How to Turn off Overactive Empathy

This is the second article in this series about empathy.

The first article in this series was: ‘Is Overactive Empathy Ruining your Life?’

Please note that this series is meant to be read in order so you’ll want to read that article first to understand what I mean by ‘overactive empathy’ if you haven’t already.

That way you can identify if you could be someone with the gift of empathy who doesn’t know how to turn it off – because if you’re not an empath, this article probably won’t be of interest to you!

So, there are three steps to overcoming overactive empathy:

1. Centering yourself – as an energy management tool, to learn to turn off your empathy in the moment and to train yourself to be more centred in general.

2. Raising your awareness of empathy triggers – Understanding your external empathy triggers – that’s to say, understanding which situations and people trigger your empathy in any given moment.

3. Moving from unconscious empathy to conscious choice – understanding why you may not be turning your empathy off; overcoming limiting beliefs and unconscious choices around empathy and setting new intentions for the management of your energy.

As you can see from these steps, managing overactive empathy is probably not something you are going to do overnight.  I actually thought about putting this material into an mini e-course because I think it’s best digested gradually and some of these steps you can go into much more deeply than I have here.

But ultimately, how far you will want to go with this will depend on how much your empathy adversely affects your life.  If overactive empathy is a minor problem for you, you won’t be as motivated to follow what I am going to recommend for each of the three stages above.  On the other hand, if overactive empathy has been something that has affected you for a long time more severely, as it has me, then you’ll probably want to consider all of the three stages that I outlined above.

Step one: centering yourself on a regular basis

This is the most important part of the turning off overactive empathy process.  You can read everything else I have written in this article, but if you don’t actually practise centering, you won’t get any more control over your own empathy.

What’s centering and why is it important for controlling empathy?

So, we know that when your empathy is activated, there are openings in your energy field which allow your energy to leave you and the energy around you also enters your energy field via these ‘openings’.

Centering is when you close those energetic ‘openings’ and bring your energy back to you.  It’s essentially using focus and mindfulness to become what what Eckhart Tolle would call ‘present’. This is a state where you are profoundly aware of yourself and your own feelings; where the inner state is louder and speaks to you more clearly than what is going on around you.  In this state of being centered, it is more difficult to become distracted and get swept along energetically by the emotions of the people around you.

How can you centre yourself?

The principle behind any energy management exercise is the same – your intention. You centre yourself through the power of your intention.

Let’s think about this for a moment.  Did you know that you can open and close your chakras by visualizing it?  Your energy field responds to your intentions and thoughts.

You command it, and your energy responds.

Most of us are doing this unconsciously.  You think a negative thought that depletes your energy, and your energy field contracts.  If you tell a lie, your energy contracts.  On the other hand, if you say something that is empowering or comforting, your energy will relax and expand.  Your energy is responding to everything you do and think and say.

That is something you may know theoretically, but the experience of it in reality will probably feel quite different.  Controlling your energy is much easier said than done.  Heck, if we were such experts in controlling where our energy goes, we’d probably never think anything negative at all.

So, this is where centering techniques come in handy for empaths – regular centering trains you to get control of your own thoughts and energy on an ongoing basis.  In particular, it reminds you what centredness feels like and then you tap into and remember that centredness when you suddenly notice yourself getting swept along by what’s going on around you.  And you can bring centredness into that moment of empathy out of control – and turn it into a moment of empathy under control.

So, here are the components of a good centering meditation that you do on an ongoing basis:

1. Quietening your mind initially through observing your breath for 1-2 minutes

2. Grounding yourself (I do this by visualizing the energy of your root chakra shooting through the Earth, wrapping itself around the Earth’s core and returning to you the same way.)

3. Then I call my energy back to me. This is a kind of energy retrieval. Thought energy can be woven into people, loved ones, fears, and past events. I wait for a few moments for all that thought energy to come back to me.

4. Then I actively close any ‘openings’ in my energy field (I do this by visualizing a white light burning at the heart chakra, which reaches out (I see lots of hands doing this!) and closes the openings, at this point I hear doors closing.

5. Next, I just experience my energy contained within me. I experience some moments of being present, self-aware and silent within. I might remain like that for as long as I can, or as long as I want.

6. I affirm to myself that I can recreate this state as I need it just by allowing the light at the heart chakra to reach out and close those ‘openings’ if I notice that my energy field has opened itself up – in social interactions, in public places (for example, if I’m walking down the street in a big city and am overwhelmed by the energies that I can pick up on.)

The more you practise a centering exercise like the one outlined above, the more control you get over where your energy goes in your life – including empathy.

If you want, before you centre yourself, you can release old energy. Empaths have energy fields that are full of other peoples’ ‘stuff’. You can go through the following steps to remove it:

  • Close your eyes
  • Say ‘God’ or if you prefer, ‘Archangel Michael’ – say this out loud
  • Then say: I now call on the power of Source/God to remove from my energy field all energies that do not belong to me. It is done, it is done, it is done.

If you are going to practise being centred in the moment that empathy occurs, so that you can get it under control, you need a high level of awareness of your empathy triggers, which brings us to the second key to controlling empathy.

Step two: raising awareness

Most empaths have little awareness of the empathy process, and that can be one of the biggest reasons why some empaths never learn to turn empathy off.

Let’s just recap on what happens when you’re ‘picking up on’ other people’s energies empathically.

1. Your empathy gets triggered by something

2. Your energy field opens up and you get a glimpse into someone else’s experience, for the better, as this helps you to relate to the person.

3. Your energy field should close its boundaries so that you can come back into yourself, but it doesn’t – it remains open and often you don’t even know it (that’s what happens for unskilled empaths.)

So, here’s what you need to do to turn empathy off if you’re an unskilled empath – you must become aware of what is happening as it is happening.  This means a high level of awareness that this blog post probably can’t give you just by reading it.  You have to practise it.

Firstly, you need to become aware of your empathy triggers.

Mine are: people in pain or distress, violence on the television, people disagreeing with me (so I can put myself in their shoes), people needing me for something – what are your empathy triggers?  Are you triggered mostly by loved ones or by anyone?

Then, you need to observe the empathy process.  Next time, notice how much you’re focusing on the other person in any given situation – whether it’s emotional counselling and listening to someone’s problems; interacting with someone in a social setting; walking down the street and just observing those around you or whatever.  For you as an empath it will be second nature to you to focus a great deal on others, so you might not have ever noticed how much you do this. When you notice that you’re over-identifying with another person and their energy, it’s best to bring your energy back to you. You can do this very simply by pinching yourself, noticing how YOU feel in that moment, or by noticing something that you like ‘ie. I like that colour’ or ‘I like how comfy this chair is’. Making these steps a habit can really help you in the moment to bring your empathy under control.

You can also consciously will your energy to return to you, and your boundaries to close in the moment.  Take a moment to feel how you feel and become aware of your inner being.  If you can do it in that moment, visualize the ‘openings’ in your energy field closing.  If it helps, hear the doors closing and the hinges creaking.  Otherwise, just affirm that it is happening in the moment.

Step three: moving from unconscious empathy to conscious choice

If you practise centering yourself and turning off empathy as you notice it’s happening, but it doesn’t work very well, then you need to look at what is stopping you from fully getting control of your own energy.

