What do you think triggered your empathic abilities?
Thank you for sharing Crownite! I suppose we all are our own entity
Thank you for sharing Crownite! I suppose we all are our own entity
Thank you for sharing Goodenergyhealing! Your story is different than most I have read on here, and that is fascinating. I like your theory. It makes us seem a little like superheroes bringing light to the darkness in the face of almost insurmountable darkness
Thank you for sharing Dice Was your family and/or community at all dismissive of your empathic side (regardless of if they recognized the name of the gift), or were they supportive, nurturing, or supportive? I am just wondering because my current theory on how empathic gifts are cultivated is that some people are born with it more apparent or stronger in some way, and circumstances can either strengthen or somewhat squash it. If feeling threatened can make you hyper-aware and rely on this other sense, can love and acceptance to explore that side of yourself also lead to similar results but through a less painful process?
I am sorry that you felt alone; I can definitely relate to those descriptions of your childhood. I found some really good-hearted people who, when I let them, were there for me when I needed them. I definitely still feel that I am much more of a giver than a taker, but knowing that there are even a few people out there who will give back is a warming feeling. I hope that you have some of those in your life as well.
I definitely appreciate this group as well
Thank you for sharing Gem Was your family at all dismissive of your empathic side (regardless of if they recognized the name of the gift), or were they supportive, nurturing, or supportive? I am just wondering because my current theory on how empathic gifts are cultivated is that some people are born with it more apparent or stronger in some way, and circumstances can either strengthen or somewhat squash it. If feeling threatened can make you hyper-aware and rely on this other sense, can love and acceptance to explore that side of yourself also lead to similar results but through a less painful process?
I am happy that you grew up in such a loving home. Reading your description of your childhood makes me feel like I am wrapped in a big hug
Thank you for sharing Lilly Was your family dismissive of your empathic side, or were they supportive, nurturing, or supportive? I am just wondering because my current theory on how empathic gifts are cultivated is that some people are born with it more apparent or stronger in some way, and circumstances can either strengthen or somewhat squash it. If feeling threatened can make you hyper-aware and rely on this other sense, can love and acceptance to explore that side of yourself also lead to similar results but through a less painful process?
I am sorry that your empathic abilities and sensitivities made your life more difficult. I think we can all relate.
I don't live remotely near you, but I am a scientist, which, I realize seems kind of counter-intuitive. I've found that "right brained" activities like creative artistic pursuits tend to push me towards being even more empathic to the point that it is very difficult to control. Scientific or mathematical problem solving (which, admittedly, stillrequire some creativity) tends to silence that part of me to some degree. I am happiest when I have balance: too many artistic pursuits and I feel out of control and ungrounded; too much scientific thinking and I feel cut off from the world. So, for me, it's science while making certain that I have at least one artistic outlet in my life.
It seems that a lot of us had difficult childhoods and/or traumatic experiences and a lot of people think that makes us pay more attention to innate empathic abilities or develop them as a sort of survival or protection mechanism.
However, my question is more geared towards people who did not have a particularly traumatic event or circumstances. Are there certain things you can sort of trace the tending of your empathic ability to? Were your parents and/or community particularly open to the idea? Did you just grow up in a loving, supportingfamily? Did someone have a talk with you that led you on your way to becoming a stronger empath?
As one of the traumatic experiences empaths, I would like to believe that there are a lot ofthings that you can do to foster empathic traits in people without themneeding togo throughthat sort of difficulty.
I can relate, but Drs. can't give can't diagnose base purely on how people feel, especially if they aren't familiar with you; they have rules they have to follow. I have had primary care doctors that have learned that I know my own body and will trust my instincts a bit more than a doctor that I randomly see once after I am sick; I don't have one now, but that is beside the point. Perhaps talking to people in your area who have primary care doctors who they feel listen to them, and then visit often enough to establish a rapport with them and maybe the doctor will learn to trust your instincts a bit more. In the meantime, I'd agree with Goodenergyhealing. Figure out what keeps you healthy and helps you deal with being sick and use that until your symptoms present themselves in a diagnosable-to-doctors way. I hope you feel better soon!
1.) Look at the Free Empath Training if you haven't already.
2.) Personally, I find that spending time by myself allows me to learn to distinguish my feelings; if being alone for a little while doesn't work; go into nature, meditate, chill for a while all alone. Sometimes, it takes a while to let go of other people's emotions. I also tend to be a bit overly analytical and try to trace my emotions back to the trigger of those emotions. E.g. I feel angry. Has anything happened recently that would account for this emotion? No? Okay, let me leave this space when I have the chance. Do I still feel angry? No. Okay. That wasn't mine. I will try to let that emotion go.
3.) I agree with kit kat. Some people tend to have an angry energy; some people have a happy energy. Comparing how you feel around others vs alone helps you distinguish where some of those feeling come from and can help you decide which people may be more healthy for you to be around.
I actually recently had someone give me good advice about something related to this recently. Go to somewhere that feels the way you want to feel. If you want to feel the excitement of children playing, go to a playground. If you want to feel the calm serenity of an uncrowded church or temple, visit one of those places. Nature is the best, but, as I live in major city with no car to take me outside the city and it is winter, I've found myself with little natural outlets. Going to these places helps me; I hope they help you as well
I had a difficult childhood as well. I've also never been to war or sexually assaulted but I sometimes react to things as if I did. My personal theory is that being empathic makes traumatic events much more traumatic. You feel everyone around you's feelings and that can be overwhelming especially in bad circumstances and, if you are anything like me, sometimes other people's feelings overwhelm your own. For me, itexacerbated the feelings of disconnectedness. Kind of counter-intuitive. I think moving out and away from my family made all the difference. I love them (probably more now than when I lived around them), but it is good for me to be away from them most of the time If you have theopportunity to getaway from your parents and any other negative influences, I'd recommend it. I don't know if this gives you some hope; I'm just in my mid-20s now, and I was still feeling a lot like you seem to be feeling at your age.
