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Profile of an Empath – Part I:
Self-Identification – Are You an Empath?

May 2, 2014 by Triza Schultz

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An empath has the ability to feel the emotions of others which is an intuitive gift one is born with.  They have a highly tuned emotional and spiritual sensitivity, able to experience exactly what another is emotionally experiencing.  It’s one of the most difficult psychic abilities to have in our world, and those who don’t know what’s happening to them.  They often find a peace they long for by being alone.

There are different types of empaths. Many empaths also have the ability to feel the emotional energy of animals.  Some feel the pain of other people’s and animal’s ailments.  Some can also feel oncoming weather/environment disturbances and electromagnetic waves – some may know the source where others can’t.  Some empaths can feel residual emotions of places and things that left a strong imprint, both past and present.  Past battles are an example.

Being an empath is one type of psychic ability, and tends to become problematic and even debilitating until awareness, education and positive practices are applied.  There is a maturity that needs to be developed, responsibility accepted, and a discipline of practice that must become habit to create harmony with the gift, and just as importantly, to be able to use the gift for the highest good.

Major Traits Of An Empath:    (combined list from fellow empaths)

  • You need to make everyone feel better/happier and do what it takes to accomplish that
  • You feel compelled to do something for someone in pain – it doesn’t matter who they are or what they’ve done to you
  • You feel the physical pain or ailments of other people and or animals
  • People seek you out to confide in you and reveal things you may not want to hear
  • You somehow just “know” what people need to hear in order to feel better and you “know” what someone really means beyond what they tell you
  • You can feel earthquake tremors and other weather disturbances before they happen
  • You are highly sensitive to electromagnetic energy and can feel it in waves, or in physical upset like slight headache, nausea, or electric-like pulses, etc.
  • You can feel significant emotional energy connected to places and objects
  • You feel extremely sensitive to and overwhelmed when watching something horrible on TV or in a real life situation
  • You search for possible reasons why you may be feeling the way you do and attach labels that don’t really fit you
  • You often ignore people’s bad treatment of you, explaining it away because they need you, and on some level, you’d like to believe that’s enough for you
  • You feel constantly overwhelmed around a lot of noise and large crowds, experiencing a variety of emotions and can’t define specific reasons why. You may want to go to that concert, but every time you do, you end up feeling tired, not knowing you’ve run the gamut of all the different emotions you were exposed to
  • You have difficulty expressing your own emotions and prefer to focus on someone else, taking care of others, ignoring your own needs and feelings
  • You are a magnet and a vessel for negative energy. It’s not because you were personally feeling negative, but because others need a place to put their negative energy and you were there to receive it
  • You are the natural healer and helper, and you always sacrifice for others
  • You have difficulty in and feel guilty in establishing territorial boundaries for yourself because you feel others need you more
  • You don’t like feeling bad, down, negative, or sad, but you feel resigned and believe it to be part of your lot in life
  • You are the natural animal lover! You love animals.  They make you feel happy and exude a love that feels like pure innocence, and you sense they want nothing from you except love, which is an elixir for you
  • You are “nature’s child.” Being in the country, by rivers and streams, at the beach, the rain and fog, tending a garden, etc. – anything to do with nature brings you a sense of peace and calm that you crave and MUST have to feel grounded

I was labeled “too sensitive” growing up which in the eyes of an unknowing family, meant a form of weakness, and certainly a curiosity.

As a child, I once saw a cat that had been hit, attempting to get up and get off the road.  Our family was taking a trip and drove past the cat.  I felt it was not only in pain, but desperate to get off the road, fighting for its life.  No one else felt what I felt, except a form of sympathy that the cat must be dead.  I recall my mother telling my father to hurry and drive by so I wouldn’t see it, as if I hadn’t already!  Only I seemed to know that the cat wanted to live.  I sobbed because I couldn’t help it, feeling it might survive if someone just cared enough to stop and help, but no one in my family could sense anything beyond that.  They didn’t feel the terror and fight for life that I felt from the cat.  If they would have, they would have stopped I believe, without question.  So there I was again, appearing to overreact to what my family believed was simply a death, unaware of what more that poor cat was experiencing.

Growing older, people began coming to me with their problems.  I also created the habit of offering to help, getting involved without being directly asked to do so, as if it were my personal responsibility.  I made friends easily.  I seemed to be a ready-made fixer of problems, counselor for the confused, recipient of secrets and information to help about anyone through a tough spot.  I had an ability to easily console people and help them feel everything was going to be okay, knowing just what to say to help.  I could feel what they wanted before they asked.

The problem was that I wasn’t always okay myself.  I frequently felt overwhelmed, anxious, and especially confused about my own boundaries and identity, and spent a lot of time by myself to rejuvenate and find peace and quiet.  It was very difficult for me to admit that I was allowing people to take advantage of me.  Frankly, I felt better around animals than I did people.

Without proper understanding and training, it can be debilitating – emotionally and physically draining.  We feel other’s emotions and confuse them as our own, being tossed around at any time by the emotional currents of people, not knowing where other people’s emotions end and ours begin.  Empaths often have mood swings, overwhelmed by the feelings of others, resulting in not being grounded to the earth and instead stuck in the emotional realm, appearing as if we were plugged into an electrical outlet, and at others times falling exhausted by those experiences of absorbing the world, not knowing what is happening or how to move that energy away and reclaim the awareness of our separate self.

An empath is usually compelled to “do” something to help which means crossing the line and getting personally involved.  We tend to go beyond listening, being supportive and reflective to taking on people’s issues at any time, trying to resolve, fix, and counsel.  See where this is heading?  No one can do this without becoming confused, overwhelmed, and finally short circuiting our own vital energy, which could eventually lead to illness.

We can end up being the revolving door for everyone’s stuff when we have no territorial boundaries, and without a sense of self, people take advantage and often expect us to give them the time to lay their latest burden on our lap.  Picture our friends, neighbors, and associates carrying their emotional laundry to our house for us to sort through.  We become magnets for other people’s problems.  But let’s be fair, it’s as if we carry a go ahead sign that says, “OPEN For Business – Unload Your Problems Here.”

The beautiful news is that this can all turn around and the gift of being an empath can become that which it was always meant to be!

In Profile Of An Empath: Part II – Practices For The Empowered Empath, we will address practices to develop new patterns of behavior to reclaim our personal energy territory and develop a stronger awareness of self identity in order to positively use our psychic gift.

Excellent Resources:
Book: “Emotional Freedom,” by Judith Orloff, MD
Book: “Positive Energy,” by Judith Orloff, MD
Book: “The Complete Empath Toolkit,”by Michael R. Smith, PhD www.empathconnection.com
Book: Empath Intuition – Using Your Body As An Oracle, by Michael R. Smith, PhD
Book: “Whose Stuff Is This?” – Finding freedom from the thoughts, feelings and energy of those around you, by Yvonne Perry   http://whosestuffisthis.blogspot.com

Live in Beauty and be well ~ Triza Schultz

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