Sometimes, you’re not fully turning off empathy because there is a part of you that doesn’t want to.

When I wasn’t motivated enough to get control of my empathy, it was because of a part of me which believed that:

“As a healer/ friend/ girlfriend/ daughter/ auntie (or whichever role I thought my empathy was helping me in) overactive empathy enables me to serve everyone better. It allows me to anticipate and fulfil the needs of others. It motivates me to help others. In fact, it would be downright selfish to turn it off!”

I felt guilty if I turned empathy off.  Like I was disconnecting from others.  Sound familiar?

Just in case it does, and that’s demotivating you from fully getting control of your own energy, here are some ideas and perspectives to counter the fears relating to overactive empathy:

  • Overactive empathy is an act of self-sacrifice. Is it fun to absorb a load of negative energy that isn’t yours? No! What is negative and what does not serve you cannot serve someone else. It’s called spreading the fear instead of the love. I wrote about this in my article ‘How to tackle low self-esteem’ – acts of self-sacrifice (like putting someone else’s needs above your own) deplete you. Instead look for a win-win situation, not a win-lose situation for you. Self-sacrifice is never in the highest good of all. It’s not win-win.
  • Empathy was never designed to be used in a prolonged ‘always-switched-on’ way. I realized this when I was struck by a sentence that I read in Byron Katie’s book ‘A Thousand Names for Joy’. She said: “What I like about separate bodies is that when you’re hurting, I’m not” (and vice versa). Separation on the physical level serves us to some degree. Yes, empathy is great for getting a glimpse into someone else’s world, but it’s terrible if we have to remain in that painful world with them! Why? Because then we become useless, to ourselves and to others! How can you possibly uplift someone if you’re in exactly the same negative state that they are? You can’t. That’s why overactive empathy doesn’t serve you. You need to be able to snap out of whatever state you’re absorbing in order to bring the good energies that you so naturally bring into the world. You live by example, through those energies that you bring. That’s how you heal and uplift others.
  • Overactive empathy is also linked to co-dependence. If you are feeling someone else’s pain, you may also try to take responsibilities for that person because it becomes your pain. You may try to force them out of it and become very attached to a situation or emotional state that isn’t yours – because you want it to be over. Those situations can be quite messy because boundaries become blurred, especially when there are two empaths involved, both trying to take responsibility for one another.

I hope you found these tips useful.

Looking to heal your overactive empathy? Download the free preview of my book The Empath’s Toolkit: A Guide to Recovery for the Overactive Empath below!

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Meet Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Sayce! My purpose here on this website is to provide practical techniques and information to help empaths to understand, and fix the root of their energetic overwhelm & also to help sensitives to embrace and develop their intuitive gifts. I believe that developing our spiritual & intuitive side is very powerful and allows us to improve our own lives, and if we wish, even make the world a better place for others. Discover more >

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  1. Avatar

    Great article Anna, helped me fit quite a few things into place that I’ve been mulling over for awhile now.

    Love the way you explained things, easy to understand and”see”.


  2. Anna

    Thanks, KL! I’m really glad this was helpful for you.

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    Thank you so much Anna for these two articles about empathy, they came just in time for me (how did you know?!). Now I can see my situation in a different light and can take action with much more courage. Thank you!!

    Best wishes to you!

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    Thank you for posting this. When I moved out of my family’s house and out on my own I was able to be more open to the fact that I have stronger empathy than many people. I still have a problem developing a shield when I go into a hospital, cemetery, or other places where the extremes of all emotions are: anger, sadness, fear, etc.
    My friends even get annoyed when they can’t keep anything from me! lol.

    So thanks! 🙂

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    Great article Anna, i missed this 2nd part. i love the hearing doors closed part, i will try this. As an empath is very easy for me to get swept away, a few weeks back my son was in hospital and it was a nightmare for me, i could feel everything. i was a wreck. i think part of that is wanting to take others pain away, but as you say youre no go to anyone if you have the pain too.

  6. Anna

    Hi Christa, I’m so happy the articles were helpful for you!

  7. Anna

    Hi Lil, happy that this helped! Anna

  8. Anna

    Hi Kate – Try the centering visualization! That should help for situations like what you described here. I found it really helped with my empathy.

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    These were incredible articles, I was really floored and shocked- I tried to be honest with myself, and I think my empathy is a huge problem. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such constructive articles- I know the last 30 minutes I’ve spent reading these will help change my life. Thank you.


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    I love all of the articles. I can relate to this because I have been doing this with a guy, I thought I like him but I think I just wanted to help him and felt sorry for him. I think I really need to set boundaries. Thanks!

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    Dear Anna, thankyou for sharing your knowelledge with us, I have learned so much from you. I work as a volunteer on Tuesdays giving unfortunate people food vouchers. At first ,I found it hard not to go home feeling down about poeple and their experiences. I have naturally learned to listen, maybe throw in some advice if needed or wanted, be compassionate ,try not to judge, help where you can and then, I know exactly what you mean, mind you, it took time to learn these things. I love that line by Byron Katie, I so get it now! Thankyou so much Anna.
    Love and light, Deborah

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    I found this article enlightening. I was unaware as to how empathic I actually was, so when I came to the realization that my strong emotional connections to others were debilitating to me, I wasn’t sure how to control it. How to separate their emotions from my own. Often do I find it difficult to go into crowded places, or even work a job in setting where their are lots of potential customers or even service jobs where people are coming in disgruntled. I find myself easily getting overwhelming with emotions that i can’t explain. So to read this was very helpful. I’m pleased that you have shared these techniques. I am already in a therapy program that incorporates mindfulness as a huge core to the skills being learned their, so i am pleased to know that such a technique will help in managing my receptiveness of emotions. Thanks for the wonderful information. I will make finding out my empathic triggers and centering myself a regular practice, since I’ve grown tired of living my life so emotionally sensitive that i can’t function.

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    Dear anna,
    I wish i had read your article a long time ago. i have been doing readings for a long time and have often taken on peoples burdens.
    I am Cancer with Cancer rising so the porosity is very extreme.
    I had to stop readings but have recently taken them up again as it seems to be my karma and I am good at it. Universal service and all that so i will use your tips.
    thanks roxanne

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    I really enjoyed reading the last two blogs from you on Overactive Empathy. I have tried in the past to describe how difficult a time I can have when something triggers my empathy. Now I have the words to describe it and the tools to keep myself centered and to turn my empathy off when I grocery shop.


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    I’ve just begun to….actually tell people of what i can do only a little at a time….i showed it to 2 of my friends and have made them both cry…..ive always had my powers just never really understood taht i had them it was jsut normal to me to know what everyone was thinking.or feeling, or wanting or winging about haha everything really…im understanding now…and now that iv’e started to tell people what i can do its getting stronger and im knowing when its the power and not just me….your sight is so know what im actually doing isnt just me and others like you know the feelings and put them in words.

    this part especiaslly
    As a healer/ friend/ girlfriend/ daughter/ sister (or whichever role I thought my empathy was helping me in) overactive empathy enables me to serve everyone better. It allows me to anticipate and fulfil the needs of others. It motivates me to help others. In fact, it would be downright selfish to turn it off!”