Hi Kera, I think I've sort of felt something similar, but perhaps I see it differently because I might have been raised a bit differently than you. Specifically, I grew up in a denomination of Christianity the emphasizes doing what you are "called" to do, so trying to figure out my purpose and role in life is forefront in my mind for a lot of my childhood and still sits there today. I don't know if this'll help, but I'll take you through what happened to help me, and maybe you'll take something out of it, or, perhaps your situation is completely different.
Growing up, I felt very much as you described. I was an outsider looking in; my classmates' concerns seemed petty and ridiculous, but looking back, I think it was just that they didn't have the same things going on at home as I did, and if they did, they didn't feel as emotionally connected to it (feel the pain of their families emotions which were beyond the capability of a kid that young to understand); if you haven't felt the pain someone feels when they are emotional manipulated and cheated on, the anger, confusion, and panic that comes from something akin to post-tramatic stress disorder, the pure anger of someone who completely looses their temper, or the confusion of someone who just did something they never thought they could do and is trying to rationalize it, your friend writing a note to the boy you have a crush onis the biggest deal that goes on in your life and seems utterly heart wrenching. I think really understanding that helped me to figure out how most of those people were acting and why they sometimes did bad things to each other; most folks don't fully understand the pain they are causing people until someone does something similarly terrible to them; they have sympathy not empathy. I still felt like an outsider and like I was watching life without experiencing it, but at least I sort of understood why people were behaving the way they were.
From that, I realized that I did have something special, although not entirely unique, of course; I can learn to understand where people are coming from and kind of bridge the gap between some groups that don't quite understand each other especially in situations in which I don't really feel that I am a part (so I have less bias). Being not quite a part of something lets me be somewhat a part of many things From that, I found what I want to work towards in life (something that no one really has done and which involves my special set of skills) and I feel like I've found why I am here. But that kind of thinking does sort of lend itself to not being fully aware of how you feel and I sort of left my own personal well-being out of the situation.
So, alongside that realization, I found that I needed to deal with my own emotions and focus and making myself whole. I've dealt with my past, and now I no longer fear my own emotions. I feel stronger and much more a part of things. Don't get me wrong; most people just do not get where I am coming from in a lot of situations and I do still feel different, but at least I am different in a beneficial way
Regardless of why you are here or how you got here, you are here. Worrying about finding out how you are different and the things you can't do, probably is not helping you feel much better. Try focusing on what you can do, how you can use your life to make this world full of terrible things slightly less terrible and bring light to the darkest places.
I don't have any answers; I'm of a similar age and I face a lot of the same problems. I really don't give guys a chance although I do understand your points about possibly being more sensitive to needed cuddles and emotional support. I do have a story though.
A couple of years ago, I was at a point in my life that was very difficult to say the least, but I was also in a situation in which I really did not want the people around me to know that I was in the very difficult situation (It was complicated, but I think it was the right thing to do at the time). At any rate, during this time, I met someone that I instantly knew was a strong empath; in fact, he was more like me than any other person I'd ever met... and I kind of wanted to punch him for it. I'd never had that reaction to anyone; he made it clear that he at least kind of liked me, and I was decidedly non-receptive and kind of a jerk. I'm the type of person that people describe as "too nice," the type of person who saves even dangerous spiders by taking them outside, but I will admit that I was definitely not nice during my interactions with this man.
Upon analyzing why I was acting in this way, I realized that I had never before felt like my own emotional world was at risk of being revealed when I did not want it to be. I was in the sort of situation that, if I had to face the problem at that moment, I wouldn't be able to hold it together, and that seemed like the worst situation that could happen at the moment, and, as the best choice of many bad ones, I continued to push him very far away.
I kind of wonder how I would have reacted if I met that guy now, now that I'm not trying to hide my emotional state, but I learned the downside of being around another strong empath: the know what you are trying to hide just like you know what everyone else is trying to hide. I don't manipulate people, and I am very careful about not using the information a glean from people empathically (aside from letting them talk to me when they obviously need a listening ear and that sort of thing) and only react to the information they verbally tell me so as not to unconsciously manipulate them, but I guess I am used to have some control of the emotional knowledge and at least of my own emotional output and suddenly that was taken away from me when I really didn't want it to be.
I can definitely see how being with an empath has its cons, but being with someone who can actually relate to what you are going through is appealing. I'm not sure this helped any, but I that is the only experience I had with fellow empaths in a possible romantic relationship sense.
I connect empathic tendencies and a tendency towards being diagnosed with those disorders with an ability to see the world differently and/or tendency to be sensitive to the world around us. I do think it is important to listen to your body about what it needs (e.g. strong chocolate cravings can mean you are low on magnesium, craving bananas especially while being unreasonably thirsty can mean you are low in potassium sometimes a result of too much salt) and I am a big fan of probiotic yogurt. I find that feeling out of balance with my food makes me feel out of balance in everything else as well, but I also find that I am far more sensitive (or at least much more aware) of what my body is telling me food-wise than most people I talk to. I think that being out of balance can make me more susceptible to being sick (think Chinese medicine theories), but I do think modern western medicine has a place in the whole scheme of things. I guess, to summarize, I think that being HSP can make us empathic --> the HSP leads us to have to process the world in a different way --> this can cause anxiety and/or be seen as a "wrong" way of processing the world (ADHD, sensory processing disorder, etc); Our highly sensitive nature makes us more aware of things like body balance and makes such things bother us more --> we become even more aware of what is going on --> different way of processing the world are strengthened --> more HSP and more empathic, etc. They are probably all connected in some way That said, diet and environmental exposure do probably have a strong effect on how the symptoms of these "disorders" manifest themselves; I'm, personally, not yet convinced that the disorders are caused by them. But that is just my opinion at the moment
I have no advice for you, but I just want to say that I think it is wonderful that you are working to try to help your young empathic son and to work to help shield him from your own negative feelings. If I hadn't grown up in a family that was scared of this sort of thing, I might have had a much easier time. Thanks for being great
This may not be that comforting, but I can relate. However, I felt the feelings of everyone I cared deeply for, including family and close friends so much that I felt like it was tearing me apart. Their pain hurts worse than my pain; their joy is a stronger feeling than my own. It is very different than they sort of vaguer feelings I get from strangers or people I don't know well. However, for me, it has always been like that. I can lessen the intensity and usually differentiate their feelings from my own (using tools like Gem mentioned), but it is still always there. Aside from just lessening the intensity, the only ways I know to deal with it are to be careful who I let myself care about that much and to set time aside to check on my own feelings because it is way to easy to get lost in someone else's. I've basically decided that by letting myself get close to people, I will feel their feelings very strongly; I can't have one without the other. I've tried other ways of dealing with it, but I wouldn't recommend them so I won't go into it.
