I will always be mindful of my disorder. However, it doesn't have to be debilitating. There is more hope for health.
What is Empathy? Empathy is when the other person feels the connection to what is alive in you. In some cases, an empathic ability has helped some people function better around people, and have less seizures. (Makes me wonder if this might be a common Ring 20 Chromosome abnormality? Which they say is one of the most common chromosome abnormalities? One which I have in my own DNA make up.) Some people have empathic capabilities stronger than others. It can cause an empath anxiety and depression.
Empaths notice things, consciously or subconsciously, Like Empaths know that those people that are very sensitive seem to have more tendencies to being an empath.
Many of my family members have ridiculed me because of some of my sensitivity issues. Now, I see this as a positive in myself, and give myself the room to walk away when I feel my sensitivity is about to show. My ex-husband would never allow me this room in our marriage. He expected me to be front and center with his late diagnosed bipolar/ADHD mother, and that took a lot out of me. Which he did not understand. Later, I gave myself the room to distance myself from his mother, such as allowing him to take our daughters to visit with his parents, while I stayed at my mother's house preparing for my youngest daughter's birthday celebration. (Their father didn't much like the situation, as the girls kept asking for me, but that's the price to be paid to still have had a relationship between bipolar/ADHD mom and Epileptic/Anxiety prone empath wife.)
In my empathetic research, I have learned more about myself, family members (and ex family members) and my children.
Like your former spouse tries to change your behavior when you get a new puppy, but your son disciplines his father, and pretty much tells him, "let mom be mom." This is what showed me that my son is an empath.
Being around an empath
1. Empaths tend to be accused of being "too sensitive" or "too emotional."
Empaths are not "too" anything. They feel things deeply - both positive and negative. They are in touch with their emotions, and yours.
One time, I was seeing a client at his employment, and he was having a meltdown. One of his co-workers was around. I sensed that she was reading my body language, and she told my client (her co-worker), "I like her." (Speaking of me.) When clients reach retention and DDRB program status, we are allowed to just call the client and their immediate supervisors on the phone, to see how they are doing at their employment. However, I kept telling my boss that that is NOT the pattern that I want to fall into. Maybe during inclement weather, but I prefer to talk to people face to face, so I can get information from their own body language. I feel I get better responses from the client.
2. Empaths cannot stand being lied to.
All it takes is a simple glance in your direction to know you are lying to us. Many people do not realize this, but being lied to really sucks for an empath. Or, if someone says one thing, but is feeling or thinking another. Empaths feel it ooze into every aspect of the relationship, and it usually ends the relationship.
I remember a time when my son got in trouble for playing air soft guns with some friends near another friend's house. Out of all the kids involved, he was the only one that told the truth, and we paid half of the damage to the house. They expected us to pay for all of it, but there were other children involved. Therefore, we weren't the only parents that should cover the cost of the damage. I had NEVER been prouder to hear my son tell me the truth. The real funny part is: when he was 4 years old, his preschool teacher told me that she had NEVER seen a child show empathy at such a young age. He was concerned about one of his friends that had been hurt on the playground. I feel, deep down, my son already knew that I had the gift of empathy, and he knew how I would feel being lied to. In my opinion, I got to be one of the mothers to raise my vision of the perfect young man. My hope is that his fiancée will always be proud to call him her husband.
I also remembered an event where my son tried to control his father's negative behavior. It was my son's 9th birthday, and it was the day we got our black lab puppy. His father scolded me for playing with the puppy. My son said, "Dad, it's fine. Leave mom alone." Remembering this made me realize that my son had many other empathic events just like this one. Now that we both know what we are, my hope is that he will be able to see it as a gift, and not a curse that I had initially thought it was. However, I have had more time to be ridiculed because of it. Knowing now, why I was so different. Not many people like the odd ball. Now that my son knows what he is, maybe he can learn to deal with some of the issues that I was too late to deal with on my own.
3. Negative media images directly affect us.
It's hard, almost impossible, for an empath to "unfeel" something. We avoid the news, and if we see something upsetting, our emotions are a mess for quite a while. Imagine feeling overwhelming sadness and suffering every single time you saw something violent or upsetting on the news. That is what it is like for an empath.
The first time that I saw something upsetting was on a bus full of middle school students. White males making fun of friends of mine that were from a different ethnicity, and another that had a speech impediment. Now, I will not let white supremacy win. All lives matter, but we need to work together to make that happen. God does not care what color our skin is. HE created all of us. White supremacists should find their own purpose and not worry about what someone else's purpose is. They have their own path. Leave them alone to live it.
