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An Overwhemled Empathic?


I'm 23 years old and after doing a bit of research I believe I'm empathic. I believe I've always been to a degree, but after being criticized by my peers in grade school for being "overly-sensitive" I tried my best to quash down all of the things that made me seem too "sensitive". However, over the last few years I've found that the feelings I experienced as a child are reemerging and doing so with a vengeance.

I will be writing the following information about me under the assumption that I'm correct in what I believe to be empathic gifts. So, if I'm not empathic or if there is more/less to it any information or opinions that can be provided would be very helpful.

I have since my adolescence found large social situations or areas where there are a lot of people gathered in one place (ie. Parties, malls) to be mentally and physically draining. I've read up a bit on empathic gifts and while it mentions that this is a normal thing for empaths the effect it has on me is overwhelming and I want to know if the following is normal and if there is a way to lessen the effects and if so, then how it can be lessened.

The effect of being around large groups of people can be physically and mentally draining for me, but to the point where I am so drained of energy that I feel like I could drop to the floor and sleep the day away. This exhaustion comes on usually after a few hours around people and it comes on rapidly. One moment I feel fine and the next I'm exhausted. And it isn't the kind of exhaustion that sleep can fix. I've tried to sleep it away and it doesn't replenish the energy I feel I've lost, ever. I just wake up feeling groggy and just as exhausted as when I first laid down. I have found that sometimes meditating can help take the edge off of the exhaustion, but it can be hit or miss. Are there any methods I can stack or mix and match to help alleviate this exhaustion I feel after being around large groups of people?

I find that non-fiction material such as news and documentaries are always a catalyst for an emotional outburst. I think the last time I watched the news was a few years ago after a story about a hit and run where I felt a wave of uncontrollable sorrow while the story was being told and it included an interview of the deceased's friends and relatives. I felt as if my heart was broken with grief and I fell into a sobbing fit.

I also find that I mirror the emotions of people around me. Is there a way to easily separate what is and isn't mine? I know when something is really out of character for me, like aggression. I've gotten a burst of this aggressive anger where I wanted to just get in someone's face and start a fight when I was around someone who was displaying that behavior and I knew immediately that "Woah! That's just not me!"

Something out of character I can shake it off easier than a common emotion for me such as sadness. I've lived with someone who has been very unhappy for a good part of her life--my mother. She's seen a lot of sorrow so growing up I've mirrored that for so long that I don't know if it's mine or hers anymore. Is there anything I can do that can help me differentiate between what is mine and what is someone else's emotion when it's not that obvious to me?

I also have discovered I can sense a person's true nature within a few minutes of speaking to them or being around them. I may meet someone and feel a strong sense of unease or immediate distrust and discomfort with them. I trust my instincts and keep my distance and then a few months later I'll hear from a friend what an awful, horrible person that individual is.

I've always trusted the initial feelings of ease/unease, trust/mistrust, and comfort/discomfort when I meet people and it's always proved in the end that the first impression of either discomfort/unease or trust/ease I get with a person is a reflection of their true character regardless of the way they behave when I first meet them.

The most striking experience I've had with it was one of my history professors at my university. He was a man I truly respected and wanted to get better acquainted with because he seemed like such a funny, interesting person. He invited me to discuss one of my papers in his office before class one day. He was charming and telling me amusing and interesting stories, but within a few minutes of being there I felt this sudden unease. It was stronger than anything I'd ever felt before. I felt as if I had been cornered by a rabid dog and every fiber in my body felt as if they were screaming at me to get away from him. I was so uneasy and scared of this feeling that I was getting that it was so hard not to bolt out of the room and literally run from him. I fought my instincts for the brief period just to finish my conversation with him, but never again did I allow myself to be in a position where we'd be alone together. I found out months later that he was a disgusting creep who had been suspended after forcing himself upon female students who had forged friendships with him.

I'm assuming I'm picking up on good/bad vibes in these initial feelings I get when I meet someone for the first time. Would this be an empathic trait or something else?

I thank you for taking the time to read about me and my experiences. I'd really appreciate any help, advice, and information from the wonderful community here.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, tea, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

Iunderstand (3 stories) (153 posts)
14 years ago (2010-08-28)
Try and keep a small plant or 2 in your apartment. This will give you something that's just yours to take care of and connect to. Pick a small plant like a cactus, they are durable. The most important thing though is picking one that you feel is an expression of you.
misstvland (4 posts)
14 years ago (2010-08-28)

