The Empathâ€™s Paradox
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.
As an empath, I like that I can have that kind of connection to people I care about. With my girls, itâ€™s really an advanced form of maternal instinct or bonding. Iâ€™ll often know when one of my kids is upset or stressed, even be- fore Shannon swears sheâ€™s fine or Aislinn gives me her patented eye-roll Â and thenÂ uber-quickly denies Â she was rolling her eyes at me.
More than once, Iâ€™ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach Â and known Â absolutelyÂ that something Â was wrong, but not sure who the Â feeling pertained toâ€”so I started Â the Â process Â of Â phone Â calls, Â beginning Â with Â the girls, then my mom, then various friends that I have had close connections Â to. My mom has a bad habit of telling me everything is fine Â when I call her, so I call a dozen more people trying to pinpoint the empathic source to no avail, only to find out a week later that sheâ€™d gotten hurt and didnâ€™t want me to know and worry. Now when I get those feelings and she tells me sheâ€™s fine, never better…I worry.
So for certain people I care about, I keep my shields down, antennae up. I want to know if somethingâ€™s wrong. I want their subconscious Â to reach out to me. I want to be able to think about them and know theyâ€™re okay by the ping I send out into the Universe. Some people might say thatâ€™s controlling of me.
So what? Granddaddy Â lived several years longer because of Â that Â connection Â and Â his Â riding Â it Â to Â me Â in Â a dream. There are others who Â are Â alive today because of that connection and how it came as an early warning of a problem. Not that itâ€™s always perfect, but when my head is Â clear and my heart isnâ€™t distracted Â by issues with my dad or my ex or anything else to fog my focus, then that connection is pretty damned good and I treasure it.
But sometimes, I donâ€™t realize Iâ€™m connected. I donâ€™t realize, because I didnâ€™t reach out to them. They reached out to me and connected and I didnâ€™t even notice, much like if a daughter or loved one slipped a hand into mine and kept walking beside me and I didnâ€™t realize until later that we were touching.
The best clue that Iâ€™m â€œtapped in,â€ comes from my emotions going all over the place, changing every 5 minutes. I generally Â stay Â in Â an Â emotion Â for Â several Â hours, maybe even days, unless someone interrupts Â it. But up, down, and everywhereâ€”several Â timesâ€”in one hour, is a sure Â sign someoneâ€™s Â connected Â and Iâ€™ve not realized it. Once I do, itâ€™s fine and I ride the waves.
With all the emotional issues of the past month with my dadâ€™s illness, the pissing contest with my ex over the girls not being allowed to take their dog to his house, my homeownerâ€™s association Â taking Â back Â his Â access Â to Â my neighborhood Â under Â the new Â subdivision Â rules, Â end of the Â fiscal year stresses, Â Shannonâ€™s Â car in the shop, and more to grab and twist my attention, Iâ€™ve not noticed anyone being connected to me probably, oh, six weeks.
AngelSu Â noticed Â three Â weeks Â ago. Â A Â man Â thinking about me. â€œCanâ€™t you feel it?â€ she asked. I couldnâ€™t. I had other things Â upsetting Â me that weekend. Â I could feel a sense of contentment Â from within, but not a connection from without. Â Dang. Â A man thinking Â about Â me, and I couldnâ€™t feel it. Figures.
Then last week, a few days before the weekend, there was a hint of Â excitement Â and anxiety that wasnâ€™t mine. Over the weekend, I was calm Â and productive, and the days were beautiful and mostly relaxed. Yet, I had a sense of Â dread, Â anxiety, Â heaviness Â all Â weekend. Â On Â Sunday night, a wave of sadness hit, late, that brought me to my knees. I couldnâ€™t Â figure out why. I was in a good mood but suddenly Â so sad and longing, without reason. Today was more of the same. A sadness amid my productivity.
Then suddenly tonight at dinner, my feet started tap- ping. Â I Â started Â moving Â all Â over. Â Just Â bouncy. Â Excited. Here I was tired, Â agitated Â at having to wait in line, and suddenly enjoying a wave of something very bouncy and anxious but energetic and not able to sit still.
I looked across the dinner table at the girls after about twenty minutes Â of wanting to jump out of my seat and dance around. Shannon was Â catching it, too. Singing in the bathroom. Skipping out of the restaurant. Â It took a while to calm it down (itâ€™s still slightly a-buzz), but I knew then that it wasnâ€™t me. I was picking it up from elsewhere and broadcasting it myself. But it wasnâ€™t mine.
Sometimes, Â the Â connection Â I get Â is Â sad Â and Â lonely, even when Â Iâ€™m not, and sometimes itâ€™s bouncy and ex- cited. Same person. Iâ€™ll keep Â that connection open. Be- cause feeling the good stuff is worth feeling the rest, and I simply have to remember that itâ€™s not mine and to let it pass Â through…or to catch the good stuff when it comes and hang onto it!