Imagine having to personally experience an emotional mess. I have done that too. I do not know how to "unfeel" what I have experienced. I tried to make myself talk tougher. That I may unfeel previous emotions. It doesn't work. I can never forget. Therefore, I live with the mess. Just like Emma Stone sings on La La Land: "Here's To The Mess We Make."
4. Crowded places overwhelm empaths.
Empaths exist in all personality types, including introvert and extrovert, but even the outgoing ones are easily overwhelmed in crowds. The sheer force of energies and feelings you absorb is exhausting. You might like going to concerts and sporting events, but once there, you cannot wait to leave.
I don't do Black Friday events. If I do, I have to be one of the first ones in line and wait until they open the doors, so I can leave quickly.
5. Empaths love to heal.
Empaths want what is best for you and your well-being. Of course, as with all of our advice, it is only helpful if you actually implement it in your life.
One would be surprised to know that I like reading self help books. (Maybe there is more of the Native American in me than initially thought.) I loved reading about personalities. Why certain personalities made others feel they were better than everyone else, and how people can deal with these toxic personalities.
In looking back, I remember, with the help of my youngest brother, we stopped a physical fight from erupting between our mother, and my, now, ex-mother-in-law. I didn't do that for myself. My prime concern was that this was going to take place during the celebration of my, then, 3 year old, youngest daughter's birthday. Considering what has transpired since then, I sometimes wonder if I wasn't a fool to head this off at the pass? Maybe it was meant to play itself out and the grandmothers should have dealt with it on their own. Knowing what each of them had to work on. In today's society, I am sure that many people think Empaths are just a waste of space. However, I believe we have a purpose. We all have our own choices to make, and paths to travel.
I also had the attitude that if both grandmas could not be in the delivery room, NO grandmas were going to be in the delivery room. It was my way of looking out for BOTH grandmas well-being. Unfortunately, not all see it that way. (Which is fine. I will just call it as finally doing something that benefitted me, and not having a private moment turn into a Family Circus.)
It is also frustrating to see grown men put their recreational drug, cigarette or alcohol habits ahead of the people in their lives. I have seen this not once but several times. It is disappointing. Why is having cigarettes or alcohol more important than your child having a bed? There is no excuse.
6. We are sensitive to stimulants and medications.
Coffee, certain teas, energy drinks, soda - anything with caffeine makes us more anxious and agitated than the rest of the world. And, when it comes to medications, we try to avoid them as much as possible because of the myriad of side effects we experience.
I have an anxiety disorder, so I do not bother with the caffeinated stimulants. I also have a seizure disorder on top of that. Therefore, not taking medication doesn't happen. I limit myself to only two sodas a month. I had stopped drinking sleepy time tea, because it was said that it could have been causing the lack of absorption of iron in my body. However, I might give the sleepy time tea another try, since my iron levels are now back in the normal range, and there is no longer a risk of bone marrow cancer. However, I have no interest in trying any of the energy drinks. I am sure my anxiety disorder gives me enough of a stimulant. Plus, hearing about the teenager that died because he drank a McDonald's coffee, a Mountain Dew, and an Energy Drink in less than 2 hours. Caffeine is a drug, just like any other.
7. We can only be us.
As far as honest people go, empaths are the truest friends you could ask for. We know who we are and we embrace it fully. It's other people who seem to have an issue with our sensitive nature and honest attitude. Don't try to change us.
I started out this way. I have had two women, in two different states, say: "I have never had many women friends because they are so catty. You aren't like that."
Eventually, I got to a place where I didn't want to share my empathic gift. No one really seemed to care at what place I was in life. I tried to shut it down, but now I just spend more time alone than most people do. During this alone time, I don't take on everyone else's feelings. Just my own.
I just have to accept that this is me, and not get frustrated with the fact that other people don't know how to deal with my sensitive nature. They usually end up walking away. Which has been unfortunate. However, at least, NOW, I know me.
8. Empaths experience what you are experiencing.
If someone we are close to is ill, depressed, or agitated, we display those same symptoms. I am connected to what the other person is going through, that I have actually gone through it with the other person. Guess my experience just ends up getting doubled that way.
9. Empaths don't like animals, Empaths LOVE animals.
Empaths do not have pets, they have family members. When they see an animal in the wild, we see a soul....perfect and pure. They talk to them in various ways just as you would your best friend. I love seeing deer and geese around dusk. Most times, if there is no one behind me on a country road, I will pause and just look at the wild animal. It is very peaceful.
