Empath: An Empath is a highly sensitive person who can deeply perceive emotions, thoughts and energies in others and feel what they feel.
It’s like I’m you. Completely or partly.
I read this recently and wanted to talk about it a bit as it’s the best description I’ve come across yet of what an empath is:
Not something you want anyone to know. You think it’s great?
It’s not. It’s horrible and I have worked very hard to turn it on and off when I want.
This article covers it extensively and accurately. It’s the best one I’ve seen, but to be honest, I usually avoid the subject. Not because I’m ashamed or afraid of it.
Because as a rule, people then want more from me as if they think I can cure them or understand them better. I’m not a freak and I’m not on this Earth to be a side-show nor am I responsible for your condition.
I generally understand people better than they understand themselves. I agree with this article on most of what it says, especially “You either are an empath or your aren’t.” Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t, but I thank God every day that I never said a word about it growing up.
This is the main reason that I am often tired at the end of the day. It’s why I really have to work at getting myself up and out the door at night or on the weekends. It’s not that I’m unhappy or anti-social.
I’m fucking tired from everyone’s crap. It hits me like a ton of bricks if I let my guard down. It’s the reason I don’t like crowds. The mental thoughts and energies are too noisy and I get overwhelmed. I’m much better one-on-one or in small groups where I can come and go.
It came to a head in 1989 after the Loma Prieta earthquake. I was living in Oakland at the time. It took me over a day to get home because of all the damage. 1 mile from my house, part of the freeway had collapsed. I did not know this at first. The Bay Bridge was wrecked, which was 2 miles from my house. The damage was severe and freeways were shut down.
I hadn’t listened to much of it as they were making a bad situation even worse. I went to bed and was fast asleep when I suddenly bolted upright out of bed.
I heard screaming. Lots of screaming. I woke my husband up. My dog was fast asleep. I asked him if he heard anything. He listened and shook his head.
The screaming filled my head and my house. I got up and looked all around. Everything was fine. There wasn’t anybody there. I put my hands over my ears but that made it worse. People were crying, begging for help. I heard men and women and it wouldn’t stop. Tremendous grief, despair, and terror ripped through me. Was I going crazy? No, no way. I’ll never be crazy because I won’t agree to it.
My husband looked at me and said “You need to turn it off.”
“Turn what off? What are you saying?”
“Them. You need to shut it down.”
I blinked. He made no sense.
“You didn’t listen to the news, did you?”
I shook my head.
“The Nimitz (a nearby freeway, less than a mile away from me) collapsed and…”
“There are people trapped there.”
Oh dear God! I started crying and couldn’t stop. I felt all of it. All of them. I could hear them. I wanted to go help but I couldn’t.
He understood when I didn’t.
So I learned. I learned to “not know” things when they do me no good. I learned to “know” and then to “not know” and I can’t tell another empath how to do it except to just do it.
Yes, we do tend to talk openly and freely and are often hurt when we are shunned or ridiculed. Most of us never mention it. We would rather give a compliment than receive one. We can be reclusive because, for me, it’s a bit too much at the end of the day or week. I often think I own an emotion which in fact belongs to someone else as I am prone to accept theirs and then project it as mine. That messes with me all the time.
I spend more time trying to figure out what I think because I already know what YOU think. When someone gets angry around me, or towards me, it is physically painful to me. My chest and torso ache from the force of their emotion.
I am also quite sensitive to violence on TV and in movies. I don’t watch TV and am careful about the movies I go to because they stay with me for days or weeks at a time.
The article lists 30 common traits:
- Knowing. Yep, I just know shit.
- Public places can be overwhelming. Yep.
- Feeling other emotions and talking as if they’re your own. Tis true!
- Watching cruelty is unbearable. Yes it is. Still haven’t recovered from a movie 30 years ago.
- Knows when someone isn’t being honest. All the time.
- Picking up physical symptoms. I have in the past but am usually able to sidestep it now.
- Digestive disorders and lower back problems. Not really but my back is usually sore.
- Always looking out for the underdog. Always.
- People want to offload their problems on me. They used to. I don’t let them anymore.
- Constant fatigue. Yep.
- Addictive personality. Not so much, but I could have gone there easily.
- Drawn to healing. Yes, just a bit.
- Creative. Ya think?
- Love of nature and animals. Love them much more than people.
- Need of solitude. Yes. This is the main reason I shun relationships. Too noisy for me.
- Gets bored or distracted easily. All the time.
- Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy. Yes.
- Strives for truth. All the time.
- Always looking for answers and knowledge. Yes and it drives me nuts that others don’t.
- Likes adventures, freedom and travel. I would love to travel when I’m not tired.
- Abhors clutter. I have a very short fuse when it comes to this.
- Loves to daydream. Yes, but only at night when I’m not working.
- Finds routine imprisoning. Not really. I prefer it, to a certain extent.
- Prone to carry weight. I have in the past but now I watch it like a hawk.
- Excellent listener. Absolutely!
- Intolerance to narcissism. Oh for sure. I cut those assholes down to size.
- Able to feel the days of the week. Kind of, sort of.
- Will not buy antiques. I’m very picky about them. Depends on how they feel in my hands.
- Senses the energy of food. Yes, which was why I was a vegetarian for so many years.
- Can seem moody, shy, aloof, disconnected. I’ve learned to cover this up.
For years I would wonder why it was easy to understand someone but I rarely felt understood. I’ve come to accept it, don’t ever expect it and that seems to work better for me. It’s what I have to do to be sane. It’s rare that someone comes along that I feel understood AND accepted for who I am. I’ve made sure to keep them around. Many of them are my oldest and dearest friends.
I called my best friend the other day and it had been months since we had talked. It was like we had just talked the day before. She picked-up the phone, laughing that my timing was perfect. She had something she wanted to talk to me about and off we went. No time had passed since the last time we had spoken. At least not between the two of us.
So this a very comprehensive article. You should read it, if you’re interested, for more in-depth information as this is just the nutshell.
If you’re not an empath, and you have no idea what I’m talking about, just move along. I understand.
We’re used to it and we already know what you think.
P.S. A few of you are empaths, but don’t know it. I can tell by your posts or being around you. You think there’s something wrong with you.