    I felt guilty if I turned empathy off. Like I was disconnecting from others. Sound familiar?

    ive felt everyones feelings for so long and have been trapped thats what it feels like all the time and never knew how to get out of it..sometimes i would do it automaticly without knowing…im thinking it was my minds way of giving me a little rest every now and then….im so glad ive found ur site…im going to oout it to good use and improve my powers greatly…my mind is very stong i tihnk.

    and today i “spoke” with a lady who had died where my sister works…she died of swine flu…and at where she works they had a fundraiser for it….and some other lady at the work has taken a large amout of that and gone holidaying…..i used her photograph and asked questuions and the answers would flow to my mind…i felt the moment i connected with her….she was so! happy that i am feeling her and knowing she is present the happiniess flowed so strongly…she told me her she felt i felt..she is ever so sad…leaving her children…and her assistant that worked with her she worrys for her but want her to know she will be ok and find who she is….sorry to go on abbout it there is so much i could talk about i have a lifetime of information that i would love to figure out and decode.

    i think ive got many powers but i just dont kow waht some are called yet or how they operate…i know they will come threw when the time is right ….when my mind is right .

    it feels good to know that i have a gift and not a going to use it well…..i would love to talk to you if you get the feeling that you can help me or help me help myself in knowing how to control my abilities and understand which ones i have .
    please reply

    josh hannan

  16. Avatar

    even if you can refere me to anyplace that can help in relizing my abilities and develop them

    i know ur busy
    i just saw where you dont give out free advice.
    i can feel the empathy for you. it felt good i just turned it on and off for the firnst time. thank you.

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    In the past I have visually created bubbles around me which seemed to work, but I really like the centering meditation you have written here. I will definitely try this!


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    Hi Anna! Thanks so much for your very helpful articles. I am a teacher of many different skills and subjects and I am always working on “my energy hygiene” with students of a variety of ages. I enjoy many New Age concepts, Buddhism, and astrology and recently I am recognizing that I do have some serious empathic feelings which I am trying to get some control over. It took me a long time, but at 40 or so I finally figured out that big cities and big crowds don’t work for me at all and I am trying to develop self acceptance over this relatively new knowledge.

    Good luck in your most excellent work!

    Best, Erik

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    Thank you for reaffirming something that i believe i’ve known for a while… i just never connected the good aspects of empathy with the bad. I knew i had empathy when it was of good to myself or someone else but never realized it can backfire as well! i have been trying to figure out why i ‘feel’ SO much when in situations with other people. It becomes so heavy on my shoulders i have to physically leave to feel better. Good emotions, bad emotions – they would all attack me at once and i felt helpless to stop it. I’ve been avoiding certain situations and people because of this. But i never thought i could actually turn it off! That changes everything! Now i just have to practice…

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    This seems like a lot of work…and I wonder how many people who practice these exercises are also successful at turning empathy off. I wonder if it is possible to get some regression therapy and amend the painful volunteer service. Them I wont have to hop over several holes to be a normal human being! Sorry for sounding so downtrodden, but I’ve just come to a point where I feel it is so unfair to feel all of these things that are not mine. I have a hard enough time dealing with my own feelings.There are some very compassionate and effective people who are not empaths. I wonder how we plan lives from above to not see the earthly consequences of things…

  21. Anna

    Hi Lisa,

    I hear you – it’s not fun being a empathic volunteer. In terms of whether the exercises are effective or not, I can vouch in myself for their effectiveness and know others who have also been helped. I also know that a big part in choosing to turn it off was about deciding ‘enough is enough’. I do not deserve to feel like this. Then you learn to turn it off when you need to, because you’re motivated to. Without that feeling, I don’t know if the motivation is there.

  22. Avatar

    I know this is a little late (a year!) but I would like to leave a comment here to let u know how great I think this article is. It’s good to know that there are ways of overcoming this totally debilitating issue. I have been struggling with this since the age of 3 and it has become terribly painful (physically and mentally)… I especially love the ending where you mentioned that a part of us might feel guilty about turning off our empathy! I have struggled with a huge guilt complex for as long as I can remember (for no apparent reason!) and I think your alternate perspectives will really help me overcome this problem. I’m starting to realize that feeling other peoples pain continually is just amplifying negative energies for no good reason! Thank you!

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    So is that why I started crying 30 seconds into the ‘Titanic’ movie?! I used to be able to touch a person and feel their physical pain, see their loneliness and am really good at reading ppl. But since I married my husband, who is a very tempermental person, I think I’ve pretty much closed myself to everyone and everything, and both him and I don’t understand why everytime after he gets upset about small little things, which he does very often, that I stay affected for a long time. I believe this is what you say about being a sponge but I can’t seem to crawl back up as easily as he can. Which fustrates both him and I. And I feel so drained after that, tired all the time, especially around him.

  24. Avatar

    just needed to say thank you. the fact that it’s not an act of selfishness to turn it off is honestly something i was no where close to realizing on my own…that it’s not a matter of ability level for it to be on all the time, it’s a matter of martyrdom…

    sometimes the most obvious things are the hardest to realize i guess

  25. Avatar

    Hey i really like ur article and willingness to help us. I am having trouble w/ believing what is happining is possible. I know it has to be bc to many times it happens to just be a coincidence. I hve been under extreme physical pain for years and its always the same kinda pain a family member has. I never know if its my pain or someone elses and dr’s can never find anything wrong w me, although my simtoms are very dibilitating. I have a 2 yr old daughter that i want to be able to play w but cant bc of my pain . I will try your centering and hope that it works. Thanks so much again. 🙂

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    Blessings, being empathic and feeling is bliss yet difficult if not balanced and centred and aligned to your own truth.I have felt and experienced this for over 20 + years,specifically to talk of the energy of shadow others fears and insecurities.To turn it off is not natural and not the thing to do as we are then playing god.To accept that we are drawing these energies and see why and understand that like attracts like and what it is we need to accept within ourselves and balance changes the empathic energy to that of wholeness and acceptance.Once this is done we still feel the energy yet it is subtle and flows,discernement then flows and detachment allows the self to attract that which is for our highest good.To flow and decipher the difference between energy that is for us to see and learn from and that which is natural energy of all things is one of our skills to hone and accept.We are to be human and spirit and to turn things off is to abandon signs and energy that are each individuals awakening and energy is just energy to balance the emotions and our own insecurities balances the shadow and feeling it so deeply,it happens for a reason it is not random.One thing that has been the biggest learning from all the energy is to learn detachment not just the word the act of going within connecting to the heart slowing mind chatter doing the work looking in the mirror and seeing lessons and behaviuor patterns and accepting and then changing and balancing then the heart opens then detachment must be learnt.Unconditional love of any human or anything needs to be balanced, with the acceptance of energy there is no right or wrong, it is to experience and learn from.Your articles are good and will give direction to many,I hope you accept my comments as simply the word switching off or turning off should not be used in truth.The truth of who we are is what we experience, all energies are truth and to balance and accept and manage being human is to embrace these energies, these empathic feelings and energies are truth its real so to think we can turn off and flow on our journeys is self denial.We are hear to experience pain and sadness and grief and balance all and embrace these as well as all the good and joy.To get to the light and be balanced in oneness means we must also go through the dark.The empathic feelings picking up all the energies are fro learning each individual draws the energy within them that needs to be accepted and balanced,it is truth,we cannot choose to say that doesnt feel right i wont go there.Courage and stealth and fear are tests of faith and to stare at danger or fear or feel theenegy and remain centred and calm means self acceptance.When the empathic feelings are not in fear and detached then and only then can evolution and the next phase of growth begin.God bless you for your journey, I have respect for you to put out your journey,rather than saying to switch off to explain why people open empathically would be much more prudent and helpful allowing them to be spirit and human and not needing to switch off.If we are feeling energies and not liking them this is a mirror for the individual to learn from and balance and accept within themself,when it is balanced then the energy is subtle and detachment flows,to stop the learning because the energy doesnt feel good doesnt sit in duality there is light and dark.To embrace and live and experience the shadow the darkness is the void the place of creation it is empowering and leads to oneness.god bless david

