Tanya Carroll Richardson


February 14, 2023

Tanya Carroll Richardson

By Tanya Carroll Richardson

mbg Contributor

Tanya Carroll Richardson is an author and professional intuitive, giving readings to clients all over the world.

Empaths: Are You Trying to Heal Romantic Partners?

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February 14, 2023

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Having someone else in your energy field on a regular basis can be a huge blessing. I’ve been married for over 20 years, and at times my husband and I have lived in some pretty tight quarters! Currently we have a spacious home, yet we both work from home.

Besides seeing each other all day, we are best friends, so we spend a ton of time together. You may have a similar situation, like a roommate, child, parent, or coworker who you value having in your life and who is in your energy field on a regular basis. While these relationships are part of what makes life so precious and magical, they may pose special challenges for some empaths


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Because empaths can feel other people’s energies and emotions in their own system, this can set sensitive people up to have more issues with codependency or enmeshment.

“Codependency” is when you are no longer independent, so your sense of safety or well-being is defined by the other person. An example would be not being able to feel happy or peaceful until the other person is feeling that way too. The American Psychological Association defines enmeshment as, “A condition in which two or more people, typically family members, are involved in each other’s activities and relationships to an excessive degree,” and there may be some overlap between these two terms. 

As we have covered previously in this book, when you are sensitive enough to feel what others feel, you could try to manage other people’s emotions to cope. That way, if they feel good, you feel good, right?

This sounds like a simple fix, but in reality it is actually much more draining—not to mention unhealthy and unrealistic. Sensitive empaths may try to manage other people’s lives and emotions as a coping skill, often without realizing it. 

6 ways to anchor into your own energy.

We’ve already covered how witnessing and observing others is an excellent coping skill for empaths, and here we will cover another coping skill for being a sensitive person in a close relationship to someone else: anchoring into your own energy. Suggestions for this include: 


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Having close relationships outside a primary relationship.

Meeting a friend for lunch on Saturday while your partner does something else, taking a yoga class with an instructor you like while your kids are at school, or hanging outside the house with someone else while your roommate stays home and enjoys the space all to themselves are great examples. 


Keeping up with interests and hobbies that you don’t share with the other person.

This could look like making time to go hiking with a group even though your partner isn’t a nature person, making time to host your monthly book club even though your adult child who lives with you doesn’t like the same genre, or having a home altar in your bedroom even though your roommate isn’t spiritual. 


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Identifying and embracing your natural style.

So what if your best friend doesn’t like boho-chic clothing, or your child thinks you laugh too loud, or your roommate doesn’t like Thai food? Finding ways to be

in a relationship to others with respect and kindness, while still being allowed to be our authentic selves, helps prevent enmeshment. 


Celebrating people’s differences.

We are all unique pieces of a larger puzzle. Sometimes your genius is tied to what is unique or most different about you. While it’s good to cooperate with others, compromise, and be flexible, a homogeneous society might not be as healthy. Try to celebrate and embrace other people’s quirks and uniqueness—as well as your own. 


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Getting in touch with aspects of you that have stood the test of time.

Is there a musical artist you loved as a child…and still love to sing or dance along with? Perhaps you’ve been an activist for a certain worthy cause for decades. Or is there a talent or passion that has been part of your life for as long as you can remember, like reading fantasy novels, telling jokes, acting in plays, or running marathons? Stay in touch with the parts of yourself that reveal your true nature or may even be a glimpse into your soul. 


Being allowed to have space and alone time.

It’s crucial that people in your life understand that sometimes, as a sensitive person, you just need space from the relationship, or healthy alone time. This is good for all humans in close relationships, and I think it can be especially helpful for empaths. Give others this same grace, communicating to each other that asking for space or alone time doesn’t mean you value or love the other person any less. I was very lucky regarding this issue, as my mother taught me early how healthy and even fun getting space and alone time can be.

Codependency and enmeshment are complex issues and could have even developed as a coping skill in childhood. If you suspect they’re issues for you, there’s nothing wrong with you. Getting help—through support groups, counseling, and books by experts—can be amazingly useful in giving you healthier tools to manage your close relationships. 


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How to get started.

  1. Dropping anchor into your own energy does not have to be complicated. You may not have to meditate for a long time, hold the perfect crystal, or repeat a special mantra. Simply spend time, outside one of your primary relationships, doing something you love. 
  2. Connect with what helps you define your identity in a healthy way—outside of your closest relationship(s). My closest relationship is with my husband. Yet I have aspects of my identity that have nothing to do with being a wife. I’m a sister, an author, a friend, an intuitive, and someone who has loved listening to Stevie Nicks since I was a child! My husband and I share a lot in common, but sometimes our taste in films, books, and music is very different. 
  3. Identify activities and places you enjoy that the other person doesn’t. I like eating at certain restaurants, browsing certain bookstores, writing at certain coffee shops, stretching at certain yoga studios, and walking in certain parks that my husband doesn’t, for example. Prioritize spending time at the places or doing the activities the other person has no interest in. 
  4. Remind yourself that being in relationships is messy and imperfect. None of us are getting it “right” or keeping it healthy all the time. Also, every relationship is different, and what works for every relationship will be somewhat different. Yet if someone makes you feel that being independent or spending time away from them is not okay, reach out for help and support. 

Work with this mantra.

“Relationships are more fun when I have some autonomy. After all, I enjoy my own company! Having independence actually strengthens my close relationships, and knowing that I can ask for healthy space and alone time makes me feel more safe and comfortable as a sensitive person about entering new intimate relationships.”