Exit Eden


Having always vacillated between light and shadow, I would be lying if I told you that there weren’t times in my life where I lingered too long in both places.  Balance was a struggle for me, especially during the times in my life where I felt that I was not in a place where certain parts would be accepted. Even now, especially being an Empath, there are very few places where the shadows are free to roam.

The confines of my own thoughts, numerous hand written pages (now a blog) and a select few confidants gave those shadows safe haven. However, there was a place where the shadows were completely free;

Free of judgement,

Free of shame,

Free of being misunderstood.

It was my Dark Eden.

It was a sacred place to me, because within it I had vested aspects of myself that I never truly felt safe enough to express anywhere else. It had been quite some time since I was able to go back. As fate would have it, I was given the opportunity and was only too happy to return. When I arrived, it felt like I had never left. I was welcomed warmly, and though some things had changed over time, the most important things were exactly as I remembered them.  I felt like I had come home.

As anyone would be when revisiting a place that is special to them, I was excited to spend time in each of the places that I enjoyed the most, especially the heart of the garden, which was the most exquisite part. To most others, it would not look very appealing. Emily Bronte said it best:

“A source of little visible delight, but necessary.”

When I got there at long last, something new had appeared amid the darkness. A great tree, much like one in the Biblical Eden, and this too was a tree of knowledge. However, there was no warning not to eat it, nothing was “forbidden” here, so I picked the fruit and ate of it.

It was bitter, almost rancid tasting, and after I begrudgingly swallowed, something happened…

The most terrible feeling washed over me. I felt as if I were caught giggling at a funeral, and every onlooking pair of eyes glared at me as if I were the widow who wore red. I was confounded, and yes, angry. I had done nothing wrong, in fact, there was no “wrong” that could be done here. Then it occurred to me;

My shadows were no longer welcomed there.

The Empath (as well as the highly empathetic) sometimes endures a variation of what they call white room torture. It is a form of psychological torture where the prisoner is placed in a room where virtually everything is white. There is no sound, no color. Everything the prisoner touches, eats or interacts with is stark white. The lack of contrast and sensory deprivation causes the prisoner to feel isolated and lose all sense of themselves. This is how truly vital darkness is, and living in a world that would prefer we stay in the white room, where to be an Empath means love and light “or else,” our dark Edens become just as vital; and here I was being expulsed from this my most sacred and treasured place.

As the gates closed and locked behind me, I felt the most horrible rejection I had ever felt in my life. My blue-violet paradise was now a cold, grey tomb. It is a loss from which I’m not sure I will ever completely recover.

Solitude of the Mind and Conversations I’ll Never Have

“Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.” – Carl Jung


I adore Carl Jung’s work, not only as a renowned psychoanalyst, but as a pioneer of the exploration of the shadowed self. (And, of course, he’s an INFJ as well)

I have read this quote numerous times and always appreciated its meaning, however that meaning deepened and became far more personal to me in the recent past. When I came across this quote again recently, I recalled a discussion I had with a friend not long ago:

At one point he’d become frustrated because as he was talking, he would pause for a moment to allow me to interject, and I could only offer silence or a few awkward, fragmented words. People often get frustrated with me because of this. They think I’m holding out, holding back, afraid to speak my mind, afraid to tell the truth (and que es veritas, anyhow?).

What people cannot understand is in the midst of an intense conversation, I’m asked a question or expected to respond and a multitude of thoughts rise in my mind like the bubbles in a boiling pot of water. Add to this being an Empath; the onslaught of all of my feelings, all of their feelings, the rolling avalanche of all things past and the run away train of what is to come….

It’s a wonder I can speak at all.

And yes, in true INFJ fashion, I have mulled over the countless things I wish I could have said at the time, all the reasons I could not, and knowing that even if I had, the chances they would have been received the way I intended  are slim. It is truly a double edged sword; An INFJ that cannot quickly organize their thoughts coupled with the Empath’s cautiousness lest they say too much.  As I mulled this over, it was difficult to identify exactly how I felt, which sort of struck me. Empaths are experts when it comes to feelings, right? It wasn’t quite sadness or regret, it wasn’t anger or resentment, and then I came across this quote again, and it felt like a boulder landed on my chest.

It was loneliness, and not just loneliness, but several interpretations of it.

It was the loneliness you imagine someone felt watching a lover waving good-bye as a train left the station in one of those old movies. It was the loneliness a child feels watching all the other children play and not being invited to join in because they’re not very good at the game. It was the loneliness you feel when a group of people laughs at an inside joke that you’re not privy too and end up sort of feeling like the punchline.

