Empathy and Empaths

Types of Empaths

When people hear the word “empath”, many think “someone who shows or feels empathy”. Which is generally true of an empath, but not always.

Empaths typically have empathy. Some may show it, some may stuff or hide it.

However, the type of “empath” to which I’m referring in this article is not the empath who “demonstrates empathy”, so much as it is the clairvoyant empath.

What comes to mind for some – when hearing the word “empath” – is, “Oh, new agey stuff. ‘Natural witches’ or psychics or whatever”.

While the empath often does possess some seemingly-psychic qualities, I am neither a witch nor a new-ager, and I have still experienced odd empathic encounters.

I will share what empathy looks like for me, and at the end, what I suspect may cause “clairvoyant empathy”.

(My) Experiences as an Empath

– Watching people get injected with needles – even in movies – makes you sick, because it’s happening to you (as far as your neurons are concerned).

Tomato being injected with needle
Photo credit: Pexels

(Honestly, even this photo makes me cringe. Poor tomato! 😦 )

– In social settings, you get distracted from – or sometimes find it difficult to process or hear – the verbal information coming your way, because you are reading other information. You’re reading between the lines. The unspoken. People’s feelings, thoughts, personalities, and the words left unsaid. This information captivates your brain, and distracts you.

Empathic soul
Photo credit: Arif Wahid

(This photo is actually not too far off from my mental image of a “soul”. Yes, souls have a shape and color. 😆 [This perception may be connected to my synesthesia in some way.])

– Massaging or hugging someone sometimes gives you information about them – such as their emotional/mental state, or where they’re hurting in their body.

– You can (often) tell when someone is lying or not shooting straight with you, but you don’t always let that person know that you’re picking up on that. You choose to appear naïve, unperceptive, and unwitting.

– You know when someone is manipulating someone else (but maybe not always when they’re manipulating you, at least until after the fact). (Note: manipulation is different from deception, although the two can overlap or coincide. An empath may be able to sense deception but not manipulation – especially when it pertains to them.)

– You know what people expect of you, and you typically give it to them (meet their expectations, often through “adopting” a particular persona). The alternative (potential conflict with others as a result of you showing your real or raw self and ruffling feathers by being – *gasp* – you) is just too overwhelming for your neurons. Conflict is emotionally and physically stressful, so you use your ability to read people to avoid it, by choosing to be exactly what they want.

– You don’t know who you really are. You only know who you’re “supposed” to be (usually according to others), or who others think you are.

– You operate day to day imagining your friends or other people you know are always watching you – and almost beginning to believe that they are. You imagine how they would perceive everything you’re saying and doing, even when they’re not around. You see yourself through the lenses of other people.

– You quickly begin to care for people and feel a connection with them, and then you experience intense pain when you realize that some of them only wanted to use you and never actually valued your “relationship” for its own sake.

An empath in pain
Photo credit: whoislimos on Unsplash

– You have surreal dreams and/or frightening visions or “flashes”.

An empath's surreal dream mountain landscape
Photo credit: Anton Repponen

– You can sense pain and suffering outside the walls of your house. You know in your heart, soul, and body that others around the world are hurting. This is not simply a general awareness of suffering that comes from reading or watching the news. Your body and soul (and no longer only your mind) suddenly know that something isn’t right. You sometimes feel dizzy or shaky, or struggle to breathe in these moments.

An empath can sometimes feel the pain and suffering of the world
Photo credit: Pexels

– Others’ problems become your own burdens.

– Monday hurts, even if you don’t work outside the home, or work on Monday. You still feel Monday pain.

– You’re a bit of a mind-reader (maybe not 100% accurate, but you can often accurately guess or know what others are thinking or how they’re feeling in a given moment).

Empath reading others' minds
Photo by Eli Defaria on Unsplash

– You know when someone doesn’t really like you, but is pretending to.

– You often know when you’ve hurt someone, even if they act like you haven’t.

– You catch the subtleties and nuances of facial expressions – even small changes or shifts that might not be apparent to most other people.

– You know and see things (occurrences, patterns, actions, attitudes/outlooks in people) which you find difficult to articulate and that you cannot prove to others – things that others find hard to believe if/when you share, because the “clues” or “information” which supply your data and inform your conclusions are almost invisible (but nevertheless present, just difficult to make tangible to others).

