To fully understand the darker nature of empathy one must first understand the multiple aspects of empathy, including ampathy, empaths, and what empathic abilities can develop into. Now, as a disclaimer, I am not a master or expert in this field of study, and can only truly pull from what I myself have experienced as well as what those I know have told me. I also apologize as this blog of mine, as well as the discussion regarding it, is not meant to be focused on the basics or the development of one's empathic abilities or nature, however I do encourage those seeking such information to continue their search as it can be a worthwhile journey. I will however, provide a basic explanation of what empathy is, and what I mean by empathic abilities, as well as an empathic nature, respectively.
To begin, empathy, while it has many forms and uses, has one baseline meaning and usage, to feel another's or others' emotions as if they were your own. It's that simple. Almost anyone can learn to use empathy, and I encourage everyone to try, although I do warn you that it is not something that should be used or learned lightly, or else you might misuse such a skill.
Now while almost anyone can learn to develop and use empathy, this in and of itself does not make such an individual an empath, as an empath is someone that is able to use empathy as if it was an extension of themselves, a feat not easily learned and most often inherent at birth or a young age. Even at a young age, such individuals typically have a sense of control over their emotions and can make those around them calmer or relaxed, simply by being present around them.
There is also a difference between empaths and the empathically inclined, a true empath is one that has learned to handle their empathic nature, more on that in a second, typically at some point between the ages of 6-9, most empaths will no longer be utterly burdened by their empathic nature, and have built up a tolerance to, or an empathic shield to protect them from the emotions of others. However, not all empaths awaken to their empathic nature at the same time, some will do so once they hit puberty, reach adulthood, become a mother, fall in love, lose a loved one to death, or any other moment in their life that holds an extremely large amount of emotional impact.
Most empaths have the ability to sense when they are being watched, lied to, when those they love or care about are in danger, when they are in danger, when someone near them seeks to do them or another individual near their proximity harm, or the ability to sense negativity, in thought, mind, or action, as well as traumatic negativity. The difference between negativity and traumatic negativity being harmful intent and the pain felt by someone due to that harmful intent, respectively.
Now before we discuss the differences between empaths and the emphatically inclined, we must first discuss the role and purpose of our empathic nature. At it's simplest our empathic nature is what tells us to mourn the passing of our loved ones, comfort those in pain or need, I.E. sympathy, as well as encouraging us to be socially cooperative with one another. In a more spiritual sense however, our empathic nature is a fundamental aspect of our spiritual balance and determines our baseline emotional balance and comfortability with ourselves.
If one's empathic nature is underdeveloped our emotional balance can be unstable leading to chaotic behavior or personalities, and can even lead to potential emotional damage, either from ourselves and our own behavior or by leaving ourselves open to emotional trauma from others. Our emotional balance also determines our ability to handle emotional trauma of any kind, making it harder to heal or recover from said trama if and or when our emotional balance is skewed or underdeveloped. This can lead to depression, bipolar disorder, as well as any number of mental disorders and challenges, which are our mind's way of attempting to put itself back in order, though flawed in it's attempt.
At the lowest end of the scale lies PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder, and/or schizophrenia. These disorders can be some of the most damaging and difficult to recover from, if you ever truly recover at all, and can skew our emotional balance permanently, even to the point of altering our empathic nature, altering our spiritual nature as well as who we are one a fundamental level. I myself have taken over a decade of recovery from multiple cases of PTSD that have altered my emotional and spiritual balances for both the better and the worse. While I have been able to develop a new sense of balance within my emotional nature, my spiritual nature has been permanently altered.
The primary purpose of this post is to bring about a conversation about our empathic natures, and the role of empathy in our lives, as well as showcase that not only empaths need to understand and develop their empathic nature. However a key component of understanding the role of empathy in our lives, is understanding that empathy in and of itself is not inherently a good or positive thing, the ability to sense the emotions of oneself and others is simply another sense, just as sight or smell, useful for a great many purposes, not all of which bring about positivity in the world around us.
In my next blog post I will discuss the role and purpose of our apathic nature, and it's impact on our emotional balance, as well as why it is a good idea to develop our apathy, and not just our empathy. All questions, comments, concerns, and conversation ideas are welcome below, Feel free to post a comment or contact me personally via PM if you would prefer a more private space to conversate.