Why do we attract the people that we do?
When people ask me if I have a “type,” I never know how to respond to that. Sure-there are certain physical traits I find appealing and might gravitate to, but it seems as if this said “type,” is choosing me.
This is difficult to articulate because it’s an odd concept; however, I think many people may unknowingly be experiencing the same thing. Stay with me here.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a vampire so badly. I remember dressing up as a vampire on several days…apart from Halloween. (Halloween was my favorite day of the year though). I had the luxury of smearing that white paint across my face and pouring fake blood all over to give off the illusion that I had just attacked- more like MAULED something…or someone. I am going to be 24 years old and I still continue to embody the role of a vampire every year.
For the record, I loved vampires BEFORE Twilight. I was watching Nosferatu at the age of 12 and by 15 I was reenacting all the scenes from Underworld. When my father permitted me the ability to walk to Blockbuster alone, I ran to rent this set of DVDs I had been itching to watch: Vampire Secrets. There was this WORLD that existed underneath us like a parallel universe, only instead of human beings, they were these pale, beautiful, blood-sucking creatures. So, as any other 8th grader would, I started Googling the HELL out of this (or Yahoo-ing, Bing-ing, or Aol-ed it).
I promise, this will all come full circle. The reason I begin this entry with my love for vampires is because I am here to tell you that I have grown up-slightly- and have come to terms with the sad reality that I will never be the beautiful and mysterious vampire you see in the movies; however, I have spent my entire adulthood attracting them. I am surrounded by emotional vampires. The kind of person that drains you until you become nothing but this empty carcass. A host for a lonely soul.
These said “emotional vampires” are synonymous with narcissists. And I, their pray, am what you’d refer to as an “empath.” An empath isn’t some mystical or supernatural being (although sometimes I like to pretend I possess special powers); rather, it is simply someone who feels things on a deeper level. Far deeper than most of us can understand.
What does it look like to be an empath?
1. We gravitate towards those in need. We have dismissed the mere thought of making ourselves a priority. We believe our life’s mission is to help others. It isn’t purely altruistic though. As draining as it can be, it’s rewarding. And that is what keeps us in motion.
2. We welcome darkness. This isn’t totally awful. In certain circumstances, we are a bit dark ourselves. Despite our emotional sensitivity, we use dark and satirical humor to hide our own internal demons. Instead of greeting them in hopes of resolving our inner turmoil, we choose to ignore them so we can focus on the darkness inside others. My closest friends often ask “why they have never seen me cry before.” How do I explain to them that it is far easier to console them when they suffering than to express my own vulnerability. It feels like my JOB to be on call: hence one of the reasons I am completing a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
3. We are tired. Emotionally and physically, we are drained of all energy. I remember walking into a Walmart my freshman year of college. I immediately ran into the bathroom and sobbed like a tired child in need of a long nap. That’s exactly what it felt like. I was so tired. I was so incredibly sad. I was inconsolable.I didn’t understand why, but now I know that these crowded places have these unexplainable effects on my being; I must remain cognizant of my surroundings. Always.
4. We have a keen sense of intuition. With that, we always know when someone is suffering in some form or another. We can’t choose to ignore it. As much as we know how detrimental it can be to invite these individuals into our lives, we can’t leave. That would be an “emotional hit and run.” If we see it, we can’t just leave the scene.
The last characteristic I want to address, is the one that has left me empty. Time and time again. This trait has been my biggest weakness. A blow to my ego. A devastating occurrence.
5. We fall in LOVE with narcissists. We can’t help it. We don’t choose to fall for the once, seemingly, charming individuals who end up leaving us astray and heart broken; but with our empathic souls, we so badly want to find the good in people. We seek to save them. Perhaps we see ourselves in them. Maybe we want the gratification of being able to “fix” the “broken.” The end result is nothing of this sort. The end result is cold and dark. It feels unbearable. You begin to seek out vices (usually of the unhealthy category), and you grip them tightly because you’ve realized you have nothing else to hold. I dedicated my entire being to my former boyfriend. I lifted him up, I praised him, I encouraged him, I supported him. I did everything in my power to provide him with a sense of love he told me he hadn’t experienced before. In return, as I’m sure you have already gathered thus far, I received nothing. After a few months of dating, we were lying in bed and I asked him, “Why haven’t you ever told me I’m beautiful?” His response: “Just not my thing.” Holy shit. I could write an ENTIRE article on that simple yet incredibly complex sentence right there. I dedicated my life to this “man” and the fucking word “beautiful” didn’t exist in his vocabulary. At least not with me.
The point of sharing this, is to open your eyes. We might have more control than we think we do. After we can recognize and acknowledge these certain patterns and character traits we possess, perhaps we can “shake things up.” You can find a tall, dark, brooding man with a satirical sense of humor who WILL tell you that you are beautiful. He (or she) is out there. Use this entry as a guide. A checklist. Remind yourself of your worth and don’t let ANYONE take that away from you.