The Difference between Two Kinds of Empaths. 

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sensitive empath

So here’s two empaths. I want to tell you about them, because if you’re reading this, chances are you’re an empath too. I’m calling them “Carri” and “Billie”.

We empaths get a hard press, don’t we? We’re frequently viewed as fragile, dreamy creatures who have to take particular care not to get damaged by ‘the world’—specifically, our fellow human beings.

Entire books are written about how to take care of ourselves in a world that’s way too harsh and abrasive for us. We’re advised to stay indoors, and not go anywhere there might be other people whose energy might make us unwell. We’re advised to smudge and clear our auras and our homes with crystals, say affirmations and use elaborate rituals so that we’re surrounded by only the purest and ‘safest’ energy at all times.

Carri is really into all this. She reads such advice avidly, and watches lots of YouTube videos telling her how to do it. She’s really scared of how badly being around other people can affect her. Crowded places make her ill: she feels sick, overwhelmed, often ends up in physical pain, feels a migraine threatening, has to leave. Visiting a busy city can leave her so exhausted and wiped out that she has to take to her bed for at least a day after, sleeping it off, her head spinning and her tummy upset.

Not only that, Carri finds herself assaulted by physical symptoms when she watches certain TV programmes or reads certain magazines. She’s particularly to drawn to watching reality TV programmes and the News, and feels completely wrung out from all the emotion she experiences as she watches. And afterwards—because it stays with her. Actually, truth be told, she does tend to feed off all the emotion, especially stories of tragedy or loss, and she goes over and over them in her mind afterwards, replaying all the different scenarios. It all feels very real to her. She never doubts for a moment that the world is a pretty cruel and selfish place, rife with hate and jealousies, where everyone’s competing with everyone else and there’s little or no kindness.

The books she reads confirms that to her. They’re all about energy vampires, narcissists and tricksters who prey on the vulnerable. And she really believes with her heart and soul that she is one of the vulnerable. She lives her life waiting for something awful to happen, and invariably it does.

Carri lives her life full of fear. It never occurs to her that she might be generating that fear herself. She never thinks about the connection between what she’s choosing to read or watch and the way the world feels to her. Nor does she realise that, when she’s reacting to the awful events she watches on the News, or laying in bed going over the drama she’s witnessed in soaps or reality TV, that she’s actually choosing all this herself.

She thinks she’s an Empath. And, consequently, she believes that it’s because she’s empathising that she’s feeling it all. She believes that’s how you define an empath. That this is what empaths do.

Actually, Carri isn’t an empath. Not yet. She hasn’t served her apprenticeship yet; she hasn’t done the work. She doesn’t know herself well enough. She doesn’t know that what she’s actually doing, and why she feels so unsafe in the world, is because she’s projecting her own fears out into the world and experiencing them bouncing right back at her.

Carri isn’t, in actual fact, an Empath at all. Carri is an Identifier.

An empath is able to empathise with others because they know what belongs to them and what belongs to someone else. Until then, we’re busy putting ourselves in everyone else’s shoes, feeling everything as if it’s us that’s going through it.

This is Identifying! That’s what “Freakin’ Out” is doing. No wonder she’s always so exhausted!

And so full of fear!

So now let me tell you about Billie. She’s much more together. She’s been busy reading other stuff. And she watches different videos. And she never watches the News or reality TV. She knows that she doesn’t have to believe media hype and that, for every ‘bad thing’ that happens in the world, there is also so much kindness, so many more ‘good things.’

Billie used to be just like Carri until she got a little clarity and became wise enough to trust her own intuition more accurately. She spends lots of time in nature and she meditates regularly and listens to soothing music. She’s knowledgeable, listens to her own needs, and makes good choices about the environment she wants to be in and what she wants in her head.

Where Carri lives in a hostile world driven by fear, Billie inhabits a reality dominated by an appreciation of love and oneness. Because she does the work—meditating, listening to her Higher Self, reading books that aid her spiritual awareness, spending time with people who give out good vibes—she feels incredibly grounded and secure. She feels purposeful rather than afraid.

Billie also understands energy and this gives her an enormous advantage. She knows that all human beings experience emotion, and that emotion is energy. She knows that everything is made up of energy, that energy vibrates and that therefore all energy influences all other energy.

Therefore, rather than being frightened when she picks up other people’s emotions, Billie empathises and understands that this energy is no more than a communication of what happens to be going on for that person right now. Not who that person is; just what’s going on for them right now. She doesn’t identify (put herself in their place and go through it as if she’s them); instead, she does something pretty incredible:

She breathes the emotion in. That’s right. She doesn’t run away in fear the way Carri would do. She understands that it’s just energy. And so she also understands that if you change the vibration of an incoming emotion, you can transmute it into a different energy, and then give that back.

So she breathes in the emotion she’s picking up, and she holds it in a space inside her. A sacred space where there’s no fear, only love. She holds it there for the other until she understands its quality, truly gets the power of the energetic communication, human being to human being. Soul to Soul. And then she breathes into that space in which it’s held all the love, compassion and calm she can find. And she has a huge well of that. And when she’s felt its quality change, when she’s transmuted it, she breathes it back out into the world.

Billie has served her apprenticeship, knows her stuff well, has no fear—since she knows this is a loving universe where we experience pain and joy and everything in between. And that, since we’re all part of the same energy, all one, when one of us if experiencing pain, another can receive that as an energetic communication and help, in love and with empathy.

She’s become an empath who can exist powerfully in the world, and do what she came here to do! She’s changing the energy of the world, one breath at a time!

How freakin’ awesome is that?


Author: Janny Juddly

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Image: Flickr/Petras Gagilas



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Janny Juddly

Janny Juddly has been a psychotherapist and university lecturer fascinated to work with the mind-body-spirit connection for over 25 years, and a spiritual life coach and woman going through a major spiritual awakening process for the last three of those. The way the two inform and enrich and enable and challenge and feed each other has blown her mind, and she has found herself compelled to share this new adventure with others. She writes prolifically, and this has led to a growing worldwide following, daily discussions with spiritual seekers across the globe, and a recently published book, Dancers Amongst The Stars, available on Amazon and Book Depository (which offers free shipping worldwide). As someone who helps fellow travellers daily to make sense of their stories, Janny Juddly now brings a new and, she is told by many, unique perspective: that of an awakening woman who happens to have a psychotherapist in her pocket. That fresh perspective offers an invitation to all of us to see, through compassionate eyes, where we have truly come from, the amazing path we are embarked upon, and to view our experience of living this life - which for each one of us is uniquely ours alone - from the perspective of who we really are: a magnificent Being of light and love and power living a purposeful human experience. You can find her on her website and on her blog page or on Facebook. You can also watch her on YouTube, listen to her on Soundcloud, and follow her on Twitter and on Instagam. You can also listen to her show, Pocket Talk Radio. You can visit her Psychotherapy Website: Stressworks, and her Energy Healing Website: Universal Energy Works. Her direct e-mail is [email protected] You can also sign up to receive her regular newsletter, Pocket Chat.


40 Responses to “The Difference between Two Kinds of Empaths. ”

  1. Rushele says:

    I never leave comments, I usually just read them. First, I loved how fluid your writing is, then the Billie twist was so refreshing and made me smile. I’m finding it pretty hard to have a reply at all actually…This is just the article that can remind someone “I am woman hear me roar”.-Thank you

    • Janny Juddly says:

      Hi Rushele! What a wonderful comment to receive! I can't tell you how widely I'm grinning here! You go roar, Girl! Love and sparkles! Janny xxx

  2. Antoinette says:

    This is a wonderful article. Thank you for it. I am an empath and am 38. Only until last week did I finally realize the concepts you write about. In terms of your article I am an Identifier. It resonates so true with me. I wish I had read and was ready to do the work many years ago. But I'm ready now!

    • Janny Juddly says:

      Hi Antoinette! So wonderful to know the piece resonates with you and has brought some clarity on something that affects so many of us! There's no stopping you now! Happy adventures! Love and sparkles! Janny xxx

  3. Kimberly says:

    I seem to be stuck somewhere between Carri & Billi.

  4. Cami says:

    This is a great article! Feeling a lot of emotions and being overwhelmed with them has always been a thing with me and I had been scared that something might be wrong, or I’m doing something that isn’t right. Although the fear isn’t entirely gone it made me realize that at least, even though I am still a fearful Identifier, I can be capable of pushing my way through it. And I’m on my way.

    Thank you for writing this! 🙂

  5. laura says:

    So what books would you recommend?

    • Janny Juddly says:

      Hey Laura! If I come across one, I'll get back to you. I truly don't know of one. What I share, I know from psychotherapy training, and from training and supervising trainee therapists, where this distinction is a crucial issue, together with what I know of energy as an energy worker and reiki master. It's been suggested to me often that I should write one, and maybe I should. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Some of the practices Pema Chodron shares in her writing on compassion may be of interest.

  6. Katherine says:

    Thank you! FINALLY – an answer! 🙂 I had forgotten to transmute and now all is well, thank you! 😀

  7. suzanne says:

    Yay! Finally a Billie! It took long enough and I sink back in to Carri every now and then, but certainly using the power of transmutation nowadays and believing that people are kind at their core or in lots of pain. Thank you for this reminder and clarification!

  8. Janny Juddly says:

    Hey Suzanne! So lovely to know the article was helpful! And Yay! for being a Billie! Go You! Love and sparkles! Janny xxx

  9. Bre says:

    So cool, I love finding something that TOTALLY resonates with me and makes me feel LESS crazy! Lol I totally am "identifying" it's EXHAUSTING. I often stay in my house and if u do go out I have to bubble to keep all the negative emotions out because I just can't breathe them I'm and spit them out fast enough. .. pretty soon I'm overwhelmed. And I come home super depressed. I want to learn to be a Billie. ! Thx , great perspective 🙂

    • Janny Juddly says:

      Hi Bre! So great to know the piece resonated with you and was helpful! Sounds to me like you're well on your way to becoming a Billie! Happy adventures! Love and sparkles! Janny xxx

  10. Emilie says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! everything that I have been experiencing lately with energy was spelled out in this article. I've come to understand that I have to be a rooted tree and that allows others emotions to exist, but not take them on as my own. And, making the space for the emotions is what they need.

    Thank you!!!

  11. Chrystabel says:

    Thank you so much for writing this, I needed this reminder, especially today.

  12. ANGELA says:

    How is this different from codependency?

    • kcfree2b says:

      Carri might be codependent, and Billi read and examined herself and studied and emerged from it. Oh, no need to go on, I see JJ's response and she said what I would have except much better!

  13. Janny Juddly says:

    Hi Angela, interesting question! I guess there are significant overlapping tendencies, aren't there? I think what defines copependent relationships is the degree of enmeshment and closed interpersonal systems to which all parties must conform. I think the tendency to identify rather than emathise is the same. Hope that helps! Love and sparkles! Janny xxx

  14. chica says:

    This is awesome.

    I have always identified as an "empath". It has always been natural to me. However….

    A friend…lol…told me that i am not am empath…because i am not DRAMATIC or moody….which is apparently a common characteristic of empaths. Out of curiosity, i began reading more about empaths and i was finding that many people used the words "moody, dramatic, irrational, can't control emotion well, over-react" as a down side to empaths.

    These have never been characteristics of myself. I am not moody, irrational or dramatic. I am calm and collected to a fault. While i certainly can feel what others are feeling, it has never ever changed my personal mood. What i have always done, is use that feeling as a learning tool. Use it to feel and understand the person you are dealing with. I have always been able to remain rational and happy, regardless of the feelings i am getting from others. Sure, there are times it has been overwhelming….but again, you don't have to let it bring you down. But, you should use it as a learning tool…and doing so can severely increase your intuition.

    Happiness & simplicity are a choice. We actually do not have to let the feelings of others determine our own mood. While we can feel with others, that doesn't mean we have to allow it to bring us down. We need to use that empathy as a tool to learn about other people.

    This article made me feel understood. It also made me realize that i know MANY "Carri's"……LOL!

    • Janny Juddly says:

      Hey Chica! So very glad the article made you feel understood! I love your outlook and your energy – which I can feel as I write! What a courageous and generous soul you are! Go you! Love and sparkles! Janny xxx

    • Philippa says:

      Whoever told you that may have had borderline personality disorder. No judgement there, just that I had a boyfriend who claimed he was 'highly sensitive" and an empath and he was ridiculously dramatic on a regular occasion. He had emotional dysregulation, for which he self medicates using alcohol and abuses drugs. In short, he needs therapy. That's not empathy, it's being a drama queen as a result of deep childhood wounds. Your friend may have the same thing?

  15. Firefly says:

    I think that I am stuck somewhere between Carri and Billi. The Carri in me is so frightened that she has been fighting off the potential Billi for years. I clearly have a lot to think about. Thank-you.

  16. stinne says:

    Not actually an empath, but as a borderline with all feelings enlarged including empathy – I recognise so much in both women. I was Carrie a ling way, I definitely am Billie now. A long and never-ending path, but worth the travel and the hard work 🙂 Thank you for putting words to it!

    • Janny Juddly says:

      Hey Stinne! Wow, what an awesome journey you've been on! I get the challenges you'll have been facing! So happy you enjoyed the article and it spoke to you! Thanks so much for dropping by to tell me! Love and sparkles! Janny xxx

  17. Britt says:

    I am a 28 year old single mother of one, and have been cemented in Carri’s shoes for so long. This article is inspirational. I have read many articles, always portraying that we are emotional targets for narcissists and emotional vampires. I feel like those articles are geared towards involvement in interpersonal relationships. No matter the type of relationship, be it a best friend, spouse, or family member. I have always lent myself to living in fear. I feel as if perhaps I have ended up being treated the way I have because of the energy that I given out over time almost enticing the others involved. Not that I am targeted, but that I have made myself available in that sense. As far as social interaction, I shop at only two stores close to home, and have stayed home for the past 8 years. I am going to commit to making these changes, and trying to reconnect with myself. This is the first empath article that had ever made me feel like this was going to be possible. I desire change and a real life! Not just for myself but for my amazing daughter. Thank you so much for this, I only hope I can apply this to my life and find the right articles and videos to learn from.

  18. Janny Juddly says:

    Hey Britt! Wow, I stand in awe! I love that you feel empowered and committed now to give this other way a try! I so agree about the way that empaths have been portrayed as helpless victims rather than powerful souls serving a necessary apprenticeship. No stopping you now! Welcome to the exciting world og The Lightworker! Love and sparkles! Janny xxx

    • TahitiNut says:

      This year, I've had an experience few males have had. Due to my recovery from a near-eath disease three years ago, the medications I've taken since then, and my steadily improving health, I experienced a change in brain chemistry that was nothing short of astonishing to me. Almost overnight, I discovered that when I was out in public I was awash in the feelings of people around me. It took me awhile to figure out what this experience was, including some research and a visit with my urologist to confirm it. I'd effectively become an empath. I could only characterize it as akin to someone with Asperger's Syndrome becoming "normal" … or something as unmistakable as the movie "Pleasantville" where the residents of the town went from a shades-of-gray world into a world of color. As a long-time but irregular practioner of meditation (TM), who's done the 'work' in finding my center and keeping myself aligned, I found that my innate reaction was one of savoring the broad diversity of emotions, not 'fighting' or running from them but walking around with a child-like sense of wonder at the way my 'world' has changed.

      It's gratifying to read this article. As a male, I find it fascinating to sense emotions probably even more acutely than the 'average' female. While I may have been skeptical (like most guys) of any 'real' difference in the way men's and women's senses function, I now fully understand what wasn't obvious to me before… that women are more attuned to the emotions of others. Having leaped beyond that, it seems ridiculous to me that I'd ever thought that way. (But I've always liked quiche.)

  19. Alexis says:

    Wow! This was an awesome article! So poignant, loving and timely for me! Thank you so much, and I love how you sign all of your responses!! "Love and sparkles" I think that's me to a T. Do you mind if I borrow that phrase?! <3 Thank you very much for this insightful and inspiring article. You have given me a lot to think about, a few goals, and many comforts. HUGE hug, Ms. Juddly!! Thank you!!!

  20. Candi says:

    When I was an "Identifier", I called myself a "mirror". I reflected back what was beamed at me. I have learned to take in negative emotion and reflect back calming, loving emotion. I no longer think of myself as a mirror. A neighbor calls herself an empath and struggles. Now, I know the difference. Thanks. I may be able to help her after all.

  21. daniel says:

    Is hard for me because with all the stuff i n the news i really avoiding crowds more than ever, i been an Empath all my life but not until recently that i started showing signs of Public anxiety.

  22. kcfree2b says:

    I was Carri years ago and became Billi. IN addition to being an identifier I at times was a “projector” which can seem like an empath but isn’t also. THis is when we perceive other’s reality as how we feel about it rather than what a person is feeling.

  23. Dana says:

    Growing up an unloved empath I was confused and thought everyone felt and perceived life the same as me. I was very quiet, very tired, and felt isolated. At 18 I became a married, mother of 1, workaholic. by age 23, with 3 kids, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I realized I was empathetic, and it was making my symptoms more severe…. being carrie was a dark couple of years…. I am very thankful to be Billie these days, and life is much more enjoyable. Great article, thank you!

  24. Lindsay McMillen says:

    Now I know there is no such thing as a coincidence. This article I read it here and now. A Carrie becoming a Billie. Thank you.

  25. Miriam says:

    This is so true!!! Thanks a lot for sharing it 🙂

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