I have come to learn as I age that there is actually a name to describe what I have spent decades feeling….. the name is EMPATH. Being an empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others. To top it off, I am also an introvert. Not anti-social, I am an introvert. Introverts are people who like to be alone more than they like to be in large groups of people. Introverts restore energy by spending quality time with themselves and consider to spend time in large groups of people draining. Being only one or the other is tough enough in today’s “social” stimulation overload type of society so being both is a double whammy. Add to this a husband and 3 children and all that comes with it (work, school, parties, sports, graduations, holidays, luncheons, social events, PTA meetings..) and you can maybe begin to imagine the battle I fight daily.
So how does one balance such a busy life as a wife and parent when they were born wired with DNA that prefers to be alone? Maybe the question really is: How does one SUCCESSFULLY balance work and family life as an introvert and/or empath? I dont know if I will ever have that answer. But I do know it takes a lot of strength and patience from your loved ones. I am grateful, though, I actually figured out what these abilities (I don’t dare call them disabilities) were called so I could spend time studying them and understanding them.
Ever since I can remember, people everywhere (including strangers) were drawn to me. Not in any weird or sexual way at all. Just in a “you just seem like someone I can talk to” way. Something about me seemed to reach out to anyone near me and draw them in. Not a day goes by that I do not have someone open up to me and entrust me with their deepest emotions. I am not exaggerating at all. Every day. Even at the grocery. In an elevator. At work. Through texts or private messages. The thing is, I don’t mind. I enjoy being someone people feel comfortable with. I enjoy the fact that I can help someone feel a little better everyday. Problem is, empaths are like sponges. So while others open up to me, I absorb the energy they give off. Happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, broken heart… I actually absorb it as my own and feel their happiness or pain. I can’t stop it. I can’t prevent it. I am unable to control it in any way. So, I embrace it. The introvert side of me also has to function normally all day out in the world, therefore, by 4-5 pm I am so mentally, emotionally and physically drained that I could go right to sleep as soon as I get home.
The battle comes with trying to save enough of “me” for my family. Once I step foot out in the world every morning, the struggle begins. I am getting better everyday though. I know when to step away now. I know when to take a break. I will go sit in my car or close my office door. I will try to limit interactions when I can so I can have the energy I want to have with my family when I get home. If anyone is going to drain me tired, I want it to be my crazy kiddos!!
Unfortunately, this also means I frequently go MIA on people. I may not return calls. I may bail on plans. I may “ghost” people. Those closest to me are used to this. My family knows this so when I go to any family function I always drive my own car and as soon as I begin feeling that exhausted draining feeling, I will leave. The thought of a dozen goodbyes and hugs is dreadful by that point so they all know that if they don’t see Amy anymore, she left. They aren’t offended. They don’t get mad. They don’t text “where are you?” “why didn’t you stay?”. This is why I stated earlier it is so important to learn as much as you can about this and have a supportive loving family. My husband is great and knows that I have days I will come home and hang out, cook, watch tv and socialize and other days I beeline to our room for an hour or so to re-energize and find peace. I am sure he spent years thinking he has the laziest wife ever. Weekends and holidays you will likely find me at home relaxing. Most husbands probably have wives who want to go out a lot, go to social events, go shopping, have “girls” nights, have friends over etc. I am NOT one of those lol. And my husband gets it. And he loves me still… ❤️
My kids also know that I am not like other moms who are super social and always doing something. The thing is, they don’t care. They like to make fun of me sometimes when i miss a luncheon or some event most other moms are so excited to attend but really they don’t mind and love me for me.
Mothers aren’t always cookie cutter. We are all different. We are all flawed. We have strengths and weaknesses and abilities and disabilities but in the end… we are still mothers doing the best we can. And if you are lucky enough to grow and have enough self awareness that you acknowledge and learn all about your own strengths and weaknesses and own them, you have succeeded.
I’m going to go recharge now!😉