THE EMPATH REPORTS 101
By Christel Broederlow
WHAT IS EMPATHY?
Empathy is the ability to read and understand people and be in-tune with or resonate with others, voluntarily or involuntarily of one’s empath capacity.
Empaths have the ability to scan another’s psyche for thoughts and feelings or for past, present, and future life occurrences. Many empaths are unaware of how this actually works, and have long accepted that they were sensitive to others.
Empaths Sense Deep Emotions
Empathy is a feeling of another’s true emotions to a point where an empath can relate to that person by sensing true feelings that run deeper than those portrayed on the surface. People commonly put on a show of expression. This is a learned trait of hiding authentic expression in an increasingly demanding society.
An empath can sense the truth behind the cover and will act compassionately to help that person express him/herself, thus making them feel at ease and not so desperately alone.
Empaths experience empathy towards family, children, friends, close associates, complete strangers, pets, plants and inanimate objects. Empathy is not held by time or space. Thus, an empath can feel the emotions of people and things at a distance. Some are empathic towards animals (i.e.: The Horse Whisperer), to nature, to the planetary system, to mechanical devices or to buildings etc. Others will have a combination of the above.
Empaths Have Deep Sense of Knowing
Empaths are highly sensitive. This is the term commonly used in describing one’s abilities (sensitivity) to another’s emotions and feelings. Empaths have a deep sense of knowing that accompanies empathy and are often compassionate, considerate, and understanding of others.
There are also varying levels of strength in empaths which may be related to the individual’s awareness of self, understanding of the powers of empathy, and/or the acceptance or non-acceptance of empathy by those associated with them, including family and peers. Generally, those who are empathic grow up with these tendencies and do not learn about them until later in life.
Empathy is Inherited
Empathy is genetic, inherent in our DNA, and passed from generation to generation. It is studied both by traditional science and alternative healing practitioners.
Empathy has both Biological/Genetic and Spiritual Aspects.
Empaths often possess the ability to sense others on many different levels. From their position in observing what another is saying, feeling and thinking, they come to understand another. They can become very proficient at reading another person’s body language and/or study intently the eye movements. While this in itself is not empathy, it is a side-shoot that comes from being observant of others. In a sense, empaths have a complete communication package.
How Empathy Works
While there is much we don’t yet understand about how empathy works, we do have some information. Everything has an energetic vibration or frequency and an empath is able to sense these vibrations and recognize even the subtlest changes undetectable to the naked eye or the five senses.
Words of expression hold an energetic pattern that originates from the speaker. They have a specific meaning particular to the speaker. Behind that expression is a power or force-field, better known as energy. For example, hate often brings about an intense feeling that immediately accompanies the word. The word hate becomes strengthened with the speaker’s feeling. It is that person’s feelings (energy) that are picked up by empaths, whether the words are spoken, thought or just felt without verbal or bodily expression.
WHO IS AN EMPATH?
Empaths are often poets in motion. They are the born writers, singers, and artists with a high degree of creativity and imagination. They are known for many talents as their interests are varied, broad and continual, loving, loyal and humorous. They often have interests in many cultures and view them with a broad-minded perspective. They are mother, father, child, friend, nurse, caregiver, teacher, doctor, salespeople… to psychic, clairvoyant, healer, etc. (That is not to say that any of these categories are all empaths.) The list is extensive and really unimportant. It is more important to notice that empaths are everywhere–in every culture and throughout the world.
Empaths Are Good Listeners
Empaths are often very affectionate in personality and expression, great listeners and counsellors (and not just in the professional area). They will find themselves helping others and often putting their own needs aside to do so. In the same breath, they can be much the opposite. They may be quiet, withdrawn from the outside world, loners, depressed, neurotic, life’s daydreamers, or even narcissistic.
They are most often passionate towards nature and respect its bountiful beauty. One will often find empaths enjoying the outdoors, beaches, walking, etc. Empaths may find themselves continually drawn to nature as a form of release. It is the opportune place to recapture their senses and gain a sense of peace in the hectic lives they may live. The time to get away from it all and unwind with nature becomes essential to the empath. Animals are often dear to the heart of empaths, not as a power object, but as a natural love. It is not uncommon for empaths to have more than one pet in their homes.
