Toxic empathy is when we take on another’s energy,
mood, character, and/or behaviors as our own. What that means is, that we can temporarily lose sight of who we are and become a similar version of that “outside influence” which, at times, can also include surrounding environments and/or certain circumstances as well.
Boundaries help us preserve and maintain what is of value to and inside us. Healthy empathy is an awareness of another’s feeling system and attempting to understand how they might feel without taking it on or becoming it. Toxic Empathy on the other hand, goes that step further in that one changes in accordance with the influence. This can be conscious or unconscious. When taking on outside influences in this way, it can alter how we would naturally respond by distorting energy, mood, character, and/or behavior to match or suit the nature of the influence. Once that occurs, we have abandoned ourselves, and often, can feel confused about who we are, what we’re doing, and why. This illustrates how toxic empathy creates an unhealthy attachment, that sometimes, isn’t that easy to just shake off.
So, we have to be mindful of outside influences but more importantly, we need to notice when we are reverting backwards or acting outside of our personal character. Once we notice the presence of influence we can stop, stand firm and return to our own personal way of being. This is the act of healthy separation which, establishes an alignment that is more self-governing while fostering a quality of inter-dependence in relational, environment and situational interactions. You are free to be who you are. Another’s behavior, mood, energy, character doesn’t have the power in and of itself to blot you out. You can set healthy boundaries to protect and maintain your own sense of value.
Jennifer Circosta is our AFSI Blogger, Public Relations Assistant and Emotional Wellness Coach. She is the Owner of GENTLE TOUCH HEALING 💜 Healing through Compassion. She can be reached at: www.jennifersmusing.com.