Friday, May 10, 2013

Oh Empathy, I Hate you.

I was all ready to sit down here and write, and then one of my corgi blogs snuck in a dead dog story and now I'm just worthless.

But I'm trying to stick with the writing everyday thing, so here I go anyway.

I'm actually rather annoyed about the dead dog story; more specifically, I'm annoyed by my reaction.  I read the words that were something like "he was joyfully running and he didn't see the danger and the driver didn't see him either until it was too late" and almost immediately I sobbed-- not a teary-eyed "oh, that is so sad," but an "I-hope-I-didn't-wake-the-kid-with-my-wail-of-grief" sob.  You'd think I'd just watched my own dog meet her end--and that's almost what it feels like.

When I read those words, I experienced a tearing sense of loss in my chest--like something precious had been ripped away from me--and I experience this same thing every. Damn. Time.

And it doesn't even have to be a full story, just a simple "in memory of Daisy; she was my girl," sets me off--hell, I teared up just WRITING that.

But the reaction is only half of it, because after I've expelled this huge burst of emotional energy, I'm close to exhausted. Right now, I could probably lay my head on the table on go to sleep.

It's like I don't get to keep any energy for myself.  I don't expect to not react to a sad story (I'm not dead inside), but such severe reactions, such draining reactions are a little much.

And it's not exclusive to things I read about either.  Interacting with people experiencing strong emotions can knock me out too.  My sympathy turns into this monstrous empathy.  And while I've learned to control my outer reaction in such situations--so that my friends don't end up comforting me because I started crying over their problems--I still have no power over the internal intensity.  If you call me absolutely furious over the way someone treated you today, I'm raging just as hard about it as you are (or at least in a comparable manner--I don't have the anger issues SOME people have *ahem*), only I tend to hide it so that I can offer you support and commiseration instead of trying to douse your fire with gasoline.  When we get off the phone though, I'm still pretty pissed.  I'm not only pissed because I've put myself in your place, but also because someone else did something to you that put YOU in that place.  DON'T FUCK WITH PEOPLE I CARE ABOUT.  I mean, I don't know what I could actually do, but sometimes I worry my emotions will take physical form, like that thing the red woman "birthed" in Game of Thrones, and seek out vengeance.

In case you're wondering, it happens with positive emotions too.  I can get high as a kite over someone's triumph or success, and then I'll have to deal with coming down.  It's like I'm the opposite of an emotional vampire (which I don't believe actually exist, but whatever, it makes the figurative language work).  Instead of siphoning emotional energy from others, I can't seem to keep any for myself.

Honestly?  I probably just need to up my DLPA, but that requires researching dosage suggestions and in case you've forgotten, I'm still traumatized over a dead dog and need a nap.

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