This was the second year in a row that I did not spend Christmas with my family. In fact, I spent it all by myself. And even though I did enjoy most of the time there was also a lot of shame and guilt coming up. Shame and guilt about the fact that I have not been in touch with my family for a long time. That I did not try hard enough to find a way of spending time with them for Christmas in particular; but instead, choosing to abandon them knowing they were suffering from it.
Have you ever wondered why nobody was there when you needed support the most? Have you ever experienced somebody else reaping the benefits from something you came up with? Did you feel your needs mattered to the people around you or was it more like everyone else seemed to matter more than you do?
For me, the answer to those questions was a big YES. Only during the past number of years, could I understand why and then finally change this painful pattern that had been for almost my entire life.
When you are practicing any kind of inner work you do this because of the benefits you expect or experience from it. And indeed, inner work, particularly shadow work is a powerful tool to expand our awareness, to release emotional blocks, to resolve old detrimental patterns and to shift our entire reality. However, we probably all know these moments of frustration when we feel stuck. When the same old stuff seems to show up repeatedly, no matter how often we may have dealt with it already.
As empaths we feel what others feel. We feel the inner struggles of our loved ones, the suppressed anger of our co-workers and the distress of the people in public places. And most often we are so used to feeing all of this that we do not even recognize we are doing it. This just seems and the way we function. We appear to live a life at the mercy of everyone else’s emotions.
For me, as a life coach and practitioner for trauma healing it is a basic understanding that presence is key for healing our emotional wounds. But how do we apply this to our everyday life? How much presence can we expect from our partner, family members and friends? This is a question that I have been asking myself a lot lately.
Most people that I have met who call themselves an empath, have done this from a place of victimhood. They tend to use the word to explain, underpin and validate their own suffering. While I can understand very well how painful and draining it can be to feel and perceive so much, I do not believe it has to be this way.
For almost my entire adult life, I would feel down after meeting with my family of origin. Every time I came back, I would feel like there was something wrong with me. I felt weak and somehow broken, like I could not function in this world the way I was supposed to. It took me years to understand what had been going on and to break that pattern.
A while ago I went through a quite tough phase. A close friend of mine disappeared from one day to another. This triggered some severe trauma I had from my former boyfriend committing suicide and my demented dad being missing for months, before he was finally declared dead. Both incidents came seemingly out of the blue. One minute they were still there, the next they were dead. It was the unthinkable happening to me twice. And this made me anxious and suspicious for more drama happening in my life.