You value honesty and transparency in your relationships, and are often drawn to straightforward or “simple” people (with the best possible meaning of “simple”), because you’ve seen enough deceit, trickery, and manipulation, and you just want someone “safe”. Someone who you know isn’t trying to hurt or use you or lie to you, even if they accidentally do hurt you with their words sometimes.

– You require a significant amount of alone time to recharge, process social/emotional/spiritual information, and decompress.

An empath reflecting and basking in solitude
Photo credit: Mariam Soliman

– You’ve been steamrolled in the past at work, in school projects, or in family/social life. People know they can walk all over you. Sometimes you know that that’s happening, but are afraid to speak up for fear of conflict, job loss, or other consequences which your hyper-aware-and-sensitive mind may not be able to endure. Other times, you don’t realize you’ve been hoodwinked until the very end (e.g., when leaving your workplace or pulling out of a toxic situation).

– Feeling or creating certain vibes within yourself changes the way people and animals respond to you. You can “send” feelings of warmth and safety to, say, a bunny rabbit. Or “transmit” “healing energy” into someone else when hugging them. Honestly, I don’t know how this works, only that it truly seems to be effective. Of course, my perspective is subjective. Ack…this is starting to rhyme. Just…pretend that I intended it that way. 😉

Empathic vibes illustrated by bright gold objects

– You know how to sing in a way that comforts animals or draws them closer.

Animal being sung to by an empath
Photo credit: Ray Hennessy

– You’re an experienced actor/actress when it comes to social settings.

– You recognize a false or manufactured smile.

fake smile
Photo credit: Pexels

Skeptical? 🙂

Maybe some of you are freaking out – or laughing somewhat incredulously while reading this.

Mayhaps you have concluded that I’m a bit off my rocker. 😉 😛 😨

I don’t always know how I have these experiences – or what causes them.

It is difficult to explain or describe this form of consciousness to someone who has no personal reference point from which to understand “psychic” empathy. Often, when we have no reference point or personal experience (building blocks) with which to understand a concept, we default to concluding that such a concept is false, imaginary, or the product of an unsound and crazy mind.

I know I am not the only “empath” out there, as I have read the writing of others who have had similar occurrences, experiences, or encounters, and I also personally know other people who have similar ways of perceiving information.

But it is not uncommon for empaths to be questioned or discredited by others who cannot relate on this particular line, plane, or dimension of vision. Especially because empathy largely involves an invisible and unseen dimension. And many of us only trust or believe what we witness with our eyes.

There may very well be a scientific explanation behind empathic experiences – which we haven’t yet discovered, or at least of which I’m unaware.

My doctor has said that prayer and meditation have been found to promote healthy frequencies in people. (Cell phone exposure is an example of an energy source that can harmfully alter one’s energy “balance” or frequencies.)

Our bodies are comprised of both energy and matter.

Could it be that some of us are just hypersensitive to changes in frequencies – not only in our own bodies, but in other people and in our environments?

Considering that I have a pretty sensitive nervous system, it would not surprise me if this were to cause me to be more aware of energy changes in me and around me, explaining – at least in part – my “empathic traits”.

Stress can alter our frequencies.

Perhaps when there is a “surge” of suffering in the world or the local environment – and the people in that environment are therefore stressed – the frequencies and energy balances in the environment are changing, and the empath’s body can tell that something’s off.

Photo credit: Valeria Andersson

Another speculation of mine is that people who “tap into” the spiritual world are also more likely to experience this form of “natural”, “inborn”, or “psychic” (vs. practiced, external) empathy.

It is possible that witches or others who are involved with the paranormal may become – or already naturally be – empaths (I am not a witch or affiliated with Wicca, but I am a follower of Christ and I believe in the Holy Spirit, so I am “tuned-in” to the spiritual world in that way).

Whether empathy draws individuals into “spirituality” OR exposure to “spirituality” and the supernatural creates empaths – or neither/both – is hard to say.

Are you an empath? Share your experiences!

Are you aware of any scientific explanations for “psychic” or clairvoyant empathy?

Please see disclaimer.

© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved


6 thoughts on “Empathy and Empaths

  1. Pingback: INTP Relationships – Reflection Cube

  2. A Chicken

    Not even did a single one of the experiences you listed fail to resonate in an eerily familiar way with me, in both substance and diction. I feel perceptive of and sensitive to the needs, pains, and desires of others, yet this is processed in a position of feeling different and alien relative to those I’m sensing.

    Liked by 1 person

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