It is a crippling and sometimes maddening loneliness, because yes, I want to be able to express exactly what’s happening in my mind at the time, but it could take weeks, maybe months to completely understand it myself. By then, the moment has long since passed, and it’s too late to turn to it again. This is why in a room full of people, even if it seems like I am having the time of my life, this feeling of perpetual solitude is draped over my shoulders and wrapped around me like an old shawl. Sure, I wear it well, but to most others it looks more like Linus’ blue blanket than anything else. I must admit, it does offer me a sense of security. It’s often easier to let others assume what they like rather than add to the confusion by trying to explain, especially when I haven’t fully grasped the concept yet myself.

And then what of this innate gift of mine? What am I supposed to do when I know that even the most accurate, concise phrasing of my thoughts are going to destroy the person? After some thought, or at some point in the future, I could have said to this person “look, I wasn’t lying or trying to flatter you when I said you’re a good person, because in many ways you are; but don’t think I don’t know, that I haven’t always known that you’re also a monster.”

(At this point, the dejection and cold rage would set in, and if it were possible for me to continue, it would go as such)

“If that bothered me, I wouldn’t be standing here having this conversation.”

(Now, you have to try and understand the context here, because while some people would possibly find some solace in those words, the person in question is not just some person. This would ultimately be my undoing, because in their mind,  a truly good person would NEVER accept a monster. It is the great “fuck you” of the ages. People always say they want to be loved and accepted for exactly what they are, but when that happens the one who does typically ends up being resented for it. Please note too that “monster” is subjective; it has more to do with the way this person sees themselves. Not that there isn’t a modicum of truth to it, but guess what, it’s true for pretty much everyone, some are just better at hiding it than others)

I could go on, but even now, I find it difficult to continue. There’s a sense of futility that I cannot for the life of me seem to shake. Plus, this is only one example. This has happened at least once with every single person I have been close to. There have been times when I was gifted the chance to revisit these thoughts and convey them. I am immensely grateful for those times. However, that is the exception, not the norm.

And so it goes. Maybe one day I will have the opportunity to finish this, maybe not. However, should the chance arise, I promise you, dear readers, I will try to see it through.

The Top 5 Things Empaths (this one at least) are Sick of Hearing…

Unless you live in my skin, you really don’t know what its like to experience what I or any Empath experiences. Believe me, its not all bad. There are times I am awash in a sea of gratitude for all that I see and have seen, felt and do feel. Then, there are times when I wish I could remove it from my being. I’m sure we’ve all felt at times being an Empath is both a blessing and a curse.

That being said, whether a sunny or stormy horizon, there are things that I truly get sick of hearing over……and over…….and over again.


1. You’re one of those “empath” people aren’t you?

Why yes, yes I am. That in and of itself isn’t so bad, it’s what comes after that truly irks my soul. Things such as:

  • So, you’re psychic, right?

I don’t know about psychic. Some people consider being an Empath a preternatural ability. I find Beethoven’s ability to compose amazing music preternatural, especially considering he composed The 9th Symphony completely deaf. I don’t consider myself any different. It’s a gift that I and others  possess that other people do not. Likewise, there are people that are incredible painters while I make excellent stick figures.

  • Can you read me? Or how about my boyfriend/girlfriend etc? Tell me everything!

Unless we offer, please don’t ask us to do this. It’s rude for several reasons, and here are a few:

First, you are asking us to do a service and 95% of the time, you have no intention of compensating the person you’re asking. As I said, there are many people with innate talents and amazing skills, but you don’t expect them to work for free. You don’t realize that doing that is indeed work. Yes, we may naturally be able to “read” people, but in order to remain sane (or at the very least, reasonably functional), we have to keep a filter on almost constantly. You’re asking us to remove the filter, allow whatever energy you send regardless if it’s sunbeams or sludge, to come into us only to have to filter it all out again. That takes time and effort.

Second, it gets to a point where it’s almost dehumanizing. We’re not machines available for your use whenever you’re uncertain about yourself or a particular situation you’re involved with or trying to deal with the negativity you’re trying to process. We’re not your spiritual/psychological waste treatment centers, we’re people, just like you and need to be treated as such.

Third, and this expands on the dehumanizing factor above, no one likes to be used, and even the most well meaning people can become parasitic when it comes to Empaths. You will find that MANY Empaths are loners and have very very few close friends. This often happens because we have to keep a distance from those who seek more to latch on than reciprocate. Sometimes people aren’t always aware of the fact that they’re doing this. Some can be gently but firmly told about how this behavior effects us, others can’t. If you are one of the latter, we’ll either take you in extremely small doses or avoid you at all costs. The energy expenditure required to keep that group from latching on is too much. And by the way, that friend you always call when you’re down or when your life is falling apart? It would be nice to remember them when you’re planning an evening out or just to say hi and see how they’re doing.

