When All Else Fails To Heal You – Understanding the Empath
If you’re dealing with symptoms that no one can diagnose, much less treat effectively, maybe there’s someplace else you’ve yet to look. I’ve been in alternative medicine for twenty years; in 2012 I started attracting clients who had already done everything they and others knew to do for their ailments. Most exhausted all the traditional Western modalities, which led to a bevy of alternative modalities. None of those were successful either, and as it seems to be the natural progression for most, next came more esoteric concepts and therapies. Many entered into what some call the New Thought movement deep and hard. They tried chanting, positive affirmations, and numerous energy medicines, and these too were ineffective. One day in a session it hit me; I was able to intuit that the aches and pains of my client weren’t her own.
Everyone I’d seen from that point onward had a remarkable list of can’t-be-coincidence similarities: they were highly sensitive, very empathic, had an unrealistic sense of responsibility for others, and had tried everything to heal but couldn’t. As a medical intuitive I’d been used to identifying underlying causes beyond the physical body that contributed to a pain or illness, but this took it one step further.
I was able to see the pattern. A sense of responsibility was virtually injected into their blood streams from early on. Some actually heard directly, everything from “Sit still and make your grandmother happy” to “I can’t take care of your father, I’ll need you to do it for me while I take care of your brother” and alike. Others sensed that it was their job to hold things together. Many were super sensitive to difficult family dynamics and became the peacemaker. Some tried to entertain family members with musical proficiency, art, or a unique sense of humour. Others could sense emotional difficulties and reached out energetically to heal those in emotional pain. And all had become people pleasers.
If you take a step back for a moment, you can see how feeling responsible for others and having a high degree of empathic abilities can be an unhealthy if not dangerous combination. Empaths by definition take on the thoughts, energy, and characteristics of others, and extreme empathy, combined with an overblown sense of responsibility, can actually manifest in pains and illness that are not their own.
I was then able to intuit a series of steps that over time became more and more powerful. For example, one woman who had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue said she saw dramatic improvements in just four days when nothing else helped in the last ten years. Another released what she called ‘several decades of anxiety’ in just one session. And many have released years of repressed grief and their related symptoms (colon, breathing, skin etc. problems) in just a few sessions.
I know, that sounds ridiculous, but if we’re open to something extraordinary, my belief is that something extraordinary often happens. Is this a panacea? Of course not; there are too many factors to claim guaranteed success – even aspirin doesn’t work the same for everyone. But if you identify with being empathic, intuitive, sensitive, and you’ve had little success elsewhere, why not give this a try?
I am not responsible for the soul path of another person. Neither are you. You may know this consciously, but odds are really high that you haven’t yet fully embodied this awareness.
The patterns of responsibility start early on. For some, it begins in our first few days in the womb. We know now that if a mother smokes, her baby smokes, too. But what we don’t often recognize is that if a mother is depressed, the baby also shares that chemical imbalance. In our first nine months of life, we grow, expand, and become aware of what’s happening with / within /for / to our mother, including sensing her fear, anger, and grief.
A few years later, if, for example, our mother was depressed or our father was an alcoholic, we sometimes take on responsibility for those conditions. That often includes blaming ourselves: “If I were a better child, Dad wouldn’t drink and Mom would be happier, too.” Many of us began doing what others wanted us to do in order to be loved and perceived as good. This can manifest in ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ emulation to align with our caregiver(s) actions. For example, a child may become compassionate like his mother or stubborn like his father. Ironically, because the actions are in alignment with what the parent may say or do, the child is then called ‘good’. Being good may get us love and attention, but getting love because of what we do or don’t do is the very definition of conditional love, a very low vibration. This creates an unhealthy pattern that sets up all kinds of defeatist patterns for relationships later in life. As children, especially, we wished others around us to be happy and well. So we danced, acted extra ‘silly’, and eventually told jokes, or used art, or good grades, or making dance or sports teams to get love or make others proud of us – to alleviate the fear, anger, and grief of our caregivers.
The subconscious desire to heal one or both parents or caregivers becomes pervasive throughout life and expresses itself in a variety of ways. Many of us receive positive praise for putting others first, and some of us go into careers and manage to get paid for facilitating healing (of any type) in others. The overweight parents raise the son or daughter who wants to become a nutritionist or personal trainer. The narcissistic father raises the daughter who becomes a psychologist, social worker, or other form of counselling practitioner in order (subconsciously) to understand what makes him tick. The superficially inclined parent raises a child who wants to explore and go deeper, and who often becomes an academic or intuitive – a seeker of truth. The grief-stricken mother gives birth to the child who becomes an energy healer or a comedian.
