The Empath’s Survival Guide – How to avoid the bite of Emotional Vampires

“As an empath, you are part of a countercultural revolution to put what is humane back into humanity. I applaud you for being a path-forger, willing to venture off the beaten track. I applaud your courage to face yourself, to express your authentic needs, and not to give up on the world, with its many failings.” ― Judith Orloff, The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People

My oldest daughter and I got into a bit of a spirited conversation yesterday. I said something about her being an empath and she said it was bologna. She said everyone has intuition and either uses it or not – but there is no such thing as being an empath. Empathy? Yes, she said, and of course, I agreed. But there are ALSO empaths, I said.

I know, because I am one.

To be fair, she’s less of an empath and more of an actual psychic, which she also poo-pooed, though she admits she’s had some unexplainable things happen. And boy, has she! But that’s not my story to tell and not the point. The point is…

Empaths exist. 

And we’re feeling the pain of the world on our shoulders about now. Understandable, right?

Not to mention the little – or big – everyday stuff that weighs us down.

It is for us that the book The Empath’s Survival Guide by Judith Orloff, MD is written. In it, Orloff uses neuroscience, intuition, and energy medicine to help us balance a life that is consistently absorbing other people’s junk along with our own.

I talked about another empath book that I liked a lot in this space… but make no mistake… this Survival Guide is the Bible for many Empaths. And I agree… it’s stellar.

Every subject is covered… from physical and emotional health to relationships with lovers, family and friends and dealing with empath(ic) children. And then there’s what I’m calling the best part – dealing with narcissists and emotional vampires. <<< This is super important because these types of people search out people like us and infuse us with their poison. And I’m not exaggerating!

I especially found this interesting: “Some empaths become addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping, or other behaviors in an attempt to numb their sensitivities. Overeating is common since some empaths unwittingly use food to ground themselves. Empaths can easily become overweight because the extra padding provides protection from negative energy.” ― Judith Orloff

See, this is what happens to people like me and lately, I’ve been taking notes. As in, for real. I soooo wish the acknowledgment that the fat is protection were enough to get rid of it!

I’ve known this for years!

I’m fat because I’m protecting myself… from what? Oh, a few things, but mostly, the feelings of others and myself.

For all my probing and delving into self-help, I’m still just a clunky human. And old habits certainly die hard.

Food was something I remember craving since my Nana put out her famous German Chocolate cake with Pecan frosting, which was my choice every birthday. I needed two pieces, always. I’d eat until I was more than full… but it felt so good. And bad. But honestly, mostly good…

That is…

Until I was old enough to feel shame.

Nobody in my family had a weight problem. Oh, that’s not true! My beautiful grandfather did… true. But he was an old ex-jock and you know those guys are always big. Me, I was a girl… and girls shouldn’t be fat. At least, that’s what I thought… whether it was something I heard or just picked up, I don’t know. Maybe because I was sensitive, I could see it in people’s eyes.

On the rare occasions I actually lost weight, I felt so much better about myself.

Boys noticed. Men noticed. Everyone noticed. I was now acceptable. More than that. I was desired.

Ah yes, the center of the maze.

Desire and what that has meant to me through the years. Still means to me. But I digress.

The information about Narcissists and Emotional Vampires is my favorite part of the book, which I mentioned above. There is so much great info about how we (and they) are attracted… and we dance… he (or she) can look beautiful… and be oh-so charming… how well I know!… and then you find the ugly truth which they will never acknowledge!… and you feel like you’re going crazy. That, my friends, is what gaslighting is all about!

Oh yes, the most difficult part of being an empath, in my opinion! By the way, Orloff has a fantastic resource for this online, if you’re in a hurry… it’s HERE.

But don’t forget to get the book! It’s everything you’ll ever need in one place. And it’s FANTASTIC!

Some other resources may be found below:

Dr. Orloff’s YouTube channel and  Dr. Orloff’s Facebook Empath Support Group

 

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