Welcome, empath community! Today we are going to explore how empaths and sensitive people (and really any human, at times) behave when their energy is low. For sensitive souls, or anyone in today’s crazy world, energy levels can fluctuate a lot.
When you are in a relationship of any kind with an empath, but especially close ones, both people are affected by this. Read on for some things to expect when your empath partner or loved one’s energy is low.
Empaths in Relationships 101
You are probably already quite familiar with what an empath is. If not, it refers to an estimated 1 to 20 percent of the population. “Highly sensitive person” (or HSP) is a similar category, and thought to be slightly more prevalent. Introvert, giver, natural helper, and kind-hearted are other descriptions.
Empaths have extra attuned intuition, emotions, energy fields, and physical bodies. They become drained or overwhelmed easily and can sometimes sense the emotions of others as well as unseen energies. For detailed guidance on protecting empath energy, read my blog on that here.
Being in a relationship with an empath – romantic or otherwise – is different than with someone less sensitive. To learn about 8 specific ways it is unique, read this blog (a part 1 of sorts to this blog).
When Empaths In Relationships Feel Low
A natural next question after the basics is, how exactly do empaths behave when they feel low or drained? If they are in a relationship, the other person will likely notice and be affected too. Here are 3 big signs.
Their fear of intimacy may flare
I wrote previously about a common dichotomy in empaths: craving connection, yet fearing it. Because empaths tend to feel EVERYTHING, they may be uneasy about the possibility of engulfment. This means being overtaken or consumed by another person’s energy, moods, emotions, demands, or patterns. Sometimes empaths take it all on without realizing, which can cause panic, irritability, depression, anxiety, or unpredictable reactions.
This fear of intimacy may show up through a display of any of these emotions, or via withdrawal. Offer to talk, but also respect their space if they need some alone time.
Their boundaries may crumble
Boundaries are a huge life lesson, especially for empaths. They refer to limits you set, and discernment about what is yours or your responsibility, and what is not yours.
But when an empath’s energy is low, it becomes harder to be aware and maintain healthy boundaries. This can show up in one of two main ways: either over-giving, forgetting self, and prioritizing the other person to their own detriment; OR under-giving, such as being rude or stingy, blaming, or stonewalling (refusing to communicate).
Ask the empath how you can be supportive, and then give them some time and space to come back into balance. Be understanding. You’ll both come back refreshed later.
Their reactivity may be heightened
Being sensitive simply means more disturbances, unfortunately. In dynamics with other people, empaths pick up on more than usual. They can even sometimes sense emotions in others that are not yet recognized (and maybe never will be).
This higher likelihood of triggering becomes exacerbated with low energy. Because empaths are essentially sponges, their sensitive system can get overloaded easily. Overload and the resulting reactivity is especially common with arguments, loud environments, crowded places, and lack of sleep. Extra irritability may ensue, and be taken out on you. Once they can rest or have alone time to recalibrate and release what they took on, an apology will likely come. Express to them how it has impacted you so they can hopefully manage it better next time.
Be Gentle When An Empath’s Energy Is Low
Part of the reality of being sensitive or kind in today’s world is energy highs and lows. And if you are human, empath or not, you have experienced these ebbs and flows. Have compassion for the empath in your life, as well as for yourself. Ride the waves as best you can. Carve out some alone time or quiet time whenever possible to rejuvenate your energy reserves.
Finally, enjoy sensitivity for the gift that it is. Empaths have an extra special capacity to offer love, connection, loyalty, and safety. In order to maintain that, most empaths need time to discharge what they have taken on, and replenish. Give them space when they need it, and do the same for yourself!
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