The sense of responsibility that most babies learn, when combined with being an empath, makes us absorb the problems and take on the imbalances in others. We typically try to heal others ahead of maintaining a healthy practice of self-care. Some of us burn out after barely a decade in a field that, if chosen and performed with awareness and use of the steps I’m writing about, could last a lifetime. If we get paid to be a healer of any type, or receive any other form of strong positive reinforcement, it’s even harder to let go of the learned sense of responsibility from infancy. Our ego identification is with being a helper and that, combined with the metaphysically true and physically untrue concept of oneness, creates a one-way exchange of negative energy that we take on and hold onto – sometimes forever.
Clearly, this is unhealthy for all. With this new awareness of an underlying cause, take steps to ensure that your actions are coming from unconditional love rather than the learned sense of responsibility. The latter also includes ‘should be’, guilt, fear, and shame. Be mindful in your thoughts words and actions, “Am I doing this because I want to, or because I should do so, based on someone else’s belief system?”
Why We Absorb the Maladies of Others
I am currently working with a very wise, spiritual woman I’ll call ‘Amy’ who can clearly recall being 3 years old and having an awareness of how ill her mother was at that time. Because babies only know love, Amy wanted to do something to help her mom. Amy remembers going to her mother’s bedside wanting “desperately to do something” and recalls “healing her mother” in that moment. After that experience, Amy’s mother did feel better, but Amy felt worse. Much worse.
She presented to me, in her own words, “barely able to walk”. She’d already had surgeries on her hip and feet, and doctors didn’t know what to do next. I was able to intuit that Amy actually absorbed the energy of her ailing mom at that time, and has been holding onto that stagnant energy ever since. And this is not uncommon. In my experience of late, I’ve found it to be the norm more than the exception. Amy’s loving act was both effective and detrimental at the same time – effective for her mom, and detrimental to her.
This seemingly loving intention created a pattern of feeling responsible for others’ health and so much more. Even as a youth, Amy felt responsible for holding the family container together. She recalls feeling responsible for everyone’s wellbeing, and of course acted from that ill-perceived place. Everyone else bought into that version of reality, too. Her siblings and mother blamed her for all that went ‘wrong’. This affected Amy’s self-esteem, which is energetically tied into the efficiency of the immune system. That, in addition to the energetic transfer, got Amy very sick in her youth and she has been plagued with serious pain and illness for many decades since.
Without a very conscious awareness driving the action, her soul’s contract of being a helper called her toward this event and its subsequent learning opportunities. Years of pain and illness drove her to try so many modalities and practitioners but few thought to ask about her childhood, and none created safe space for her to share this event with them.
I explained that this learned sense of responsibility has been burdening her entire life. The one-way flow of energy when not understood makes us too attached to other people’s feelings and even their opinions. We become people pleasers, denying our own sense of self and always focusing on others. But just like we hear on every airplane ride about the oxygen masks, we need to take care of ourselves first. Amy is now integrating this information using the tools I’ve given her and as we work together doing specific exercises to fine-tune her empathic abilities, she is healing slowly but surely of ailments that have plagued her for five decades.
While Amy’s level of illness is one of the more extreme I’m working with, the underlying causes are the same for many of us. The sense of responsibility we often learn early on makes us live at the mercy of other people’s thoughts and opinions of us. We don’t dare anger another for fear we’ll be unloved. We don’t dare say what we want because we don’t feel worthy of having our needs met or can’t handle someone saying “no” to us. And we end up doing things out of fear, guilt, or shame – all very low vibrational patterns – in a feeble attempt to be loved by others.
Guilt, fear and shame create resentment and a resultant constriction of energy, leaving us unable to fully heal or even excel in many areas of our lives. On the converse, acting from compassion and unconditional love is an expansive energy, opening us up to the healing and abundance of the Universe.
All of nature includes both problems and solutions; we only have to look further than our learned realties to see it. To me, non-diagnosable symptoms, or even diagnosed illness that had no obvious cause were just a jigsaw puzzle needing to be filled in from beyond the physical world of prescriptions, surgeries, and even existent energy healing modalities. When I was open, the answers came to me, and invite you to do the same to see if this information resonates with you on a deeper level than solely mind awareness.
About the Author
Dave Markowitz helps empaths, intuitives, sensitives, and alike transform illness into health. Using medical intuition and a variety of energetic healing arts, he works worldwide by phone or Skype, and in person in Portland Oregon. For more information visit http://www.davemarkowitz.com/
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