Hello Elisse, I’ll give a nickname, Susanna. I have already left some posts in your blog in the past (at the time I was recovering from my narcissist ex boyfriend).
In these last years I have tried to work on myself, because I really feel that being an empath is crippling me and rendering me almost helpless and hopeless in a hugely aggressive world (I am even starting to think that I won’t be capable to survive and maybe at times I feel like I am slowly accepting that I’ll have to give up my life).
To give you an idea: I have a HUGE capacity of feeling, it’s as though I can feel anything about other people’s feelings, as well as my own, and not only the richness of feelings but somehow I can even subtly feel the hollowness of some at times, but mostly their covert aggression (which is truly devastating to me)… in the past I never paid attention to my instinct but then I started paying attention and I realised it is a truly finely attuned instrument, no matter how hard it is to trust it (since rationalising and wanting to trust seem to want to prevail).
Additionally, I cannot (emotionally) handle aggression (in its subtlest covert forms) at all: I feel each attack like a massively hurtful blow that almost makes me dizzy and feeling faint (like when the blood pressure is too low, to give a descrition of how aggressiveness makes me feel). Soon afterwards I start feeling like the world is a mad-hatter nightmare and I would rather …
My question (to some professional who might be reading) is VERY important to me, since I NEED to understand what I might be triggering in others without realising it (and I need to understand WHY it happens, i.e. how THEY feel in relation to me, which causes them to want to do this aggression to me) …
Here is the situation I can’t explain:
Background info on me: I am a cooperative only child (my mother had many miscarriages and so I was forced to grow up alone with my parents, who I love – yet they never spoilt me with THINGS, they just were normal emotionally, i.e. NOT emotionally controlling, NOT manipulative, open and honest).
Having received love I understand nothing but love, therefore I cannot (emotionally) grasp aggression, covert aggression, or meanness, or uncooperative defiant behaviour. Therefore I cannot always cope in the real covert aggressive world. I am faulty, so to speak.
BUT: although I can be overwhelmed by feelings, I am NOT clingy or manipulative in my personal relationships, since I always genuinely care about others (for instance: I’d rather hide my sadness instead of manipulating others by showing it, so I have no unhealthy attachment disorders / compulsions, and I lead a VERY healthy life: monogamous or, if I have to, single, no substance abuse).
Trust me: I have known not only Ns, but also other types of manipulative people or anxious manipulative people, so I can really tell the difference between them and me.
“I have noticed that I am always compelled to reach out and be supportive and show cooperativeness and friendliness (which is genuine, not fake, since I am predisposed to like people and wanting to trust them, and NOT wanting to unease them: I’d rather run the marathon than upset somebody; firstly: I’d rather get along, secondly I do NOT like hurting or upsetting people; thirdly: I’d rather help than hinder, yet IF I help it is NOT to manipulate them).
YET, and this is what amazes me, I have noticed that this innate behaviour of mine tends to trigger HEAVY passive aggression in certain people (even strangers or colleagues): instead of seeing that I am no threat, they start belittling me, berating me in the subtlest ways, in ways which are sly and almost imperceptible”.
As a solution sometimes I try to act as if I am cold, and adopt a forced body language and posture and to focus my eye stare to coercively force myself to feel mean and cold. It seems that this helps me a little, as others seems to restrain themselves from hurting me, yet at the same time I sense that they know that I am faking it (ERGO: I CANNOT FAKE EVEN WHEN I FAKE IT!!!! THEY KNOW SOMEHOW THAT I AM NOT MEAN AND COLD!! HOW?????)
My point is: even if this helps me, it is hugely stressful to me, I coerce myself, I hate myself (for being unable to cope) to the point that I feel anger for being loving and kind and because there is nothing I can do to save myself from my own warmness, which only hurts me and makes others resent me (P.S. Again: I do NOT display manipulativeness, so that would not be the reason why they attack me).
Can anyone explain why people like me get routinely instinctively attacked by mean people, even strangers????
Can anyone tell me if I am hopeless???
What is it about myself that triggers something in them?
How does this trigger work? What happens in them?
Why can’t I be cold like others?
Why is it that once I perceive covert aggression I feel like they are stabbing me in the heart and feel this appalling desperation, depression, fear, sadness, hopelessness, and as if the world was a nightmare I cannot escape?
All i ask is for people to feel NEUTRAL towards me: I don’t care if they like or dislike me, I just do not want to be forced to feel their aggression!
P.S. I have the feeling that my ex N highly sensitized me to covert aggression: (even after full 6 years since he discarded me) now my reaction to covert aggression is ACUTE awareness that it is happening (I just know!) and a renewal of the traumatic feelings he caused me when he used to traumatize me … also I have a deeper fear of humiliation …
Thank you so much Elisse, I hope some professional reading my post might be able to answer, so I might learn what I do wrong.
You’ve got me.
While I am an Empath, I have not experienced what you have, and I do not know how to counsel you, other than to say that you need to share this with a counselor / psychologist.
With my life experiences of the past 10 years, I have the ability now to say “No” to people’s requests of me without even slightly feeling badly about it.
Someone asked me recently for help with preparing for an event.
With all that I am responsible for now, I knew there was no way.
So, I counter offered with bringing one of the supplies in my possession to help those who were doing the prep work.
That was appreciated and I stayed for a few minutes to begin the prep. Then I excused myself.
Also, often when I say “No” it is prefaced with, “I would really like to help with (blank) but due to (family responsibilities, health, financial, transportation, time….etc) I am unable to do so.
I feel very empowered when I say “No” and people understand I am simply not able to assist.
When others want to tell me their horrific family events, etc, I have been known to say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t bear anymore grief right now, I have more than I can deal with.
I know this probably hasn’t been of much help; I can only say that you might want to find a counselor to speak to, depending on your insurance, there are counselors that are free or minimum co payment.