Empaths make great friends for life, but are crushed if the friendship is abused. Over time, they will become far more selective. Though they may have a large circle of friends, they generally only have a few “close” ones.
TRAITS OF AN EMPATH
Empaths are often quiet achievers. They can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes. They are highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection, and talk openly and, at times quite frankly. They may have few problems talking about their feelings.
However, they can be the exact opposite: reclusive and apparently unresponsive at the best of times. They may even appear ignorant. Some are very good at blocking out others and that’s not always a bad thing, at least for the learning empath struggling with a barrage of emotions from others, as well as their own feelings.
Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs. In general, an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker. Any area filled with disharmony creates an uncomfortable feeling in an empath. If they find themselves in the middle of a confrontation, they will endeavour to settle the situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it altogether. If any harsh words are expressed in defending themselves, they will likely resent their lack of self-control and have a preference to peacefully resolve the problem quickly.
Empaths are more inclined to pick up another’s feelings and project it back without realizing its origin in the first place. Talking things out is a major factor in releasing emotions in the learning empath. Empaths can develop an even stronger degree of understanding so that they can find peace in most situations. The downside is that empaths may bottle up emotions and build barriers sky-high so as to not let others know of their innermost thoughts and/or feelings. This withholding of emotional expression can be a direct result of a traumatic experience, an expressionless upbringing, or simply being told as a child, “Children are meant to be seen and not heard!”
Without a doubt, this emotional withholding can be detrimental to one’s health, for the longer one’s thoughts and/or emotions aren’t released, the more power they build. These thoughts and/or emotions have the potential to become explosive, if not crippling. The need to be expressive is everyone’s opportunity to understand, decipher and interpret each and every thought/feeling we have and to better guide us throughout life.
When we fail to acknowledge the importance in doing so it can result in a mental or emotional breakdown and/or the creation of a physical ailment, illness or disease. Not such a foreign concept when we appreciate that stress can lead us to lethargy and lack of motivation to get out of bed in the morning with a spring in our step. Or the realization on a first date that the butterflies (nervous tension/nerves) are leading us to the point of wanting to physically regurgitate what was eaten for lunch earlier that day.
Empaths are sensitive to TV, videos, movies, news and broadcasts. Violence or emotional dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain inflicted on adults, children or animals can bring an empath easily to tears. At times, they may feel physically ill or choke back the tears. Some empaths will struggle to comprehend any such cruelty, and may have grave difficulty in expressing themselves in the face of another’s ignorance, closed-mindedness and obvious lack of compassion. They simply cannot justify the suffering they feel and see.
You will find empaths working with people, animals or nature with a true passion and dedication to help others. Many volunteers are empathic and give up personal time to help others without pay and/or recognition.
Empaths may be excellent storytellers due to an endless imagination, inquisitive minds and ever-expanding knowledge. They can be old romantics at heart and very gentle. They may also be the keepers of ancestral knowledge and family history. If not the obvious family historians, they may be the ones who listen to the stories passed down and possess the majority of the family history. Not surprisingly, they may have started or possess a family tree.
They have a broad interest in music to suit their many expressive temperaments, and others can query how empaths can listen to one style of music, and within minutes, change to something entirely different. Lyrics within a song can have adverse, powerful effects on empaths, especially if it is relevant to a recent experience. In these moments, it is advisable for empaths to listen to music without lyrics, to avoid playing havoc with their emotions!
They are just as expressive with body language as with words, thoughts, and feelings and will use combined senses to tell their story, facial expression coupled with physical movements of the body and certain tones of the voice. Their creativity is often expressed through dance, acting, and bodily movements. Empaths can project an incredible amount of energy portraying and/or releasing emotion. Empaths can become lost in the music, to the point of being in a trance-like state; they become one with the music through the expression of their physical bodies. They describe this feeling as a time when all else around them is almost non-existent.
People of all walks of life and animals are attracted to the warmth and genuine compassion of empaths. Regardless of whether others are aware of one being empathic, people are drawn to them as a metal object is to a magnet!
