Could I be a closet introvert?

I read this article What Every Empath will try to hide from you and I know the headline is very click-bait-y but I haven’t read much on empaths online and I believe that I am one. I wanted to know what these articles say about them and if I really fall under that category.

Reading the article, it started to hit really close to home. I felt like it was talking to me directly. I was getting affected and I sort of confirmed what I had always known. I’m an empath. And I think a very strong one.

And then I saw this part in the article:

How to recognize an empath

3. Since empaths are so in-tune with the emotions of others, sometimes their only respite is being alone. To avoid drawing suspicion or being rude, they are often extroverted introverts or introverts that partake in extrovert activities.

— From What Every Empath Will Try And Hide From You from Healthy Holistic Living

That was a little shocking to me. I’ve always been an extrovert. I’ve always been good at social situations and I have absolutely no anxiety with meeting new people. I actually enjoy socializing and being around people.

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Am I secretly an introvert and never knew it? (Photo by Cez Golez)

Or at least I thought I did. Or something has changed. Because, lately, I’ve been very happy just being by myself. I like the solitude of my little home. When I’m out, I prefer small groups so that we could be intimate and we could really connect and if we are in a large group or we are out in very public places, I end up not wanting to stay very long.

Thinking about the whole introvert-extrovert thing, I wonder if my empathy just made me very good at social situations and I fed off the energy of others but maybe that’s what fucked me up in my 20s. Because I allowed myself to get lost in all of that and lost myself in the process.

Or maybe it was a reaction of my insecurities and my low self-worth. Maybe I enjoyed being surrounded by people so I can absorb their feelings in order to run away or hide from my own, which were always self-destructive. Of course, I’m only starting to realize this now that I’m older and I have the benefit of hindsight.

When I hit my 30s, I started to realize that I need long stretches of time just by myself to recharge. I started to enjoy being alone and sought it out often. I insisted on at least having a day just to myself and no one else.

Now that I’m so close to 40, I’m enjoying my alone time more and more. What if I’ve been an introvert all this time and I just used my social skills and empathy as a way to run away from myself?

Despite how much of myself I put out there, I’m really very guarded. My openness is measured and calculated. There’s so much of myself that I keep to myself.

This is new territory for me. I want to ponder this more and dig deep into this soon when I have time because this is going to be life-changing if it ends up being true.

I’m going to have to change again.

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