Unfortunately, the people that I feel close to don't really understand the empath thing so working through it with them hasn't really been an option. I'd imagine that a spiritually aware person could understand your situation a bit better and work through it with you. I will offer one (hopefully) helpful piece of advice. Remember when a disagreeing with your significant other that he or she may not understand what you are feeling in the way you understand him or her. Remember to represent your own feelings and point of view and let him or her present his or hers even though you may already know what he or she is feeling. If you don't represent only your own feelings and views, they may be lost in the mixture of yours and his or hers that you are expressing and the other party probably cannot conceptually understand that (I'm sure your S.O. is quite smart, I just don't think it is something people can fully understand without experiencing it). Although, maybe this is all quite different with a spiritually aware person.
Perhaps a more experienced person can offer better advice. Good luck with everything. I really hope you can work through this.
I definitelyrelate to this. It is my first reaction to everything; a wonderful trait if you are being a peacemaker between two arguing parties, but kind ofawful when you need to help yourself.
I, like, many people on here, have the rare Myers-Briggs personality type,INFJ. Not all empaths are INFJ and not all INFJ are empaths, but someone once gave me a warning about my personality type that is helpful in these situations. If you are in a business meeting with 11 other people and you are discussing ideas, your first response will be to listen to everyone's point of view and come up with some sort of compromise with your own. However, when you do that, your view only gets 1/12 of a 1 voice when everyone else's gets a full voice. I try to keep that in mind with my empathic side as well. Yes, my instinct is help everyone, but I have to remember that I am a person as well, and I need to be as much of a priority as anyone else, especially in my own life, because if I don't fight for my emotional well-being, who will?
The empath survival guide and other tips people have mentioned can help you just make it through walking down a crowded street; however, I still find it difficult to deal with friends and family members just because when I feel close to people I have an emotional connection those people. Sometimes, I am even quite aware that they are acting badly towards me, but I justify it and let it go on for far too long. Many people see this as a sign of weakness and will continue to take advantage.
In the end, I've found the thing that works the best for me is to take non-empathic stock of what is going on in this particular relationship. I do this much better when removed from an emotionally charged place, like while going for a walk in the woods. I center myself and think of how I feel about this person and their actions. Rather than think thoughts like, "Are they taking advantage of me?" which can lead to all sorts of justifications, I ask myself if I "Has this person done anything that has directly led to me being hurt?" "How do I feel about this person?" or "How do I feel when I am around this person?" If I come to the conclusion that a person is hurting me, regardless of the reason, I make up my mind to talk it through with them to try to work through the problem and I make mental note of all the reasons that I feel that way (so that I can hold onto them during the discussion when the other point of view seems to take precedence over my own); while confronting there person, I try to actively not put myself in their shoes and just champion my own point of view (I am usually only semi-successful in this attempt, but semi- as better than not at all). If the other person is not willing to work through the problem with me, then it doesn't seem reasonable that I should spend so much effort making their world better especially at the expense of my own emotional well-being.
Nearly all of the advice people give about arguments is geared towards people who struggle with empathy and putting themselves in other's shoes. You are on the other side of the spectrum so in order to survive in the world, you kind of have to do the opposite, haha. Seems like bad advice, but you have to do what you have to do to fight for yourself because no one else is going to do that, well no human that is. Even doing this sort of thing, I still am told that I am sweet and too nice. Even being what I consider to be mean, I apparently act in a way that most people consider to be overly kind; you are probably the same way. Find your balance and fight for yourself; you will probably still be a lovely person with the added bonus of being personally happier
I don't know how it is for other people, but I stand outside in nature and get myself in a sort of meditative state. I stop focusing on inside myself and shift my focus deep in the earth. Then I pull that energy up through myself up through the feat and out through the head and hands. I usually feel a lot more energized after doing this.
Yes, I smell people getting sick, but most people don't so I usually don't mention it lest they think I am crazy. I can imagine someone telling you that you are crazy and a hypochondriac all the time would lead you to think that about yourself. I used to feel that my family didn't love me either, but I do not think that was the case. Let's just say there were a lot of negative emotions floating around during my childhood. I think I picked up primarily on the strongest emotions they were emoting (fear, anger, sadness). In retrospect, I think that love was under there somewhere. Now, things have calmed down in my family, and sometimes, when I am around them, I feel their love. Part of me is frustrated that I couldn't have been in circumstances that I could feel the love when I really needed it, but what are you going to do? It could be that your mom is not happy with her life and sees your life and feels jealousy. She may want to pick apart your life (judgement) to make her feel better about herself. Underneath it all, she still may love you, but the other emotions are just, well, emoted more strongly, and they mask the love.
