meat gives us important nutrients for survival. Other animals don’t think about the cruelty in chasing down their dinner and ripping it to shreds. Only humans, with their over-developed brains, contemplate such things. It’s survival of the fittest, and all of us want to survive.

Empaths are Psychic

I bet that subtitle conjured up images of John Edwards and James Von Prague relaying messages from your departed relatives. I’m talking about knowing who is calling when the phone rings or having a dreaded feeling before something awful happens. It’s understandable that since empaths, feelings are so intuned to others that we’d pick up on all kinds of vibes.

Empaths, Curse or Blessing

In my opinion, the opposite of an empath is a psychopath. Psychopaths are born, and I imagine empaths are also. In contrast, one experiences great pain out of others' pain, the other experiences great joy. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a psychopath.

Several years back, I saw a therapist while trying to work through whether or not I should leave my marriage. My now ex-husband did not want a divorce. He would cry and beg me not to leave him. I told my therapist I didn’t know if I could do it because I felt his pain. Her exact words: “What about your pain?”

Empaths feel the pain of others so intensely that they often put others' needs before their own. If I could change it, I would continue to empathize with others, but not their pain. That would be a blessing.

A free spirit, visual artist, writer, animal lover, introvert and independent woman.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store