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Do Empaths Exist  

sexyldy1000 65F  
10293 posts
11/20/2020 12:00 pm
Do Empaths Exist

The phrase 'being an empath' is a relatively new term to m.e. . Someone I know referred to themselves as one and it wasn't clear to m.e what they meant.

As someone who always wants to learn more, I decided to look into it. Here are some things I found out:

What is an empath?
Being an empath and being empathetic are two different things. “Being empathetic is when your heart goes out to someone else; being an empath means you can actually feel another person’s happiness or sadness in your own body,” according to Judith Orloff, MD, a psychiatrist and author of 'The Empath’s Survival Guide'.

Another way to describe it is that an empath is like an “emotional sponge”—they absorb both the joys and the pains of the world around them. An empath does not simply understand someone else’s pain, they sense and feel the emotions and feelings of their loved ones as part of their own experience.

The empathy scale
Empathy exists on a scale, ranging from narcissists and sociopaths, who are unable and uninterested in how others feel, to “super empaths,” who feel others’ emotions so much that they may be unable to differentiate between their own feelings and someone else’s, says Helena Rempala, a clinical psychologist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Empaths are a type of ‘highly sensitive person,’ a term used to describe those who are highly attuned to outside physical, social, and emotional stimuli. It’s not just a mental response—others’ emotions trigger a cascade of reactions in the empath’s nervous system, leading them to become highly activated by it.

Not everyone agrees that empaths exist as a separate category and the label is more pop-culture than clinical. It's somewhat self-imposed and does not have the support of data that would illustrate the empath as a distinct personality type or even a set of personality traits.

The word means different things to different people; some believe ’empath’ is just a new name for ‘codependent,’ while others see it as a metaphysical or spiritual or even a special ability.

Are empaths born or made?
Like most psychological traits it’s hard to separate the influence of genetics versus environment but empaths are likely born with some predilection for increased empathy and then they learn to cultivate it as they grow. Research shows that empathy is a learned behaviour, with observable empathic development as early as the years.

How common are empaths?
It seems like everyone knows at least one person who is deeply empathetic, a good listener, and manages to get others to talk about their feelings, but full empaths are likely rarer.

About one to two percent of the population are true empaths, according to a study published in 'Nature Neuroscience'. While previous research has relied on self-report, this first-of-its-kind study aimed to objectively measure empathic abilities through studying mirror-touch synesthesia, a phenomenon where someone feels as if they are being touched when they see someone else being touched. Researchers conducted surveys of self-reported empathy and then correlated that with brain scans to confirm whether or not the person experienced this type of physical empathy. The numbers may be higher, as 10 to 15 percent of people meet the criteria for “highly sensitive,” and may experience being an emotional empath without the physical component, Rempala says.

Is being an empath a good or a bad thing?
It can be both. There’s a risk of becoming overwhelmed by taking on others’ emotions, especially if you can feel their pain but you don’t have enough information or tools to fix it. Helping others taken to the extreme may also cause you to neglect your own life and responsibilities.

Being highly sensitive can come with significant consequences, including anxiety, depression, and even a decline in physical health.



sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/20/2020 12:06 pm

In retrospect, my Mother was often teased and criticized for 'being too emotional' and for 'taking on the weight of the world'. Based on the above, I think she was the true definition of an empath.
Do you know any empaths? Or perhaps see yourself as one?


HermanG67 55M  
8464 posts
11/20/2020 12:33 pm

I'm not sure where I fit on this..... a stranger who is going through emotional issues can pass me by without notice, but someone I know can be miles away and I "feel" something is wrong with them

for my friends I am highly empathetic and I believe I am an em-path ...


Tmptrzz 59F  
107038 posts
11/20/2020 1:01 pm

Great blog and yes they really do exist, thanks for sharing such great information about Empaths. And I hope your Friday is a great start to your weekend..

Seduce the mind and see what a wonderful adventure the body will take you on..


Paulxx001 65M  
22616 posts
11/20/2020 1:04 pm

I can put myself into a mood and get empathic and emotional about simple things like tv adds.
I have to watch it. It's easy for me to find people and places - in this city or on the news - that move and can overpower me.


justaguyinalaska 56M
879 posts
11/20/2020 1:32 pm

As your research determined, true empaths are unicorns. Moreover, I would expect a high level of associated dysfunctionality with empaths, as virtually any human contact would inevitably generate a sensory overload.

Moreover, I would guess that most of us do not want empaths inserting themselves into our drama, pain and suffering. Their interjection would likely act more as an accelerant than a suppressant. Problem-solving functions best when we are rational, rather than reactive.

Happily, most of us are sympathetic- more than willing to offer an attentive ear, a shoulder upon which to lean and some words of encouragement and/or advice.


ULIXBIG 67M  
9288 posts
11/20/2020 2:48 pm

I have a lot of empathy, but am definitely no "Super Empath".


redrockrascal 63M  
23580 posts
11/20/2020 2:54 pm

I have no idea if full empaths exist. Is it possible - sure. Is it probable - good question I don't know.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.


travellerabc123 52M  
3989 posts
11/21/2020 5:39 am

That's me.
How do you feel about knowing that?
Don't tell me. I already know.

Embrace the suck


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/21/2020 11:08 am

    Quoting HermanG67:
    I'm not sure where I fit on this..... a stranger who is going through emotional issues can pass me by without notice, but someone I know can be miles away and I "feel" something is wrong with them

    for my friends I am highly empathetic and I believe I am an em-path ...
Thank you for sharing your perspective. It sounds like you certainly fit the description.


