It's been fairly easy in this hermit lifestyle to maintain a sense of myself, even if I wasn't sure what I wanted out of life. Now though that I'm venturing out into the world I'm getting overwhelmed and my sense of self and personal integrity are getting blurred.
I've always been an empath, probably as a self defense mechanism in an unstable household where my well-being depended on my parents capricious emotional states. It has its advantages. It's easy for me to read motivations and internal desires. But it also means I get lost in all the data points in analyzing. Micro expressions, subtle pauses or intonation changes, body language, smell… I lose track of who I am and what I want.
This applies to friends, family, room mates, romantic and sexual relationships, doctors, social workers, and employers.
I need to remember that I don't have to change my life to fit other people. I can maintain myself and still have relationships. I have no obligation to accommodate anyone.