How to Avoid the Toxic Empathy TrapNov 30, 2023
As an HSP (highly sensitive person), one of the hardest lessons I had to learn on this journey is that there is such a thing as being "TOO" understanding.
If you came across this post, chances are you're the type of person who...
💔 Is constantly empathizing with people by trying to place yourself in their shoes and imagine how situations would look from their perspectives.
💔 Are always open to seeing things from another viewpoint, to the point that it becomes detrimental to your wellbeing.
💔 And you don’t just give out second chances. You give out third, fourth, and fifth chances until you reach the point of feeling like you have nothing else to give.
Without boundaries, this amazing ability to feel compassion for others can lead to burnout, resentment and even depression. Symptoms of toxic empathy.
What is Toxic Empathy?
Toxic empathy is when a person over-identifies with someone else’s feelings to the point that they start to directly take on the responsibility for these feelings as their own, often to their own detriment. When we experience toxic empathy, we not only mirror other people's feelings, we absorb them. This is extremely common amongst those who identify as an HSP.
It's important to recognize that there is a fine line between empathizing with someone and enabling them. However, this can be challenging for individuals who unknowingly adopted fawning as a maladaptive coping strategy for overcoming adverse childhood experiences.
Fawning as Trauma Response & Its Relationship to Toxic Empathy
When highly sensitive, empathic children grow up in volatile or abusive homes, they can unconsciously take on the role of parent as a survival strategy.
If the parents themselves lack personal energetic boundaries, are emotionally imbalanced or carry unresolved pain that they project onto the other members of the household, the child can begin to take on the emotions of their caretakers as their own.
In an effort to cope with the anxiety and fear that often comes with navigating emotional dysfunction and trauma in the home, the child can begin to develop toxic empathy and instinctually adopt fawning as a survival strategy.
Unaddressed, this often manifest as relationship addiction in adulthood and can be detrimental to one's emotional, mental, and physical health.
Transmuting Toxic Empathy
If you resonate with the context of this blog post and are concerned that you may be exhibiting signs of unresolved pain and toxic empathy, it is first important to forgive yourself for who you had to be in order to survive.
Second, it is important to recognize that regardless of what your past experiences have taught you, you are not required to take on the burdens of others or be the MARTYR in your relationships.
There is a thin line between UNDERSTANDING and ENABLING.
Empathy, in its purest form is one of the foundational building blocks of any healthy relationship. It
enables us to practice compassion and relate to others, which in turn improves the capacity for us to practice effective communication and conflict resolution.
If you want to break the toxic empathy cycle, while empowering the people around to rise to their full potential, commit to...
💫 Empowering others to play a role in solving their problems instead of taking them on as your own
💫 Effective communication and boundary-setting to ensure reciprocity in relationships
💫 Developing awareness around your needs so that you can practice honoring them
💫 Prioritizing your emotional, mental and physical wellbeing over pleasing others
YOU DESERVE the same unconditional love, compassion and support you so readily give to others.
Want to learn the art of being there for others without allowing their feelings or problems to trample your path to inner peace? Schedule a complimentary Breakthrough Session.