Fighting with an Empath

APRIL 5, 2016

There is a recent fascination with labeling people as empaths. There are all these lists like “20 ways to love an empath,” or “10 reasons you should marry an empath.” I’m sure you’ve read seen them floating around.

And not to knock them, because I love the empaths in my life. The little feelers with their soft squishy hearts and ever-sensing antenna calculating the temperature of the room. Some are wrapped in a warm protective shells, others scamper around freely, welcoming all the sensations, and the empaths I’m most familiar with crawl out of their shell when conditions are calm and they know it’s safe, ever ready to slide back into safety if the waters get rough.

Loving an empath is easy, mainly because if you’re loving them they have no choice but to love you back. You have the freedom to set the tone while they dutifully follow along.

But fighting an empath is a different, and terrifying, thing.

Empaths collect. They normally don’t feel they can respond, so instead they remember. Collect and remember. They remember your favorite color when you were 7 1/2. They remember that time you yelled at them, two years, five days, and 53 minutes ago. They collect your mundane daily stories like gemstones, shiny and valuable. They collect your harsh words like child collecting sea shells. Their fleshy hearts are left open as they recount the laughs; left bleeding as they replay the hurt.

And while they collect, they are silent. Quietly hoping you notice their efforts, quietly hoping you’ll notice their bleeding wounds.

Quietly they watch, collect, remember, and you, the non-empath, are none the wiser. If you are a particularly mean non-empath, you use their soft center as a sponge for your unwanted emotions. You wipe up your negativity with their willing heart, then leave, happily relieved of your burdens.

But the empath is watching, waiting, remembering, and collecting.

When the empath has collected enough evidence, when they have dutifully served their time, they strike with a vengeance. The hurt comes first, then the frustration, then the anger. Every thought and feeling they’ve collected they hand back to you; they can not stop, less they never have this chance again. They ring out their hearts like rag, ridding themselves of every last bit.

“Loving an empath is a privilege. Treat it with respect.”

Then, they crawl away. Guilty and empty; they retreat.

Loving an empath is easy. Fighting with an empath is hard. They want to use their delicate sensors around you, so make the room safe. They want to be accommodating and gentle, so tread lightly. They want to speak out, so take turns listening.

Loving an empath is a privilege. Treat it with respect.

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Copyright © 2016 Sarah Jo Crawford. All rights reserved.
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