I remember driving somewhere, heading to the highway, and I saw a white owl, sitting on a log, on the side of the road. I stopped on the deserted road and got out of my car, and walked to the owl. OMG, so beautiful. The owl got startled and flew away. It was so amazingly beautiful. I still look out for that owl, even today.
I guess that is probably why I enjoy spending time with my dog. It never seems like time wasted, because I know she loves unconditionally. I wish for a different lifestyle, so I can adopt another canine.
10. Tired, exhausted, and fatigued is normal.
Because we absorb so much from others, we don't just deal with our own emotional and mental drains, we deal with everybody's.
Sometimes, other people's problems became my problems. My ex-in laws needed someone to help them move, because both of their sons were not living in the same state as their parents were living. I asked my parents and brothers to help them move, and they did. Whether it still effects my relationship with my own parents, I am not sure. But I did. Foolish or not?
The first relationship that I had after the divorce. I took on getting him back together with his kids. In hopes that it would get him to change his life, so he could have them in his life more. It didn't work out that way. Not by my lack of trying, but his lack of motivation. (I was able to get him the chance to see his kids twice. However, then, he gave up.)
11. If an empath gives advice, take it.
If an empath takes the time to listen to your dilemma, and give you heartfelt advice, just listen to it. Empaths know what they are talking about and if you ask for our advice and ignore it, well, it can be annoying.
Like advising your, then, husband to tell his military command that he still had not passed his nursing license exam, and was working as a nurse at the Naval Hospital.
I used to give employment advice for a living. Go figure!
12. Empaths are easily distracted.
It may be due to heightened sensitivity to everything around us, but empaths can get easily distracted, and tend to lose focus. It isn't a bad thing. They are simply enjoying all the small things you might not notice.
Maybe that's why I started college assignments written on the syllabus early, as I was always worried that something would come up and stress me out further.
13. Empaths can't stand narcissism.
If you are head over heels in love with your reflection (my ex - mother in law), your money (my father), and your ego - just stay away. We really cannot roll our eyes any harder. Empaths are always for the underdog, and I always have been.
It is unfortunate that we cannot live without money. People, however, do need to eat. (I do, being hypoglycemic. Just like many of my Native American ancestors before me.) I hadn't been the type to put more value into money than love. Divorce had to bring me to the middle of the road on the money issue. Sometimes one has to learn these life lessons.
And as many people know, I cannot stand the narcissist that is Trump. Looking at me, what you see is what you get.
14. Certain things really bother an empath.
Such as sounds, certain textures, fabrics, bright lights, and loud noises can really get to an empath. The polar opposite is true as well. Soft sounds, gentle caresses, and delicate tastes are also highly noticed, but in a pleasant way.
Like I hate, HATE corduroy. I don't like the sound of it when I move in corduroy. I don't like the feel of corduroy. However, I LOVE the texture and taste of Golden Corral's bread pudding. Oh, and my sister in law's cheese cake.
I also really hate driving at night down the country roads that I have to drive on to get home, because some people do not turn off their bright lights. Bright lights are usually an issue for someone with a seizure disorder.
15. Empaths are great listeners.
You can tell empaths anything and everything about your life and they will listen. They will take the journey with you and experience all the highs and lows contained within.
Guess that is why I went and got a Bachelors in Social Work.
March is Social Work Appreciation month.
*You sponge up the emotions of those around you.
*You feel overwhelmed being around groups of people. (Ex mother in law and ex husband. Sometimes, even my own father.)
*You are confused about what you need to be happy because you are focused on other people's needs.
*You have random mood swings (angry, sad, scared) that are unrelated with what is happening in your life. (Then again it could very well be happening in your life.)
*Impaired Empaths are easily overwhelmed, especially in crowded areas or when people are upset. They feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders and can suffer from physical symptoms like exhaustion, headaches, and depression. Impaired empaths can learn to manage their skills and alleviate these side effects. (I am sure that this is a work in progress for all empaths.)
How to protect your Empathic self
Empaths can center themselves so that they do not feel too much or become overloaded with emotions. The first step is acknowledgement.
1. Being highly sensitive.
Empaths are known to be open minded, great listeners, and give all of themselves to others. They are excellent nurturers. This is the reason why they can easily have their feelings hurt. Empaths often hear, "you are too sensitive, and you need to toughen up."
