The Empath Trap
Here’s a core trap I've witnessed empaths get into. It's a little thought that starts something like this: "If I give to you, you will want to give to me without me having to ask for what I need.”
This is a tricky one for a few reasons. One, it's really innocent sounding on the surface. It feels like an obvious or fair trade. Why wouldn't the person receiving something want to balance the equation and give back?
However, in my experience, if we don't dig a little deeper into this, the idea that giving will inevitably lead to receiving creates imbalance all over the life of an empathic person.
The issue really lives in the second part of the statement: "without me having to ask for what I need."
Many empaths give to others in the hopes of a certain outcome. Perhaps the outcome is that the person will thank them. Or maybe that the person will change in some way. The desired outcome can look any number of ways, but in most cases, the empath would like to receive something or see the behavior or beliefs of the other person change.
The problem is, this indirect way of trying to get needs met is all a sort of coverup. Instead of openly expressing "here's what I need," the empath is sneaking around it and hoping it happens without asking for it.
Coverup, sneaking, not expressing needs...
Maybe you saw this coming... but I'm really writing about shame again.
Not expressing needs is a way empaths carry shame. The shame of unworthiness, undeservedness, inferiority and so on and so forth.
Here's why it's important to recognize this. Unhealed shame propels many empaths towards the very people that reinforce their beliefs. In a sense, shame can act like a magnet and attract an empath to people who treat them as unworthy, underserved and/or inferior.
If you're an empath, take a moment to think about the following: have you directly expressed your needs to the people you want to have fulfill them? And part B, if you haven't, what's stopping you?
Let that be a jumping off point to root out any shame sitting in the shadows.