Where did I put those rose coloured glasses…?

Empaths and weight – Part two


The follow is a short essay on what motivated me to not be true to who I was. It’s a common mistake many Empaths make.  It is personal, though it is relevant.  Please note, this is note a victim or poor-me piece. It is an exploration of the factors that caused poor self-image, and possibly lead to weight issues.

Now, it is curious, that to my mind, I am more attractive and desirable nowadays, than I was when I was fit, trim and in better health.

Back in those days, my self- image and self-esteem was pretty low. On one hand, I liked who I was, and where I was going, however, on the other hand, I felt very rejected, unattractive, and looking in the mirror, I didn’t look quite right. If I had met me, I would have felt somewhat uneasy about it.

People would constantly refer to me (behind my back) as someone who was weird. I found out about this because I did have a good circle of friends, who would keep me in the know.

I was unable to comprehend why such comments were made as I tended to be friendly, helpful and empathized with everyone I spoke to. Yet some didn’t trust me, and many seemed to take a delight in twisting my words and motives around.

I knew that I didn’t fit into my perception of normal society. I didn’t hold the same views, I didn’t subscribe to small talk, and forget about partying and drinking. It just wasn’t me.

My focus was philosophy and the study of the esoteric. I searched, almost fanatically, for the answer to life.

I was also very much into computers. My job was processing data, and I was very much in the know about what was happening with the latest technology.

Back in the 80s, this was not the positive it is today. I wasn’t even called a geek, which is more a positive word in 2013 I was told I was ‘too straight’ because I was a computer operator.

Back then, that statement just sounded inane. It’s like saying that anyone that uses a computer today is straight and boring. However, that was the perception for those who loved computers.

And I did love them. From the first moment I saw a TRS-80 back in high school in 1977, I knew that I wanted to go down that path. I knew that they were the future, and I knew that it would give me a distinct advantage to not only know how to use one, but how to touch type, too, which was also something mostly women did back then. Men just didn’t have a need for it.

Time has proven me right, of course. I can fix just about any pc problem, as long as it’s fixable and I have the tools, and I can fix them quickly, and people now love me for that ability, (Though they do take it for granted.) Back then, though, it was an invitation for persecution and being ostracised, so you just didn’t mention it.

It did add to my self-image of being undesirable.

I was also told I was too fancy with my words. I don’t believe I was, but I did have a larger vocabulary, and I tended to choose my words very carefully. Couple that with a European (Dutch origin) accent that had a higher timbre, (which I was told made me sound gay  over the phone or the C.B Radio), many, who had not even met me in person,  would react rather negatively towards me, even to the point of being hostile.

Also, those who knew me either loved me or hated me. There didn’t seem to be an in-between.  Those who loved me loved my company, my sense of humour and my insights. At the same time, they felt I was too intense and too serious. I didn’t know how to be any other way. To me, it didn’t make sense that they would laugh at my humour and in the same breathe say I was serious.

I also was flat footed, so my walk was more of a swagger, and that also wasn’t acceptable.  In fact, I was made to feel that all my quirks and mannerisms were not acceptable by the friends I had as a teen. They tried to ‘fix’ me, so I could function, but nothing they did worked, as I wasn’t actually broken.

I never understood the ‘being human’ thing back then. I couldn’t fit in, and part of me didn’t want to fit in. Eventually I reached the point where I rebelled and told people that if they didn’t like me, it was too bad, but I was going to be who I wanted to be, and what was more, it was because of people like them that I dug my heels in and refused to compromise myself.

That was on one level. On another level, I was extremely lonely, and would subconsciously use my empathy to tap into what people liked and wanted, and then modified my behaviour to reflect them appropriately.

This, of course, was in direct contradiction to what I was declaring myself to be, and if you would have asked me if I was doing otherwise, I would have denied it till I was blue in the face, because I honestly didn’t believe it was what I was doing.

However, it was with people I worked with, or those I was friends with, or those who I wanted more than friendship with, that I would compromise who I was.

This didn’t work and because I wasn’t aware of what I was doing, I had no clue why it wasn’t working.  Personally, I think I would have come across as a little disconcerting to those who I was trying to build an empathy with.

I think a wonderful example of how badly this technique fails is in the movie Groundhog Day.

Phil Connors, who is stuck in the same day over and over again, uses it to find out everything he can about Rita, the woman who he’s in love with.  Every day he gets a little further by pretending to like what she likes, and feel what she feels.  But Rita is never fooled for long, and each attempt ends with a slap in the face.  She clearly senses something is off, and she’s right.

What I was doing was becoming an extension of the person, and supressing my own quirks and personality. If they did manifest, they would tend to be passive aggressive and negative.

I imagine that would have left my target feeling a little creeped out, because even if they weren’t high level empaths, the majority of people are empathic at some level, and they will sense that something isn’t quite right.

So, why would I do this? Because I truly believed that the true me, even though I liked it, was unacceptable for everyone else. It certainly seemed unacceptable to those who I was romantically interested in, and in the 80s to mid-1990s, I never got far at all in that area.

Next: The early teen years that influenced my self-image.



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5 responses to “Where did I put those rose coloured glasses…?”

  1. Tane Avatar

    This post really hits home for me….I’m just now figuring out that I am completely different from those I am surrounded by…this post explains exactlt how I feel…I really thought it was just me…cause I meam, why would there be anything “special” about me right? Yeah, depression, I completely understand why I have it now….this is somewhat life changing for me…I just don’t know how yet, but I just know it is..


    1. Gary Leigh Avatar

      Thanks, Tane. Even though we are different, we are certainly not alone. 🙂


  2. soul . to . earth Avatar
    soul . to . earth

    The part about modifying behaviour to suit was spot-on! For the longest time, I believed it was survival instinct. Now I know better.


    1. Gary Leigh Avatar

      It is a trap so many fall into, and that is one of the reason why relationship fail in the long term.


  3. J Avatar

    this post touches me, moves me deeply. resonates with how i had been and felt for too long – of course, i’ve now managed to slowly step out of this bind, so to say. The process is still on. Thank you for sharing this, Gary.


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