The empaths who are prone to problems are what I call 'high level empaths. They are the emotional sponges of the universe, absorbing the emotions and energy that is around them.
Most of the time, empaths don't even know they are doing this, and don't always understand that the feelings they feel are not always their own. For instance, you might feel quite good, then suddenly, for no apparent reason you experience a drop in your emotions or energy. One reason might be due to a friend or coworker dropping their emotions on you and you are picking up on this. This is a 'sympathetic attachment', and it's not unusual for someone to do this in sympathy with another person. Unfortunately, it's not healthy either.
Empaths often suffer a lot because they do not understand what is happening to them. This is because they are too externally focused, and not focused on themselves (not centered). They don't understand why they are feeling depressed, anxious, angry or full of guilt. Most high level empaths are prone to take on the problems and pain of others, as though that will lessen it or make it go away which it won't. Many empaths are driven by feelings of guilt or obligation, feeling bad if they feel good when others don't. Empaths are often people-pleasers and 'enablers.'
Being an empath doesn't have to be bad, though. It can be a very powerful and potent tool for connecting with others and helping them to heal. It can also bring an incredible amount of joy if you are able to control it.
To feel every emotion and energy that vibrates in their presence is a daily occurrence for an empath unless they learn to block it out or shield themselves (see below for help). When someone is angry, an empath may feel the anger throughout their body. Another person's sadness or anxiety does this too.
Empaths may also want to try to control everything because they feel 'out of control' being bounced around by people's emotions and energy. Much of the time this is done unconsciously.
On a good note - you know what it feels like to be another person so you're often great at relating to others. On the downside, you are like a sponge who is often drained and full of other peoples’ emotions – the conscious one and the unconscious ones. You can have problems with being truly in tune with how YOU feel and what is best for you.
Are you often called 'over-sensitive,' a 'people pleaser' - or lose your identity in a relationship? You can want to fix everyone, or make sure everyone is happy before you. You're affected by other people's emotions, especially negative ones. You can sometimes feel the emotions and vibes in a room. Certain people are so draining or exhausting to be around.
Do you want a name for this? You're an Empath.
Are you called sometimes 'over-sensitive,' a 'people pleaser' -
or do you lose your identity in a relationship?
You can want to fix everyone, or make sure everyone is happy before you.
You're affected by other people's emotions, especially negative ones.
You can sometimes feel the emotions and vibes in a room.
Certain people are so draining or exhausting to be around.
Do you want a name for this? You're an Empath.
What is an Empath?
An 'empath' is a person that is hypersensitive to the emotions and energy of other people. They have the ability to physically feel the emotions of a person standing near them. Empaths intuitively seem to ‘know’ there is more to a story than what meets the eye and what is really going on under the surface. It may be the feelings of someone they are close to. It might be the general feelings in a room such as fear, anger or chaotic energy.
3. Be conscious of empathy triggers –
Understanding your external empathy triggers – that’s to say, understanding which situations and people trigger your empathy in any at any given time. When you notice that you’re over-identifying with another person and their energy and emotions, it’s best to bring your focus back to you. You can do this very simply by softly touching your skin, touching a piece of jewelry, anything - noticing how only YOU feel in that moment.
Notice something that you like that refocuses you, "I like that picture" or "I like how soft this shirt is." Making these steps a habit can really help you in the moment to bring your empathy under control. You can also consciously 'will' your energy to return to you where your energy boundaries close back around you with clear intention. Take a moment to feel how you feel, become aware of your peaceful, inner being.
4. Moving from unconscious empathy to making a conscious choice -
Understanding why you may not be controlling your overactive empathy; overcoming self-limiting beliefs and unconscious choices around your empathic abilities by setting new intentions for the management of your energy. If you practice the tips above and you notice it’s not working effectively, then you need to look at what is stopping you from fully getting control of your own energy. Sometimes, you’re not fully turning off empathy towards others because there is a part of you that feels it's 'required' to be a real friend or partner, or you subconsciously don't want to.