It helped me a lot to be removed from my family, specifically, when I went to college. I'd felt very responsible for my family's emotional well-being. Being away from it helped me to focus on me. It also helped me to accept that people's emotions are not my responsibility not are they my fault. If you mother feels jealous or judgmental, that's on her. If you can learn to shield yourself (see some of the reading materials posted), you can not internalize that as much. If your step-daughter is angry, that isn't on you. As long as you are not going around intentionally hurting people and are trying to do the best you can, you are not responsible for how other people feel, and the vast majority of the time, the way people feel has a lot more to do with them than you. If you have the opportunity to distance yourself even for just a little while every day from your family (go for a walk in nature or something) to set aside time and emotional space for you to figure yourself out, work through some of the reading materials and that sort of thing, it may go a long way towards making you feel more okay with this part of yourself. I'm glad what I said before had a positive impact
I think that depends on how you were raised/your view of the world. I'd imagine that people who grew up with people who accept the ideas of psychics, crystals, empaths, etc, it feels as though this is perfectly natural. I grew up in a religious family, specifically in a Christian denomination that doesn't accept this sort of thing. However, my mom noticed some weird things about me, specifically, waking up in the middle of night to go comfort when I knew she was very upset even as a toddler and getting sick with ailments that were not contagious when people around me had those symptoms. As a nurse, she'd seen that sort of thing happen enough that she couldn't really deny it. She had back problems, and I naturally knew where I had to press to release the knots in her back (before I had any idea what trigger points were or had any knowledge that something like acupuncture existed) and I even knew where the knots were without needing to feel her back. I remember her asking me lots of questions about how I did that; I'd answer truthfully that I just knew what to do, didn't everybody? The name Empath was never spoken and the "weirdness" I had was acknowledge as something weird, but it was also something that was not discussed. She's the only person in my family that I ever mention any of this empath thing to and it makes her really uncomfortable when I do. The whole point of that was to say, for me, some of this seems natural and not crazy, but it also feels like a great big secret, a piece of myself that I hide from the world. I've tried to lock that piece of myself away, and it generally doesn't turn out well so I still act authentically but only to the point of coming off as sweet person rather than someone who is picking up on their emotions or that their upper right shoulder is bothering them. I'm pretty new to this group, but having a group that accepts that what you experience is real helps make everything feel more real and right.
Also, if you work through the things Trevor Lewis posted and you feel considerably better, there is some evidence to support that this is a real part of you. Technically, as a scientist, I have to say it could still be placebo effect, but there is no harm in trying.
I think another thing that helps with not feeling crazy is looking into other cultures. Plenty of cultures acknowledge energies, spirit worlds, spirits helping people, etc. Just because you may have been raised in a culture that sees this sort of thing as hogwash (as assume you were because you feel like you might be crazy), doesn't make your culture right about this sort of thing. I mean, in many commutative cultures, cultures in which the well-being of the group takes precedence over the need of the individual, this sort of "gift" can be readily accepted and seen as a great thing rather than a burden.
Sorry this is kind of long and meandering, but in short, being aware of your own biases towards how you are viewing yourself, working through the reading materials, opening yourself to new viewpoints, and participating in this group (or another like it) can help you feel a bit more normal, because what is "normal" anyways
Also, when I've felt similar to how I think you are feeling, I needed a big accepting bear hug. So, even though it isn't the same thing virtually, I am sending you a virtual big bear hug of acceptance. You'll be okay.
I don't think this exact thing has happened to me, but I have a couple of thoughts.
1.) It is possibly a coincidence, especially if it only happens rarely, but as you seem to be seeing a regular pattern, this may not be the case.
2.) I like to spend time in nature not just because it is relaxing and I am not around so many people, but, if I sort of concentrate, I can pull energy from the ground (and I supposed the plants around me) and feel energized again. I don't do this often, because I do not if there are any consequences to the earth (flora and fauna) when I do this, but sometimes, I can't really do anything else to keep going and I don't think I am hurting anything. Anyways, this feels like a sort of natural thing for me to do. Maybe you have something similar with other people's energy; you subconsciously reach for it when you are tired (emotionally or physically). Maybe you could try to go out in nature away from people and try to grasp energy from there at least until you learn what it feels like. If you learn what it feels like to pull energy from something and then stop pulling the energy from something, perhaps you can be more aware of how you can control this particular empathic ability. If this is what you are doing and why you are doing it, you will probably feel really tired for a while after you "cut yourself off". As Goodenergyhealing mentioned, I'd recommend trying to find other non-leaching ways of getting energy so that you can still function in everyday life.
I try to remember that not everyone views the world the same way as I do. I try to imagine what life would be like as someone who didn't feel other people's emotions. Besides the general sense that I think most people have that we should try to be decent human beings (and religious beliefs for some), I have the added incentive of not wanting to do "bad" things because it'll make the people around me upset, which, of course, translates to me feeling upset. If I took that away, then who knows how I would behave. If I were feeling fat (because I was pregnant) and attention from a guy may make me feel better about myself, that need might outweigh general want for me to be a "faithful" wife. Maybe, if my sense of self worth came from how many girls I could sleep with, I might be a player. If I was raised to think money was the root of happiness, maybe I'd monetarily take advantage of people especially if making them upset didn't also make me upset. The forces guiding the behavior of others are different than those guiding me. I'd like to think that I'd behave better in those circumstances (not being empathic), but I am not in them so I can't say that I wouldn't. I can't really judge those who do behave that way nor do I feel generally feel angry towards them. I just try to understand what sort of person they are, make sure they don't manipulate or do something to hurt me, and try to help others they may be hurting. Occasionally, I'll speak up and tell the person doing the "bad thing" that I don't like what they are doing (e.g. someone making an intentionally racist comment), but getting angry just means that you have to walk around being mad, which is unpleasant.
I know it is hard when people betray you and people do bad things and you feel it all, but if you can let that go (not ignore it and let people walk all over you, but not walk around in anger all the time), then you can be a beacon of niceness in the world. When you feel happy, share that happiness with the world. Share kindness with the world, and many of the people around you will reflect that back to you. Maybe the person searching for personal happiness in things that hurt other people will start to pick up on that kindness and maybe it'll change them for the better. Maybe it won't, but I feel a lot happier thinking about the world in this way rather than focusing on the things that selfish/mean/or maybe just grumpy or tired people manipulate and/or do not take into consideration other people's feelings.