  27. Avatar

    I disagree with David. Being a 24-7 doormat to everyones feelings and emotions is no way to live. Some people naturally know when to not use this gift. Some people are so “on” all of the time, that they think it is normal…and then they wonder why others neglect them, why they are sick and why they don’t even know what they are feeling.

    No, just because you feel someones random anger, sadness, hurt etc. does not mean that you have a lesson to learn from within and once you resolve that, your empathy goes away. Wrong. What a terrible punishment from God. Being empathic is a service, but like anything else in life, it is not healthy to be on 24-7 like that. To want to find ways to turn it off is far from playing God.

    So, anyone, what has worked for you? I refuse to believe that I should just be someones emotional dumping ground for my lifetime.

  28. Avatar

    I am sure its not a coincidence that I finally started reading about overactive empaths today. There is an issue with my mothers health and I spoke with her today. It took a while for me to feel the effects but back begin to hurt on my side later and then I felt down and almost weepy. I just wanted a hug you know. My mother lives 1200miles away but I have been trying to heal her. I as well as her are quite sensitive. She seems to be trying to keep me from knowing to much of her condition while I am trying to keep up a good front and let her deal with her condition. I gotta be honest today after I spoke with her I was anxious. I can’t’ see how me going to her will help because she does not seem to want me to be involved in every detail of what is happening right now. I also think it would be bad for me to go and just hang out because that would be like I was waiting for the worst. I just came from a visit with her a couple months ago. So yeah this was timely. I will keep trying to close those spaces and stay centered.


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    i am so empathetically overwhelmed i could barely read this. i think i’ll book mark it & come back.

    my best friend told me her 2yr old sees ghosts. normally, no big deal. but we’ve been friends for 12yrs & we were actually married in a past life so our connection is insanely strong (we often read each others minds with out any effort). when she emailed me about all the stuff thats been happening at her house it caught me off guard! it was like i opened the message & this big wave hit me! i cant shake it. i had to tell her to stop texting & emailing me for a while cuz i was completely on edge & i could practically hear her brain becoming all chaotic & twirly. now i cant sleep. i had to turn all the lights on in my house! but thank you for the info…im sure once my brain can calm down it will be very useful.

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    Thank you. That is all I can say. This article helps me so much. I’ve always wondered why it hurt so much sometimes to be around my loved ones. Especially the guy I like. He got sick and I went back home and collapsed feeling like all of the energy was being drained out of me and I felt soo sad. Thank you afain. WhT a helpful article.

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    Anna you are truly the light that lit up my darkened path. May God bless you always….

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    And can I also add;

    Empathy has no point if you dont do anything about it. And if you can do something about it- whats the point of feeling the negative emotions?

    you can side skip it and be proactive about doing something.

    I was taking on a lot of negativity reading about animal rights. I got myself very low. But you can support causes without dwelling in the terribleness of the cause.

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    Thank you sooo much for this article, it really helped me cope with other people’s emotional. I’ve known myself to be a clairsentience for some time now, and I’ve always felt that I can relate to what people are feeling. I’m so sensitive in what other people’s emotions are, I get quite caught up in it. And I didn’t even know that you could turn it off! I thought it was the sacrifice of having the clairsentience ability. Recently I just had a friend who basically spilled her guts at me, and afterwards I felt the emotion so strongly that my hands were pretty much shaking! And because I’ve been a reader of Eckhart Tolle’s books, I had a pretty good awareness about all the excessive negative energy surrounding me. Yet I still couldn’t shake the energy off, and felt myself getting weaker and weaker.
    And now that I’ve read this article, I am learning to shut the empathy off! Thank you so much for this article, now I can finally be on the road to find peace within myself.

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    I just wanted to thank you for this site. There are so many out there and some just don’t feel right to me but I appreciate what you are doing on this site. 🙂 Keep up the good work, Anna.

  35. Anna

    Rene – You’re very welcome! Glad you’re enjoying the site x

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    Apologies for coming very late to the party.

    You’ve just articulated something I never really understood about myself. I am overwhelmingly empathetic – and I don’t say that lightly. I work in welfare and my boss and coworkers are constantly warning me to take care of myself.

    I take empathy to a new, unhealthy level. When a client comes to me, all they need to do is just look at me and I feel as if I’m going to cry with all the suffering and trauma they’ve experienced (and many are ex-substances abusers, victims of domestic violence, suffering from extreme poverty, mental illness or new refugees). I sometimes feel as if I could write an entire book about every single one of them after only one interview. Actually, sometimes I still do cry after meeting someone (but only after they’re gone).

    I used to think this was helpful (and sometimes it is to a certain extent, often people who are very difficult to engage in programs engage very easily with me), and it really pleased me to hear people say things like, “No one has ever understood me like you have,” or “You are the kindest woman I’ve ever met,” or “I just feel like a giant weight has been lifted!”

    However, what would happen is that these people would sort of fix onto me and develop a dependency on me. I would do things for them they didn’t think they could do themselves – and what actually happened was that I was disempowering them by not giving them the opportunity to better their own lives with their own two hands. Simultaneously, I was wasting my own energy on shouldering their crosses when I didn’t really need to. The constant overt affirmation about me I would get from them is something I should really been looking inside myself and drawing from within.

    It was recently suggested to me that I might be a type of psychic, and I’m fighting my own towering skepticism to consider it. The paricular post really resonated with me.

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    Well, I have researched this a lot and it seems like empathy is an unconscious action on our parts. Like our heart beating blinking our eyes. I have not found any methods presented as relief helpful. Sometimes overactive empathy is a result of a chaotic childhood.
    I have been reading about hypnotherapy (which is different from hypnosis). A lot of empaths seem to make the unconscious choice to suck up every feeling on their path. And Ive read some great stories about people regressing and having that codependent part of empathy turn off.
    A lot of empaths are in helping professions (nurse, social worker, psychic) and sometimes make their whole lives about helping others…and not helping themselves. Read up on Randall Churchill’s “Regression Hypnotherapy” for some of the amazing things that hypnosis can do. I’m looking for a qualified hypnotherapist right now and will narrow down my choices.

