Certain recent experiences have caused me to realize that a lot of the stress and discomfort that I have felt in my adult life is a direct result of my not recognizing and accepting who I am and how I was designed to interface with the world as an empathic, deeply emotional person. Learning to tap into and channel my emotional energy has uncovered a well-buried pit of pain and sorrow that I had long forgotten is still haunting and driving me throughout my life.
I have only recently begun to come to terms with what it means to be an empath, allowing myself to feel other’s emotions when I connect with them. Suffering the bullying and sexual abuse that I did as a child and teen, I quickly learned to bury my empathic ENFP personality under a thick mental callous, functionally becoming an emotionally distanced, high IQ INTJ and refusing to allow myself to connect with others as a self-protection mechanism. I have always felt emotions deeply but I have generally kept them to myself until they reached a critical mass, at which point I would explode as I released then in a burst of passive-aggressive rage. I subconsciously learned to avoid becoming too close to anyone to avoid feeling their pain whenever they hurt.
It seems that the theater tends to attract those of us who know how to connect both within and with others. There’s a reason why not a few good actors are empathic and ENFP. When I’m on stage and in character, I experience what only can be described as an altered state of consciousness as I go to a place internally that allows me flow within a stream of emotion. At times and increasingly so I can connect with other members of the cast and the audience in a way that allows me to access their emotional energy and channel it, it amplifying my own. However, the theater also attracts “psychic vampires” who prey on on those who are weak precisely because the theater is known to be one of the few remaining bastions of hope, love and acceptance for those who find themselves marginalized within society. In spite of the betrayal and pain that I have suffered through one particular community theater this past year, I would never trade these experiences thus going back to not understanding or learning how to embrace this reality.
Which brings me to where I am today. I have a friend who I met through that community theater who is battling cancer and isn’t doing so well. She’s struggling just to survive the chemo treatments. I’m here at work trying to focus on my job and it’s all that I can do to keep from breaking down weeping (for the record, I’m on lunch break as I’m writing this…). I’d give anything to take her pain and bring her relief. I’ve never felt so lonely, isolated, rejected and scared in my life. I know that these emotions are not only my own as I struggle to embrace and adapt to them—that I’m also experiencing in part what she is—but I am hurting like I have never hurt in my life.
Please join me in praying for her as she struggles through this ordeal. Pray that her friends who can give without taking or other expectation keep up their own strength through this process. Pray for me as I learn how to live within this new-to-me reality without becoming utterly overwhelmed and that I can become and be the friend on whom those who are hurting, especially this friend, can rely. All I ask as the titular song pleas, “May I be His love for you.”