When I am involved in artistic pursuits, I tend to be more connected to people's emotions. When I am involved in logic-driven thought, I tend to be less connected to them. I try to tune out the emotions of anyone who is not "radiating" them. I kind of feel like I'm spying on them by trying to tune into their emotional state when they are trying to hide it. Occasionally though, when I feel like someone really needs my help (they are going through something, and their emotional state is kind of iffy and I want to help them get through whatever is going on), then I sort of focus my energy on their emotions. I guess it is sort of like energy radiates from my heart area and sort of gently probes that same area on the other person. That is the best way I can explain it.
Well, first you'd need money to try to set up one of these experiments and willing people to participate The first place I would think to start would be to show there is a measurable difference in the ability of empaths to feel others emotions and non-empaths. At this point, you'd have to use non-self categorization because there is no set measure for empathic ability. Without going into too much detail, have people look at pictures that elicit a strong emotional reaction and define themselves what emotion they are feeling. Have other people in four different groups. Each person meets the "feelers" at some point. Have one empath group and one non-empath group see the feelers emotional reaction in close quarters (to control for one group being better at reading facial expressions). Have another group of empaths and another group of non-empaths experience the same situation but without visual access to the feelers. Have a preset list of acceptable words; if one the feeler rights sad, does an answer of "melancholy" count? Based on that preset list, have another group of people with only access to numbers (codes defining each subject, but not empathic ability or group number) and answers for the feeling decide whether or not they match. I think the scientific community needs some basic idea that this exists before it'll accept further experiments.
If you happen to complete step one and it shows a measurable difference between empaths and non-empaths, then I'd move on to measuring brain activity in similar situations and compare between groups. Does one group have more brain activity than another? Do the brain scans reveal more developed areas in the brain in one group or another.
Basically, from there, you'd need to work to recreate the possible explanations one at a time. For example, can you recreate vibrational energy without a human being present? If so, can an empath pick up on when that vibrational energy is "on" more (statistically significantly) frequently than a non-empath?
This isn't my exact area of expertise in science, but this is what I would do if I were given free reign and lots of money with which to research and enough completely willing volunteers. The reason that I only focused on the emotional aspect here is simply because the feeling emotion aspect is one the 1.) Empaths are used to dealing with 2.) Does not usually cause harm if you do not act on it in controlled situations. If you were to focus on people feeling like the need to do something and study them, you'd probably be preventing them from doing that thing.
Personally, I have a part of my brain that sort of self-monitors whatever it is that I am doing or thinking. It is the same part of my brain that logically tries to look at whether my feeling like I need to do something is reasonable. I make note of when things change (feel different) and when they are always the same. But I am a study group of one so anything that happens to me may or may not be true of the community as a whole.
I can definitely relate to this. I like scientific explanations; in fact, I suppose my job description would be "scientist;" I work in a lab and everything Anyways, I've had a lot of experiences similar to what you describe. When I don't listen, bad things happen. When I do listen, things tend to turn out okay sometime great.
I had a hard time reconciling this sort of thing, religion, and science. Then I had to take a class in quantum mechanics in school. Among other things, that class taught me that, scientifically, we really don't know a lot about the world. The physics on that scale are extremely contradictory to what you'd expect. Are some people more sensitive to energies or vibrations floating around? Possibly. Are some people able to detect something in a different dimension? Also, possibly, The fact is we do not have enough information one way or the other to make a call on whether or not any of this is real scientifically. After a while, when you know what you should do for no apparent reason, or feel what some people would just call empathy for someone's sadness that you have no real reason to know about, you just start to accept maybe there is a reason behind it, a reason you may never know.
Personally, I find some things on here resonate with me; some do not. How do I try to figure out what guidance to take? Well, I listen to that little voice inside that tells me what to do to help myself an others. If it compels me to try the grounding technique, I do that. Regardless of whether it is a spirit guide, the voice of the Holy Spirit, the universe, your destiny, an awareness of the vibrational energies around you giving an indication of what you should do, some transdimensional understanding of things, of something else entirely, it apparently steers you in the right direction. I'd say the best thing to do is keep following it. Personally, I sometimes take a step back and ask myself if what I am compelled to do is a reasonable thing to do. For instance, if I woke up feeling compelled to suddenly move to the Bahamas, I would probably question that decision and acknowledge a personal bias of hating the cold, and realize that might be influencing my interpretation of what I am feeling. Usually wanting to do something feels very different from needing to do something so that scenario hasn't really happened, I just periodically take a step back and make sure.(I guess that is part of my answer to #2 of your questions)Also, of course, if you feel compelled to do something morally wrong, you should probably avoid that. This hasn't happened to me, nor do I think it'll happen to you, but just in case someone reads this and happens to be actually having a psychotic break and misinterprets what they are experiencing for whatever is happening here, I'm just mentioning it.
2.) So to more specifically answer this question...
If the world feels sort of noisy, if you feel like you are getting too much information emotional or otherwise, the grounding tips (specifically in Empath Training) helps tune some of that out, without taking away the compelling feeling to do whatever it is you need to do. I've just started meditation, and I find it helpful. From there, you may be able to find out what else you can do. Sometimes, I find that when I do certain activities, the part of me that feels compelled to do things is sort of tuned out. Specifically, this usually has to do with logical thought; solving math problems, piecing together information from scientific literature, doing logic puzzles, etc. Artistic pursuits tend to make it stronger. If you find yourself with a similar pattern, try to maintain a link to whatever it is that tells you what you do. In my case, I try to have an artistic outlet at almost all times. Nature also helps me simply feel better as well.