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/21/2020 11:09 am

    Quoting Tmptrzz:
    Great blog and yes they really do exist, thanks for sharing such great information about Empaths. And I hope your Friday is a great start to your weekend..
I became a believer after I did some research. Hope you have a wonderful weekend


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/21/2020 11:11 am

    Quoting justaguyinalaska:
    As your research determined, true empaths are unicorns. Moreover, I would expect a high level of associated dysfunctionality with empaths, as virtually any human contact would inevitably generate a sensory overload.

    Moreover, I would guess that most of us do not want empaths inserting themselves into our drama, pain and suffering. Their interjection would likely act more as an accelerant than a suppressant. Problem-solving functions best when we are rational, rather than reactive.

    Happily, most of us are sympathetic- more than willing to offer an attentive ear, a shoulder upon which to lean and some words of encouragement and/or advice.
You are right. The research did indicate that some empaths have a high level of dysfunctionality including anxiety, depression, and even a decline in physical health.


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/21/2020 11:12 am

    Quoting ULIXBIG:
    I have a lot of empathy, but am definitely no "Super Empath".
I think many people have varying levels of empathy depending on the circumstances and the relationship they have with those around them.


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/21/2020 11:13 am

    Quoting redrockrascal:
    I have no idea if full empaths exist. Is it possible - sure. Is it probable - good question I don't know.
Thanks for dropping by. I do like to challenge people's thinking.


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/21/2020 11:15 am

    Quoting  :

Apparently, many empaths do not declare their status to others. You may have encountered one and were not made aware of it.


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/21/2020 11:21 am

    Quoting travellerabc123:
    That's me.
    How do you feel about knowing that?
    Don't tell me. I already know.
Sounds more like you are a 'mind-reader'


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/21/2020 11:26 am

    Quoting Paulxx001:
    I can put myself into a mood and get empathic and emotional about simple things like tv adds.
    I have to watch it. It's easy for me to find people and places - in this city or on the news - that move and can overpower me.
Ah , is that similar to 'turning on the switch'? No doubt at times, it can be overwhelming.
My Mother would read something in the newspaper or see an item on t.v. and really feel an emotional connection. I don't know if that's why she called me every morning at the same time no matter what was going on or if we had spoken the night before. I miss those calls that can never happen again.


p1947q 75M  
140 posts
11/21/2020 5:17 pm

Definitely not a super empath - I think I do well at understanding what someone is going through but I am sure I do not experience their feelings. I do seem to have a knack for, not getting people to open up, but having people open up to me - I sometimes wonder 'what have I done for this person to trust me enough to share their deeper thoughts with me'


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/22/2020 6:50 am

    Quoting p1947q:
    Definitely not a super empath - I think I do well at understanding what someone is going through but I am sure I do not experience their feelings. I do seem to have a knack for, not getting people to open up, but having people open up to me - I sometimes wonder 'what have I done for this person to trust me enough to share their deeper thoughts with me'
Thank you for dropping by and sharing your perspective and experience. I am often told that I am easy to talk to and people open up and say things they ordinarily wouldn't to a 'stranger'.


BrailleMan 61M

11/22/2020 1:14 pm

I have ran into a few friends the said they were empaths . I feel like I am a Highly Sensitive Person. I guess similar to an empath. It explained a lot of the feelings I would get so am glad I read about it. You are very insightful


trixietrixster 54F  
3125 posts
11/22/2020 1:37 pm

I've been an Empath for as long as I can remember, back to the time when I was a little girl. Of course, back then, I didn't know it was a "thing". The older I get, the stronger it exists within me. People confide in me, especially strangers. I don't know, maybe they can sense trait. Energy vampires, as I refer to them, suck the good vibes out of me with their consistent negativity. It doesn't take me long to realize this. On the plus side, I'm able to feel also the happy stuff in others and live it with them! Excellent post ...

In Luv, Lite, Laffter ...


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/23/2020 4:07 am

    Quoting BrailleMan:
    I have ran into a few friends the said they were empaths . I feel like I am a Highly Sensitive Person. I guess similar to an empath. It explained a lot of the feelings I would get so am glad I read about it. You are very insightful
I think many people are sensitive to others' feelings. Empaths experience on a much deeper level.


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/23/2020 4:11 am

    Quoting trixietrixster:
    I've been an Empath for as long as I can remember, back to the time when I was a little girl. Of course, back then, I didn't know it was a "thing". The older I get, the stronger it exists within me. People confide in me, especially strangers. I don't know, maybe they can sense trait. Energy vampires, as I refer to them, suck the good vibes out of me with their consistent negativity. It doesn't take me long to realize this. On the plus side, I'm able to feel also the happy stuff in others and live it with them! Excellent post ...
Thank you for sharing your perspective and experience. The information I read certainly provided insight into the positives and negatives of being an empath.


Solfan55 67M
500 posts
11/24/2020 8:06 am

Most psychological or behavioural traits are like a sword. There are two edges to them, and as you pointed out this can be good and/or bad. There are lots of references to strengths that are overused becoming a weakness.

Another great post sxyldy!


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/24/2020 11:01 am

    Quoting Solfan55:
    Most psychological or behavioural traits are like a sword. There are two edges to them, and as you pointed out this can be good and/or bad. There are lots of references to strengths that are overused becoming a weakness.

    Another great post sxyldy!
I agree with your statement that behavioural traits often being multi-sided. This subject is intriguing to me and I certainly learned a lot by doing some research. Thanks for stopping by.


BrailleMan 61M

11/27/2020 7:17 am

    Quoting sexyldy1000:
    I think many people are sensitive to others' feelings. Empaths experience on a much deeper level.
it is always about the depth of the experience. You are so right


sexyldy1000 65F  
9606 posts
11/27/2020 9:10 am

    Quoting BrailleMan:
    it is always about the depth of the experience. You are so right
Applicable in many situations. Or was that intended as a double entendre?


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