Empathetic

I wrote this in my journal a few weeks ago. “Empathetic towards the people around me. Oversensitive to body language and tone. Causes anxiety when I take it personally.” I remember we were watching Star Trek: Next Generation and it was the one where Deanna Troy loses her ability to sense people’s emotions. She was horrified because she didn’t know how to react. She had to guess what they were feeling and what they were reacting to and act accordingly. She had never done that. It was like being blind.

It made me think about myself and how I react to people. At times, I feel like I’m misinterpreting people. I think, that person is obviously angry with me for some reason and I can’t figure out why, or that person really likes listening to me talk so I’ll keep talking. Later I find out that I was wrong, they were angry about something else or were being polite and are now avoiding me because I don’t stop talking. I have this terrified feeling that something like that will happen and be very embarrassing, so I end up avoiding a real connection with people. That would be fine if I were truly an introverted person wanting to be left alone really, but I’m not. I’m pretty outgoing. I crave the attention of friends and family. I want to have close friends but I’m afraid to put myself out there because I don’t seem to be able to read people’s real feelings very well. I don’t think I really know how to react well and end up making things worse when I do misinterpret people. And then sometimes I know I’m making a big deal out of something in my mind and the reality is that the person I’m worried about isn’t even aware of the situation. It actually doesn’t exist outside my own mind. I want to not worry about what others think but I can’t help but desperately want them to like me. I wish I had Deanna Troy’s talents. It would make things so much easier.

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