Also, please don't be too hard on yourself about the suicides. You are only human, and you made the decision to act in the way that you did as such. You do not even know for sure that you would have saved them. Perhaps you became aware of those events simply to make sure that you went down the path you are now on and eventually you will pay attention to someone you will help in the future. And even if your being there would have made the difference, once again, you are a human living in a world that doesn't accept these sorts of feelings as real; it is pointless to be terribly hard on yourself because you grew up in this world and didn't immediately run to do the bidding of this possibly (as you probably thought at the time) imaginary feeling. I know it is tough; I've worked through similar feeling myself (different circumstance, but still harm caused to others that may have been avoided by my doing what felt I should do). I sincerely hope you can give yourself forgiveness if you are still carrying around that guilt.
A bit of background info in case it is somehow relevant to my current problem: like a lot of people here, my childhood was chaotic. To escape all the bad feelings around me, I'd imagine myself in my happy place (somewhere in nature) and I'd focus on all of my sense there. For example, if my happy place was the beach, I wouldn't just see the beach, I'd feel the sand under my feet, smell the salty/fishy air, hear the waves crashing on the shore, and even taste the salt in the air. When I was there, I was removed from myself. Kind of like I was immediately in front of myself, but not inside. I felt sort of peaceful in comparison to what I was feeling, but I was really sort of just escaping from the feelings; they were just fuzzy and far away. I don't know if this is relevent, but this was happening in my preschool/early elementary school years. At some point during this time, I learned that I could just capture the feeling a got when I traveled to this "happy" place without going through the trouble of actually imagining myself there. This proved very bad in the long run. During a particularly difficult year (both in terms of things that were happening to me and in terms of things that were happening to people around me who's emotions I was feeling), I just captured the feeling I described and stayed there. I didn't feel the pain, anger, sadness, guilt, etc as acutely, but I also didn't feel the happiness, joy, love, wonder, etc as acutely. I still took on people's physical pain and felt a some feelings, they were just far away. This lasted all the way from middle school until I graduated from high school. After I left my family and went off to college, I realized that all the negativity wasn't around and that whatever I was doing to myself was not the right thing to do. I sort of forced myself back into my body. and felt the full impact of emotion. This was mostly my own, I had not dealt with any of my own emotional turmoil from the chaotic childhood or anything that happened to me throughout middle and high school and now it hit me like a knife ripping apart my chest.
This all happened quite a while ago, I was 18 at the time and I'm in my mid 20s now. I had to very consciously force myself to feel and not to escape back to that other place. Now I very purposefully look negative emotions "square in the face" and determine that they will not defeat me, and I let happiness roll over me and radiate outside of me to brighten up the lives of others...
I'd heard of people advocating meditation, but many times they said to ease yourself into it by "imagining a happy place" and basically doing exactly what I did as a child that I had worked so hard to get over. I found non-meditative ways to deal with my troubles, spending a lot of time in nature mostly. Plus, I could easily clear my mind and just be without really meditiating.
I've since moved to a very different environment (a big city with weather that prevents me from going outside quite a lot of the year and without much natural space to escape to). Since my go-to-method of dealing with my empathic self is no longer available I decided that I'd give meditation a try, I just wouldn't start by visualizing a happy place. I did one just kind of general meditation in which you are supposed to become more aware of yourself and self affirm while you are doing so. I came out of the experience happy, relaxed, peaceful, etc. I then decided to try something else. This time it was "mindful body meditation. It didn't tell me to focus on the chakra colors but just directed me to focus on different parts of the body (which directly correlated with the location of the chakras). I saw white light. It was nice and peaceful at first. Oddly enough as I traveled down my body, I started to see colors as well, but not chakra colors. Colors located in areas that physically hurt. My wrist has been bothering me for years; it was green; my upper back and neck which were bothering me from spending too much time at a computer appeared black, and my knees which were a little bothered my some recent exercise were almost turquoise. Also, during this time, when I reached my heart chakra area which was a brighter white than most areas, it sort of shot the white light towards my head and it exploded outward from there (exploded is a much too violent word for what it felt like, but I think it gives the best visual imagery for what I saw.) I know this all sounds perfectly lovely up until this point (I only am sharing all the details because I am newer to the ideas of meditation and have no idea which details may be relevant). The bright white explosion dissipated significantly as I moved my focus further away from my heart.
As I mentioned, I saw the colors in areas of ill-health until my knees. At the knees I felt scared, like I didn't want to finish the meditation. I rationalized that I was just being silly so I continued. A very unexpected thing happened I felt something terrifying and I saw this terrifying looking evil clown. He doesn't look quite like any clown I've ever seen, and I felt afraid to look at him very closely. It is also worth mentioning that since I grew up with a Christian background, and no serious fear of circus clowns, any embodiment of evil that my mind may be imagining should not be a creepy clown, but probably something more like a traditional representation of a demon so I don't think it is just a psychological trick my mind is pulling on me.
At any rate, I panicked for a second then thought the bright white light might help in this situation. I traveled my attention back to my heart then focused that light towards my head until it exploded again. At first he was still there but as I expanded it far from myself, I felt his presence disappear. As soon as let my focus drift and the light lessens, my feet feel tingly, and he is there again. He is always by my feet if I am laying down or have my feet out in front, but if I sit up, he is wherever my feet last were. The part of me that wants to confront the bad feelings (including fear) wants to stare him down and figure out what the heck he is and how to make him go away, but I have no idea what will happen and I'm afraid of losing myself. Maybe he is a manifestation of my fear that somehow only decided to take root when I focused on my lower legs and feet, and maybe he is something else entirely. How do I make him go away? I've been aware of him for several days now and it is freaking me out. Sorry for writing such a long post, but I don't know what may be relevant. If you have advice, please help!
Thanks for sharing lighthearted! This sounds like the story of my life with a few minor changes; it is nice to know you are not alone in your struggles. What is the denomination of the church you now attend? If I can find one in my area, I'd like to check it out. I keep going to different kinds of churches, but nothing quite feels right.
