There are 4 types of people you will encounter as someone who is grieving:
- The Empath
- The Telepath
- The Critic
- The Bulldozer
In this post, we are going to cover the first two. The last two will come in following posts.
There will be those who understand completely what you are going through. They are fellow grievers who have worked most, all or some of their own grief out. They feel compassion for you through the lens of a common experience. They may offer counsel, hugs, tears and more. It might be comforting to have someone who understands the grief process around depending on what sort of level of interaction you are comfortable with at any given moment. The first few weeks after my husband passed away, I just wanted to go to be in my bedroom. I didn’t want to talk to anyone unless I had to.
I was okay with hugs: My husband was very tactile with me. Because of his disability, we spent a lot of time touching. One of the things I missed most was being gently/lovingly touched, so hugs were welcomed. I didn’t want to talk, however, and if hugs came with a lot of talk, I avoided those people.
Most people who have empathy will express it in short, to the point, counsel, OR long, painfully honest stories about their own experience. They are valuable allies in the road to recovery. The danger and drawback of having an empath for a friend, is that you may use them as a standard for your own recovery, or turn to them at times that will not lead to your own growth.
While a fellow griever/empath is great to have as a resource while you work though the difficult times in your journey, you should keep in mind that your road is different–probably in many ways. Your end goal, your recovery milestones, will be unique and personal. It could be possible that your fellow traveler has not reached their own milestones.
Be careful of parasitic empaths. Keep a safe distance if things start to go too smoothly or too swiftly while you are involved with a fellow griever. While an empath may be understanding, they will not know you as well as family and friends, even if they think they do. If an empath becomes at odds with friends or family, proceed with caution.
All in all, empaths are a good resource for those times you are feeling short of emotional energy, which will happen may times in your journey. Seek safe spaces to engage fellow empaths like groups on Facebook, local support groups, etc. Make sure you are comfortable with the rules of engagement so you can feel free to express your concerns, feelings and experiences.
Grief can make you feel as if you are drowning with no sign of rescue, and you will get tired of treading water. Empaths can be the lifesaver you can rest on until you feel safe and restored enough to swim toward shore again.
Perhaps the most frustrating person you will run into as a griever is a Telepath.
A telepath does not need to ask you how you feel because they KNOW how you feel. They also KNOW what you need to do. They give advice they KNOW you need, even if they never met you before.
Telepaths do not rely on empathy alone, though they do understand what you feel. They go a step beyond by knowing what you need and they will act before and/or without asking. They give you gifts, acts of service and other actions that are meant to aid you on your journey. They know their short cuts for you are effective because they already did the work of feeling for you.
Hope is a big healer, and telepaths are short on it because of their perspective. They not only feel their pain, often relived in your experience, they feel their own. They feel the pain of every friend and family member that starts on the road to grief.
One thing that you need to understand about Telepaths, that you yourself will probably understand if you are in the midst of your own grieving, is that they are trying to help you skip these milestones of pain because they know how much they hurt. They would and want to do ANYTHING to prevent the emotional, physical and spiritual pain from happening to anyone else which is why they are now actively seeking out people to help.
They want to save you pain, and that isn’t a bad thing. It may be bad timing that brings a telepath to you when you need something else, but try to understand that the actions they are taking are also part of their recovery. It will be hard to endure, but if you can keep in mind that these people may need you more than you need them, you can get over it. .
When you are dealing with a telepath, remember that, as hard as it will be while they are annoying you with free advice, they are sharing their knowledge with you because they care for you. The hardest thing to endure is always those who are doing something annoying on your behalf and for your benefit.