Saturday, February 6, 2010


Good afternoon.  I had wanted to take some pictures of the snowstorm, but we actually didn't get much snow at all here.  In some parts of the city, it didn't even snow at all.  I don't know whether to feel happy or sad.  There's nothing like being all cozy in your home with your family and plenty of food while the wind howls and the snow blows, but the conditions that follow can be downright treacherous. 

I'm wondering.  Anybody here an empath or know something about empaths?  The reason I am asking is because I really never paid much attention.  I actually didn't even know what am empath was until yesterday.  You all know that I had been going through some stuff, but my rant I had left some things out.  I was actually going through a rougher time than I had let on.  As a matter of fact, there have been times lately that I felt as if I was about to jump out of my skin, and, frankly, I was downright scared.  Thought maybe I was headed toward some type of breakdown.  But the odd thing about it was how these feelings and moods would come and go.

So, when I was about to leave work yesterday, my co-worker called me into her office and told me she was really feeling for me.  (I am blessed to have a couple co-workers who believe and pratice the mystical side of life).  I thought she meant all the work that had piled on me, but then she continued,  "You're an empath, and I don't know how you've gone this  far without your breaking down like this."  Then, she went on to explain that we are all born as an empath, but most people completely shut down their skills or learn to ignore feelings they are picking up from other people.  An empath is one who picks up on the feelings and emotions of those around them.  Then, she explained that there are others, like me, who are called "Impaired empaths".  These are those empaths who, although they have shown the basic skills, can easily become overwhelmed.  There is also the functional empath who is able to control the flow of information so that it does not become overwhelming.  Then, she referred me to an online group which I joined. 

There are series of questions which will tell one whether or not they are an empath.

For example, "Do you feel anxious or nervous in a crowd?  Does your energy seem to change?  Do you feel anxious or wired?"  Let me tell you, I've been like that for years.  All I have to do is walk into a store with a lot of shoppers and I begin to feel so wired that I can't wait to get out of there.  I become so anxious that I begin to cry.  Many a time I have walked out of our neighborhood Shoprite with tears rolling down my cheeks.  This is why I prefer our little uncrowded Met Food.

Does your mood seem to vary at random for no reason?  (angry, sad, scared)  All the time...since I was a teen-ager.  I can be feeling really good, and then suddenly, for no reason, have a drop in my emotions.  I also take on my clients feelings in group and individual sessions and find myself crying right along with them.

Do you have a hard time falling asleep before midnight or do you procrastinate about going to bed?  I can climb into bed at 10 pm and not fall asleep until 1 pm, and this occurs night after night for as long as I can remember.

Do people find it easy to confide in you?  Perfect strangers come up to me and tell me personal things about their lives.  Never quite understood why.  I actually used to joke about being a magnet.

Do you have physical symptoms that relate to your hearing?  (popping, itching, ringing, or other symptoms in your ear canal)  My ears are always popping and have recently started itching for no reason.

Are you a good listener?  Do people seem to intuitively know that you will understand them, empathize with them, and offer them moral and emotional support?  I hear this all the time from my clients  It is now at the point that word has gotten around that "I am good" and clients will request me.  The receptionist told me that some guy came in to schedule and intake...and his friend, who was a client told him, "Ask for Mary.  Tell them you don't want anyone else."

Do you feel emotionally uncomfortable or anxious when having sex...or do you have no sex drive?
That's me.  Never really understood why.

There were many other questions, intuitively being able to tell whether and individual will be friend or foe.  Back in the day when I worked evenings for an answering service, we were a group of ladies who had a great time.  Sure, we would read, knit, have a beer or two, but we did our work.  Then they hired someone who was sweet as molasses.  "Oh, I'll go to the store for you.  I'll do your filing."  That kind of stuff.  All of my co-workers loved her, but I was the odd man out.  I didn't like her and didn't trust...and warned them...but no one would listen.  Turns out she couldn't do the job and was really messing up so the boss had to fire her.  But do you know before this gal left, she told the boss all the stuff we did at night? 

Another question was about television shows, commercials and are some of them hard for me to watch.  Definitely.   But, that goes without saying.  I'm sure most of us feel emotions with sad movies and such.  The difference is, empaths pick up feelings and emotions like a sponge and tend to do so because they are ungrounded.  Here are a few other things to take note of.  You might be an empath if:

You can't bear loud noises; they go right through you.  That's me.  Others just don't understand why I am always asking them to turn the music down.  At work sometimes, I will hear someone's car radio or the rumbling of a truck's motor, and I have to cover my ears.