Even complete strangers find it easy to talk to empaths about the most personal things, and before they know it, they have poured out their hearts and souls without intending to do so consciously. It is as though on a sub-conscious level that person knows instinctively that empaths would listen with compassionate understanding.
Here are the listeners of life. They can be outgoing, bubbly, enthusiastic and a joy to be in the presence of, as well as highly humorous at the most unusual moments! On the flip side, empaths can be weighted with mood swings that will have others around them want to jump overboard and abandon ship! The thoughts and feelings empaths receive from any and all in their life can be so overwhelming (when it is not understood what is happening here) that their moods can fluctuate with lightning speed. One moment they may be delightfully happy and with a flick of the switch, miserable.
Abandoning an empath in the throes of alternating moods can create detrimental effects. A simple return of empathic love–listening and caring compassionately without bias, judgment and/or condemnation can go an incredibly long way to an empath’s instant recovery. Many empaths don’t understand what is occurring within them. They literally have no idea that another person’s emotions are now felt, as one’s own and reflected outwardly. They are confused as to how one moment all was well, and then the next, they feel so depressed, alone, etc. The need to understand the possibilities of empath connection is a vital part of the empaths journey for themselves and for those around them.
Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and students of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where there is a problem, so too is an answer and the innate ability to tap into the endless pool of answers occurs with little to no effort at all. This can certainly prove beneficial for those in relationships, in the workplace, classroom, and/or team environment etc. Where there is a will, there is a way and the empath will find it. The empath can literally (likely without the knowledge of what’s actually occurring) tap into ‘Universal Knowledge’ and be receptive to guidance in solving anything they put their head and hearts into.
Empaths are often vivid and/or lucid dreamers. They can dream in detail and are inquisitive of dream content and feel as though the dreams are linked to their physical life somehow, and not just a mumble of nonsensical, irrelevant, meaningless images. This curiosity will lead many empathic dreamers to unravel some of the “mysterious” dream contents from an early age and connect the interpretation to its relevance in their physical life. If not, they may be led to dream interpretations through other means.
Empaths are daydreamers and at the best of times may have difficulty keeping focused on the mundane and or repetition. If life isn’t stimulating the senses the mind of an empath can begin to wander far away from the place they are in. If a tutor is lecturing with little to no emotional input, empaths may lose concentration and receptivity to such teaching, in a nutshell, drift into a state of daydreaming.
Give the empath student the tutor who speaks with stimuli and emotion (through actual experience of any given subject) and the empath is receptively alert. Empaths are a captivated audience. This same principle applies in acting. An actor will either captivate the audience through expressing (in all aspects) emotions (as though they really did experience the role they are portraying) or will loose them entirely. Empaths make outstanding actors.
Empaths frequently experience déjà vu and synchronicities, a feeling as though they had experienced something prior to its actual occurrence.
Empaths are most likely to have had varying paranormal experiences throughout their lives. NDE’s (Near-death experiences) and or OBE’s (Out of body experiences) can catapult an unaware empath into the awakening period and provide the momentum for a journey of discovery. Those who get caught up in life, in society’s often dictating ways, in work etc., can become lost in a mechanical way of living that provides very little meaning. All “signs of guidance” are ignored to shift out of this state of “doing”. A path to being whole again becomes evident and a search for more meaning in one’s life begins.
These types of experiences appear dramatic, can be life-altering indeed, and are most assuredly just as intensely memorable in years to come. They are the voice of guidance encouraging us to pursue our journey in awareness. Sometimes, some of us require that extra assistance!
For some empaths, the lack of outside understanding towards paranormal events they experience may lead to suppressing such abilities,( most of these abilities are very natural and not a coincidence). Empaths may find they are drawn to learning about paranormal activities, the supernatural, spiritual and/or even new age areas so as to provide some common ground of explanation and possible acceptance towards their own personal life circumstances.
EXAMPLES OF EMPATHY & TELEMPATHIC ABILITIES
(Please NOTE: Not all empaths fit the descriptions below as each person has unique strengths and weaknesses in certain areas, just as all people. Some of the examples given below may apply, while others may not. This is a guide only).
