EMPATH

Who knows what an empath is?

According to Merriam-Webster, an empath is one who experiences the emotions of others.

It took me a long time to figure out I am an empath. Well, I believe I am. I don’t actually have an official way of knowing.

According to this article from psychology.com, here are the 10 ways to know you are an empath:

  1. Highly sensitive (in my case, oversensitive)
  2. Absorbs other people’s emotions
  3. Tend to be introverted, can be overwhelmed in large gatherings
  4. Highly intuitive
  5. Need alone time
  6. Can be overwhelmed in intimate relationships
  7. Targets for energy vampires
  8. Replenished in nature
  9. Highly tuned senses
  10. Huge hearts but sometimes give too much

It took me a long time to figure out that a lot of the times I was overwhelmed by my feelings, it was because I was absorbing other people’s feelings. It devours you and makes you want to hide and not deal with anything. I’m sure there also people out there that would be surprised that I need time alone. I can specifically remember one night I had gone to Knott’s Scary Farm with my friends when I was 16. At the beginning of the night, I was super social. By the end, I just wanted to be in my bed by myself. There are many more examples that helped me realize that I fit the description of an empath. I wish I had known when I was younger so I could have figured out how to deal with it better. I don’t think I fully realized it until I was almost 30.

It did make having a relationship difficult. How do you explain to someone how you feel when you don’t even completely understand what is happening? The accusation of being oversensitive was thrown at me a lot. And I thought I was. I thought it was my fault that I felt the way I felt. I finally realized that my feelings don’t need to be invalidated. This was something that was a part of me. I had to learn to own it.

That’s exactly what I ended up doing. I learned not to stop my tears or if I was feeling upset. It didn’t get rid of the feelings. It just bottled them up until I exploded. Now, I try to understand them and I talk about them. It helps to move forward faster.

Now, let’s talk about being an empath and a mother. That means that you rarely get alone time, there are feelings all over the place, and picking up other emotions is a daily occurrence. The positive side is I also know when my kids are really feeling things and I need to address them without assuming it will heal. The only way I do know how to deal with it is to shut myself down (which I admit might not be the best way). I have to compartmentalize a lot. I don’t know if this makes me a better or worse mother because I have to separate myself from whatever my kids are feeling or doing.

Something I hadn’t thought about until recently is that my children might be empaths as well. The older one already shows signs of empathy at an extremely young age. How do I teach her to deal with this? How do I teach her how to handle it when I’m not even sure how to deal with it myself? What is the healthiest way for her to handle it?

Do I have any empaths out there who can offer some advice?

Being a SAHM

Going from a working individual to stay at home mom took some adjustment. It’s hard to go from feeling you are a productive member of the household to being home all the time. It does make you feel like you aren’t doing as much because you aren’t contributing financially.

It also is an adjustment on the mental and emotional side. You spend the whole day taking care of your kids and house. It does make it difficult to gauge whether you’ve done something useful during the day or you’ve done nothing. And not feeling productive can hurt your self-esteem. I used to work, go to school, be on a dance team, and have a social life all at the same time. Now, not so much. Your day definitely slows down when you aren’t leaving home so much.

Here is some advice a friend of mine gave me when I was talking to her about becoming a stay at home mom: you have to find ways to do things every day to feel productive.

I am starting to finally use this advice. I have started scheduling my day out with things I want to get done. I work better having a list of things to do so I can feel like I accomplished something. I decided that if I am going to be a stay at home mom, I’m going to do it well. Half-assing it and feeling sorry for myself does do anything for anyone.

It is still hard. Your children’s needs come first and that can derail your list of things to do. But, at least, it gives me some structure and makes me feel more useful than before.