As an empath and an INFJ, my relationships with other people have always been out of the ordinary. In my last two articles I talked about how I always attracted energy vampires in my life (Do You Always Attract Energy Vampires? This Is the Reason Why…), and how even my most well-intentioned friends still managed to drain me to the point that I felt like I couldn’t have close friendships with people (Are You an Empath Who Struggles with Relationships that Always Take Too Much? Here’s One Way to Break the Cycle).
These experiences only exacerbated the feeling of loneliness that I already had in the world. From the time I was very young, I knew that I was different, and I knew it was a difference that other people couldn’t understand. What really hurt though, was that I could understand other people so incredibly well. So, I was left feeling like, even though I could fully see, hear, acknowledge and appreciate the depths of another person, no one could do the same for me.
On top of this, I noticed early on that other people did not seem to be interested in the same things I was interested in. I wanted to explore my inner landscape and the psychological terrain of others. I wanted to talk about topics like spirituality, metaphysics, history, philosophy, stories, and dreams. Whenever I brought anything like this up in a conversation, people either gave me blank or puzzled stares, or said something snarky to let me know what a weirdo they thought I was.
As an INFJ and an empath, I have attracted energy vampires most of my life. They’ve ranged from the relatively harmless person who tends to dump all their personal problems on me every time we meet, to the severely toxic people who can be classified as narcissists and psychopaths.
Since this has happened to me since the time when I was very young, I’ve gone through every stage of disconnecting from a person you can imagine. I’ve done the quiet fade out and the way more extreme door slam. I’ve changed my phone number and ignored Facebook messages forever. When I tell “normal” people I know (i.e., non-empaths) about my experiences, they are always puzzled. This doesn’t happen to them, and so my methods of cutting people off and cutting people out of my life seem overly dramatic. But the other INFJs and INFPs I know ALWAYS get it. Because it happens to them too.
This was the way life was for me up until about six years ago. The actual process of change was activated years before that, but it was six years ago that I started seeing a significant shift in my life. I began to notice that the energy vampires didn’t seem to be so prevalent in my reality anymore. It wasn’t that I was fending them off better. It was that they just plain weren’t showing up so I didn’t even have to deal with them in the first place.
It was weird, but it also felt awesome. Suddenly, I knew what it meant to be free.
This is an issue that all empaths and intuitives deal with on a constant basis. Energy vampires are attracted by our strong sense of empathy. They meet us and quickly understand that we will pretty much always lend an ear (or a few units of our energy) to their black hole personality. But there’s also more to it than that, and that’s why empaths and intuitives struggle with this so much. We think that the energy vampire shows up in our life so often because we have too much empathy for them, so we naturally conclude that the only solution is to become tougher, less empathetic, less compassionate, and less kind. However, for an empath and/or intuitive person, this is an impossible thing to ask.
The little-known secret is that it’s not about making yourself less empathetic. It’s about changing your energy signature. This is the energetic “fingerprint” of your energy field that other people can read subconsciously and to which they always react. Empaths and intuitives all share a very similar energy signature, and there’s something in this signature that attracts the energy vampires like nothing else.
Today’s guest post comes from Ritu Kaushal, the author of the memoir The Empath’s Journey, which TEDx speaker Andy Mort calls “a fascinating insight into the life of a highly sensitive person and emotional empath.” Ritu was recently awarded the silver medal at the prestigious REX awards, instituted by the United Nations & iCONGO in India, and given to people creating social impact through their work. Ritu writes about highly sensitive creatives on her blog Walking Through Transitions. Her work has been featured on Sensitive Evolution, Tiny Buddha, and Elephant Journal, amongst others.
Last year, my book The Empath’s Journey was released. As someone who has had significant creative wounds, the process of birthing the book was full of labor pains. Because it’s a memoir about being highly sensitive, the writing process felt full of landmines, some of which I successfully avoided and some of which I walked right into.
To say the least, it was a difficult birth.
Today’s guest post comes from Michelle Cornish, co-author of Freeing the Butterfly: Transform Your Life Through Simple Exercises, Meditations, and Affirmations, where she shares more tips for getting to know yourself and feeling happier in your own skin. Michelle is an intuitive feeler and an empath as well. I love this article because it shares such great tips for navigating the often confusing waters of overwhelming emotion that empaths can experience.
I remember feeling many overwhelming feelings when I was a kid. What struck me the most was that I often felt sad when I thought I should be happy and vice versa. My feelings made little sense to me. I thought I was weird and just wanted to be like everyone else, so I became really good at reading a room. I was a chameleon.
When I tried to be myself, people told me I was too sensitive or I wouldn’t understand. But I understood. Adult problems were very real to me. Sometimes they consumed me, especially when I was a teenager. I was constantly asking myself what I would do with my life and how I would make a living.
Today’s guest post comes from Ritu Kaushal, a San Francisco Bay Area-based author and the blogger behind the popular HSP and empath-centric website Walking Through Transitions. Her writing has appeared on Tiny Buddha, Sensitive Evolution, Elephant Journal and Having Time amongst others. She recently released The Empath’s Journey, a book I highly recommend that every INFJ, INFP, and empath add to their arsenal of tools on how to survive as a Highly Sensitive Person in today’s world.
Sometime last year, as I was trying to give the final push to birth my book The Empath’s Journey, someone asked me: Who are you to write this? These were their exact words. They didn’t say them with curiosity or a desire to know, but with a slashing, hurling, aggressive energy.