You hate parties/nightclubs/crowds.  Definitely.  I really feel uncomfortable and usually find some corner to hide in and count the minutes until I can get out of there.

You take on the guilt of others and their actions.  That's me to a tee.  When one of my co-workers does something inappropriate, I often feel as if I had done the dastardly deed.

You are always sensitive to how others may feel.  Yes.   Just look at how many times I apologize for a rant.  LOL!!!

Can't say no to others.  That was me for so many years.  Still is to some degree.

Put on a brave face, but feel tortured by their feelings.  Definitely, to the point of suffering tension headaches, fatigue, and general malaise.

So, I took the 6 page test and got very high scores.  Still learning.  Still no sure.  That's why I'm reaching out for answers.  Would love to hear from others.


  1. Mary, sounds like you care "To Much". Reserve some space for yourself. It is not a selfish thing to look out for your own well being. Then of course, there is always the short version of the Serenity Prayer, which has saved my awnry behind many a time. X.

  2. Very interesting Mary. I too can relate to a lot of the questions, but my Mom is one to a tee! Hope you get feeling more like you again soon, and can figure this all out.

  3. I don't know anything about being an Empath, but many of the characteristics in the Empath Questionnaire can also be explained by Jung's concept of Introversion, or by having poor boundaries that leave one unprotected against inappropriately taking on others' emotions and issues. Probably all just different ways of looking at the same phenomena.

  4. I am familiar with the term and have many empathic tendencies myself. I think many people who are drawn to counseling and social services would find that they are, at least on some level, empathic. As Bogaman put it, people drawn to this work usually "care too much." lol And I suppose that part of it is that you have a hard time tuning out the needing and feelings of others. Unfortunately, social work and the like is a very problematic path for most empaths because they don't know what it is that is going on with them, and it leads to getting severely burnt-out, overwhelmed, developing of anxiety disorders, etc. on their own parts because they can't very well separate themselves from the work. You've done this for a lot of years (I am under that impression anyway, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!) so you have obviously developed some sort of coping mechanism that works for you - which is good - or you wouldn't have survived in the field.

    However coming to understand what is going on and protecting your boundaries a bit more can only serve to make your working and personal life healthier and happier. I wish you the best of luck dear one!

  5. ~interesting...i have neither heard of an empath only one being empathic...i do think all as she said all are born empaths...yet it is of each person how much they allow or show...will be reading more on this...i hope her words and the group you have found bring forth a bit of ease to your soul...brightest blessings~

  6. Hello there, I just stopped by your blog for the first time. An interesting post to see first as I am an Empath.

    I am uncomfortable with ther term 'skill'. For me, things like empathy, compassion, intuition, etc, are just parts of who we are, and part of the flow of Nature. Not talents or gofts or skilss.

    But just like some of us find running a mile or composing music easy, so can some of find tuning in to empathic ability or intuition easier than others.

    When I call someone an empath, it's someone who has that ability with ease, like calling someone an athlete.

    To be an empath is a great thing, it's also a great burden, and can be debilitating unless you know what to do with it.

    Finding lots of space and time for yourself is crucial, but more importantly, learning to accept feelings as things unique unto themselves. That is, a feeling is not you. Especially important when many feelings actually don't even emanate from you but are from other people.

    Anyway, I could speak ad nauseum on this. :)
    Bohemian Shadows

  7. I'd not call myself a real empath. But I do have [and have had] people want to confide in me. Both in Real Life and on the Net.

    And I can often "feel" things, from just what's typed on the monitor, by people. Something we aren't "supposed to" be able to do. Not 100%, but I have hit things. *Heard* more than was being said/typed.

    The part that is my downfall is..... That I think I can help. Oh sigh... Since I'm not trained to "help," I should not try to do so.

    Plus, don't they say that most people just want to SAY their piece? That they don't really want someone [not a counselor] to give them any advice? They just want an ear to talk to?

    So if I try to help, it can come to no good end. Then I have more of a problem, than I had, in the beginning.

    Just rattling on here........ Brought on by your post. Now I'll stop my rattling on and go read the other comments.


  8. Just wanted to add a thank you for sharing this with us. This is a very interesting topic, and I hope there will be a lot more input here, on it.


  9. Wow - I have all the same answers to those questions, but one. I may have to check out this group you joined...

    I used to think there was something wrong with me when I was younger. Now I know a bit about being empathic, and I'm better able to shield myself when going into busy stores and parties - but it's never easy.

    Hugs to you. I hope that this group will help you find a comfort zone for you and your ability.