1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Readers Respond: Pros and Cons of Being an Empath

Responses: 704


Struggling with Empathy

I'm seventeen years old and if no one else knows, a high school classroom is a battle ground of emotions. Teenagers are so emotional; it drives me crazy because I'm more of an old soul to begin with. It's really a struggle to be honest and any other empath would feel the same way. My trick is manipulating my surroundings. Once a week I'll bring in food or something to make my largest classes generally happy. For the most part, it works. My trouble is talking to someone about it. I have one good friend who seemingly understands my frustrations. My mom is a difficult barrier. I want to say something, but I already know how she'll react. She would scoff in my face and tell me it's a phase or not even acknowledge what I'm going through. And I'm not even sure I would ever mention it to a boyfriend or partner. It's a difficult situation because we soak up everything and have to suffer (and enjoy) it all with little to no support at all. So everyday I hope for the best and prolong the happy.
—Guest Amber Reaves

Empathy is a gift and a curse

I do believe empathy can be both a curse and a gift. I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, along with a chemical imbalance in my brain. This makes it difficult for me to do a lot of things, sometimes even maintaining a peaceful relationship with my boyfriend is difficult because of this. I feed off of his anger when he is angry, and I also feed off of his sadness. I have been told by many people that I am close to that I am very empathic. I understand others' feelings when they need someone to speak to, and I understand their pain and sadness to a degree that I feel no one else possibly could; this is because I have also felt this pain and sadness myself. Unfortunately, my empathy makes it difficult for me to go to work and stay with a normal job, because I feel everyone's frustration, and along with my anxiety disorder it is unbearable. I am searching for ways to make things better for myself, especially since I have just discovered my empathy (I am 21)
—Guest Sarah

Uh oh and oh no

You think you've found out what and why you feel this way, but what do you do when you can't ground out the emotion? I also used this as a defense mechanism growing up and now it's as if my entire being is full of other people's crap and nothing inside is mine. You try to put a shield up but then you just feel empty. It's like to survive, you have to have other people's energy. Strangers, friends, family. Anyone or anything. What do you do then?!
—Guest Airika

Defense Mechanism

I, have been diagnosed with many things: severe depression, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, chronic anxiety disorder ... no one seemed to have the answer. Only as I got older and began really examining why I felt the way I did, did I realize that something was off. My friend introduced the idea of empathy to me, and as he spoke of it, it was as if a light was turned on and I understood what was wrong with me. I don't claim to have super powers and I cringe at the bravado displayed by some who think they have some kind of paranormal ability. For me, being an empath was an accident. I grew up in a home with a violent parent. I read his moods in order to protect myself. I grew up doing this. I eventually "learned" to do it with everyone in order to protect myself from being taken off-guard. To figure out what people liked so I wouldn't be alone. I've been called a chameleon. My "gift", or whatever you want to call it, was a selfish one. A defense mechanism.
—Guest E

Empath and Telepath

I have known I was a telepath for years but i was diagnosed bipolar at age 15 and accepted that as the end of that. I am now almost 22 and only over the past few months have come to accept I'm an empath. I do not know how to feel my own feelings :/ My boyfriend is very supportive as he is sensitive to people as well but in a different way. When you put two together it is amazing the power boost and how much clearer it all is. I have 2 small children so I know it can be a curse at times. But, I see through two-faced people. I have helped people all my life and always will. It's our duty.
—Guest steph

Wow. To others, gift. To me, curse.

I feel sometimes like I'm losing my mind. I don't understand where all of these feelings and hurt is coming from, and it scares me. The first time I read about empathy, I had to keep looking over my shoulder, thinking somebody had been spying on me or something. It really freaked me out, but I can't find any other explanation for all of the weirdness in my life. I've experienced most of what all of you are talking about, but I also must admit I feel very lonely sometimes. I wish so bad that there was somebody I can talk to, somebody that would understand and wouldn't judge me or think I was crazy. I'm still learning about this. As for the gift or curse: To others, gift. To me, curse. I tend to feel the bad emotions and actual physical pain 99% of the time, because most of my friends and family are depressive. At times it even drives me to tears, leaving me in the fetal position for hours at a time. Glad to see at least I'm not alone.
—Guest wolfess


Hi, I am so very glad to find this site, it's nice to know that I like a lot of you am not crazy. I have been this way all of my life and I am 50. I have been treated for everything from panic, depression, even bipolar but nothing seemed to help. So I quit taking most of the meds and found that I was able to help people, even pets, but I have been bombarded lately and I take in sickness and can't seem to get rid of it and I am so tired. I have tried the stones, I meditate and it seems to have grown without me. I have yet to figure out how to shut it down just so I can regroup. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
—Guest Tempest


