The Selfish Conflict

Empaths are often portrayed like cliches - all caring, giving and unselfish. Well, I'm an empath who struggles with the caring, the giving and am quite selfish. Every empathic encounter takes from you, which is generally fine because empaths seem to have swollen emotional reserves, but even the largest dam can run dry. You get caught up in the moment and then find that all those moments have taken your time and resources, and there's little left for you.

The consequences have meant that I've become a little narcissistic, which is almost anathema to the stereotype of an empath. It's like closing the windows so that the breeze of other people's feelings no longer filters in. Or finding a safe distance where you can still let your empathy out for some air, even if on a tight leash.

The nice guy good friend has needs too. But he (or she) is always on the giving end, until he or she can give no more. I still well up when I witness passion in others. But my own passions have always stepped aside for the passions of others. I'm trying to be selfish, and not succeeding too well. And closing those windows hurts people around me. Being narcissistic provokes such guilt, yet seems necessary. It's like my own mental health depends on something that makes me feel guilty. I guess there-in lies the conflict.
narrator narrator
51-55, M
11 Responses Jan 26, 2012

I have not yet learned how to stop myself from getting swallowed up by others. I just let myself go like I'm able to completely meld into another and give myself wholly... or the opposite!!! I stand off and stay away. I don't known if I'm an empath having just learned about it. I wish I could have skills to be somewhere in the middle of the two states I just described. That where friendship lies and balance.

I feel exactly the same way. I have certain people who drain me more that others, and it physically hurts to be around them and feel their pain. Sometimes I don't know who I am anymore, if it's me that's feeling something or if it's someone else.

Wow ....I am just learning that I am and have always been an empath...I have consciously known that I am a healer and I "pick up others energies" just recently I was seeing someone and he had knee problems. I truly took on his knee problems and have had to deal with it for 3 months. Now I am going through a relationship issue. It seems as it always has been that when I am close to a person ( I some time ago learned how to "turn off " with strangers or family members) I become totally into them -I know exactly what they need to be alright -its as if some invisible fibers from my being can totally analyze them and "knows" what they need. I unconsciously become so absorbed in this process that i dont stop to tend to my own needs-when I do realize that I may need something in the I m too emotional......People dont realize how discomforting and painful to embrace someone so fully so naturally and for it not too be returned. It as well a conflict of boundaries -Most people that I have attracted in my life personally were really people that needed some kind of healing from me...

You make life a lot easier for yourself when you realize that you are not the saviour of mankind in a world that really don't need saving...also the one guy said he tries to "live with people" and "not for people" with people realizing that you are just like them in many aspects so no thinking that you are more important than them or that you can even help them in some aspects where you are struggling with the same issues in life.

I am the most patient person on earth it seems. I try to heal with whatever tools and gifts that I possess. That is my calling. Like a changeling I can become your equal moving with you to calm the raging waters. I have answers for your questions unless I don't. I am open and honest. This will be an experience in remembering who you are.

Wow Mystik... I guess you are or did get the message...
I am so pleased...................... Lou

@ Narrator,<br />
<br />
I am not at any point trying to prove or disprove anything.. I am passing information that to me is in some way, applies to what we all seem to be.<br />
What you say of the abilities of some is true.. though I myself have been granted none of these attributes. But we are more than a mammal species, more than what is so apparent.<br />
<br />
We are a complex duality, body and spirit and each has a process that is to be fulfilled. Being empathic is but a part of us that allows us to better understand our inner self as well as that of those near us. The only voluntary aspect seems to be the one of understanding our own self which to me is most primary. <br />
<br />
Yet it is easy to project our spiritual self into our physical self as is the reverse. This is why understanding our own self is primary. This could seem then as a selfish act but is in reality being true to ones self.<br />
<br />
.................................................... Lou

@ narrator,<br />
<br />
Yes.. I am simply passing information that can be verified by another sourse. And aslo .. yes its true that it is personal as I mentioned..personal to us all. The mechanizum is in place and has been from the start of the mammillian era.. so it have ben a while, It has evolved in each mammal type to where, we as humans can "use" the information it brings.. you can also see it in many other mammal types..such as a pet dog.<br />
<br />
We however have a much greater variety of chioces, first being the amount of sesitivity we allow.. and that is what makes this what it has become in mankind. The pet dog is still relying in his instincts where we survive by the logical process... not at all the same.<br />
<br />
The Limbic System is not volantary.. we send, broadcast our inner states to those who will recieve but not always understand. Yet the process is one of, perhaps and first, to understand our own inner self.. The pet has no way to relate to this.. while a human can. This is the volantary portion of the system.. to first understand self.<br />
<br />
It would seem an abstaction to many.. but it is not. Yet, within each human is what I call ... the human condition ... something we must all come to grips with.. But few take the time and great energy to do this.. thus the saying ... To thyn own self be true ...<br />
<br />
So it becomes mystical thing and shrouded in hearsay.. as the human condition will create and then create the story line that is lived... so its then a choice...<br />
<br />
............................................................... Lou

Hi again Lou.. Just what is it you're trying to say? You've explained the limbic system (also known as "empathic resonance") in several posts. It's like you're on a mission to prove or disprove something? Is it that you think every person has this heightened level of empathy?