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    I didn’t know about clairsentinence or empathy before. I browsed it up today because I wanted to find what was odd inside me….why I feel so negative without any reasons…why I feel weird…or like chills, tickling and shocks in the body for no reasons…I have been trying to know about it. I was even thinking to go to psychiatrist…All of sudden I get upset, sometimes crazy….sometimes,,,afraid for no reasons…afraid for like something going to happen..and they happens. I dreams whenever something bad or horrible was going to happen in my life. I dreamt abt my grandma death…on 9th august 5:4 am…When I woke up, I just knew tat someone is going to die…Later, around 8 am, we got the news of her death.

    Sometime, I get thisfeeling tat…its nt right or…just speak widout thinkng and they just happens.

    I said to my uncle…few months ago tat…he sud change the car coz it wud lead to more accidents…and since I said…I dint knw wy i said…i jst got the feeling and I blurted out instantly…widout any control…and it turned true and he had to buy a new car…

    I had so many experiences tat its hard to explain here…I cud tell who is bad and gud…and I cn tell just by seeing pic if its going to b fine…I cn tell about marriages…and etc etc…

    But i was really bothered by my negativity…tats what my close ones call it…feeling like…idk…wid out any reasons….all of suddens…sometime, just after talking to a someone who is feeling sad…or

    its ruining my life…I mean i have no reason to feel extreme pessimist…bt i cnt stop it…I dont even knw the reasons…and I get this dark feelings…just feelings…no thoughts…I wont thnk bad…just feelings in the body…

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    OH My GOD…..THank you for writing and letting me read those articles……how i need it…i need to work on my overactive empathy…i feel like this is going to take some time….because its somthing that just always has been…….a big sigh of releif to know i am not alone….thank you a thousand times…xox

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    Thank you for this series. I’ve known I was an Empath for about a year or two now. I never really felt the need to learn to control it.. But now there’s a sudden urgency to learn how. I was in a local cemetary with some friends the other night. It’s notoriously haunted in our town. You may want to google it: Ansonia pine grove haunted. Anyways it was about 10 pm and we were sitting by a statue in the cemetery which is rumored to move. Which is true because i saw him moving with my own eyes. But i started picking up on the emotions of a man who i believe is named Jacob. Well this man had really didn’t like one of my friends in particular. I had the incredible urge to strangle him and i almost acted on it. Of course my friends don’t know about my ability so they think i was possessed….

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    So this is what people meant when they say I need to learn to stop taking other people so seriously.

    I definitely had overactive empathy, now I’m going to enjoy having it firmly switched into the “off” position for a change, I’ll start opening it back up selectively and consciously when I know I’m ready to.

    Now that I am split off from people’s emotions I can observe their words, their expressions, their conversations.

    All my life people said I need to “open up more” I took that advice too literally(opening up my energy systems) and made my hyperempathy problem worse.

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    Hi Anna

    Thanks for the wonderful articles!!

    I am an empath who doesn’t know to turn this gift on or off at will.

    I have been initiated to meditation and have been trying something similar to your centering technique (which I learnt from my guru)to ground my energy whenever there is a need.

    I was finding it difficult to meditate and concentrate and be in the present moment as I keep shouldering others emotions and pain all the time and I try to heal them.

    I am trying to stop identifying with others emotions and pain as mine. Only recently am I suceeding a little in separating myself from others emotions and negative endergy.

    Will try your technique also as I feel your articles will help me understand how to handle myself better.

    Thank you so much Anna!! All the very best to you and your good work which helps others so much!!


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    Thank You Anne! It’s amazing how Blind we can be to our own selves and how willing we are to be fully open to others!
    I am 49 and have spent much of my life in states of absolute pain in My emotional life for just the reasons you’ve shared here. Recognizing too that when Happiness has come into my life, it stays for such short periods. It appears that in my ignorance I have unwittingly sabotaged Boundary/Balance ratio and fallen into the Others ways, means and needs, leaving my own starved and forgotten.
    All of this due to what I’ve know to be my Empathic nature, but unchecked it’s caused me distress and pain.
    Your statement above is me to a ‘T’ : ( copied below )
    ““As a healer/ friend/ girlfriend/ daughter/ sister (or whichever role I thought my empathy was helping me in) overactive empathy enables me to serve everyone better. It allows me to anticipate and fulfill the needs of others. It motivates me to help others. In fact, it would be downright selfish to turn it off!””

    I also carry the clairvoyant and sentient senses.
    These have taken Back-Burner so to speak, it appears, due to the overwhelming emotional flood of empathy.

    Thank You, I now have greater understanding in how balancing can serve others better when all three ( and whatever more there may be) live in a more harmonious way, in me.

    Deepest Gratitude!

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    Thank you, I can relate to almost everything you have said. I have always had the ability to empathise but as I develop it is becoming an issue.

    I have worked through Initiation Into Hermetics and I am now developing my psychic side further and my biggest problem is ‘taking on other peoples woes and tribulations’ especially when I connect with them. I try not to but I am finding it almost impossible, I am even taking on some of their links (not the good ones). Ok I am able to eventually release them but it is usually unpleasant until I do.

    I have fully removed all the links that I do not want and have put blocks in place so I only link at my convenience but! this is restrictive because I am loosing some social interaction below pleasantries. How have you got around this?

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    This article really helped me understand, thank you Anna.

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    What a great article. I am very balanced left-to-right brain with a highly developed logical side (I’m an organizing expert for Pete’s sake!) and I’ve never been a person who thrives on “drama” as we say these days. YET, my eyes well up at the smallest things that make no sense. Also, when someone else cries near me, they fill up and I feel embarrassed by it because I have no control of it. It is so frustrating to me!

    However, even before I found this article, I recently had a client cry in the midst of a work session (which is not unusual) and for the FIRST TIME ever, I was able to control my eyes from tearing up and be supportive without appearing to cry myself. I’m not sure how I did it exactly but reading this article I believe I used step three to get outside of MY head and focus on saying something that would aid my client. The whole “being a separate person” thing, I guess. Anyway thank you so much for a great insightful piece!

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    I was always an extremely happy person and the life of the party. Then, my mother and dad divorced and my mother started dumping her pain on me. When I left for college, she called long distance, and even now in my 60’s, her negative calls can go on for hours. They have been making my life my life miserable. I started teaching learning disabled stuents in between time, and then everyone in the world seemed to sense that they could talk to me and tell me all their troubles. It’s true. I do so care about everyone and everything. I have let all of their problems and my oversensitivity nearly ruin my life. Instinctively I have laterly been drawn to meditation, Chapra, and solitude. Thank you for re-affirming that these types of centering devices can literally help me re-claim myself. It’s about time.

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    Hello there, Anna.

    Thanks so much for these two articles about empathy. I’ve been trying to work out how to turn it off for ages. It’s taking me a while, but just doing the “closing up” exercise I feel a real difference.

    I am motivated to learn to do whatever I can because I can’t STAND this unboundedness. My health has been poor for 12 years, my adrenals have stuffed up after a recent trauma, and I need to do whatever I can to get myself out of this unbonded state.

    Very strange when you don’t even realise what you’re doing, what you’re giving away. The story of my life 🙂

    Thanks again.

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    Anna, can you describe how you “close any openings” in your energy field? How does it feel? What do you do when you are doing it? I know I’m probably asking you to hold water in your hands, but I’m curious how the experience is for you.