2. Setting clear boundaries with others all the time -
Know where you stop and another person begins. Just because you feel others emotions does not mean you are responsible for their emotions or should worry about their actions. It is not anyone's Soul purpose or "job" in this lifetime to fix, heal, save or control another person. It's also disrespectful and not empowering on any level to them regardless of how good your are intentions are.
Please always remember you're only responsible for your own emotions, reactions and choices. It's okay to say 'no' to someone - "no" is a complete sentence. No need to justify, appease or be approval seeking. No one else can tell you your feelings are 'wrong' - they belong to you alone.
Be honest with how you feel regardless of what someone else's reaction may be. Keep things in proper perspective and be direct and respectful. Let the other person deal with their own emotions and reactions simply because they are an adult and responsible for their own emotions and issues in life - no one else is. You actually can harm another person's personal growth and their ability to be responsible and accountable when you're always "fixing" them or trying to please them when YOU don't set clear boundaries.
1. Centering yourself –
As an energy management tool, try to learn to turn off your empathy when you are being bounced by someone or taking on their emotions. Train yourself to be more positively self-focused all the time. Try to be in the moment and aware of how you actually feel, separating yourself from someone else's energy and emotions. This is a mental state where you are profoundly aware of yourself and your own feelings; where the inner state is louder and speaks to you more clearly than what is going on around you. Focus positively on yourself, not what is going on around you.
Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong help greatly with staying centered. Find different ways to balance your chakras. Learn more about energy healing modalities or try Reiki with someone you make a good connection with. Try Ayurveda. Clean up your diet and drink lots of water; the simple act of taking better care of ourselves is grounding and centering. Let go of everything you don't have control over, and let go of the past. Clean out your home and simplify. Clear out anyone negative around you. Stay connected to Nature, take long walks outdoors, practice a hobby, find a creative outlet, get regular exercise, create positive support systems. Research and learn about something new that interests you. Be responsible with your money. Practice moderation in everything you do.
Find things that help you build self-esteem and find inner peace. All of these things lead to staying centered and feeling good.
Four steps to overcoming overactive Empathy:
#1. Empathy was never meant to be used in a continuous, "always on" way.
It’s exhausting if we have to remain in someone else's painful world with them. We become useless to ourselves and to others when we are so outer focused - focused on others. You cannot comfort or help someone if you’re in exactly the same negative state that they are in. This is why overactive empathy doesn't serve you.
You need to be able to refocus the emotion and energy absorbing state you’re in, back to you in a positive and productive way to feel the good energy that you naturally bring into the world. This is how you heal and help others and yourself.
#2.Overactive empathy is unnecessary 'self-sacrifice'.
When we absorb a lot of negative energy that isn't ours we are out of touch with ourselves. No one is taking care of us. We cannot see clearly because we muddy our own waters by being too externally focused.
What is negative and what does not serve you cannot serve someone else. Acts of self-sacrifice drain you (like putting anyone else's needs above your own). Self-sacrifice is never in the highest good of all.
NOTE: Nobody's Soul purpose in any lifetime is to sacrifice their own sense of self, feelings, beliefs and needs to fix, save or please other people.
#3. Overactive empathy is linked to co-dependence.
If you are feeling someone else’s pain, you may also try to take responsibility or "fix" that person because it becomes your pain. When you want that pain or anxiety to end, you may become very attached to a situation or emotional state that isn't yours.
Recognize what doesn't belong to you and give it back to the person. These situations can be quite enmeshing and confusing because boundaries become blurred.
As you can see from these tips, managing overactive empathy is probably not something you are going to do quickly. But ultimately, how much you learn to control being an empath will help you for the rest of your life.
You will take control your empath abilities in relation to how much effort you are willing to put in. It's worth it to find harmony and to be mindful of your inner state.
Articles on setting healthy boundaries:
Insights to counter the fears and blocks to controlling overactive empathy:
Do you feel guilty if you try to turn your empath abilities off? Like you are disconnecting from others or being selfish? If you do, and it’s blocking you from fully getting control of your own energy and setting emotional and energetic boundaries, please read on:
"Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom."
– Henry Cloud