To me, it's like many of our natural abilities. For example, I know a guy who can pick up almost any musical instrument, and after 5 min be playing it as if he had been playing for years. There was an Italian man about a hundred years ago who had the incredible ability to pick up languages quickly. At his death, he could fluently speak something like 170 languages, and easily switch between any of them in conversation. People from all over Europe sought him out.

To me, empathy is similar to other natural skills, such as singing or dancing. Some people have it in spades, while others have almost no talent at all.

hi narrator. mm, i have a similar dilemma of sorts. Grew up in a fundamentalist christian home. Broke free of that many years ago, but the notion of always being there for others stuck. I have asked myself"am i here because i truly want to help, or am i here, because then i am a "good girl"?" For the past few years, due to complete exhaustion, mentally and spiritually, I have been trying to look after myself more, but at a cost. I used to feel everything that the other was going through, used to want to save every soul....then when I needed saving, they had flown away! Starting to get a balance on the whole thing now, at last>. Feel my early christian household has a lot to answer for, although, they knew no better. We gotta look after ourselves first, I will never wring myself out with "giving" anymore. But, at the same time, I still know I need to be there for others, as what is the point of it all? Many blessings to you.

I too was raised christian. I'm non denominational now and don't hold to any specific religeon. Religeous people are some of the most close minded individuals and often our gifts are viewed in a dim light. And yes, they encourage you to give and give and take nothing back. Well, you can't help others if you can't help yourself and often, in our case, we can cause damage by giving of ourselves when we are suffering. Hang in there girl. Learn all you can and don't be afraid to close yourself off when you need to.

so true. thanks. I was very damaged for a few years, by my right wing religious childhood, but gave it away many years ago, but we do have scars! best of luck to you too!~

Thanx, the healing began a few years ago for me. I will always carry the scars but its nice to finally be free. :)

I've seen it so often. People burn out, marriages burn out, all because of this overriding expectation of care. We need to look after ourselves, but under religion, the expectations become unrealistic.

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Being empathic can ssem to be personal and of some mystery.. but being empathic is none of these..<br />
All huamns are born empathic.. indeed all mammals.<br />
<br />
Look up ... The Limbic System ... and read how and why this is the way we all are. <br />
<br />
............................................... Lou

Hi Lou, I read your mention of this in someone else's story. And while intrinsically and even scientifically what you're referring to may be the process, it's how it plays out that matters. I'm not sure what you're trying to "correct" by posting these in this and the other thread. At the end of the day, this is about feelings, EQ and resilience. Empathic transactions are very personal, and for those who are sensitive to them, just another aspect of life. Not so much a mystery as a mechanism that must be "handled".

Hey narrator,<br />
<br />
Yeah, I understand that too. I gave all to my ex. Everything I had and she gave nothing back. It was the first time I realized there are people so closed off, so walled that I could feel nothing from them and I was lost. I had no bearing and only then realized how much I relied on my gift without ever knowing it. The good guy finishes last. Life has taught some hard lessons and I have had to harden my heart. I had nothing left to give and I could take nothing back. In time the well in me filled again but perhaps this also taught me how to be gaurded. I am no longer as subject to the emotional strif of this world as I once was. Oh, I still feel it and keenly at times but I don't take it into my being as I once did. I keep it outside myself. I learned to cope and function almost normally in this world. And yes, I have become a little more narcissistic, a little more self absorbed because of it. I no longer live for others but I strive to live with others. Not to say I'm an ***, far from it but I think of myself a little more often now.

There was a point in my life that I literally felt suffocated. I couldn't breathe in the presence of certain people. I shut down, and tuned out for a good while. I had to...I felt too much for far too long, and I had little to nothing as far as self preservation was concerned. Eventually, I learned the give and the take of this bizarre world. I found peace in the fact that I am just

It's a good place to get to if you can get there. Some days I am at peace with who I am, yet other days it's a real struggle - which is a better position than a dozen years ago, when most days were a struggle and I felt like I was faking it every day, just to survive. So.... I guess it will continue to become easier.

My biggest triumph...regarding this...was admitting defeat. How could I possibly be expected to be everything to everyone all of the time? That's how I felt for a long time...until I tuned out. It became easier for me when I decided that I can't argue with myself or others when dealing with feelings. Some feelings cannot be mistake was thinking they were.

Interesting insight, something to chew over

Thank you :)

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