When I try to tell others what I can do I cannot speak. I feel locked in side and that the fear of my family and others will see me as crazy.
—Guest Hidden_in_ Reality

19 and nuts

I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was nine now I understand I was taking on the emotions of those around me. I'd like to say it got better as I got older but it didn't. Being around others hurt cuz I take so much in. My family thinks I'm a freak. They know I'm different. Though others in family are gifted they keep it to themselves because being normal is the way to go They keep everything to themselves. Bottled emotions = pain. I get a touch I feel it like a slap and tell them to stay away. I'm not mean, it just hurts. People seek me out subconsciously, I help on a good day. But for the most part as much as I would love to be social and stop feeling so alone the pain is too much. I met a guy who fell in love with me because I have a calming air about me as he put it but aside from not liking him back his very presence causes me pain, even his touch. Since being "normal" isn't an option I wanna hide under a rock. I hate being alone but it's the only way.
—Guest teary41

It's a mission

To be empath or higly sensitive person is a greatest gift and burden too. I have troubles to cope since I was a child. I felt like no one understands me and I do not know where is my place. This journey is a journey of a loner and takes great courage to walk it! I do not drink, smoke, though I tried it to fit somewhere. I don't like loud noises or crowds as I quickly absorb everything from others and it makes me ill. Peaceful music and nature helps to cleanse, also doing protections around the body, but if we are still living dictated, stressful and timed life in order to pay bills or place where you live, it's not easy to make it peacefully :) - I pray that changes will soon happen and people will recognize the truth, be honest with each other and I pray that same like people will meet each other to help themselves on this journey! I'm 31 and till this time I used to meet the opposites of me, who were maybe lesson to be learn but they also took a lot of advantages of my personality.
—Guest Malinla


I'm 13, and all my life I've been extremely sensitive to others. When my grandmother was ill in the hospital, from my house it was like I could actually feel her pain. I bawled my eyes out and scrunched myself into a ball, shaking. I think I do a good job of hiding my emotions, since my parents and friends have no idea. If I have to cry I force it under until I'm alone. Rarely I can get angry when I discover any thoughts that are cruel or self centered. There are plenty of nice thoughts though, and I just want people to be happy. Sometimes I feel bad though, like when little kids run up and want me to play, and I try to say no, because I feel their disappointment. Not that I don't play with them, it's just a constant come play princess with us. Hmm, well everything will be alright. I consider it a gift, and I intend to do good with it.


Often I've felt others pain, joy and sorrow to the point of tears and great outburst of happiness. One bad thing is that I do so often put my problems on the back burner, for other things to occupy my mind. I also pray for others, lots of whom I don't know and heaps of sympathy. Strangely often times I also have ailments and sickness that I pray for others to leave and they come to me. Why is that? i would love to understand this. I totally don't mind that last part, but, I do have to be careful about what I pray.
—Guest j


I am glad to know that there are others that are like me. I thought I was crazy. I'm sensitive to smells (especially perfumes), loud noises, and people. I'm able to get vibes from people - good or bad. Most of the time I feel like a problem solver for everyone- especially my family. When I become overwhelmed by other people's issues and emotions, I become physically ill and withdrawn.


I'm definitely an empath, knowing what others think and say before they do say. It's border line psychic. It's hard to deal with sometimes because I wear it for days. I often wish I were not so sensing.
—Guest Ron H

thoughts. . .

I've always had this feeling around people. These emotions that I knew weren't mine. I didnt know exactly what it was, but i knew it was their emotions. Sometimes i was able to help them other times their emotions were good ones and they wouldn't need my help. Sometimes their emotions were so deep and conflicted I would become overwhelmed and I would have to run off because I felt sick. I've always helped others and put their needs before my own. When I read this article it seemed to all make sense now. Although being 'empathic' is just a title I'm glad I now know I'm not alone or just experencing the inevitable. I am proud to say I'm an empath.
—Guest unknown

Share Your Feelings

Pros and Cons of Being an Empath

Receive a one-time notification when your response is published.

  1. About.com
  2. Religion & Spirituality
  3. Holistic Healing
  4. Healthy Living
  5. Health and Wellness
  6. Emotional Issues
  7. Highly Sensitive Persons
  8. Being an Empath
  9. Empaths - Pros and Cons of Being an Empath

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.