The following are only a few of the many possibilities that exist:
- A friend is telling you of a situation with another friend, yet trying to make light of it. You just “know” it’s affecting them far more deeply and you make a subtle comment. You may even be quite descriptive. Your friend turns around and says, “How did you know that’s how I was really feeling?!” (Note this is a frequent, rather than one-time, occurrence.)
- A young child is playing at the local park a few houses away. He falls over and cuts open his knee. His mother, at home, gets a “gut” feeling and drops what she’s doing to go “check-in” on her youngster only to find her child crying his eyes out and cradling his injury.
- A mother is in a much-needed, deep sleep and manages to squeeze in a couple of hours throughout the night. She awakes without obvious interruption to go “check-in” on her baby, who is stirring awake. (Again, this is a frequent, rather than a one-time, occurrence.)
- A woman is feeling happy, relaxed, and has had a great day. Her partner comes home from work, grumbling the moment he walks in the door about how stressful the boss was and the pressure that was placed upon him. Within an instant, the woman is grumbling back.
- A young man is talking with a girlfriend about something that is of concern and the girlfriend’s lack of interest starts to show in her becoming irritated with the conversation. In return, the young man picks up the irritation and shows it openly.
- A parent senses that a teenager has had a rough patch with a new boyfriend and is feeling down. The parent openly talks to her with obvious concern and understanding. In turn, the teen opens up and feels much better!
- A child walks into a house and instantly feels a chill in the air, disharmony or as though something unpleasant has occurred at some point in time in the house.
The family is going to visit someone, and prior to arriving, the oldest son suddenly feels anxious for no apparent reason. Upon arriving at the destination, the family finds out that someone has just had a heated argument.
- A young boy finds that he “knows” or senses bad news before it arrives. He has “felt” the illness, injury or death of a loved one. Some of these loved ones live thousands of miles away.
- A woman is thinking of someone just as the telephone rings and guess who it is?
- A father has a strong feeling of prevailing danger. Later that afternoon, his son is involved in an automobile accident.
- A teen is particularly good at problem-solving with mechanical devices, even though he doesn’t know precisely how they are made.
- A teacher is particularly good at problem-solving in many areas and has the ability to “look” deeper and find creative solutions.
- A fisherman is “sensitive” to weather and knows when a storm comes. He gets a tingling sensation running through his chest that always precedes stormy weather.
- A medical intuitive has the ability to sense illness/disease in others. She can “read” deeply and find the cause of the illness or disease.
- A woman walks by a stranger in a mall and feels an intense weight and feels like she is being lost in a fog. As soon as the person leaves, so too does the energetic vibration, weight and confusion.
- A man awakes in the night and feels as if his recently departed wife is standing beside his bed.
- A hiker has a strong sense of direction and a natural ability to navigate, in the car, walking etc. Even under the canopy of a dense forest, he is able to find his way.
MISUNDERSTANDINGS OF EMPATHY
Empathy is often mistaken for sympathy. Having empathy is not having sympathy for another. To sympathize is to feel for another’s situation. (For example, it involves a concern of sadness or helplessness in watching another suffer. You might hear, “I couldn’t help her and I felt so sad.”) The sympathizer often may not know what to say or confuses the situation more by unintentionally saying the wrong thing.
A sympathizer may have difficulty comforting another for one feels uncomfortable just thinking of it. They may not understand where the person is coming from, let alone going. It is a different form of understanding than empathy. In death, one often says, “I sympathize with you”,” I am sad for you”, or “I am sorry for your loss”. (There is nothing wrong with this form of understanding.)
On the other hand, in flowing empathy an empath feels, to some degree, what the other is going through as though it were the empath’s own true feelings. An empath may know what to say and do so comfortably with affection, compassion, warmth and understanding.
In true empathy, an empath will share the other’s experience without judgment, bias or harsh, thoughtless words. It’s as though they experienced the same situation and have walked in the other’s shoes. Many people believe they are empathic when, in actual fact, they are sympathetic and vice-versa.
CAN EMPATHY BE OVERWHELMING?
“My empathy is so overwhelming.” This has to be one of the most frequently expressed sentences I hear from empaths. It is generally followed by, “How can I control my empathy?”
