1. Religion & Spirituality

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

The Bible and Suicide

Readers Respond: Pros and Cons of Being an Empath

Responses: 756


It is a gift, although a terrible gift.

Yes, it's very difficult to have relationships when you are so in tune with the minds and feelings of others. It hurts when you know other people's lies. I have had this problem all my life. I accept it. It is a gift, although a terrible gift.
—Guest Angela

Getting used to it

I'm 62 and have been an empath since childhood although I didn't understand it till I reached my 40's. Even then dealing with the ups and downs that often belonged to others has continued to be a challenge. Trying to shield myself has not worked although because of my art I have been able to get in touch with what is mine. I also spend time alone in nature or just alone. I create therapeutic art programs so I am often speaking or conducting workshops which depletes me. I refuel alone away from the energies of others, often developing a new creative process and then I can find the strength to continue my work. The most important thing is to recognize that you are an empath and then to find what feeds you energy when you get depleted or caught up in the emotional makeup of others.
—Guest katya

I Don't Understand

So much has happened. I don't really know what to do. I feel people's emotions no matter what and I can't figure out why..or how. I've always been a suffer in silence kind of person because I knew i was different. I help people a lot I suppose. I've always been able to help people with relationships, marriages, since I was very young ,9 at the youngest. I don't understand why. When I read the other notes I feel not so alone even though I thought I was alone. I guess this has helped me understand and be able to cope with this so called gift.
—Guest guest desii

I don't know if I am...

Ever since I was little, I have always had this strange "ability." I know when other people are upset, and I take on their emotions. It is overwhelming. Sometimes I'll just pass someone on the street and I'll just know that they're in trouble, and it will physically hurt me. I am terrified of hurting people, because I will feel guilt along with the same pain they feel... so I end up trying to please everyone all the time. It's not good. I had anxiety attacks a lot when I was little, and my stepdad would scream at me and say I just wanted attention because I didn't know exactly why I was upset. I couldn't express this.. whatever it is... to him. It was horrible. I still have anxiety a lot. None of my friends understand it... they think I'm strange. I'm trying to get my boyfriend to understand. He's open to it, but he definitely doesn't get it. I don't know if I'm an empath or not, but I'm glad that there are other people out there who know how I feel.
—Guest Alex

Now it all makes sense

My mom is an empath but totally in denial. I think I get it from her. However, it's tough to be around her because she picks up on the energy of others, has no outlet or method for handling, and then I pick up on her energy. The more in-tune I've gotten with my empathetic abilities, the harder it is to be around her. Very strange. I knew I had to take action when I began feeling what a young person in my life was feeling. She wanted to speak with me. When we made the appointment to talk, I immediately felt self destructive. It was like someone else had entered my head. I was so confused. Then, the next day we had our appointment. She told me she had been diagnosed with a major mental health condition. Immediately after our call, I felt normal. I knew then that I had to protect myself. I had always been sensitive growing up. I've been told I have gifts but am still learning about them. Empathy was a no brainer. Now I'm studying energy work to try and protect myself.


I've been reading more of these posts and I am thrilled to read the posts from people who are suffering from this (not happy there is suffering but that I am not alone). The ones who are happy with this, that is great for you, but I think this affects the quality of lives for the ones who are struggling to live with this. Its not a problem of intelligence or will that we can't cope, it's not having the information. Not to mention the dogma of society & the fear that we look crazy. I want to be a healer, its clear this is a useful tool, but I can't help others if I can't even help myself. I know if I had a place I could communicate with others who can identify, it would remove the isolating feeling of having this. And it would be a tool to help us exchange ideas to live with it and improve our quality of lives. I drank for 15 yrs to drown people out. 3 yrs into sobriety & everyone is loud and clear and I am physically sick often as a result. If there is a site already, someone post this.. (Note from Guide: discussions about empaths and empathy are welcome in the Healing Forum, see link at top of page one of this share post )


I have physical manifestations of others feelings. Many levels of subtle to extreme. I can only be in public places/events for approx 2 hrs before I start shaking and my perspective shifts, like a battery dying. If someone directs anger at me, I virtually feel like I've been hit or stabbed. I can feel good souls vs. bad souls. I can tell when others are speaking through their ego vs. their true nature. I can tell if someone is lying or a fraud right away. Unless it involves me personally. The minute I try and use this in regards to my personal life, it becomes cloudy, like sand shifted about in a pool of water. As much as I would like to see this as a gift, I become isolated because it effects me physically terrible. I work out at a gym daily to counter this. I can't help reading everyone, all the time, its involuntary. It's like on overloaded radio signal. And I question the authenticity of others who have this because it seems hokey, even to me. I need help feeding my battery.

just another note

I noticed it is often times easier to be around sociopathic people who feel nothing but I also realize on an intellectual level that it is bad. I often wonder if either of my two children share this trait but I do not feel they do on a complete level. I get flashes of my son having this trait and he is somewhat reclusive at times which makes me think it's possible. He cannot be around large groups of people for too long as he seems to get drained and need to be on his own. Could just be a personality trait and not an empath trait however. I often find in myself that the work I do allows me to use my traits/gift in a positive way.
—Guest grose


