Looking for Some Help with Empathic “Gifts”

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions
English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The basic gist is this – my mom’s mom was an empath. So was her grandmother. And sadly, so am I. (Got another wallop from my dad’s side of the family, but that’s neither here nor there at the moment.)

And frankly, it’s becoming a problem. As in I’m well on my way to shut in with a load of cats and my knitting status. It manifests itself in 2 ways:

1) People tell me things. Pretty much all the time, anywhere I go. I’ve had people burst into tears at the grocery and begin to tell me their husband is cheating on them, that they had a few too many to drink and clipped a car and left without telling, they think they might be gay, their hamster died, whatever. The running joke in my family is I should go get a job down in Langley. Forget waterboarding – me, a pot of tea, maybe some cookies? I will have the location of the bomb, the members of their cell, their mom’s middle name, and the girl who broke their heart in the 4th grade in under an hour. I seem to generate this “Traveling Confessional, line starts here” field.

2) Part of it’s my own fault – but it’s not that I care that I ask people, that I reach out through the noise. If you lock someone who really doesn’t like kids (but also isn’t a psychopath) in a room with a screaming baby, they will pick the baby up and try to figure out how to calm it down. Not because they suddenly are filled with maternal instincts – but because they are getting a raging migraine and want. the. screaming. to. stop.

So much noise, so much… weight behind things. People just scream their emotions out it seems anymore and I’m… frankly, I’m struggling. I need to learn how to, if not shut it off, them at least turn the dial down. Learn how to use it when it’s honestly time to do so. In situations where folks really truly need to talk something out and it will help, I want to help. I can’t NOT help. It causes physical pain if I don’t help. It’s just there is so much… clutter and so many people who just grab hold and try to use me as their personal emotional trashcan. I attract a lot of emotionally greedy people and things would be a lot worse without my husband – he’s as close to a null as I think a person can be. He’s my mountain to hide in. My wall. But even he struggles under the tide lately, he’s becoming a lot more aggressively protective and I know it’s tough on him. I just don’t really know where to look to learn how to deal with this ‘Gift’.

Any suggestions, directions, shoves, or comments would be greatly appreciated. I tried going to a local coven after being invited by the head of the group. But by the end of the night, after wave after wave of out of nowhere revelations and secrets, she tried to pull me aside to talk about how to start handling thing. In the midst of that, the conversation began to shift, until she was talking about a fight she had with her husband and how her daughter has this cough she is worried about…. she stopped talking suddenly, looked totally freaked out, and then told me as nicely as it could be stated that I really needed to leave. That she was sorry, and I was a nice person and all, but I needed to leave. And not come back. That I would be a disruption to the rest and that I wasn’t to return. Or contact the people in the coven. Which… yeah. Kinda needing some guidance here.