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Empathy vs. Enabling

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Much of what I used to think of as empathy was actually enabling.

As someone who was born into a caretaking role, I learned over and over again to put others first. This also meant that I put myself last for literal decades of my life.

I justified others’ actions and my experience by convincing myself I was “helping.” I explained away these unhealthy connections by over-identifying with the trauma bonds that formed the foundation of my relationships.

In other words, I made excuses for people. I made excuses for myself. I had learned that my value lay in what I could do for others. So I kept giving of myself.

I gave over and over again from an empty cup. I split myself open and allowed others to drain me of my life-force in the name of “love.” I operated day-to-day as a ghost of myself. Why? Because I thought this was how I could prove that I was worthy. This was how I had learned to give and receive love.

I was always hypersensitive. This is an immense gift, but felt like a burden for much of my early life as I did not know what to do with it. I lacked any type of energetic boundaries and was surrounded by the darkest of energies that stayed close in order to harvest from me. I was their light source. I was their energy source. I was their dumping ground.

Many who did not want to take accountability for their healing flocked to me. I allowed them in. After all, it fit with my assumed role and my own self-conception. If I could “give” to them, if I could “save” them, if I could “help” and “heal” them, wouldn’t I have proven myself worthwhile? Would I finally be “good”? And so I tried.

I see now what a smokescreen that all is. What a distraction, a mischaracterization, a complete misunderstanding of my role and the process I am here to facilitate. I needed to move through that extreme version of the experience in order to come back to self. I needed to see and feel this firsthand to understand what I was doing to myself, and take accountability for the choices that had led me there. Through this journey I remembered myself. Through this journey I emerged as the soul I truly am.

I no longer take ownership over other people’s pain. I am not your source, your dumping ground, or a receptacle to spill your wounds onto. I see that all the abuse I endured in the name of “empathy” was not empathic at all - to me or anyone else.

The pain I carried in other peoples’ names did not free them - it enabled them to repeat the same vicious cycles, as I repeated mine. It convinced them that I would always be there to carry the next wound, the next uncomfortable feeling, so they could continue running from themselves. It gave me a false sense of purpose when I did not know the true power I carry within myself. When I thought that love was something that could be given, not something you hold inside.

I am grateful for all these experiences. I am grateful to be free of them now. Both the doing and the undoing have been perfect, whole, holy, and complete. It unfolded exactly as it was meant to, in perfect divine time. In shedding this, I am fully at home with myself.

Now I ask: When you are so busy carrying others on your back that you cannot recognize yourself, do you stop to wonder why you are doing this? Do you harm, drain, and over-give of yourself in the name of “love” or “empathy”? This is not the way we are meant to live. This mentality has passed its time.

Are you ready to revisit this? To see your actions through a brand new lens, and throw the old pair out altogether? You are not a victim. Those who you have carried are not either. Does your soul have the courage to stand up and meet the world in a new way, eye to eye? Throw the pedestals out the window. Throw out the guilt and the obligation while you’re at it. Now you can breathe. Now you can see clearly.

Now that your vision is truly clear, what will you create with this divine life?

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