Yes, it most certainly feels overwhelming! If one is not aware of how to control it and/or has little understanding of what empathy is all about, he or she will struggle to maintain emotional balance in life. The less known, the more overwhelming the life of an empath “feels” because he/she cannot determine the origin of many of the emotions, illnesses or symptoms that he/she experiences.
It can affect relationships with a partner, family, friend or potential friends. The empath can get overloaded with other people’s emotions and even become seriously drained of his or her own personal energy. Learning to become aware of his or her “own” feelings as just that, belonging to and originating from one’s self only will help tremendously. Otherwise, an empath can unknowingly take on board another’s feelings/emotions.
This is most noticeable in situations where an empath can take on the “anger” or “stress” of others. Suddenly, without reason, he or she may become angry, have outbursts, or find him or herself retaliating. Essentially, the empath is sending the anger or stress back to its owner, although he or she will assume the anger or stress is his/her own. If an empath finds him or herself in this situation, he or she can expect to have taken on someone else’s feeling.
This situation often leaves one feeling bewildered, if not confused as to how it started. It is no fun taking on board another’s feelings. A large part of learning about empathy is becoming aware of what originates from one’s self. When the empath learns about him or herself, he or she will learn that much more about others.
Although the following varies from empath to empath, a few examples of what empaths may experience are Chronic Fatigue, lack of energy, feeling exhausted in the company of certain people, experiencing extreme anxiety in crowds, in shopping malls and in public places, and/or feeling drained when arriving at the workplace. Again, these experiences are dependent upon how well the empath knows him or herself and how well the empath understands empathy.
Many a time an empath will feel (through empathy) and/or hear (through telepathy) the thoughts of another that are directed at the empath. These are words or feelings from another that aren’t said out aloud. Rather, they have a “behind one’s back” kind of feeling and can be very difficult to deal with. The empath’s thoughts will be along the lines of, “Why don’t you just say it out loud, and get it over and done with?” Unfortunately, those thoughts and feelings ARE the other person’s, not the empath’s. Until (if ever) they express them openly, it is the empath’s job to literally ignore them. As difficult as it may be, there is a privacy matter that comes into place here regardless if we like it or not or understand it or not.
Can Empathy be Controlled?
To a degree, empathic interactions can be controlled. That degree depends upon one’s willingness to learn what empathy is continuously teaching us firsthand. Being aware of empathy is a great start. Detaching yourself when necessary is the next thing.
When you find yourself in a “heated” or stressful situation, STOP what you are doing and THINK quickly. Rewind the scene in your mind and go back to how you felt just prior to the situation getting out of hand. Were you calm, happy, relaxed? And then did you suddenly feel overwhelmed with anger, etc.? If so, empathy is calling for your attention! You may have just taken on board the other person’s feelings as though they were your own. For the unaware empath, this is an unconscious act and hence, the dire need to learn to be in awareness.
On the other hand, have you found yourself thinking about a situation throughout the day? You find yourself feeling irritated, insecure, angry, annoyed, upset, to the point that, when you finally had the chance to express yourself, you were “heated”. In this case, it was your emotion initially and not an empathic interaction.
When you STOP and THINK – analyse the emotion as not yours – then KNOW it is not yours. Confirm this mentally: “Oh, it is not I that am angry.” or “These are not my feelings.” This mental act detaches one from the “mix-up” of emotions from all parties concerned. When you become aware of how to separate your emotions from others’, you will learn to remain calm in yourself, focused on the other, and able to allow the other to express him/herself without prejudice or critical judgment.
You are not detaching yourself from the other as though you are heartless. You are simply not taking on another person’s feelings in a literal manner, confusing them as your own, or expressing them as if they were.
In learning empathy awareness you are able to step back and allow your natural compassion to come through with no deep underlying effect on yourself. You are able to understand others in a nurturing way because you “know” and “feel” their emotions. This whole situation applies to all that comes your way. It is without a doubt beneficial to you as the empath and helpful for any relationships you have with family and friends.
Sometimes not being detached from others, especially close loved ones, can appear quite the challenge. Another method of not picking up others so easily is a very simple method called FOCUSING. You intentionally focus on something else fully; immerse yourself in it–an object, tree, and/or picture–in order to distract your attention from what (or whom) appears to be “draining” you.
