How to Defend the Empath

“A modern term banded about nowadays is that of being an Empath. It’s really just a way of describing those who have a particularly overblown sensitivity to the mental or emotional state of another”

One of the main reasons for this sensitivity, I believe, comes as a result of the empath being very in touch with themselves. Those of us who have a good understanding of what it is to ‘know oneself’ do tend to display above average empathic abilities.

There is of course disadvantage, as much as there is advantage, to being an empath. The empath can find themselves easily affected by the behaviour of others. They can also tend to be highly suggestible, and effected by others moods, to such a degree, they’re often swept along by the moment.

There are times when the majority of us, and not just highly empathic people, become all too aware of the unpalatable and unpleasant aspects of human nature. Under such circumstances, we must all know how to protect ourselves, from its effects.

We must distract ourselves by focusing our minds on the more positive aspects of human nature. Becoming more involved with the world around us will also help. Move attention, away from the feelings center, and more toward the other senses.

“I clearly remember telling a trainee therapist one time, how, if she ever felt emotional – at an inappropriate moment – she’d find it useful to look upward”

This is done in order to take the mind out of our feelings or kinesthetic sense. You’ll often see this when people are unconsciously seeking to control tearfulness. Conscious awareness of this phenomenon (of moving eyes upward) awards us greater control.

When it comes to greater control, one last thing for us to look at today, is that of how easily empathic people can be emotionally manipulated. This is simply due to their high degree of awareness: the moods of others become theirs. When others are sad so are they, when others are happy, so are they. With this in mind, the clever, abusive manipulator, has the empath in the palm of their hand.

“An uncomfortable paradox for the empath is they’ve often experienced neglect, and other kinds of abuse, during childhood”

And to add insult to injury, as adults, they can also easily find themselves in the hands of abusers. Paradoxically, this is due to survival skills established during childhood, creating vulnerability (if not understood) in adulthood.

Be aware: if you are empathic there are times when your mind, is quite literally, not your own. Taking back control involves detaching yourself from certain senses. Move your mind onto other things. Allowing yourself to be distracted from the moods of others, may be necessary, to take back control of your mind. As odd as it sounds, you may need to start caring, slightly less.

Control

“There needs to be a clear distinction between certain types of control”

Let’s start gently and talk about control over our minds. Mastery over our thinking, habits, behaviour and general mindset (what we choose to believe) is a Beautiful thing. That’s right, a Beautiful thing, because we’re then deciding of our future lives. We’re more able to exert discipline over our minds when we lose control of everything else. A Paradox. How this is achieved is something I’ll come back to.

In direct opposition to this is the mastery over somebody else’s mind. Many of us grow up in an atmosphere, where negative, forceful influence over each other and our minds, is the norm. As such, we then go on to seek relationships that are based on the types of behaviour we’ve witnessed as ‘normal’ in the past. We may not even know that what we’re doing is destructive and abusive behaviour toward others. It was, and is, the norm.

“The ways in which people seek to accomplish this are vast, and way beyond the scope of this short, blog post”

It’s fair to say, most of us look to exert our will, over that of others, to varying degrees. Fact; an unfortunate part of life, but part of the human condition, all the same. The trick, is to become so aware of our behaviour, that we’re then the master of ourselves alone. Ultimately, this is the only control you’ll ever really need. It’s worth pondering on.

Another limiting form of control is seeking to alter and manipulate circumstances that are uncontrollable. An easy example would be to think of that time you were running late. You’re late so you try and make up time by rushing around, speeding in your car, running for that bus, train and so on. You still end up being late, and probably over stressed, to boot. Lose control and just be late.

More often than not, if you’re generally a punctual person, you’re being late for a reason – beyond human awareness – that with hindsight, can be seen in a more positive light: The train you should have caught crashed, or there was a pileup on the motorway, you know the kind of thing.

Now to how we lose the need for control over others and circumstances. We need to lose the fear. The fear, is that we won’t get what we want; that we won’t be happy and satisfied in some way. The fear, that through losing control of others, or circumstances, we will experience physical or emotional pain; that we will lose out in some way.

“Think back to the example just given, of the train crashing, or the pileup on the motorway. When we choose to lose the fear, we actually experience less pain. Given our example, you might even lengthen your life”

We know life is full of paradoxes. We may want to avoid learning new ways of thinking about things – because this challenges how safe we feel – about the truth of the world we’ve created around us. Yet once again, by dropping what we think is the truth, we open up our lives in extraordinary ways, through seeing the truth. Believe it or not, there is a universal truth, most of us aren’t acknowledging.

To close, allow me to give you further example of fear, by teaching it in a positive light (yes fear can be a positive motivator). Get thinking about how you’re going to make our workshop in September. There will be many others, however, we know how precious your life is, so how can you possibly afford to waste time through procrastination? It could be said, procrastination is the unconscious intention to control others. Surely the worst of all? Complete the form to apply for your place.