Aging ain't for sissies. Neither is chronic pain.

Posts tagged ‘Empathic’

Don’t Call Me and I Won’t Call You

I’ve never been a fan of talking on the phone.  To be blunt I hate it with the fire of thousand suns.  There, I said it.  Whew.

I can count on three fingers the number of people I will have phone conversations with that are longer than mere minutes.  I can handle conversations that get to the point quickly but anything past that and you’ll pretty much lose me.phone3

I think my hate/hate relationship with talking on the phone stems from my uncanny (and unwanted) ability to attract people who prefer to talk for hours. Hours!  I guess in a way it’s my own doing.  I hate telling people I don’t like talking on the phone thinking they will take it personally and be hurt.  Without realizing it I am giving them unspoken permission to decide how long the conversation is going to last.


I also attract people who tend to only talk about themselves. I’m dumbfounded at the sheer number of people who can sit and talk about themselves for the ENTIRE length of a call before finally declaring, “It was great to hear your voice!” and hanging up. Click.  Buh bye.

There is the issue of small talk as well. I am not a small talk kind of person. It is awkward for me for reasons I can’t put my finger on.  It seems so unnecessary I guess.  I do it when the situation calls for it because…well…it’s the polite thing to do.  If it’s important to the person doing the talking then who am I to shut them down?  If I don’t want to engage in small talk then I simply don’t answer the phone at that time.

I think phone calls give me anxiety in part because I prefer to think things through before I speak.  If put on the spot I will verbally stumble around making all kinds of mumbling, guttural sounds before collecting myself.  Letting a call go to voicemail allows me the opportunity to find out what the caller wants so I can process the information and think about it for a moment.  Introverts need the “pause” that voicemail gives that answering the phone doesn’t.phone2

Cherie Burbach, in her article Why Your Introverted Friend Does Not Answer the Phone explains it so well.

“Phones are just one area where an introvert may pause or think before they speak, choosing instead to find just the right word. If you think it’s because your introverted friend isn’t sure what to say, think again. Introverts simply use their brains differently and retrieve information from their memories in a way that is opposite from extroverts.  So while an extrovert can chat away easily, an introvert may reflect on what they say, choose the right words, and finally speak.”

For the record, my dislike of talking on the phone also includes making phone calls.  Omg.  For me making a call is akin to the sensation of listening to finger nails scrape loudly across a chalkboard while the dog licks his butt and the radio blares head banger tunes.


If you know someone who loves their phone but strongly dislikes talking on it don’t take it personally.  It’s just one of those things – a challenge to live with and difficult to explain.  Ideally we would like people to accept it without making a big deal about it (or worse, making fun of us.)   And for those of us who hate talking on the phone we need to remember that not everyone likes to text so we have to make an effort as well.  It’s a two way street.

Lastly, even though texting has taken away a lot of our personal one-on-one interactions, for some of us it’s a way to stay in touch with those we love without the inexplicably awkward, uncomfortable, nerve racking experience of actually, you know, talking on the phone.


Moral of the story?  We want to hear from people we care about!  We want to stay in touch.  But we do not want to do it on the phone most of the time.  It’s just not our thing.


Lessons Learned By an Empath

Living as an empath has its challenges.  Being highly sensitive to the energy of everything around me – people, animals, my environment indoors and out, Mother Earth and the effects of solar activity to name a few – presents many opportunities to learn about myself.

The first thing I’ve had to learn is discerning which emotions and feelings belong to me and which don’t.  It is not out of the ordinary for me to suddenly become overwhelmed with intense emotional pain whose origin is a mystery to me.  I know instinctively these are not my feelings but I can’t place where they are coming from.  Most often this is followed by deep, wrenching sobs that come from an inexplicable need to release pain that is not mine.


Next on the list of lessons for this empath has been to be very careful who I let know I can feel their pain (angst, anger, physical ailments etc.)  Not everyone is keen on finding out there is someone who knows how they are feeling…not just knows mind you, but actually can feel what they are feeling, emotionally and physically.  It can turn some people off right quick and then they disappear which I understand.  I’ve had to take a step back so when I get a vibe or I sense something about someone I don’t just come out and say it – I am more apt now to simply touch base with them and ask how they are doing.  If people want to talk, they will.  It is not my place to make their pain my business just because I can feel it – if they choose to confide in me I will never abuse that privilege.


Next lesson – some people DO want to talk.  And talk and talk and talk, having no idea they are subconsciously pulling in my good energy and giving back to me their negative energy.  It can be very draining.  It’s most obvious when someone says to me, “I feel so much better talking to you!” but I feel worse – drained and heavy.  Just recently I called to check in with someone and an hour and a half later they admitted (a bit sheepishly) they love hearing my voice but it’s a shame they don’t get to hear it much because they do all the talking.  They said they find themselves telling me things they don’t share with anyone else.  All I could do was laugh and tell them I get that a lot.

This next lesson is simple…I know when people lie.  Period.


Also…I know things I shouldn’t know.  I often know things that are going to happen before they happen.  I have no idea how I know or why, I just know.  Ask my wonderful husband who is finally getting used to it, bless his ever patient heart.  (PS and by the way, I cannot pick winning lottery numbers or tell you what stocks will be hot in the future.  Just sayin’.)

Not to be left out…I am not special because I’m an empath.  It is not a gift, it is simply part of who I am.  I should not, nor do I want to be, treated differently.

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn, and admittedly haven’t learned well yet, is that setting boundaries is an absolute must.  I’ve been in burn out mode for a long time without knowing why.  Now that I’m aware it’s because I absorb the energy around me – from people I know and don’t know, from the earth, animals as well as being affected by other types of energy – it’s my responsibility to take care of myself no matter who it pisses off.  If I choose to be by myself, which I love to do, it’s so I can recharge.  That’s all.


Another hard lesson is that I can’t save everyone from feeling pain.  I used to want to until I realized that if I could take away a person’s pain I might also be taking away from them an important life lesson they need to learn.  This would accomplish nothing positive for them and in turn would suck my soul dry.

I no longer watch the news or violent movies/TV shows.  I absorb too much of it, even the make believe stuff.  I can already feel so much, adding to it does me no good.  I’m much better off now that I avoid this type of exposure.  Oddly though, I enjoy the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series of movies.


I want to briefly say something to the parents and caregivers of sensitive children, children who seem older than their years.  Give them a break.  Don’t try to mold them into something that makes you more comfortable for you will only make their life harder.  There is more help available now for the parents and caregivers of empathic children than ever before.

I think one thing I most appreciate that I’ve learned is I am not alone.  There are MANY empaths out there.  We are waking up and finally beginning to understand we are not “crazy”, “overly sensitive”,   “temperamental” or any other such nonsense.   We are not weird and we are not freaks.  Also, please stop rolling your eyes at us.  Most of us are getting to the point (finally!) where we don’t care if you believe whether or not empaths are real.  We know we are.  We are the real deal and we are bad ass.


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