I know this is quite a while after you posted, and I hope you found some relief, but in case you haven't...
Last year I moved to a much bigger city with a much different climate, and I had a lot of trouble adjusting, partly due to seasonal changes, partly due to the feelings of the people and partly due to my disconnection from nature. Your description of your feelings seem almost identical to some of what I've been feeling. I posted a question related to this, and got a very helpful response from someone called Leafherder. To paraphrase, when you can't get to nature or a happy place to recenter yourself and keep yourself sane look for places that have the feeling you are looking for (an empty cathedral, a museum, an empty theatre, whatever works for you.)
Personally, I have absolutely no interest in staying in this city after I finish what I need to do here. I know it is bad for me to be here, but I also know that the direction my life needs to go requires me to be here. Since I feel strongly enough about this, I try to think of my time here as a growing experience. If I can spend five years or so facing this, I will probably be a much stronger person and maybe I'm supposed to do that to accomplish whatever I should do in the future. Maybe this experience will help you too, or maybe you should get yourself out of it. Only you can tell
This is the story of my life. I'd get fussed at a lot as a child because my parents thought I was just being rude by avoiding eye contact. When your a kid, you think that everyone experiences the world similarly to you so I just thought everyone felt very uncomfortable (e.i. scared and flooded with weird emotions) when looking in people's eyes, but they just powered through it for the sake of being polite.
1.) Get a job in which people expect you to be a little odd (I say that as someone in one of those jobs; people don't quite expect me to behave normally so I don't have to look everyone in the eyes all the time).
2.) Hang out with people from countries that see looking someone straight in the eyes as a sign of disrespect. They won't be bothered by a lack of eye contact.
3.) When you know you are going to be in situations in which eye contact is extremely important such as going into a business meeting at an American company, take a few minutes to focus on yourself and kind of extra shield yourself.
4.) If you aren't in situation 1,2, or 3, just look at the nose as a Robert Stewart mentioned, or do what I do and look at their mouth. People can kind of pick up on you not making eye contact, but it is close enough that it doesn't make them feel uncomfortable (This doesn't work in situation 3). Plus, this has the added benefit of letting you lip-read in case you happen to miss something someone said.
I know that this post was from a while ago, but I'm new here so I just saw it
I can definitely relate to wanting to hide my identity from the church and even from my religious family. It makes me question my faith because if the church is so exclusionary concerning things that I know to be true, isn't it missing something big about the universe and the way it works? You may have found it by now, but there is a group on here concerning being a Christian empath. The things written there do not particular resonate with me, but perhaps they will with you.
I don't know how much this has to do with being an empath, but I've always felt a strong pull to being doing something in particular. Big life decisions are usually made by this very strong tug pulling me very strongly in a particular direction. Everything tends to go much better in my life if I go in the direction of the pull, and it tends to get really messy if I don't. Growing up in a denomination that places a lot of importance on being "called" to do things, made me much more ready to go down otherwise difficult paths.
Also, I was struggling with figuring out how science, my religious beliefs, and this sort of thing fit together in middle school. I came across as series of children's stories (chapter books) by an author named Madeline L'Engle. The most famous of these stories is arguable A Wrinkle in Time. The author apparently had a Christian upbringing and somehow developed a fascination with astrophysics and quantum physics without really being a scientists. Her stories helped open me up to the idea that religion, science, and some of the things I was feeling did not need to be separate and exclusionary, but rather they can exist simultaneously. Pretty deep for a children's story, isn't it? It even has some arguably empathic characters who are never name that way and have an important place in the story. It isn't a guide or anything, just a story, but if it helped me make sense of things, it might help you too.
Biologically, there are these things called CYP enzymes that help metabolize chemicals in the body. By metabolizing, I mean changing the chemical from one thing to another. Additionally, chemicals here means in small molecule that is entering your body whether it be from food or western medicine. Anyway, a reasonably large portion of the population (it varies in percent by ethnicity), has mutations in some of the enzymes. If you have sensitivities to some medicines and not to others, it may be worth looking up if some of those medicine sensitivities may be connected to being metabolized by the same enzyme. This knowledge has allowed me to successfully predict which drugs I will have a stronger than normal response to and which will be relatively "safe" for my body. Come to think of it, my mother and grandmother had the same sensitivity and I am fairly certain they are/were empaths although it wasn't something that was discussed in my home. Maybe there is a connection between some of these mutations and empathic ability. It would help explain the correlation between sensitivities and empathic abilities.
For the record, the CYP enzyme stuff as well-documented in science and medicine, the rest is just generalizing from personal experience.
Does anyone else have biological relatives that also possess empathic traits, and, if so, are they also surprisingly sensitive to some things?
Thank you so much! This is tremendously helpful. The hunger-pang-like feeling towards needing sunlight is the perfect description for what I feel in regards to sunlight; I'm happy to know that I am not alone in feeling it, although I'm kind of sad that other people feel it at the same time.
I'm with the other people who responded; I read this and shivered because it feels creepy and wrong for some reason. Logically, it seems like they could be blocking you out for some reason, but even though I logically think that, something just feels very wrong about this particular situation.
I pick up on what I consider to be two types of emotions. One sort of radiates from people and hits me from the outside. Typically, this happens when people are suddenly hit by an emotion, if they are seething with anger, or if they are used to emoting (teenagers or performing artists, etc). The second is something I feel within my chest area and radiates outward. Those are what I consider to be people's more private emotions, and I always feel that I am being overly intrusive by knowing these types of feelings. These emotions are also those that are hardest to differentiate from my own.
Oddly enough, empathy pains gotten from an actor on TV or something equivalent come from outside, but pain or sickness that is a response to someone I am close to being in pain or sick comes from inside. I have met a few people who are I almost immediately feel that I can "see there soul," like my inside part can see inside their inside part, can see the good and bad feelings mixed up in there without them really emoting any of it even though I barely know them. But that is just my experience.
