5. Practical Boundaries: energy vampires and energetic protection
The topic of boundaries is very important to all empaths, who tend to face challenges in developing healthy relationship structures. For the Lover Empath, you tend to be accommodating and will do almost anything for the people you care about. This can stem from fears that you won’t be accepted or loved if you don’t do things in a certain way.
This can also show up in the way you set boundaries—you may struggle to stay firm on them and end up doing things for others in contrast to the original boundary you proposed. These scenarios will be situational, but they can take a toll on you when you are confronted by people who push or press on your boundaries.
Boundaries are a good way to ensure that you are also getting what you need out of a relationship or connection, job situation, and the like. Setting boundaries provides you with more self-empowerment and can help you overcome feelings of fear, guilt, and shame as a part of your empathic journey.
Some people who may be a part of your life could be described as having energy vampire-like behaviors. They end up taking more of your energy than they are able to give, or the relationship is energetically non-mutual. You might feel drained or emotionally gutted after spending time around people who want more of you than you have the capacity for.
This can leave you vulnerable to being taken advantage of as so many people are starved for affection, love, and care, which are emotional needs you like to fulfill for others. This doesn’t mean though that it is your responsibility to fulfill the needs of those around you or individuals who are toxic, harmful, or abusive towards you—or just individuals you choose not to be that person for.
Protecting yourself from toxic energies is important for you to maintain your personal power, sovereignty, and sense of self. It is recommended to have systems in place that can help you manage your boundaries and energetic self-protection.
Here are some suggestions for managing boundaries:
1. Practice stating your opinions out loud
If you are in a situation with a person where your boundaries are constantly being questioned or violated, then consider standing up for yourself (given that you are in a safe enough environment to do so).
For example, you may have a family member that keeps asking you to visit them, when you might not have the money for a plane ticket. Say, for instance, you stated this already to them the first time they asked, but then they ask you three more times because in their mind they might be thinking “no harm in asking.” But for you, them asking could spur on hours of agonizing over whether you can swing it or not. Finally, you cave in, overextend yourself financially, and then feel emotionally stressed or resentful around the situation.
Scenarios like this happen frequently to accommodating empath personality types. It can help if you first figure out what exactly your boundary is and then rehearse what you are going to say to this person in your life.
Here is how to practice:
- Get clear on what you want.
- Remind yourself that you will remain firm on this boundary.
- Write it down if you would like.
- Then repeat your boundary out loud either in front of the mirror or to a friend.
- You can even simplify the statement as much as you would like, leaving out excess explanations of why you cannot do something. Saying something like “I am not available for that.” And just leave it at that.
- When it comes time for the confrontation, whether it is the first, second, or third time you are having to set this boundary, try to be ready for the conversation by being in an emotionally sound headspace.
- Just remember what you practiced and keep things centered on your inner-self and your individual feelings. It can be difficult but try your best not to put yourself in the other person’s shoes if you have made up your mind already on the boundary you want to set. Being too empathetic in this case can cause you to retract your desires and give in to their requests, which might be contrary to what you actually want.
- Afterward, be gentle and kind to yourself. Do something self-care-related or debrief with your friends.
2. Have important or difficult conversations in neutral spaces
Consider the setting when it comes to important discussions with lovers, family members, and colleagues. Be in control of where these conversations will take place. A neutral space is best for the Lover Empath as you won’t be distracted by the perceived dominance of being in either of each other’s spaces.
Although there is a societal expectation that important conversations need to happen in person, this isn’t necessarily the case. You can choose to talk over video chat, phone call, or even direct message if that is what feels best. Remember, you get to choose how you want to approach potentially challenging conversations.
Ideas for neutral meeting spaces:
- Neighborhood park
- Video chat
- Shared conference rooms at work (avoid individual’s offices, for example, if possible)
3. Making tough decisions and cutting relationships off
Sometimes, you do all you can. Your Lover Empath heart is so compromising that you will do whatever it takes to make a relationship work. These might be connections with family members or friends you’ve had for years.
