Martyr Syndrome / Compassion Fatigue Part 2: Can Hypnotherapy Help?
It’s Just Physics…
Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells, all of them positively and negatively charged. To simplify this, and without going too much into quantum physics, think of your body as a big bunch of cells that emanate energy and vibrations. Every living being emanates energy. (Actually, even non-living things do, especially electrical appliances like microwaves, smart phones etc. but I am not going to elaborate now.) This energy actually creates an energy field around us that is often referred to as an aura – some people roll their eyes when they hear this word as it may sound too hippy-ish to them – so if you are one of those people, just think about it as an ‘energy field’. To deny its existence would be simply denying physics.
Since we are living, vibrating beings, there are many factors that can influence our energy field. Different sounds, light, words, carry different vibrations too…this is something that scientists have known for a long time time. If you are curious, an interesting video on how sounds (words) change water molecules can be found here. Also, our bodies are made up of roughly 70% of water. Just recently, a study has been published on how colour therapy can help with pain management. And ultrasound therapy has been used for over 50 years as a treatment for many sports injuries. Those are good vibrations indeed.
Now, where am I going with all this?
Think about how a nice, soothing tune can make you feel relaxed in comparison to something loud and jittery. Everybody likes different kinds of music of course, but think about how different music can change the way how you feel. Personally, if I feel angry and want to amplify my anger before discharging it, I play Damage Inc. by Metallica. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often! I’m more into jazz these days as it has a soothing effect on me!
Now think about how someone telling you harsh, awful things, undermining you or telling you other things that are difficult to hear or listen to…can make you feel low or drained.
In comparison, how does it feel when you stroke a cat or a dog? How soothing is that? Do you feel relaxed? Some hospitals use pet therapy for their ill patients. It’s all about energy exchange really. When we speak to someone or interact with someone, our energy fields inevitably mesh with each other. Have you ever met someone and spoken to them for a while, only to feel completely miserable and drained afterwards? Most people have.
Years ago I was introduced to a friend’s friend. He smiled, said a few pleasantries and then he touched my shoulder. The next thing I knew, he was laughing and I felt totally drained, like a squeezed out lemon. He said he liked to ‘drain’ others of energy on purpose, just for fun and it’s something he had discovered he could do at will as a child. He thought it was hilarious. I did not. Only years later I found out these people were called ‘energy vampires’. Some do it on purpose, and some don’t. Some of us perhaps have an experience with a needy friend or a colleague who craves attention and likes to offload their problems and issues onto our shoulders. It’s nice to be friendly and supportive but there needs to be a line. Interestingly, the HR department at Strathclyde University in Glasgow runs an in-house training segment called ‘dealing with energy vampires’. I think it’s rather progressive and I wish more companies – especially the NHS – did such a training for their employees too.
So what does this have to do with compassion fatigue and burnout you may ask? A lot really. It’s not only nurses that experience this but any of the people in the caring professions, those who interact with other people a lot or those who are just very caring in nature. In fact, everybody is to some degree. When you interact with people who are ill, unwell, have all sorts of issues and you have to deal with their problems and baggage on a regular basis, you may take on their ‘load’ energetically. Some people are more energetically open than others and you guessed it, it’s usually those who are quite empathic in nature. Those who offload may feel better for a while but you are the one that gets depleted. Soaking up other people’s stuff like a sponge. Imagine, doing this daily would have a cumulative effect and the damage that it can do to you.
Cut The Cords
We all need to recharge and ‘cut off’ the unhelpful energy ties with others that have been created during our interactions with them, so we keep as much of our own energy as possible for ourselves. Imagine the energy exchange as a form of ‘cord’ or imagine drawing a line with a pencil – it’s thin to start with but if you go over it a few times, it becomes thicker and thicker. Just like when you repeatedly deal with other people’s baggage and energy, the lines become thicker and thicker. Some people call the energetic release as ‘cord cutting’. Since I am doing hypnotherapy and deal with all sort of issues, I do this on a regular basis to keep myself healthy. I wished I had known about this when I worked across hospitals in Edinburgh.
I have personally seen some dramatic changes when you ‘cut off’ someone who has been ‘draining’ you, so to speak. The constant craving and the need for attention and listening to their problems. They were not interested in any help, just offloading. When I ‘cut them off’, they did not like it one bit and became extremely upset and angry for days – subconsciously they felt they could not ‘attach’ to me and ‘drain’ me anymore.
Martyr Syndrome / Compassion Fatigue
What about the Martyr Syndrome you may ask? Some people care a little too much and wear the weight of the world on their shoulders, trying to save every one. And yes, when they do, they take the ‘load’ from others, ending up energetically depleted which can result in all sorts of health issues. The reasons why can be complex and many factors can come to play. It could be low self-esteem, a behavioural pattern inherited from their parents, for some being a ‘helper’ becomes part of their identity etc. Analytical hypnotherapy can be used to find the causes as well as the solutions.
And what about protecting yourself and your energy field and clearing it? There are many techniques – for protection, you can simply say with intention, “I am strong and protected, I accept only that of high vibrations into my energy field etc.” There are some visualisation techniques also.
As for clearing, one of my colleagues likes to ‘shake the energy’ off vigorously after every session; stroking an animal can help too as this is very grounding or taking a warm bath with some sea salt. The simplest technique is to take a few deep breaths, center yourself and say loudly and with intention: “I release all that is not mine”. Remember, words carry vibrations/energy too. It is simple, yet effective.
Ready to stop letting people burn you out? Try Hypnotherapy.
If any of the above resonates with you and you would like to find out more or how hypnotherapy can help you, please contact me. I am based in Dunfermline in Fife, close to Edinburgh. I’m handily near to Dunfermline Town train station for anybody visiting from Edinburgh. Also, please note, because of my affinity with the healthcare profession, I offer a 10% discount to all healthcare workers (you don’t need to be employed by the NHS).
In the meantime, show a little love to yourself.