2.  You’re such a strong person

Again, I know this is meant to be a compliment, and  we appreciate it. However, we’re human and have our limits just like everyone else. When we’ve reached our human limit or are having a difficult time, nothing is more invalidating than playing the “you’re a strong person” card. I don’t know how or why it happened, but this idea that Empaths should quietly endure not only the world’s suffering but our own as well in perfect serenity has been a bane of mine and I’m sure many others. You will seldom see an Empath express their own hurt, anger sadness etc. This is likely because they have repeatedly had those they tried to be vulnerable with either hurt them at this time or display an inexplicable dissonance that renders them unable to deal with what the Empath has no doubt nursed them through countless times. So, we either deal with our own “stuff” quietly by ourselves (which I don’t recommend, by the way) or we stick with a very select few that we know we are safe with. The trouble is, we don’t want to visit the same frustrations that I described in item one on people we care about. We don’t want to burn other people out, so if an Empath has ever unloaded and broken down in your presence, feel honored.

3.  You’re here to bring healing, light, hope etc. to those who suffer.

Thanks. Way to pass the buck. Yes, we may be able to help, but the bulk of the “healing” effort needs to be done by the person who needs the healing, not the healer themselves in these cases. Go to any doctor, therapist, even spiritual adviser or life coach and they will listen to what you have to say and they will give you suggestions.  If you don’t take those suggestions or do any of the work entailed, how do you expect to heal? The same applies to Empaths. We’re not miracle workers. What we offer is a perspective that many others don’t have, especially those skilled at divorcing their own emotional thinking and reactions.

I have provided an ear to many people who needed to vent. Venting is fine, I don’t mind when people vent. It’s necessary for people to get those thoughts and emotions out of their system. Understand that there is a difference between venting and dumping.  Venting occurs when someone is in essence making the efforts and need to commiserate with another person about their struggles, or they’ve reached an impasse in whatever they are endeavoring to do and need guidance. Whatever the case may be, the person in question is taking action to improve the situation. However great or small the action, if they are doing something, I’ll never hesitate to lend an ear. The problem occurs when someone comes to me complaining about the same problem over and over and over again with no inclination to actually do anything about it. They have a constant ring around their ass from long stretches of time sitting on the pity pot. They throw the biggest and most elaborate pity parties and want EVERYONE to come, and the Empath is usually the guest of honor because it’s what they’re supposed to do, right?


Furthermore, I think calling Empaths the “healers” of the world marginalizes them. Maybe they’re meant to invent the next kitchen gadget or write a really useful phone app or software program. Maybe they’re mechanics or architects or business owners. Stop shoving us into categories that disallow us our intellectual exercise. We feel and we think. A balanced Empath knows when to employ intuition, emotion and logic equally.

4. Do you believe in…

Just because someone is an Empath does not necessarily mean they follow any one particular spiritual path or any spiritual path at all. Some may follow the Abrahamic  religions while others may follow non Judaeo-Christian paths. Some may be atheist or agnostic. Some may be vegan, some may not. Some may drink or use certain substances recreationally and some may not. We’re individuals just like everyone else.

5. You’re cold-hearted, an ice queen, uncaring, never loved me etc. etc.

This may be relatable to some, it is certainly the most personal in my case.

I have often been accused of being uncaring, mean, icy, cruel, unloving and all sorts of other things when I refused to compromise my own integrity and well being for the sake of others. Just because I am an Empath does not mean I owe you anything except the same basic human decency and consideration I would give to a complete stranger. I’m not a mean person, truly. I can be blunt at times and when angry or stressed have to be careful of my own emotional responses. It’s something I struggle with and still endeavor to work on. I’ve improved greatly over the last 10 years or so. What I am is someone who knows their own value and sees their own worth, someone who is not codependent, someone who will not put themselves or their loved ones at risk unnecessarily.

Anyone I have ever loved, I still love and always will. I don’t think there is a person who has hurt me so gravely that they have lost my love. Though I may have said things in anger or when hurt, to know me is to know that while my anger passes and my wounds heal, my love remains. However, there are times when that love has to be felt at a distance because to do so closely would put myself and those closest to me at risk for being hurt. This is not to say I seek to shield myself or my children from all pain. That’s just not possible. That’s not to say that if my circumstances were different that I wouldn’t assess a situation differently. When making decisions as to who is in close proximity to me in my life, I take all persons involved into consideration. Myself and my children are ALWAYS first, especially my children.

