My life as an Empath

A couple of years ago I made the discovery that I am an empath, that is, someone who is physically sensitive to the energy of a person, object, or place. Author Ellen Dugan has a great description of an empath in her book “Natural Witchery” wherein she states:

An empath is a person who can physically “tune in” to the emotional experience of a person or place. They sense attitudes, emotions, and sometimes physical ailments. It is believed that empaths sense the vibrations and “feel” of the human aura… Every aura is unique, and it leaves traces behind, no matter where you go. The aura may, in fact, linger around objects or places and the “lingering energy” is what an empath senses and intuits.

She goes on further to discuss people who particularly feel this residual energy on objects, which is where my particular brand of empath comes in. I can feel and read energy off objects, and this can be good and bad. It makes it very hard to throw or give things away and I have to constantly keep this in check in order to not become a hoarder. I have to remind myself that the object does not have any feelings, rather I am just responding to the energy attached to the object.

Shopping, particularly thrift and antique stores, can also be quite problematic, although I love to shop. I tend to do better in retail stores because the new objects have less energy attached to them. But woe is me in a thrift store. I can’t tell you how many silly little things I have bought because they felt sad to me. I couldn’t resist buying them so I could clear all their old energy off and allow them to begin life anew.

Stuffed animals or any object with an animal likeness also give me problems. I still have so many of my childhood stuffies. Although now they have all moved into a box, and I swear I feel them crying from inside the box because they have been tucked away out of sight. I’m sure they would be so much happier if I would just give them away to some kid who would play with them again. On that note, when I taught pre-k and was around a lot of kids I did manage to give away a big pile of my stuffed animals. Once I made connections with the children I found pleasure in giving them my stuffies that were still in great shape. Now I am not around any kids at all, so I have to find a new way to tackle my problem of feeling sad to give away my animals while also feeling sad because the animals are all stuck in a box being ignored. And it does not look like I will be having any children of my own, so that option is out.

I also have a strong connection to my home and it is not easy for me to spend the night somewhere other than my bed. This affliction reared its head when I was a child. I could not spend the night at a friends house because I felt so weirded out. I can remember so many times that my parents had to come pick me up because I just couldn’t do it. And summer camp was almost completely out of the question. My first attempt at that ended with my grandparents rescuing me after two nights of solid crying. I made it through a few years later but it was rough. Then I didn’t bother with it until I was a teenager and better equipped to deal with, or hide, my problem with not sleeping in my bed. In my adult life I will occasionally encounter a friend who wants to have a slumber party at their house and I never accept. I will go over there until very late, and then come back to my house to go to bed.

Empath is not to be confused with empathy, or being empathetic. To me, being an empath mans I am sensitive to, and can feel energies. I see being empathetic as how one reacts to the energy and what they do about it. An empath feels the energy, someone who is empathetic reacts to it and sympathizes with it. I actually do not have a natural empathy for humans and would not consider myself to be a people person (animals are another story altogether, and all animals evoke powerful emotions in me). In fact, I can be a total bitch. I hear a lot of sob stories all the time from students and they rarely effect me. I also get really fed up with human beings in general and have to have a lot of alone time to stay sane. But sometimes they get me. I will burst into tears at a television commercial or cry at the strangest things, like ice-skating. Ice skaters make me cry all the time. Something about their emotional state combined with movement really touches my empath soul. I find this also happens with dance, but for some reason ice skaters seem to make me cry more often. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that when one is watching ice-skating they are usually watching a big competition so there is a lot of emotional content from the skaters tied up in the event. I can sense what the competition means to the skater, making the whole skating viewing that much more emotional for me.

Sometimes my students get me as well. One international student did a choreography project about missing her family back in her home country.  She told me about it very straight forwardly and without excessive emotion. I however, picked up on her underlying emotion and it was all I could do to not start crying in front of her. Another told me casually that she has a teenage daughter of her own and is also raising her brothers three kids and her sisters three kids for a grand total of seven kids! That story struck me like a punch to the heart. I was overwhelmed by the selflessness of her actions. This reminds me to point out that I do not respond only to negative or sad emotions. I pick up on all kinds of emotional states, but the end result is often me being in tears. Happy tears, sad tears, nostalgic tears, melancholy tears, whatever. I guess I’m just a crier, which would actually surprise many people because I hide my crying and few have ever seen me openly weep.

Big groups of humans will mess with me if I don’t have my shields up. When those shields are all intact then I am good to go and can rock a crowd. But no shields and I want to get out of there as fast as possible. And places like hospitals kill me. I cannot handle those at all and want to run screaming. All those sad, hurt people give off a powerful energy and I cannot handle it. And do not even get me started on flying in an airplane. I am basically in a boycott against flying for a few reasons. One being I hate what the airlines and the industry have become post 9/11. The other, it is painfully difficult for me to be around all those people in the airport and then be crammed in a metal tube with them for god knows how long. It takes some pretty serious shielding to get through a plane ride, and woe to whoever meets me on the other side because I am a hot, grumpy mess when I get off the plane. At this point I drive everywhere even if it’s thousands of miles. Flying is only for when I have no option, and I tend to only fly once every few years. Yes, I would very much like to travel the world, but I have no idea how I would get through that long a flight, and of course cruse ships are completely out of the question. Going on a cruse sounds pretty nightmarish…. trapped on a boat with hundreds of people with no where to hide….sounds more like a horror movie than a relaxing vacation….. that will probably, hopefully, be something I never experience.

There are of course ways to protect oneself from the energy onslaught. I mentioned shielding, where I will craft a ball of protective energy and get inside. In her a fore mentioned book Dugan recommends folding your arms over your chest to protect the solar plexus chakra, the one most susceptible to picking up the energy and emotions of others. I like that one, and even before I read about it I found myself casually folding my arms over my chest a lot. It’s a pretty common way for me to hold my arms actually. I guess I was just doing it instinctively all along.

As humans we all have skills in regards to other senses and psychic abilities (although so many humans don’t realize it or know how to access it), whether it be intuition, clairvoyance, or a host of other possibilities. We are all better at some skills versus others, and I happen to be an empath. Over the years I am learning to better manage it, and use it productively.

So how about you? Are you an empath or do you find a heightened skill in one of the other psychic abilities? How have you dealt with it and learned to use your skills?



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cin
    Mar 02, 2014 @ 08:12:20

    I shield a lot. For me its more spirits I used to tune into and strong emotions.


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