I'm from a place without the seasonal changes experienced by most of the continental US. Not that I live in a place with seasons. Fall and winter almost drive me crazy. And it isn't just the cold. The sunlight feels like a drug that I can't quite get and I feel flighty and not grounded as well. Since increased vitamin D intake and staring at white lights don't help much, I think it may be due to other factors. Maybe it is some connection to the change of seasons/strength of sunlight, etc that changes how we process nature. Or perhaps not.
I know this is a long time after you posted, but I am new here an this resonated with me. I grew up in slightly tumoltuous circumstances (not a war zone or anything, just a volatile family). Of course, I felt everything everyone around me was feeling and felt like I needed to fix it, to heal what was wrong, and to be strong enough to do so. When I was very young (I remember doing this at preschool age), I would imagine myself along at my favorite place (it shifted every so often between a place in mountains or a beach). I'd focus on how all my senses would react if I was there; the smell of salt mixed with fish, the feel of my toes wiggling in the sand, the variations of colors in and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, the sound of seagulls high above me (this was my happy place so they weren't bothering me for food.) No one ever told me this was a good idea; in fact I don't think many people even know to this day that I ever did this. Focusing on this happy place didn't make me happy; it just kind of removed me from the sadness/anger that I was feeling (which I now realize was mostly not my own), but I also could not feel love and happiness there. For the most part, all through elementary school, I would mostly feel the feelings and only escape to my "happy place" every so often when things became too overwhelming. As I got older, I could just switch on the "happy place" feeling without "traveling" there. The feeling I captured was very much what you describe: out of body, no attachment, no ambition, no wish to communicate, feeling like an unattached observer; no emotions. Near the end of elementary school, things got worse. It wasn't so much that one traumatic event happened; there were just a lot of emotionally traumatizing things that were happening (elderly families members that I cared deeply about were forced to separate from each other due to medical expenses and how insurance worked, one died before they were to be reunited, and the other quite literally died of broken heart in the following year; I lost a grandmother (or possibly more importantly to my empath self, my mother lost her mother); my parents were in the middle of a rather anger and hurt-filled divorce, my sibling was very angry all of the time (presumably because of all the stuff going on) and was acting out to the point that the sibling ended up on house arrest. And that is just the short version of what was going on. I think I ended up depressed and feeling guilty (I was supposed to fix the problems and make everyone happy again) from all this, but it was really hard to tell with all that emotion floating around. I became too overwhelmed and escaped to that "happy-place feeling" and stayed there until college when I was finally away from family. Yes, I escaped from the craziness of all the anger, rage, sadness, hurt, etc that was floating around, but I did it at the expense of feeling happiness, love, and connection to people. Well I guess I felt something, I didn't completely block out my empathic self, but it felt far away. I could still feel someone's sadness and I'd try to help them but it was the emotional equivalent of seeing something happening through fog. The point of this very long TMI post is to tell you that if you feel this kind of detachment and you don't get back to your old self soon, be careful. That space can become too comfortable and one day you may force yourself back into all the emotions and they'll hit you like the shock of jumping into ice cold water: at some point you are convinced it won't be so shockingly uncomfortable and you will become used to it, but the transition definitely isn't pleasant. Since this seems to be something that happens when you are working, maybe you should take a break if this is still happening regularly. I hope my life mistakes can help you or someone else, and good luck!
Background info: I'm originally from a smallish town in warm weather with a lot of places in which to escape in nature. Without realizing what was "wrong" with me growing up, I found that the bad feelings went away and I found peace away from people and in nature. A little over a year ago, my life took me to live in one of the biggest cities in the US in a place with harsh winters. I do not have a car, so I can rarely escape to any large expanse of nature (manicured parks don't really work as well for me). Plus, very cold winters leave me unable to spend large amounts of time outdoors during quite a lot of the year. I've managed to block out most people's feelings enough that I don't feel what every single person walking down the street is feeling unless they are going through a particularly strong emotional moment, but I do always feel this sort of weight or pressure weighing me down and closing in on me. Additionally, when I do manage to shut almost all of it out, I feel so disconnected from the world and, thus, lonely with only my own emotions.
My mood picked pack up in summer and between the warm weather and a road trip through the middle of nowhere, I felt almost like my old self again. In fact, I felt almost euphoric during crowded summer events, much happier than would make sense based on my enjoyment of the actual activity. Now that the weather is getting colder and cloudier, my mood is changing significantly. During my first fall/winter here (before I had spent a summer here), I thought I just had a really terrible case of seasonal affective disorder, and I am pretty sure I did to some extent. However, now that I know individuals here, I am more aware of their individual emotions, and everyone's emotional state changed with the weather. Everyone I know is much (I'm not sure if I can describe this quite right) quieter, quicker to grumpiness, lethargic. Even the strangers seem angrier than they were. Although I think I had a hard time adjusting to seasons due to growing up outdoors in almost perpetual sunshine, I think part of it was reflecting the emotional state of so many people. To make matters worse, my go-to-emotional-calmer (escaping to nature) isn't really available to me.
I am terrified of feeling as awful as I did most of last year. I am working on dealing with the biological aspects of my feeling terrible (vitamin D, staring at white light, etc), but does anyone have any tips on...
1.) Making a transition to a city a lot more crowded with emotion and dealing with it without closing yourself off completely or feeling the weight of a city on your shoulders
2.) Not letting a city full of people's mood's changing affect your own
3.) Places you may find in cities that calm you in the way nature does?
PS, I am new here, and although I never felt exactly crazy, I have felt like I need to hide a big part of myself from people. Even the friends who sort of understand would give me a crazy look if I said something about feeling emotionally weighed down by other people's emotions. I'm so happy some place like this exists To anyone who took the time to read all of that, thanks for your time!