Truth be told, there are people in my life that I could have and would have done a great deal more for than I had if I only had myself to worry about. Being that isn’t the case, I’ve had to make some very difficult decisions and remove people from my life that I never thought I would have to. Did I only make those choices for my children? No, certainly not. There is only so much any human being can take, and when I’ve reached my limit, that’s it. I have also stated in previous posts that I have my own demons to contend with, however I will do whatever I can to keep my damage from damaging my children. I’ve born the brunt of other’s darkness, especially during my childhood. It is my constant endeavor not to cast my shadows on others whenever possible. They have enough of their own to contend with.




The Battle Empath


I know how we are seen by others, or rather how they would like to see us. You hear the word “Empath” and this almost angelic image comes to mind, or perhaps the image of a martyr you once saw on a prayer card; their placid faces the picture of serenity, eyes upturned toward the heavens, crosses clutched to their chests or perhaps a sprig of flowers? Or maybe it evokes the image of a gentle maternal figure, or a Job-like old man?

Allow me to disabuse you of that delusion.

Not all of us, but many are well armed and armored. We have faced many foes before, both within and outside of ourselves, and you don’t frighten us.


Yes, we are endowed with a certain grace; elevated by the integrity, honesty and humility we possess and by the respect we have earned. You cannot, however, make saints of us. We will fall from grace when necessary, especially for the greater objective and the greater objective is always Truth. Falsehood makes us ill at ease, it is disconcerting and uncomfortable. We cannot for a great length of time play along with the game or applaud a good show. We see the wires holding the acrobats. We are very much paying attention to the man behind the curtain. We look about us and see the glossy eyed spectators in their awe, and they never understand our disdain for the irksome farce we are enduring. Yet, we endure it for a time. It is, after all, the price of admission, and we endure because we seek the back stage pass, and we always get the backstage pass.

We understand that the show has its purpose and a great many enjoy it, however, we have to know how it all works. We are more fascinated by the prospect of finding the trap doors (even if we occasionally must fall through one) than watching the actor disappear in a puff of smoke. We want to watch the gears turn, see every mechanism, every lever and pulley. We want to know its purpose, what it controls, what happens if I press “THIS” button?! Some Empaths (myself included) are insatiably curious. So, what happens when we are thwarted from our mission? That depends on the Empath.

Some are gifted with that Job-like patience, they will get to the truth but will extract it with the steady handed precision of a surgeon. Others, however, will go hacking away like a machete through jungle vines (guilty as charged). When the obstructions continue, when the impasse is reached, when the stalemate occurs, you very well may see an Empath lose their patience.

One perspective on this is described in author and blogger HG Tudor’s article The Empathic Supernova. This is a fairly accurate portrayal of this phenomenon from one perspective and for certain highly empathic persons and Empaths alike. However, for the Empath, there is more to it than the simple declaration of “enough is enough.” For Empaths like myself, those of us that are acutely aware that the truth is in there somewhere but keeps eluding us, it is a declaration of war. It is a war against deceit and duplicity, a war against fallacy and farce. It may even at times be the age old war of good against evil. Some of us employ a scortched earth policy, others a war of attrition, sometimes both. We know what we risk, and it is a calculated risk; but nothing risked, nothing gained.

Please don’t misunderstand, what I am talking about here is not petty revenge. Few if any of us are willing to devote the time or effort to that. I am talking about being in a position where it becomes necessary. There are instances where one’s own person or family may be at risk or it is one’s obligation to fight. Do not be surprised by the presence of Empaths in law enforcement, the military or other careers that may place them and/or others in harms way.  You may recall, I cited the film Red Dragon in The Gloaming. The character of Will Graham is a true Empath. His gifts allow him to be a highly effective investigator, and they do not stop him from protecting himself, his loved ones or society as a whole from danger.  He would be, in my opinion the quintessential Battle Empath; highly gifted, courageous, and flawed.

While I have cited fiction, these people do indeed exist. They may not call themselves “Empaths” or even acknowledge what it is that they possess. However, this does not negate what they are. The Battle Empath is a stern reminder that our gift does not always manifest in the gentlest of ways nor is it draped in the finery of the “White Lighter.” It would be nice if the only purpose we had to serve was to spread love and light, but that is an unrealistic and I daresay dangerous presumption. We must remember that our kindness must be tempered with a noble selfishness, lest our loyalty become foolishness. Our higher self cannot fully disconnect from our animal nature. To do so would risk us perpetuating the role of prey and of victimhood. We are stronger and suited to a better purpose than that.