    I tried this before and it worked. And yet 30 minutes later I was all blocked up again.

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    I just want to say thank you for writing this. I have been having trouble gaining control over my Empathy and sometimes i doubt my gift. hopefully after practicing your tips i can learn to better control my gift. Thanks again =)

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    I have intense physical empathy and nothing I do fact I’ve searched countless hours online and have not once read anyone share the same experience. It’s hard because I feel so alone and all I have learned is from keeping a constant journal and experimenting with trial and error to hourly gain more understanding of how it all works.after doing this for close to two years I think I have a good idea but since I can’t find anyone else in my side of the equation, all I have to go on is myself. What happens and I’m being completely honest (wish I wasn’t) is anytime my attention or thoughts are on someone more so in close vicinity, I literally absorb their negative energy and they absorb my light energy. I physically feel heavy, can’t breath well, nauseous, and I’ve gained the courage enough to ask a few people I’m close with how they feel when this happens and they said warm, tingly, happy, lighter. But the weird thing isn’t necessarily that. It’s strange how people act once they realize (subconsciously I think) what’s happening, they do the strangest things to gain my attention and this makes me very upset. Such examples I’ve noticed that are common are constant effort to converse worth me even when I express aloud my desire to be alone (usually I try to focus all attention to drawing or writing to avoid energy transferring with anyone) that never works because then they will stay nearby and tap their foot our pencil or just keep trying to engage conversation with me. Please believe I’m not exaggerating any of this, it truly bothers me because oncesomeone knowingly,even if they don’t fully get it, starts doing things out of character to gain my attention for personal gain at my expense I feel violated and wish they would stop. It’s so difficult to ignore an obnoxious tapping of a foot or fingertips on a table or even on the same couch they obscenely will shake their leg or cough extra loudly very fakely. But the worst and most common thing people do which sends chills down my spine is they will put their hand on my head and”mess” my hair like you would a child. Even if I tell them that really bothers me. My close friend said its like a good static to him and he can’t help it. Kids and animals try to get so close to me, if not touching me. They won’t leave me alone. the slightest thought of that person ignites this exchange. What can I do? I’ve been in the er 24 times in the last 18 months each time with staph/cellulitis/shingles/folliculitis/skin allergy (depends on the doctor) I have also had
    lymes disease test pos no tick bite, double ear infection, spogntaneous vomiting,
    and my 3 year old daughter has ironically never once been sick with even a cold except the few times I had her stay with my aunt each time I had to get her in the night due to her vomiting. This greatly effects my life, anyone else have this? It’s level s of extremes vary throughout each month from person to person but typically one week of each month it’s unbearable HELP

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    Ashleyjean I felt I needed to reply to your post (11th May 2012). It may feel that you are the only one but you are not! There are many of us around, if not, there are two of us?

    I too find that these people get agitated when I want to just be doing what I am doing and not get involved with them, I have even had them turn aggressive and become rude to wards me. My thoughts are that once I realise I am receiving their crap, subconsciously I stop it happening and return some of it.

    My chakra’s are well developed and I went through learning to turn them off and on (flick of a switch) but it became unnatural having to keep switched off while out of my home so now I always stay fully switched on and I have learnt not to accept communication unless I want to. It may be that I had to develop the switch on/off skill to enable me to move forward. (I still get caught out sometimes).

    Have a read of this

    and then,4661.msg13931.html#msg13931

    Hope I’ve linked correctly

    Good luck to you

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    Hi Ashleyjean,

    My heart goes out to you. I haven’t had this particular sort of experience, but how intensely frustrating. Not only do you feel violated on the energetic level, but then people are actually physically doing it as well. You must have very good ‘light’ – they get addicted to it straight away! :/

    I just wanted to say keep going with your search. I am finding Karla McLaren’s The Language of Emotions is helpful to me in learning to create a necessary boundary between myself and others. It may not be your cup of tea, but I just thought I’d put it out there.

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    Dear Anna

    Thank you for making me more settled on findin your remedy…

    Being able to feel for everyone and to feel and know when there are lies in relationships even from hundreds of miles away, overwhelm and drain me. Wish I had the pleasure of “Ignorance is bliss” instead of knowing what the world is up to!

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    P.S. I find that the ability to know where the source of untruths are is momentarily destructive to my being but thankfully(and hopefully) it rights itself with time and Will.

  56. Anna

    I’d recommend Karla McLaren’s work, too. She has an audio program on energetic boundaries that is supposed to be good.

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    Hi Anna,

    Thanks so much for posting these articles. Finally I feel I understand how being empathic works. I guess I have been using my empathic abilities all along. As I have gotten older my empathic ability has become much stronger. I am going to start a journal to keep track of when I absorb other people stuff and when I don’t absorb. I realize that there are certain situations that trigger my emphatic ability unconsciously and it is mostly to do with fears. I feel once I am able to work on my triggers It will help me manage this gift. Thanks soooooo much.


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    i first felt i was empath when i met someone i fell in love.actully,i had known this person for a long time.he was my best friends best frnd commited suicide,and somehow i always felt deep empathy with him.i always felt his pain,and i developed deep compassion.i could understand what he felt,nd those feelngs made me feel he was somebody really for some reason he started keeping away.thats when i feel as u say i ‘turned my empathy’ on intentionally.i wanted to know what he felt nd i felt as miserable,nd i wanted to he is far off nd i dun want to turn off the empathy,as u said.i always feel a link bt when i concentrate on myself i miss the link and i feel the prob is i feel unexplained anger and unexplained stress sometime,and instead of helping i mess thngs up.i dunno wat i7 happening in his life.i want to stop thinkng of him al the time bt i feel il loose him if i loose the connect.and maybe i get other people’s enegies too,and i confuse it with his.i dun want this is turnin into a curse for me.i get deep headaches,bodypain and i feel as if my entire body is being crushed,etc.plz help.

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    Hello, your articles are very helpful. I had been wondering how to control this empathy of mine for a while now. Recently I have been hearing ringing in my ear. Do you know what this means? i dont have any health issues in that area. I have been on a growing cycle of me knowing what my abities are.Is this ringing related to this process?

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    I believe I have become aware of what is going on and why some of us have these sensitivity to others… It is my belief that our individual vibration. Is of a higher frequency of most others.. Let me explain more simply

    it is been proven that every individual vibrates at a certain frequency as we all able be alive and use our bodies with our own energy. The higher the frequency, the more that person is able to be aware of things that happen outside most human range of senses…It’s like if you play drums and you are highly good at it, you are able to listen to music and notice imperfections of another drummer as where just anybody would never know the difference. We must experience an above average event to notice that it even exists and can be manipulated before our brains will consciously remember the information and begin to use that out of the ordinary experience as the starting point for learning and knowing what to do next time we have a similar experience and increasingly getting more skilled as knowledge from each experience is gained.

    So when in contact with someone of a lower frequency or even thought energy, there is an energy exchange between people The lower a persons frequency, the more a higher frequency individual will without any effort, feel that persons energy. In my case I would feel their emotions, physical imperfections, know what kind of person they are. I can also, if i tune into it, get a very specific mindset that is not mine but their’s. I can literally place myself in their shoes and somehow my energy melds with their subconscious. Like If i ask silently in my head questions I may want to know, an answer of “my reaction or my opinions of the subject in question” instantly i know as if I were that individual. Sounds crazy but im not here to convince anyone that my personal experiences are real or not. like I can interact somehow with their subconscious without they even realizing it because they dont have the ability to use their conscious mind similtaneously with their subconscious its like robbing your co-workers house on a sick day while they are at work and think you are too.