It took a myriad of experiences and 41 years to understand all that it was that I was feeling around others to finally get to the point that I am at now. There was an incident when I was speaking to someone in work and before he told his story about his mom, he showed me her picture. Immediately I held it and cried, right in front of him. I was completely embarrassed and still am somewhat when I see him. When I started to cry, he explained the about her and that she had died fairly recently. He gave me no indication about that before I held the pic, either verbally or physically- he was just smiling about her and talking about his brother. I held the pic and instantly felt SO MUCH hurt and sadness. Apparently she was only 47 when she passed 8 years ago. As I child I would get and still do get very overwhelmed in the presence of others, like in a group. I cannot turn this empathy off which can be very draining at times. I used to think I was just an extremely compassionate person.
—Guest grose

Powerful Gift

I've known I always felt things more intensely than others and I could gauge a people situation just by entering a room. It's an awareness that I sometimes find difficult to integrate....do you repond to what you feel/ know or to what they think you know or want you to know? Sometimes those are very different. I don't like knowing all the time when I'm being lied to. I've found if I don't go with my gut, it's usually a wrong decision for me. I think it helps me make better charactor decisions about people.
—Guest AZ Girl

Learn how to use your gifts

I'm indigo, healer and empath. I've always knows I was different. I am 36 now and have learned to decipher my feelings from other peoples, animals, objects feelings so I don't take them on enough to let it get me down but when I was a kid I used to cry for grocery carts left in the parking lot unnoticed. I was a weirdo! My parents used to get frustrated with what they saw as irrational reactions and feelings. I hate being in crowds and when I'm finally able to come home and unplug I have to have silence and can't talk to anybody for a bit. I used to have to do caffeine and nicotine but I stopped those bad habits and learned to meditate. A while back I became attuned to Reiki II and it heightened my sensitivity to where I could feel all energy. I could feel spirits and angels. I can feel when people are upset if they just walk by. My chest feels tight around sad people and Reiki just automatically turns on around sick people without me having to do anything and it makes me feel light headed and spacey. People can actually see me light up when it turns on. That's how strong it is. I love it. I love being able to help anybody who needs it. Because of this sensitivity I'm a gifted healer. I just know exactly what people need and what to do and help them feel okay about recieving a healing that they would normaly reject as weird. and when they feel that healing energy they're amazed and in awe. I just tell them it's from God. So I encourage empaths like myself to first learn what is yours and what isn't so you learn to not let other energies be absorbed by you and you take on their feelings. Learn to observe it as information and nothing else. Don't accept it as yours... just as info to know what that being needs and try and help them get it. Become attuned to Reiki so you can alieviate their issue. Due to your empathic ability you'll 'know' what to do to heal. It comes natural to us. Learn to ground and protect yourself to learn observing of energy. Use your gift for the good of all.
—Guest blackbirdluv

I guess I'm not alone

I am just recently coming to terms with my "gift." It is hard sometimes to really comprehend how to handle all of the emotions I experience on a daily basis. I often feel tired and worn out at the end of every day. It was hard to not let my significant other know that I was "different." I did things that he thought was just by "intuition" but it came to one night I felt some bad vibes around me and I found my friend's cat outside with thorns in it. My boyfriend asked me what was the matter and I had simply said it's just a weird night. I felt terrible lying to him but at the time I personally felt like we weren't at that point in our relationship that I should let him know. Eventually I felt his readiness in our relationship and so I told him. He handled it fairly well,and it was as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. He is now the one person who tries to understand my "gift" and honestly has been the biggest help I could have ever asked for. It's good to tell someone you trust.


I do and don't think I'm an empath. I share the negative feelings of others. If I am in a room full of tension, the feeling I get is that of being stuck with needles. If someone is in a bad mood, I will usually feel sick, angry, or frustrated for awhile, regardless of whether I had anything to do with it. But I also believe it is just a side-effect of being a writer. Everything becomes twisted into a story to tell. Or maybe I'm just overthinking things as I often do. I feel like I have a deep connection with feelings, emotions. I'm rarely comfortable talking about feelings despite my honesty, but I understand that strong emotions define our lives. So unlike most empaths, I don't feel what others feel 24/7. I can't really read between the lines. I struggle to stay positive while negativity claws at me on a daily basis. I'm tired of not knowing what's going on. I'd like to know if anyone thinks I may be an empath so I can get some help, or if I am simply being naive so I can move on.
—Guest HavenWolf

Thank You

I've always had a feeling i was an empath. I just didn't understand what is was because I kept projecting others feelings or would suddenly feel what they're feeling and then it would be gone. In other instances I would feel like my mind would meld with animals like I knew what they were feeling, thinking and what they wanted to say. Anyway, you helped a lot whoever wrote this article, thank you for helping me see myself!!
—Guest Ash

A gift or curse??

To me being an empath is an everyday struggle. I often feel others' emotions, see memories, or read their thoughts, and see and feel energies whether the person is living or dead. It sometimes feels as if i am drained of my energy because a lost spirit may use mine or a living person drains me of mine. I know it may sound insane but my grandmother dealt with the same problem.
—Guest lost
  1. About.com
  2. Religion & Spirituality
  3. Holistic Healing
  4. Highly Sensitive Persons
  5. Being an Empath
  6. Empaths - Pros and Cons of Being an Empath

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.