When you wake up to your empathic nature and recognize in which ways others have not been supportive of your boundaries, it can be devastating to come to terms with this. Outside perspectives, therapy, or other networks of support can help if you have been on the receiving end of an energy vampire or narcissistic person.
You might have to process feelings of guilt, shame, or regret. These are valid feelings and can be difficult to confront. You deserve to get your needs met in a way that feels healthy for you. Therefore, you might have to make difficult decisions as far as who is allowed into your life or not.
While you are doing some of the processing work, you might choose to distance yourself from certain people in your life. Or you might need to take the step to cut certain people out of your life. Contemplate what you need, what you can manage, and ensure you have a network around you—in whatever form this may take. Seek to have people who will support your journey and what is best for you—even when you have to make tough decisions that they might not understand or agree with.
6. Practical Ideas for grounding and anxiety
Your daily emotional experience might be accompanied by frayed nerves or a sensation that you are being submerged in nervous excitement. Grounding exercises can help you get through patches of anxiety and stress day-to-day.
The concept of grounding involves bringing your awareness back into the present moment, moving through emotions, and centering yourself in your physical body.
This process can re-orient you to what is right in front of you and help combat overwhelm when anxiety is starting to take over your thought process. Anxiety can be channeled through activities to redirect the energy. Grounding is one coping mechanism for stress and anxiety.
Here are some grounding methods to be aware of for your specific archetype:
1. Gardening or taking care of houseplants
The Lover Empath has a tendency to be cerebral. You like to analyze and think about things. You might spend much of your time in your own head, sitting with your emotions, and contemplating how things feel. To counterbalance this “headiness,” it is recommended that you do some gardening or taking care of houseplants.
This puts you in direct contact with the Earth and allows you to focus on the flow of life and being present. Working with plants in their cycles helps you stay alert to what is needed in the moment. They exist just as they are. In addition, doing something physical like gardening is a way for you to be in your body. By taking physical action you can focus your energy on this tangible experience.
If your living situation doesn’t allow for this, consider visiting a local farm or plant nursery. And if this is not possible, you can also spend an afternoon in the park or a walk in the woods. Being around the rooted nature of plants is the main goal, so do what works for you!
2. Distraction activities
If you don’t feel like doing something that is physically active, positive distraction can work as well. This is a technique that uses activities to keep your mind focused on something other than anxiety or things you are worried about. Try things like coloring, reading, sewing, or cooking for example.
Or you could have a collection of books or study materials available. Reading can help when you need to relax but your mind is feeling active. Or you may choose to just watch a restful movie or zone out on a favorite TV show. For most of these activities, you are able to just sit and relax while you do them.
Some other things you can try are drawing and sketching in adult coloring books, organizing something such as cleaning out your spice cabinet or listening to music. Finding what works for you could take some trial and error. Make a list of what works so you have a few activities you can do as needed or when anxiety arises.
3. Time to yourself
The next grounding suggestion for the Lover Empath is to spend more time with yourself for self-reflection. While you do feel comforted and validated when you are in the presence of others, it can sometimes help you gain clarity on a situation without anyone else’s opinions or emotional energy interfering. This way you can find a sense of grounding and security in the reality of your own experiences as an individual.
Make some space in your life for you time that involves journaling, contemplating, or just sitting and thinking through your own feelings. Coming into a deeper relationship with what is going on within you allows you to feel more balanced.
4. Personal aesthetic
Your archetype is very invested in experiences of beauty and pleasure. This extends into your external appearance. Managing how you present yourself can positively impact your mood and ground you in your own creative process and body.
Developing your own personal aesthetic, putting resources towards this, and taking space to invest your energy into this aspect of your self-expression improves how you feel about yourself. Getting ready each day, even if you aren’t going to see anyone, has a beneficial effect on your psyche.
In addition, you can choose things that are visually pleasing for you, inspiring, and comfortable. Taking creative control over your appearance is an important step for self-awareness and self-care for the Lover Empath.