I feel that I have always been meant to be a nurturer. Ancestral descent from the mtDNA Family Tree DNA project, "Mothers of Acadia." (I was a big sister after all.)
2. Absorbing other people's emotions.
Empaths are perceptive to how other people feel - good and bad. They really feel everything. Your mood becomes their mood. Taking on other people's moods can be exhausting. If they are positive moods - Empaths take these moods on and flourish.
3. Being highly intuitive.
Listen to your gut feeling about people helps empaths find positive relationships and avoid energy vampires. Know which people are energy vampires and put boundaries in place to limit your time with them, if they are family members, to avoiding them all together.
4. Being targets for energy vampires.
Empaths are easy targets due to their heightened sensitivity. There are dangerous ones, such as The Narcissist, who can twist an empaths reality and make them feel unworthy and unlovable. Other types of energy vampires: The Constant Victim, The Chronic Competitor, The Drama Queen, and more.
5. Needing alone time.
Empaths need alone time to recharge and re-center, to prevent emotional overload. I have learned to love solitude.
6. Becoming whole in nature.
Seek nourishment and solace in nature. It restores energy and helps release burdens. Especially practice Earthing, where your feet connect with the Earth, as often as possible.
7. Having highly tuned senses.
They become frazzled by certain noises, smells and sounds.
8. Having a huge heart and give too much
When they see someone suffering they try to relieve their pain. However, they end up taking on their mood and emotions. Then they feel drained and upset.
Consider these strategies:
Fierce time management (I, definitely, believe in this one.)
Set limits and boundaries with people who drain your energy (I have done and continue to do this one. No matter if the person is family or not.)
Meditation (I try this one before going to sleep.)
Spending time in nature (I love nature.)
Empaths have special needs. It's vital that you honor your needs and communicate them to loved ones. If they do not listen, then you have no choice but to move forward. Everyone must do what they have to, to move forward.
Empath: Gift or curse?
A gift or a curse?
Empaths are very creative. They enjoy singing, dancing, acting, drawing and writing. (I sang and danced in Choir and Show Choir. I joined Drama Club and now I am writing on hubpages.)
They love nature and animals. Pets are essential to the life of an empath. (I will never go without a dog again.) Empaths need solitude, or they will go stir-crazy if they do not get quiet time. Empaths also tend to get bored and distracted easily. Life has to be kept interesting for an empath or they will end up daydreaming or doodling. Empaths find it impossible to do things they do not enjoy. It feels like they are living a lie by doing so. Forcing an empath to do something they dislike out of guilt or labeling them as 'lazy' will only make them unhappy. Empaths strive for the truth. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong to an empath. (I prefer the truth. However, I know now that I won't always get it in return.) Empaths are always looking for answers and knowledge. It frustrates an empath to have unanswered questions. They will work to find an explanation. The downside to this is information overload.
Empaths are free spirits. Empaths love to daydream, and can stare into space for hours. (After my seizure in August 2013, and I couldn't go back to work, I spent lots of time just laying in my bed staring off into space. My father didn't really like that I spent so much time sleeping. However, when you have your life ripped out from under you, what else is there to do?) Empaths are prone to carry extra weight without necessarily overeating. This excess weight is a form of protection to stop negative incoming energies from having much impact. Empaths care about others more than they care about themselves. Most empaths will choose not to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand items, as it carries energy of the previous owner. However, empaths tend to have a connection to the paranormal, and the energy that is around them.
Some empaths sense the energy in food, and do not like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the energy of the animal. (Hypoglycemia prevents this in me.)
Empaths can be prone to mood swings, if they have taken on too much negative vibrations, they appear quiet, unsociable and miserable. Empaths can be weighed down with mood swings that will have others around them jumping overboard and abandoning them. Empaths detest having to pretend to be happy when they are sad. (I have said this very same thing before, and I still believe it today.) This adds to their load. Abandoning an empath can cause detrimental effects - to return to empathic love -- listening and caring compassionately without bias, judgment -- can go a long way to an empath's instant recovery.
Empaths are often quiet achievers. They take awhile to handle a compliment, for they are more inclined to compliment you. They talk openly and frankly. Empaths tend to feel what is outside of them more so then what is inside of them. (After being hurt, I really do not want to feel what is inside of me.) Empaths are non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker. If the empath finds themselves in the middle of a confrontation, they will try to settle it as quickly as possible. Unless another individual stands in the way of that getting resolved. Which someone has in my lifetime.