    I believe that from the feeling I get and judging from the reaction on others that I have been observing for a long time. anything I have interaction with (animals included) is typically living within the average human range of senses and seems to have a younger soul(less empathic) so they operate at a lower frequency. they just havent evoloved as older souls have learned from previous experience. and I spend a lot of time meditating and consciously raisng my frequency. So because of this, when our energy exchanges, abiding universal law that energy must always balance, our energies create a frequency which we can interact. So I literally feel this change in energy. its as if it were slowing me down, adding weigh and bringing my mood down. I actually absorb some of it. its as air is to a person-the person can not feel air or see it because the molecules are moving way too fast and out of or range of vision but if you could speed up the rate which our molecules were moving we could see things we once were they also feel the effects of their frequency being raised and physically this makes them feel calm, relaxed and just good about life. If I dont raise my energy back up and release their eneergy, I am left with any physical ailments they might have such as sore back, neck, headache, skin issues.

    I have much to say but I will stop there

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    This has been the single most helpful thing I have read regarding my issues as an overactive empath, both physical and emotional. Thank you for the work you have done regarding this. I look forward to many more pleasant days now that I have these tools.

    Love and Light,

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    Thank you for the artical. I always knew I had “intrinsic factor” another term for empath and I even try to teach emapthic listening in a class I used to teach. But yes you are VERY right. If you don’t turn it off it can destroy you. Thanks for the centering and self awareness exercises it I think will help me greatly. I am new to being called an empath but have lived it ALL my life. Thus being called the “worry wart” of the family and being the “most emotional” in the circle of friends and family. Funny I can somewhat turn it off at work. Still working of the social situations. Maybe I can get a date now! LOL. Anyway I have my crystals ordered and am going to try centering now. Thank you again. I’ll let you know.

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    Great info. i felt the difference straight away when i done the closing the doors and removing energy that was not mine. i even feel like a whole person again and not like a sive. thanks anna

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    Hi Anna,

    I have recently started on a spiritual journey… it is amazing where these paths can lead. I stumbled open this article series on overactive empathy, and relate to it very much. I never knew such a thing even existed, but it sure explains a lot.

    I have always tapped into other people’s emotions, quietly taking them on as if they were my own. It has always been normal for me, so I never gave it much thought. Complete strangers are often compelled to tell me their problems. That is always surprising. It can happen anywhere… restaurants, elevators, doctor’s offices. It’s fascinating. And I know what they are feeling. I know the depth of their feelings. For this reason, I resonate with part in your article about not wanting to turn it off. If you can have this encounter with everyone, even people you don’t know, you can’t anticipate these conversations, which is an argument for leaving it on. It seems like a valuable thing to waste. With that said, I can see your point. You have to recharge and replenish. And through the years This part of me has become more problematic. I feel a bit chaotic on the inside. Now I know why. I will try your techniques and see if I can take back some control. I feel excited (to know this is special), and relieved (to know this can be controlled), all at the same time. I learned so much here. Thank you for sharing!

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    Dear Anna,

    I cannot begin to thank you for your Helpful words .You have changed my life. You helped lift a huge load i was carrying around. HUGE i am young and highly empathic- intuitive living with an emotional vampire what can i say im pretty much always drained. You helped me to regain My energy in a way i could understand and the exercises you posted have been working amazingly well . I cannot thank you enough like i said you have LITERALLY changed my life for the better something just tells me if it hadn’t been you or this site ,it would of never happened:)

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    Love this. I’ve noticed that I’m uncomfortable turning my empathy off when I’m connecting with friends/family/lovers/clients because I don’t understand how else to connect with them. It’s not so much that I feel guilty, it’s that I don’t feel connected to them if I don’t blur my boundaries with them. It’s more that it feels “heartless” to me. But I truly understand and have seen first hand how much more effectively people can help when they do not join the energy of the person they are trying to help. They are able to step out and see the bigger picture as opposed to joining them in their emotions (which is nice…like being “hugged” emotionally, but does not help beyond that). Thanks again for inspiring thoughts!

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    I really am not a skilled empath.
    Thanks! I thought it was just me…then I saw this article, and I thought, ‘I experience this.’ Then something inside me internally groaned, since I was ‘absorbing’ energies of my classmates all along.
    The effect of me being an empath:
    One day I’d be really, really depressed, then give me a few days later, I’m okay. The TOTAL opposite of depressed.
    Who knew I was feeling what they were feeling all along, so I wasn’t so centered on me??
    I’m 14!!!
    This empath thing is really, seriously affecting me in a bad way.
    I am going to try this.

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    Hi Anna,

    Thanks so much for this article – its exactly what I need right now. I’m not at all in control of my empathy, and my husband suffers pretty severe depression. The only thing I know to do is run away from it when I feel like I’m drowning too, but my husband sees that as coldness when he needs me most. And then I feel so guilty. Ack. So this is now my number 1 priority: learn to get control of my empathy.

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    Thank you so much. I have been so tired of being exhausted all the time. I have always felt like an emotional dumping ground. Like all the negative energy around someone was sucked onto me leaving me almost unable to function in some cases and their energy almosted seemed cleansed for having talked with me. Recently this has been getting worse and I have been withdrawing from people. Just having an idea of what to do is encouraging. I have some work to do now to start getting this under control.

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    thank you for this. it took me a long to realize i was an empath. and now that i know, it takes me a long time to realize i’m living off other people’s feeling that have been around me. and when i realize it, it pisses me off. ha. but recently, I was having this dreaded feelings of fear and anxiety. I already suffer from PTSD, but these were strong. and i was determined to conquer it by facing them.
    then last night, i discovered they are coming from my 12 year old. we are currently going thru a divorce from dad. so i think its exacerbated her fears now that we are in a new home. she’s always been afraid of everything. but now I realize the severity.
    I need to be ME to help her deal with this. I need to be ME to help her set foot on an adventure and overcome her anxiety and fears.
    I am glad to hear I can practice and gain control over my abilities to empathize.Not only with this situation, but others… hopefully now I can live life by feeling my own emotions, as my feelings to empathize are very strong.

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    What a great and helpful article you have shared with us.. thank you so much.. this is really going to help me get control. My empathy has been out of control most of my life..

  72. Avatar

    Thanks. I learned a lot about myself after reading your articles.

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    dear Anna,
    I’m going to take some time to work through your material. I am an acute empathic, I am a therapist, and I am in the final year of my doctoral studies and my chosen topic was originally resonance but I have now moved into a closer related area, empathic resonance. There are many clinical applications for empathic resonance which will be revealed in my thesis but use empathic resonance effectively one must not be taken over by other. I am working upon this within myself because my empathy is so acute like others I do suffer at times from telosomatic resonance. I feel the pain of others literally. I also have fibromyalgia and I have often wondered if there is a correlation between people with acute empathy or empathy and fibromyalgia. Pain being the symbol that the empath absorbs. Will look forward to following you. Kind regards, Tina

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    Really appreciated your wise counsel. I am watching my young grandchildren deal with the divorce of their parents & adjust to strangers with children of their own moving into their bedrooms & it’s killing me! I live with a dark cloud hanging over me as I imagine their hardships during the day & their reactions & pain. I have been paralyzed by this obsessive, negative thinking. I have already begun practicing centering my thoughts. I know it won’t be an overnight recovery, but I’m willing to spend all the time I need to overcome this. Thank you.

