Have you ever lent an ear to a friend or family member going thru a hard time only to find that once you were finished consoling that person you were left feeling anxious, drained, and negative?
This happened to me recently and I was in a state of emotional catastrophe for days afterwards. I wasn’t sure what was going on until I came across a post online about “emotional vampires” or “energy suckers” as they were called, and an even more interesting word, “empath”.
I thought I was doing something good. Creating great karma for myself. Lending my ear. Expressing concern, care and giving solid positive advice to the circumstance that was plaguing my friends mind. Why was I feeling like I had just been hit by a bus?!
Everything in this world has energy. People, plants, animals. Everything gives off energy. Everything absorbs energy. The energy that I am specifically referring to is emotional energy. Energy given off by individuals each and every day. The feelings that we feel when we are sad, or happy. This is energy – both positive and negative.
There are many people in this world that are completely oblivious to others energy. People that can have a completely negative conversation and walk away scott free from being roped in to the drama. There are others, called empaths, who pick up on various thoughts and feelings of others that feel the deep emotions and sensitivities – both good and bad. People who absorb the energy of others who are left with a hangover of emotional disharmony. A mental sponge, so to speak.
What is an empath?
Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you, world-class nurturers. The trademark of empaths is that they know where you’re coming from. Some can do this without taking on people’s feelings.
Are You an Intuitive Empath?
- Have you ever sat next to someone at a dinner who seems pleasant, but suddenly you’re nauseous, have a headache, or feel drained?
- Are you uncomfortable in crowds, even go out of your way to avoid them?
- Do you get easily over-stimulated by people or prefer being alone?
- When someone is in pain, do you start feeling it too ?
- Do I overeat around people I’m uncomfortable with?
If you’ve answered “yes” to one or more questions, it’s likely you have experienced intuitive empathy. Responding “yes” to every question indicates empathy is draining your energy.
Follow this link and take a short test to find out if you are an emotional empath: http://www.empathtest.com/index.php
Strategies for dealing with emotional vampires:
- Take an inventory of people in your life who give energy, and people who drain.Specifically identify the energy vampires, and begin to evaluate ones you’d like to limit contact with or eliminate. Plan at least one complete afternoon with people who give off positive energy and avoid drainers. Notice how this beneficially affects your physical and emotional well-being.
- Set Clear Boundaries. It’s crucial to limit the time you spend discussing a vampire’s gripes. When approaching her, remember: the difference between being a bitch and setting boundaries is the attitude. Instead of saying, “You’re selfish and self-obsessed, I can’t take you anymore,” which a part of you likely feels, take a breath and shift to your heart.
- Meditate. Sitting in meditation is a life-line to your center, to the earth. it will ground you when you’ve been struck by a vampire. By calming the mind, you can re-align with your essence. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Then gently extend your awareness downward to strata, bedrock, minerals, and soil. From the base of your spine begin to feel a continuity with the earth’s core. Picture having a long tail that roots in that center. Allow the earth’s energy to infuse your body and stabilize you. If you meditate for five minutes or an hour this is sacred time.
- Walk away. If you feel your energy being zapped don’t hesitate to politely excuse yourself from a killing conversation. Move at least twenty feet from the person, outside the range of his or her energy field. “I have to go to the bathroom” is a foolproof line. Most people are oblivious to how their energy impacts others. For years, reluctant to hurt anyone’s feelings, I needlessly endured these types of situations and suffered. How many of us are so loathe to appear rude that a raving maniac can be right in our face, and still we don’t budge for fear of offending? In a spot, physically removing yourself is a sure quick solution.
- Build an energy shield around you. When you’re with vampires you can’t get away from visualize a protective shield of while light surrounding every inch of you. This lets positive energy in, but keeps negative energy out-particularly efficient for vampires at family dinners or social events where you’re trapped.
And so here comes the big question is how? As an empath, how can you put yourself first and still feel like you are helping others in a way that feels good? Well, you need to ask yourself why you are helping others in the first place, and if it’s for the best. If you can stay clear and on task with your own goals and dreams, without feeling depleted and obligated by everyone else, then you have a good foundation. But the real truth is that it will always be a tricky balance for an empath.
When your joy comes from helping others, it’s got to be a conscious effort that is different with each person and situation. So for empaths, more than anyone else, it’s critical to eat good, healthy foods, exercise, get enough rest, spend time outdoors and draw a clear line with others emotionally. And most importantly, spend time alone. It’s not being rude or selfish, it’s critical to your own personal health and well-being.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely.” Emerson