Empaths are more inclined to pick up someone's feelings and project it back without realizing its origin. (This is something that I felt I did when a client had a meltdown at work, and we both got through it.) For an empath, talking things out is a major factor in releasing emotions. The downside is that empaths may bottle up emotions and build walls sky high, so as to not let others know of their innermost thoughts and/or feelings. Empaths withholding emotions can be a result of a traumatic experience, an expressionless upbringing, or simply being told as a child, "Children are meant to be seen and not heard." This emotional withholding can be a hazard to the empath's health, for the longer their thoughts and/or emotions are not released, the more explosive they can become. The need to express yourself honestly is a form of healing and a choice to all. (It's always been my choice. However, that choice had been taken away from me by someone who never understood.)
Empaths work with people, animals or in nature with true passion and dedication to help them. They tend to be tireless teachers and/or caretakers for our environment. Many volunteers are empathic, giving up personal time to help others without recognition. (Once upon a time, I did LOTS of volunteer work.)
Empaths can be old romantics at heart and very gentle. They may also be the keepers of ancestral knowledge and family history. If not the obvious family historians, they may be the ones who listen to the family stories. (I have had a family tree since 8th grade.)
Empaths have a broad interest in music. They can listen to one style of music, and in minutes, change to another kind of music entirely. (This isn't hard for me.) Empaths can be lost in the music to the point of being in a trance. People of all walks of life and animals are attracted to the warmth and compassion of an empath. (Dakota)
Empaths feel that dreams are linked to their physical life somehow, and not just a mumble of meaningless images. This curiosity will lead empathic dreamers to decipher their dream contents from an early age and interpret the dreams to the relevance in their physical life. (Such as dreaming about the gender of your children, and, actually, having them in the order that was suggested.)
Empaths are a captivated audience. (I am quite the applauder.) They experience deja vu. (A few times right after experiencing deja vu, I had a seizure. I went back to a feeling that I had in the past, and it lead me to a seizure. I do not know if I was meant to go back there or not? If so, was the seizure giving my body time to remain? Or, was the feeling NOT supposed to be felt in the present?)
Empaths who get caught up in life, in work, etc., can get lost in a mechanical way of living, that provides little meaning. (This is the kind of living I had after the separation from my children. There wasn't much to care about. On my off time, I laid down in my bed, and rehearsed in my head how I would react to running into my ex- in- law's, in public.) Signs of guidance are ignored to shift out of this state of doing. A path to being whole again is seen and the search for more meaning in life begins. (I still ask for meaning before I fall asleep at night. Still am not sure if my meaning in life has even begun. However, at least I am not as mechanical as I used to be.)
Empaths may need to follow interests in the paranormal to explain and accept their life circumstances. (I like the paranormal. If an angel spoke to me through a dream to let me know the gender of my children. Then, I think it is possible to learn more through the same means.)
Loving and being loved by an Empath
Loving an empath is different. Therefore, they must be loved differently.
When you cease being honest and speaking from your heart, empaths sense this. Leaving out information. Empaths will figure it out.
Empaths do not think like the average person. They see and feel the world as a whole story. Empaths come up with different conclusions and ideas.
Don't try to change the fact that the empath is sensitive. Embrace it. Support them. This may support you both in becoming a true power couple.
An empaths heart breaks daily and your love and commitment will keep them strong.
It is difficult to be an empath. One of my brothers once told me, "you pick shitty friends." (Most likely true. Now I know why.) Being an empath probably doesn't help in picking friends. You get used more than not. It is very frustrating, and probably why I waffle between just remaining alone vs being in a romantic relationship. In which many empaths actually do.
I have learned more about myself than I have known before. As much as I have tried, you cannot really shake being an empath. It will always be there. I just have to learn to make a conscious effort in choosing the right people to be around. Which in today's society can be very difficult.
Always keep your boundaries. Do not let anyone persuade you not to keep your boundaries in place. It is for your own protection. No one is going to protect you better than you. I had to learn that the hard way, through divorce, and other relationships after the divorce. (Dating has changed since my high school days.)
It's okay to be your sensitive self. Just walk away when people are about to mock you for it. You don't have to stand there and take it. Learn to respect your sensitive self more than those that disrespect you. Being Empathetic makes you human. Which is what God created you to be.
Below is a website for intuitive jewelry. I want to learn more about healing crystals and use them in my own jewelry making.
Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on October 25, 2017:
Good article. Remember, everyone is projecting their own emotions. You do not need to react to them. You may be interested in the following article: