How to Tell if You’re an Empath: Top 10 Traits.

Via Judith Orloff
on Feb 8, 2016
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The trademark of an empath is that they feel and absorb other people’s emotions and/or physical symptoms because of their high sensitivities.

They filter the world through their intuition and sometimes have a difficult time intellectualizing their feelings.

As a psychiatrist and empath myself, I know the challenges of being a highly sensitive person. When overwhelmed with the impact of stressful emotions, empaths can have panic attacks, depression, chronic fatigue, food, sex and drug binges, and many physical symptoms that defy traditional medical diagnosis.

But an empath doesn’t have to feel too much and be overloaded once they learn how to center themselves. The first step is to acknowledge that you are an empath.

Here are the top 10 traits of an empath from book on how to achieve Emotional Freedom. See if you can relate to them.

10 Traits of an Empath

1. Empaths are highly sensitive

Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually open, and good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you, world-class nurturers. But they can easily have their feelings hurt. Empaths are often told that they are “too sensitive” and need to toughen up.

2. Empaths absorb other people’s emotions

Empaths are highly attuned to other people’s moods, good and bad. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme. They take on negativity such as anger or anxiety which is exhausting. If they are around peace and love, their bodies take these on and flourish. To learn how to protect your energy read my article How to Stop Absorbing Other People’s Stress.

3. Many empaths are introverted

Empaths become overwhelmed in crowds, which can amplify their empathy. They tend to be introverted and prefer one to one contact or small groups. Even if an empath is more extroverted they prefer limiting how much time they can be in a crowd or at a party.

4. Empaths are highly intuitive

Empaths experience the world through their intuition. It is important for them to develop their intuition and listen to their gut feelings about people. This will help empaths find positive relationships and avoid energy vampires. Read Five Steps to Develop Your Intuition to learn more.

5. Empaths need alone time

As super-responders, being around people can drain an empath so they periodically need alone time to recharge their batteries. Even a brief escape prevents emotionally overload. Empaths like to take their own cars when they go places so they can leave when they please.

6. Empaths can become overwhelmed in intimate relationships

Too much togetherness can be difficult for an empath so they may avoid intimate relationships. Deep down they are afraid of being engulfed and losing their identity. For empaths to be at ease in a relationship, the traditional paradigm for being a couple must be re-defined. For strategies see my article Relationship Tips for Sensitive People.

7. Empaths are targets for energy vampires

An empath’s sensitivity makes them particularly easy marks for energy vampires, whose fear or rage can sap their energy and peace of mind. Vampires do more than drain an empath’s physical energy. The especially dangerous ones such as narcissists (they lack empathy and are only concerned with themselves) can make them believe they’re unworthy and unlovable. Other vampires include The Victim, The Chronic Talker, The Drama Queen and more. To help you deal with the drainers in your life read 5 Kinds of Energy Vampires & How to Stop Them.

8. Empaths become replenished in nature

The busyness of ever day life can be too much for an empath. The natural world nourishes and restores them. It helps them to release their burdens and they take refuge in the presence of green wild things, the ocean or other bodies of water.

9. Empaths have highly tuned senses

An empath’s nerves can get frayed by noise, smells, or excessive talking.

10. Empaths have huge hearts but sometimes give too much

Empaths are big-hearted people and try to relieve the pain of others. A homeless person holding a cardboard sign, “I’m hungry” at a busy intersection; a hurt child; a distraught friend. It’s natural to want to reach out to them, ease their pain. But empaths don’t stop there. Instead, they take it on. Suddenly they’re the one feeling drained or upset when they felt fine before.

As an empath myself, I use many strategies to protect my sensitivities such as fierce time management, setting limits and boundaries with draining people, meditation to calm and center myself, and going out into nature. Being an empath is a gift in my life but I had to learn to take care of myself. Empaths have special needs. It’s important to honor yours and communicate them to loved ones. Then your sensitivities can flourish and you can have all the happiness you deserve.

The Unhealthy Attraction Between an Empath and Narcissist:

This article is based upon Dr. Judith Orloff’s New York Times Bestseller, Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life, (Harmony; Reprint edition (December 28, 2010)

 

Bonus video:

 

Relephant Read:

An Open Letter to Empaths—From a Recovering Narcissist.

The Narcissist’s One Trick That can Keep Us Hooked Forever.

 

 

Author: Dr. Judith Orloff

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Yaoqui Lai at Unsplash 


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About Judith Orloff

Judith Orloff, MD is the author of  The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. In the book she educates readers about empaths, highly sensitive people, and offers strategies for anyone who wants to avoid narcissists and transform difficult emotions to positive ones. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist and an empath who combines the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly highly sensitive people. She is a New York Times best-selling author of  Emotional Freedom, Positive Energy, Guide to Intuitive Healing, The Power of Surrender, and Second Sight. Connect with Judith on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about empaths and her free empath support newsletter as well as Dr. Orloff's books and workshop schedule, visit her website. Republished with explicit written permission from the author. Join her empath Facebook community for sensitive souls Here.

Comments

2 Responses to “How to Tell if You’re an Empath: Top 10 Traits.”

  1. CGough says:

    This article says it all. Succinct and descriptive. I am also an empath and a mental health professional. It’s so important to recognize this in ourselves and our clients. Possibly also the same or closely related to codependence in my opinion.

  2. Teresa says:

    I too am an empath, my mom knew that about me from the time I was small. What I have difficulty with is explaining this to my husband and trying to distance myself from his constant contact without shutting him out completely. It’s okay not to spend every single minute with each other.

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