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Empath as Emotional Sponge

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

Photo courtesy of Wix Media

By now, you’ve probably heard of the term empath. You may have even wondered if you were one yourself. Maybe you already believe you are. I do!

In case you haven’t heard of it, an empath is a person who is very in tune with the emotions and thoughts of others, to the point of taking others' emotional and thought energy onto themselves, absorbing the energy.

If someone is angry, you may internalize that anger energy, even though you may not personally have a reason to be upset. This happens to empathic children all the time.

You’ve most likely attracted my information because you are or think you may be an HSP, a highly sensitive person. HSPs are not all empaths, but most, if not all, empaths are HSPs. Empaths are like a subcategory of HSP.

What’s the difference? An HSP is someone who has a heightened sensitivity to energy - light, sound, physical sensations and more. Every HSP is not sensitive to everything. Some like the quiet more than most people, and others have strong aversions to certain foods or colors.

An empath, however, takes the sensitivity a bit further. An empath may need more time alone than other people because they actually absorb emotional and mental energy from others. Empaths can also absorb energy from the environment and animals, too.

This makes the other person feel temporary relief from their sadness or grief, but it makes the empath miserable. You may think you are helping by taking on their pain, but you're not.

For one, you are actually taking away their chance to grow as a person and deal with their own issues. It can also create co-dependent relationships, very common among empaths. There are many more reasons not to do it, which I'll explain at another time.

Everything is transmitted as energy, especially emotions and thoughts. Does it mean that you know exactly what’s going on with others? Not always! And, it definitely doesn’t mean that you can read minds, although you may be able to, especially by accident.

It means you can tell when someone is upset or happy, without the person showing it or telling you. I have misread others many, many times, thinking they were upset with me, when it was related to something else entirely. I just knew they were upset without displaying it outwardly. Ever happen to you?

You may laugh, but I can tell when someone is strongly romantically attracted to me. I can't even look the person in their eye the energy is so strong. And, it doesn't matter if I am attracted to them or not. Anyone ever feel this?

Remember, my other information about some HSPs being affected by the full moon? An HSP may feel tired during a major astrological event, whereas an Empath may actually get physically ill or have a sleepless night during phases like a super moon or eclipse. I've heard other empaths says this and I can definitely attest to it as well!

OK, so now what?

The first thing to recognize is that being an HSP or an empath is not a liability. You have heightened sensitivity for a reason. While many in society may see it a weakness or you being difficult, there are many benefits.

Being in touch with someone’s emotions can assist you in your career or business. Soft skills are sometimes easier to acquire, or may even come naturally to you.

People may sense your ability to level with them and are less likely to try to fool you (even though they may still try.) Also, children and pets may be attracted to your sensitive nature. The list of positives goes on and on.

I’m sure you’re aware of the negatives as well. Empaths have many of the same challenges that HSPs do, like the ones from my previous post, 15 Signs You Might be an HSP, but on another level.

So, not only does the empath feel many people’s feelings in a large party, they may absorb some of those emotions, too. Or an empath that is sensitive to animals may actually feel pain when pets are mistreated and neglected.

Okay, great, sounds like a life sentence to suffering. Good news - it’s not.

But, what can I do right now to feel better?

1.Find out what is making you uncomfortable - specifically.

2.Lessen your exposure to it.

3.Find out what about it triggers you

4.Work on soothing your response to the trigger

I put number 2 before "solving" anything because our sensitivity can often cause pain or suffering for us. For some of us, it's been happening for a LONG time.

It’s important to get away from your trigger or mitigate the time you spend with it before trying to “fix” anything. If you feel "my job is making me suffer," it's important to know why. It may not be the job itself.

There may be a co-worker you need to steer clear of as much as possible, or it could be the smell of a particular room or even the colors on the wall.

All of those things can be managed in different ways, many times without too much trouble. You can avoid this person (at first), switch offices, change departments, bring air freshener or even paint the walls. It’s important to understand the actual trigger.

Now that you have found a way to make yourself more comfortable, it’s crucial not to stop there. The relief can be so wonderful that you forget to fix the underlying issue.

For example, you may have a co-worker (relative, loved one etc.) who seems to get on your nerves intentionally or at certain times.

I have found that many people "pick fights" with empaths after work to try to dump their stress on them. If you notice this happening to you, you can quickly greet this person and disappear until they've had a "cooling off period"- alone.

If you needed someone to say it, I give you permission to disappear when others are in a bad mood. You may have an underlying belief that you have to listen or fix things when you sense people are in distress. Unless you have training to protect your sensitivity, you should consider not getting involved, if possible.

The person picking the fight is at fault, but you may be, too. If you can acknowledge you may have a part in it, you can fix it. They may never change.

But I can almost guarantee that if you make some personal changes, you’ll be less attractive to them as someone they can “tick off.”

What's happening is when that person comes in the room in a bad mood and picks a fight, they are transferring their negative energy to you when you engage them.

If you don't respond when they try to dump their energy on you, they have to deal their stress on their own, as they should. Besides, you probably have your own stress to manage!

It’s important to note that EVERYONE is sensitive to energy, whether they think about it consciously or not. They know, albeit unconsciously, that you are an energetic sponge, and that you will allow them to dump their emotional crap on you.

It doesn't have to be that way. Being an empath is a gift, not a life sentence. For some reason, you may have been allowing others to trample on you energetically, but you can stop whenever you decide to.

When you decide energetic mistreatment is not allowed, you’ll stop having those exchanges with them (or way less of them). Once you work on what’s causing them to irritate you, you won't attract the same treatment anymore. They may even leave you alone all together.

For example, you may, as an empath, have learned that you are responsible for the happiness of others. As a child, you may have sensed when others were upset and decided to take action to change it. I certainly did that.

I was very uncomfortable when others were sad or angry so I would bend over backwards making them laugh or forget their issue.

Sounds good, right? Nope. I developed a belief that because I could sense their negative energy, I was responsible for helping them change it.

As a healer, I’ve found ways to fill my natural inclination to help people release their negative energy, without taking it on myself.

I realized (much later) that I was not responsible for their happiness and found ways of exiting the room when people were in a bad mood. It wasn’t the perfect solution, but it kept me from being an emotional dumpster for others.

And, you can do it too. Once you identify what belief(s) you have that is/are attracting others' bad behavior, you can change it, too. I find journaling about why you deserve to have peace or to only carry your emotions is very effective. Using my Clarity meditation can help you to identify underlying causes as well.

You deserve to feel peace and only work with your own emotions. You deserve to be happy. What belief do you have that attracts negativity from others?

I’d love to hear what you’ve figured out.


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