Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Saving My Sanity

I'm one of those empaths. You know the kind....

The ones who always seem to want to help, even if they don't know how.
The ones that feel what others feel, and feel bad for them.
The ones that speak, but words get twisted and you end up looking like an idiot.
The ones that want to save the world, but from behind a curtain of anonymity.
The ones that are caught between a helpful heart, and a rational mind.

That's that biggie. Helpful heart, but a rational mind.
It's something I've struggled with my entire life.
(If you're keeping track, it's also the perfect victim profile for the narcissist and/or sociopath.)

I've struggled with being different my whole life. I see things, invisible connections, from people to
people, people to things, things to people, things to things....it's never-ending.
I can tell if someone is lying (most of the time).
I remember what you say. Almost word for word, but especially the feeling of what was said.
I hear what you say. But I also hear what you don't say. I notice the words you use. The words you don't use. I see silence. I see withdrawal. I see a million things from you that you probably don't ever realize.
I am forever thinking of the 'next-step.' The possibilities. OCD? Ha! I laugh in the face of OCD!

For instance, I have knives on magnets on the side of my refrigerator.
But they all must have sharp sides towards the wall. You know, in case one falls or someone reaches for something and accidentally touches one. I don't want any accidental stab wounds...wouldn't that be hard to explain at the ER?

When coming to a stop sign on a bumpy road, I will always veer to the right side (outside of) the lane....just so I can avoid the bumps...but also so I am not close to the middle yellow line and oncoming traffic - just in case oncoming traffic is doing the same but veering towards me.

In any endeavor, I strive for 'what will the person after me need first to make this easier?' and I work towards that.

I have safety pins on the inside bottom of all my shirts...just in case someone might need one.

I bring black dry-erase markers to class- because I've seen professors struggle trying to find one that works.

I will pull to the furthest gas pump available so there's room for others behind me.

Thinking of others after me just comes naturally to me. I want to make things easier for others. I want to help them. 6,387 tabs open in my brain, all.the.time. And there's no shut off valve.

Most people don't even realize I (and people like me) do such things. They're too wrapped up in their own scenario they can't see what's really around them. None of the blessings, all of the pain.
I don't get it.

Then again, I don't get how people cannot see that the stoplight they've been sitting at for three minutes turned green a minute ago...

Don't get me wrong. I am not perfect. I'm hard to get to know. I have so many layers, most people only see one or two and think they know me. Not so. I am complex, but easygoing.
I say weird things. And I don't realize they're weird until they've left my mouth.
I can trip over my own feet (and sentences, which is why I prefer writing!).

The rational side of me is a stickler for rules or what most people term, 'my inner morality.'
I am *nothing* like my family. None of them.
Oh, I have similarities. Although I am sure that's due to living with them for the first years of my life.
For instance, I see nothing wrong with cutting toxic people out of my life. Even if it's a family member. My parents believe that's absurd and (probably) that I am a bitch for doing so.

I make decisions (in dealings with others) based on their behavior. For instance, if any of my three children didn't talk to me but a handful of times in 15 years, and the other two talk to me at least once or twice a month... guess which one isn't getting 1/3 of my estate? Good behavior should be rewarded. Likewise, poor behavior should NOT be treated the same. Not punished, just not rewarded the same. Blood is not family. I think I've said that before.

Because of my past dealings with narcissists and sociopaths, I am very much aware of watching actions and behavior. Words are easy to change. Behavior is not.

An old saying goes, 'a snake sheds its skin, not its fangs.'
Words are cheap, easy, and replaceable.
Behavior is not so easy to change.

So when it comes to the politics of today? I've taken to hiding 80% of the political stuff. I downloaded F.B.Purity and set it to scan for keywords and omit showing me those posts. I've unfollowed extremist friends who cannot see past their own biases. I have unfollowed all the news sites.

In the beginning I tried replying with facts to extremist friends 'funny memes' et al. But it truly gets me only grief. Where I try to show compassion and set the record straight with facts (on both sides), I am met with name-calling and a lack of logical discussion (from both sides).

You see, no one wants to give up their bias. NO ONE.
And because of this, and because I am empathetic to others (just not their lack of logic), I have taken steps to never see the divisive things they post.

The good news? After unfollowing, keyword blocking, hiding and yes, sometimes unfriending... my Facebook newsfeed is now a half-page long.
It takes me seconds to read.

And you know what?
It's saving my sanity.
So, I think I will grab a cup of coffee and go read a nice book.

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