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    I have just realized I am empathic.

    My boss comes to work in a foul mood, I know sometimes the Sunday before work that she will be in a bad mood.

    My empathy is hurting my job. Because I think I am so unconsciously attuned and aware to her mood that I can not do my job. I make mistakes and cannot concentrate on what I should be doing.

    I have even just walked by someone and then stop and sometimes ask if they are alright. I really need to get a handle on this. I do not want to lose my job.

    I will continue reading because I really want to handle this.

    Thank you for your insight.

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    Thank you for this. I have always been an empath, and have been “used” by so many for my ability to experience their feelings with them. It was not until my mother died 2 years ago (with whom I felt an incredible emotional attachment) that I realized that she was the person I “gave” the emotions I absorbed to. Since her death (which I feel was strongly related to her own empathic tendencies), I have become increasingly more sick emotionally and physically, and have been unable to separate from the emotions I absorb from my surroundings. I have very few friends who truly understand what I am going through, and most think I have lost my mind. It is helpful to find information on how to divest myself of the negative energy without throwing it onto another empath. Thank you so much.

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    I found this article after searching for some help with feeling other people’s feelings. I don’t even have to know the person, but I feel their pain as if it were my own – sometimes I think even more so! I have come to the point where I’d like to isolate myself from the rest of the world because it has become so overwhelming – and yet I feel responsible for it and can’t walk away. It’s horrible. I just read something and I knew I should have run from it, but I can’t stop crying. I tend to want to fix it – if I can make their pain go away, maybe mine will too.
    I have saved this article, and I will have to read it again and try to practice when I’m not feeling so overwhelmed. There’s a part of me that fights that though – like I can’t allow myself to close. I just don’t think I can continue feeling this way though.

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    Your posts on overactive empathy really resonate with me. This is something I constantly struggle with. I feel as though I have a call to help others, but when I put myself in situations to do just that (such as volunteering at a hospital or animal shelter), I always seem to have an emotional breakdown at the end of the day that haunts me for days afterwards. I keep dwelling on others’ pain and it’s debilitating. I hope I can learn to control my overactive empathy and learn how to feel good within myself when it comes to these experiences so I’m motivated to do more, not less. Thank you for these articles.

  79. Avatar

    You just changed my life! Thank you!

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    This is really helpful. I pictured my energy just wrapping back around my like a hug and now I feel warm and safe. Thank you so much!

  81. Avatar

    Your article is spot on with how I feel. I get emotionally attached to the person and then think,
    “Am I mad for thinking of a person I saw in passing or in the virtual world. How can I feel so deeply and attached to someone when I don’t know or if the dream I had was real about some person from my past I had once known.”

    How can I understand a person who had wronged me? How can I fight for a person who is responsible for my pain? How his twisted theory somehow make sense?

    I thought all these things for almost my whole life. More recently that things, more and more become clear from cloudy. My energies are scattered all over the place with no hope what and how to cope with it all at once. I am 24 years old but my body feels like a 60 year old woman. I have drained so much of my energies. I write poems to vent it all out. But that doesn’t solve the problem at hand.

    Now, You have given me a direction I can try to get some peace and semblance of normalcy back.

    I truly, deeply grateful for your help I received at the right time because things were getting tougher than ever.

    God bless your light and soul,

  82. Avatar

    I wanted to say thank you. I’ve been struggling with this for longer than I can remember. To say it is a struggle would not be enough. Everyone I have asked help from has told me that I needed to meditate. So I’d try and often fail because everything in my head is so loud.
    The way you described the energy retrieval process has been so very helpful already. It seems like forever since I’ve felt centered. I have been searching for center for so long, you seem like a godsend.
    I have searched for someone to describe the process. I’d ask: how do I build the barriers and how do I keep my mind my own? I never would have guessed that the barrier was already up and I’m reaching through it. That brought real clarity, thank you.
    It will be a lot of work, but now that I know a little more on how to bring my energies back to me, things should get a bit better.

  83. Avatar

    THANK YOU for this article!

    I’m a counsellor-in-training and of late I’ve been so emotionally drained and having backaches because I was always empathising with the other person. I couldn’t watch Dunkirk (the war movie) because I was feeling all the soldiers’ pain. Didn’t know that there was something called overactive empathy till I stumbled on your blog.

    You’re so awesome! Thank you again 🙂

    Lots of love from India!

  84. Avatar

    I am an empath and i hate it. Is there any way to turn it off permanently?

  85. Avatar

    Hello Anna. I am so thankful this article. I think I am a physical empath. I’m just wondering about to what happens when I am turn off my empath. Because I guess I’m feeling someone’s pain who experienced a celebral hemorrhage. Of course I’m feeling what her feelings were after the celebral hemorrhage. Sounds like a joke, but it was so painful. Anyway. If I turn off my empath what happens her? I mean, İs my energy healing her?

  86. Avatar


  87. Avatar

    Well well, this article was an interesting beginning to my day yesterday. I found this post in a desperation google search. Long story short, I have every empathy known to mankind and I’ve been wide open my entire life. In one day (after reading this post) I learned how to (in my own way and form) shut off my openings and seal out empathy. I felt empowered practicing this yesterday. Then an interesting thing happened. This morning when I woke up I realized that for the first time in my life I was myself. For the first time in my life I am walking in my own skin. Here’s what happened next. Incredible anger. I’m still shaking. All the problems I have suffered with my whole life have not been mine. Here’s what is happening now. I am scared to death to feel my own feelings. I’ve never been here before. It’s like learning a new language. No joke, yo. 10 minutes of reading and !BAM! —–COMPLETE PARADIGM SHIFT. So now I get to meet myself. Maybe we can go on a horsey ride through the desert or something. Wait, I hate horses, or was that just my neighbors feelings? Guess what else… I was completely comfortable in my agony. My cage was my safety. Schpodoinkle!!! I’m hanging out here a mile now! It’s like I’m walking naked through town cupping my junk, trying not to let old people and kids catch a look. Here’s a warning to you super empaths who feel everything and never knew it, or did but didn’t understand… Get ready to lose your head if you practice this. There’s no going back. The friendly reader must be aware that this is day one of meeting myself and this post is completely emotionally biased. I guess that in a few months I’ll either be super depressed because I was a douche bag my whole life and now I know it, I’ll be rich because my drive and will have changed, or I’ll be a clown in the circus because I am a crazy son of a bitch and I freaking love Circuses. You get my drift. Anyhow, brilliant article. I guess if you pray long and hard enough and when it’s right in the Lords infinite time-frame, he will show you the truth. He will lead you. I can hear William Wallace screaming “FREEDOM”!! it’s a raw and gritty roar, but gosh dang-it, that roar is for me.


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