Empathy – Don’t Abuse It or You’ll Lose It

I’m an imposter.

Lately, I’ve wondered if I really am who I say I am. Forty years ago, I discovered that I was a sensitive person. I’ve spent the intervening years finding out more about my sensitivity. Learning all its nuances. Becoming aware of every aspect of the part of me that is ruled by sensitivity.

Then, several months ago, my reaction to certain events and occurrences changed. Seemingly, out of the blue, my empathy seemed to disappear. I felt numb to situations that previously tugged at my heart. The emotion, the tears, the compassion was gone.

I wondered what happened. Had I fooled myself all these years? Had I been claiming a trait that I never really had? Or, had it suddenly disappeared? Morphed into a dispassionate blob of human nothingness? And all this after I had finally come to discover just how much I loved being highly sensitive.

Image courtesy of Rihaij on Pixabay.

I tried to ignore this state of mind while the concern simultaneously simmered below my surface, Until the other day when I stumbled across this article. It’s excellent. I would recommend reading it and adding it to your personal library. It enlightened me to the very real affliction called empath shutdown otherwise known as empath burnout.

When we get out of balance; when we become so overwhelmed with stimuli, we can burst the fragile bubble of our sensitive awareness. When we put too much pressure on our already overworked nervous systems, we can topple that balance quickly.

It is common among those employed in caregiver-type occupations. But personally, I believe it has become more susceptible to the rest of the HSP population since the pandemic began three years ago. Add to that the world conflict and our country’s own political and racial strife, and there is a greater chance that these circumstances will affect even more highly sensitive people.

We must all be aware of this pressure’s potential for damage and the absolute need for good nervous system hygiene. In other words, take good care of yourself.

Image courtesy of Riedelmeier on Pixabay.com.

Maybe, I’m not the imposter after all. Just burned out.

I try to promote the ways I use to be kind to myself, but I think this requires even more diligence to remain safe. I will be researching even more ways we all can use to keep burnout from stealing our gift of sensitivity, And I will keep you updated of my progress.

Until then, stay safe and carry on . . .

Copyright 2023, Monica Nelson

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