Empathy is a gift, there’s no discussion there. It’s a gift that allows you to look through the other person’s eyes and walk a mile in their shoes. This ability allows you to understand the emotional motives behind every of their actions and empathize with the state they are in.
In other words, it means that you will always be able to understand what is happening to the other person and accept their behavior for what it is. It’s because you know that many of the things people do, they do them because of some underlying emotions they can’t control.
Your gentle heart that detects every vibration around you makes you more aware and more compassionate. It tells you when someone is trying to take advantage of you and warns you to stay away when things get rough.
But here’s the thing: how many times do you stay away? What do you do when you notice that someone is trying to take advantage of you and your goodness?
There is a red line in every empathic experience, which if crossed, you go to the dark side of empathy. The line is easily distinguishable, and all you need to know is when not to cross it.
I will put this in simple terms: will you go another step further into understanding why someone is trying to hurt you, and allow them because you understand them? Many empaths get overwhelmed by the emotions they are not supposed to get involved in and allow this.
They go beyond the understanding that this person is trying to use them, or have them do something for their selfish aims and advantages. It’s because they tend to look deeper into what has created such person and they feel compassion for the disturbed soul.
I know this because I am an empath too – and I’ve often allowed people to have it their way because I understand them. However, this has caused me a lot of trouble in the long run, and I have gained nothing but that constant question in my head yelling: “What did I do to deserve this?”
Empaths are healers, that goes beyond doubt. That’s why they can dive deeper into the underlying causes for the emotions that are present in the other person. And that’s when the red line can be crossed.
Understanding why a person functions like that is in no way a justification to allow that person achieve their small purpose of using you as their tool to some kind of trivial success. Why?
It is often the case that an empath will get mixed up in the process of distinguishing between their own emotions and that of the other person. In fact, when an empath senses something from the depths of the other person’s soul, they immediately empathize with that.
The empath will start feeling the other person’s pain and will overlook their actual behavior in favor of that feeling. This is the dark side of empathy – not knowing when to stay away.
That’s like a psychologist allowing the arsonist set the hospital on fire because they understand their underlying causes and empathize with them.
This kind of wrong approach is the cause of many cases of domestic violence, toxic relationships, and failure in your profession. And it all comes to the fact that you allow the other person to play out their negative moves because you understand them.
To be able to heal, you need not mingle too much in their world, but just enough to understand. However, you should remind yourself that you are a complete person and you require care and protection too.
Remaining sober when sensing other people’s emotions, especially the emotional struggles they go through, is difficult. Empaths are magnets for negative emotions, and while experiencing the positive emotions is beautiful, getting in the loop of negative emotions eventually leads to emotional draining and fatigue.
Nobody asked you to get into that whirlpool, you went in yourself. That’s why, if you want to go there, your job is to know how to get out. If you have difficulty getting out, then stay away and remind yourself of the facts on the surface.
The fact on the surface in these cases is that people who are deeply disturbed on the inside will not always make the best moves. It’s obvious to understand that they can’t – so it’s better that you prevent them from doing that, and dive in when you have enough energy for it – and if you feel that you really should.
Empathy is both a gift and a curse if you don’t know how to use it and control it properly. Don’t jump over the red line if you’re not ready. Follow your intuition and never be vain about your gift.
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A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.