I also, as you call it 'wobble' - most of the time I am completely terrified of what happens to me not only with empathy, but with other things (see coloured orbs/spirits, prophetic dreams etc). Only in the last few months did I find out from an older woman (she's about 34) that I lived with that I wasn't crazy, up until then I thought I was having some kind of breakdown. I got my smokey quartz pendant (I wear it as a necklace) from an eclectic spirit shop not far from my work - when I wear it, I know I certainly feel safer, but what helps most is meditation. Get in a relaxing space - I find my bed is best - and imagine a bright, shining, warm light hovering in front of you. Imagine it slowly wrapping around you, gentle, warm, caring. Imagine that this light is moving, strong, flowing but as impenetrable as a steel wall. If you ever feel unsafe or feel yourself being engulfed by other people's feelings, just imagine that light around you like a protective force-field. I also hold on to my pendant and address 'the ancient goddess' and ask that I only be surrounded by positive beings and the brightest white light. If you find yourself trying to get rid of negative energy, imagine yourself lying on a sheet of translucent, sparkling white light that slowly rises up and sweeps through your body, gathering little specks or globs of negative energy as it passes through, and sweeping them away. I also find chakra work helps too, and as well as White Light Meditation by Eileen Gobel, try Angel Medicine and Angel Healing by Doreen Virtue (all of these are audio CDs, by the way, you can find them at new age/spirituality stores or online with Amazon). Listen to these, they take you through some very relaxing healing and meditation work. I really needed it, and still do - healing is so important when you first really start experiencing this sort of stuff. I was scared stiff, and the woman I consider a sort of mentor took weeks to even broach the topic with me (she sees spirits very clearly), because she said I was filled with such anxiety. I've been neglecting meditation lately (hence the shut-in), so start developing these skills now, and with the help of those CDs you should hopefully pick up some techniques to protect yourself from negative energy. I'm at the same stage of my abilities, I haven't started using them proactively yet, to help myself or others, so if you want to get in touch you can email me at missy (dot) tv (at)
tea (1 stories) (1 posts)
14 years ago (2010-08-28)
Iunderstand, thank you so much for the wonderful ideas about going out into nature and connecting with the positive influences of the beauty of the outside world. I am lucky enough to live in an area where I have a lot of options on scenery to choose from--I can take a walk in the forest or stroll along an empty beach.

However, in a few days I won't have the access to the great outdoors anymore. I'm moving into an apartment with three other girls and we'll be living in a medium-sized industrialized city. I have to live there to be closer to my university. It has the potential to be a very stressful living situation for me so I'll have to focus on the other tips you've given me.

Misstvland, I'm so glad that you posted! Just hearing that someone else experiences things so similar to myself makes me feel like I'm not so bizarre. I keep wobbling between being bold and wanting to take hold control of my gifts and then doubting myself and wondering if I'm not just crazy.

Just having someone who relates is so affirming of the fact that I'm definitely not a loon!

And it's funny that you should say you pick up on mostly negative and once in a while some excitement. Just the other day I picked up on one of those rare positive feelings! I was driving in my car and suddenly got what felt like an adrenaline rush of excitement. I was grinning and giggling out of nowhere. It was the most amazing thing! I love when I pick up on someone who is feeling that great. With all the negative I pick up on it makes me feel good to know that there are people who are happy and positive!

I hope those angry feelings you're picking up on start abating. Do you find that crystals work for you? And how do you use them? Do you wear them as jewelry or do you just handle the stones as you need them? I've started looking into them and I would love any advice or feedback on them.
misstvland (4 posts)
14 years ago (2010-08-28)
Wow, I have connected with a few experiences on this site, and I didn't think I could relate to anything more, but your story resonated with me. As I type I am practically a shut-in. I find going out an exhausting endeavour. Just yesterday I was overcome by a wave of anxiety so strong that I started crying - I had no idea what was wrong, I certainly had no personal reason to be anxious or unhappy. It's been at it's worst in the last few years, and I am also 23. I seem to pick up on mostly negative emotion, but occasionally I pick up excitement as well. I know what you mean about anger - I have had truly savage thoughts recently that are nothing like me. It's getting worse by the day, and I've started wearing my smokey quartz pendant again to help protect against picking up such negative energy. I should probably start meditating again too, it does help - try White Light Meditation by Eileen Goble as a way to shield yourself from negative energy.
create_inspire_me (5 stories) (146 posts)
14 years ago (2010-08-26)

If you would contact me by email I would be able to help you out and tell you everything thing you would need to know.

My email is on my profile if you wish to do so.
Iunderstand (3 stories) (153 posts)
14 years ago (2010-08-26)
You are certainly empathic. I am too. I'm 24 and am a guy so its really weird for me. The vast majority of us empaths only ever learn to relate to negative emotion, constantly picking up on pain and hurt that causes us stress and brings us down. Human interaction is all about relation. Psychopaths do not relate at all to their fellow humanbeings and thus have little to no human emotion. Growing up around your mom has givin you plenty of practice learning how to relate to negative emotion. All you need is to practice relating to positive emotion.

I used to never be able to be around groups of people. I would stress out at parties and would become paranoid in malls and restaurants. I learned to connect to nature first. To absorb all the beauty of nature is wonderful. Its like an infinite source of energy. Staring out at lakes under a cloudless moon light sky is my favorite. I used to listen to a lot of heavy metal and sad music, I don't anymore. I have taken a strong liking to hard trance and vocal trance. When I'm in the car I listen to Christian music.

Going to parties now is fun. I can't get enough. I used to be a very socially akward introvert but now I'm often the life of the party.

Learn to turn your thinking outward rather constantly comparing yourself to others and focusing inward. Introverted thought creates a black whole that sucks in positive emotion and destroys it while at the same time it absorbs negative emotion and gets bigger eventually causing those overwhelming feelings of emptiness. Eventually you will start to hate being around other and they also will hate being around you.

All you have to do is learn to embrace your positive side and loosen your grip on all that negativety. Separate yourself from situations that cause negativety and learn to generate positive experience. Experience produces thought, thoughts become beliefs, beliefs build your worldview, your worldview determines your possible actions.

Try connecting with nature first and get rid of all your negative music and sad movies. Try writing good poems and or songs. Practice drawing animals and or flowers. Do something fun you have never done before or would ever normaly think out doing. Learn a new skill. Eating healthy and working out works amazingly.

I know these ideas will help. I came up with them all myself to conquer my own struggles. Feel free to email me or shoot me a comment. Rountree11b (at)

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