My first post back after a long health issue and you’re probably thinking “the meds have addled her mind!” No, I’m not crazy. At least, if I am crazy, I’m not the only one experiencing it.
I’m a firm, sciency, logical kind of person. So if you had told me 5 years ago that I was an empath, I would have shrugged and walked on. If you persisted and explained what that meant …. well, I probably would have laughed in your face. Sorry about that.
I am an empath. No idea to what degree, but I’m sensitive enough to be bothered by lots of people around me, and to absorb emotions or aura or what-the-heckever-you-want-to-call-it from other people. It also means I’m a good listener, I have oodles of pointless, overwhelming pain over stuff people don’t even notice, and I like being around happy people.
Why is this a problem?
That by itself isn’t a big deal. After all, I made it this far without keeling over or being super dramatic, right? No, the problem is that I have an empath kid. And I’m broadcasting on his wavelength in an overwhelming way.
So for the sciency among you – because I’m like that and I need evidence, dang it! here’s a small sampling of what’s been going on over the last few months and years.
Kiddo has always had a supernatural mommy radar. I woke him up as an infant driving around the corner EVERY dang time. Not walking out of the house, not driving in the driveway – the corner. He knew I was really going to leave.
I’m going to bed – he wakes up. We’ve tried breaking up the routine of taking the dog out and switching up bedtimes – same thing every time.
My nightmares wake him up – in his own, closed-door room, down the hall from me, with no noise made by me.
He’s happy when I’m happy. He’s REALLY not happy when I’m not. Grumpy doesn’t even begin to cover it.
During my most drugged-out moments in high levels of pain at the hospital, he couldn’t stay awake. He fell asleep trying to finish a movie (which is the ultimate stay-awake for him) and his dad had to carry him upstairs and get him ready for bed in a zombie state. Multiple nights.
He slept like a log the entire time I was in Atlanta. Apparently that’s too far for the link, but the hospital down the road isn’t. Keep in mind this child wakes a minimum of 4-5 times every single night, and has since he was born.
If he’s upset, I can give him a hug and broadcast warm fuzzies and “I love you” and he’ll cheer up. Without that he won’t even give me a hug.
So. Sounds weird? That’s just part of what’s been going on.
The flip side of having/being an empath
We humans know how to build walls. It’s instinctive. Especially when it comes to emotional walls. Every empath alive has learned to build some sort of walls in order to cope with the cacophony racketing around in their head. Otherwise we go insane. What we DON’T know how to instinctively do is deliberately use those walls.
So an empath may come across as cold, heartless, or uncaring. That’s because their walls are up to protect themselves, and we don’t always have control over how much those walls let in. It’s a matter of survival, and we’re fighting for our sanity. I’m not exaggerating – being too sensitive is its own kind of torture.
If you’re raising an empath and you happen to be one, you’ll need to learn this stuff for you as well. You can’t parent effectively if you’re bleeding emotionally all over the kid, right? Same principle as flying – take care of yourself first.
The very first thing I did – being a sci-fi freak – was go research how to shield. How to actively control that shielding. And you know what? The first time I tried it, I was shocked. Because I thought it was crazy – I was nuts. I thought I was succumbing to the seductive lure of the woo.
Instead, my headache went away. I could physically FEEL the stress lift off of my shoulders. I felt calm, and I felt quiet. The shielding worked in a dramatic way that I did NOT expect!
How do I shield?
There isn’t a whole lot out there that sounds logical or sciency, of course, but the basic premise is to use your own defenses and form a barrier between you and everyone else. I want my barrier to be somewhat permeable so I don’t go stone-cold and heartless, so I came up with a bubble. A swirling, colorful, iridescent bubble that stays over my head. I stay still long enough to visualize it and then move on, sometimes specifying how long I want it to last (no idea if it sticks around that long.)
I’m teaching my kiddo the same thing. You can’t exactly tell a kid to visualize their own energies at this age, but he understands bubbles. I tell him to “bubble” and he touches his head, smiles, and says “bubble! Calm and quiet.”
Shielding is just a part of learning boundaries for ourselves as empaths. We need a safe, quiet space when overwhelmed, we need firm limits on what we can handle, and we need to limit time around toxic people. Basic empath self-care.
Why do we need to shield?
Beyond the obvious of wanting to sleep tonight for more than 2 hours at a time, it’s emotionally important to separate our emotions from those of others. Are you angry all the time? Is your kid sad all the time? Is it really them, or the people around them?
More importantly, some empaths have the ability to “feed” off of other’s emotions. It’s draining to be around them. They might not even realize they’re doing it but they instinctively know that you (or your kid) make them feel better. We all want to feel better. It’s human.
For me personally, it’s especially important to shield my kids from my own health issues. If I’m in serious pain and broadcasting it, that’s a miserable kind of childhood to grow up in. I discovered that the higher pain levels are really tough for me to shield, but the lower level pain is easier to manage. I need to practice more.
I promise, I’m not crazy. I decided when I started this blog that I would be as real and honest as I could, and this is just another step along the way of parenting my wonderful, adorable, annoying kids. Not many people put this kind of thing out there because – hey – I look crazy now!