You can also listen to music, preferably without words, as certain lyrics can enhance your empathy and feeling of another and literally re-create what you’re trying to distract yourself from. You can watch a lively “funny” movie/video, go for a walk, clear the air, clear yourself, sit beneath a tree, or read a book.
Focus away from the one that appears to “load” you up with his/her emotions. It is highly possible that he/she has no idea that they are projecting their emotions/thoughts so strongly. Nor do they know that you, as an empath, are receptive to that projection of emotion/thought. After all, the other person is most likely unaware that you are an empath and what empathy means.
NOTE: Just as empaths pick up the feelings of others, empaths also project their own feelings powerfully. We’re not just talking about powerful words, but words that are packed with VERY strong emotions. Can you as an empath imagine what it would be like to be on the receiving end of an empath?
Sometimes it appears inevitable to be in situations where another person’s feelings can’t be so easily pushed aside. Empaths can reach a point where the feelings flow through them rather than crash into them. They can learn that not all emotions are theirs and allow them to move on without the need of analysing. It is possible. It is possible to “go with the flow”.
THE ETHICS OF EMPATHY
Is it really that important to have self-determined ethics and morals in regards to one’s abilities? Yes, I feel deeply so. Those who do understand to a degree, but fail to have any ethics and/or morals in place, are hurtful to themselves and/or others. When anyone uses an ability to intentionally harm or manipulate another, his/her actions reveal the kind of person he/she truly is.
The ethics and morals involved in living with empathic senses depend upon the individual and an awareness of how the empath uses these abilities. That awareness must be continual. As empaths learn more and apply it to their lives, their empathic skills will be refined so that they are constantly aware of both their empathic nature and others.
I have met many people with empathy, telepathy and varying other psychic abilities. Thankfully, most people are responsible for their abilities and are working diligently to understand them with a genuine interest.
I have also met a few who have no regards whatsoever as to how they use their abilities. They exhibit a lack of concern about hurting another because they think it is a game. In this game, these few want to “play” with friends to see what happens. They are likely to be surprised when something very real occurs. They then find that they have no clue how to undo what they have intentionally and thoughtlessly done!
For those few who intentionally want to have fun with their abilities. One may ask: “What is the definition of fun?” Fun needs to be tempered with the knowledge of what you’re doing and safety for oneself and others.
How do you explain that empathy and other abilities are not games to be “toyed” with? Can this perception be altered? Yes, it can be changed through respecting any and all abilities one has, how they work, and how we use them with others.
Empaths need to understand, to the best of their abilities, what effects empathic abilities have on themselves and others. We gather respect in seeking to understand, nurturing ourselves and sharing accordingly with others.
There are noticeable times during interactions in which it is required that empaths detach themselves. The ability to detach will prove invaluable and is especially important in professional careers where you are helping others. Being empathic can be consequential if you are not aware. You can become overly concerned with another’s “issues” and find it almost impossible to walk away.
Sometimes, no matter how compassionate and genuinely caring you are, it is essential to detach. It is that person’s issue to deal with. Learning to use discretion will surely help. You cannot help all the people all the time. Unless they are willing to help themselves, you will end up being a “doormat” or simply someone to help “bail” them out of trouble when the need arises. Some people don’t want help or aren’t ready for it. That is their right.
Empaths should not concern themselves with another person’s issue, emotions or feelings unless they are approached or it is a matter of safety. Experience and awareness teaches one this. Otherwise, it can blow something trivial out of proportion and damage a relationship.
Experience helps develop tact and an ability to know when the “time is right” to say or do something. That experience also teaches you when to step back. Learning to walk away is something not to be considered as uncaring; at times, it is a selfless act of immense compassion for all concerned.
Adopting these principles will improve your personality, self-growth and heighten your perception. It will open your heart and mind to yourself and others and provide a better quality of life. Being responsible, having a degree of control, learning, and applying your knowledge in all moments are part of having ethics and morals.
Copyright © 1998 Christel Broederlow
For a brief overview read 30 Traits of An Empath written by Christel Broederlow