There use to be people called sin eaters. They were called in to take on the sins of someone who was going to die so that person could go to heaven. They had the dubious blessing of living forever in exchange for this service...or so it is said.
For most of my life people have told me how much better they feel talking to me. People will tell me their life stories out of nowhere, people I don't even know. They tell me I would make a great counselor (with the psych background and all), and seem surprised when I tell them that I have no interest in that field at all.
When someone is in pain (no matter what kind of pain it is) around me, I feel it as though that pain is happening to me. My heart, mind, body and soul feel the pain as clearly as if it were happening in that moment. I often watch as it drains off the other person, and until recently, always wondered where it was going to.
I now think I know.
People feel this comfort with me because I am willing to accept their pain. I can absorb it and use it in ways that others don't know how to. Pain has been one of my strengths, a way for me to keep myself alive through the things that I have had to experience. I use it to stay shielded from the world around me, in this way (or so I thought) I could stay safe.
But it doesn't work that way. I have become like the sin eaters, saturated in the pain of others to the point that I am causing myself serious harm, because I have no release for it. But I don't know how to stop. How do you close yourself off from pain without closing yourself off from the world? I don't think that you can. And if I'm right, than the next question is, how do I release this pain so I stop hurting myself? I have no answer for that.