I may or may not refer to my Empath zone on occasion. What is it? A fancy word for ‘witch’. Teasing, Teasing! *Although an empath who goes dark can become a very convincing witch. It’s probably a nature vs nurture thing. The top half of this blog is going to tell you what an empath is; the middle part takes you to the science, & the bottom half will tell you the cool things you can do with this once you are aware of it. People watching is to an empath what planking is to a fitness junkie.
It’s kind of a big deal, because some expert did name this trait. Having it is like having a cheat sheet for life. I used to think this was just called common sense or street smarts but, I guess not. As a kid, I was intuitive to the point where I just knew things & I didn’t know why I did when others didn’t. I thought I was just really smart. 3 years old is the youngest age where I remember making a decision based on it. It wasn’t an instinctual situation so it can’t be chalked up to that.
There is plenty of basic information about it all over the webs & some people take it to a much further extreme than I think is necessary, so I will explain MY appreciation of this trait, without my usual snark and in this blog only & probably never again, so the word count could get high.
This is the question I get (that I answer thoroughly on another page), “How the hell did you raise yourself? Keep yourself safe? Avoid molest, rape, murder, addiction, betrayal, incidental manglings, etc.” Answer: Intuition + learning to own my energy. Perhaps everyone has some level of it, but not everyone recognizes it or knows what all it’s good for. If you’re not interested in the particulars, then these first few paragraphs are enough. Suffice to say, if I am ever brutally attacked, it isn’t because I didn’t know I was unsafe, it’s because there was nothing I could reasonably do about being unsafe i.e. mugged in a parking lot. Lot’s of people have intuition, but empaths make it a point to remember each occurrence of it & turn it into a definitive part of their being. It is like lots of people can draw, but only artists allow their lives to depend on it.
BEING an empath is different than having empathy. In science, the word ’empath’ refers to a trait, it’s inherited, & according to science about 20% of the human population inherit it (which is actually an impressive number of humans). More accurately though, the empath is bestowed lots of traits in one package. And not all 20% of us are paying attention to it, I’ve met some really daft empaths who just aren’t putting 2&2 together. I did not have a choice in my life, if I didn’t pay attention I’d be screwed. My short, official opinion on what an empath is: a person with very good, reliable intuition who actually knows how to call upon the intuition on the spot. But unofficially, we’re more like energy jugglers in a circus. This is our circus and these are our monkeys. Have you ever wondered exactly HOW animals communicate? Because obviously they do. They use energy.
*If you google Empath, too often we are lumped with Highly Sensitive People and not all Empaths are. So, separate that if you want to totally understand this personality. For the purpose of this topic, sensitive means aware.
First, Empaths in popular culture…
You can spot Empaths if you know what to look for. Often, they try to solve problems for people before the problem is had. They may write how-to guides because they feel that there’s a need for them & that feeling is very strong, almost summoning them in the night! It becomes more important to them than doing whatever else they could be doing to benefit themselves. Me writing this blog. I don’t have to help you understand the empath, but I know that if you have one in your life you need to know about it because things will be a lot clearer to you once you know. Like others, I am simply answering the call. People who aren’t empaths also write how-to guides, but usually only because they want to make money off of them 🙂 The empath isn’t driven by money, although we do like money.
The well adjusted empath is your high school class clown. Entertaining people. Feeding on their laughter. Using the cleverest phrases to draw out energetic reactions and then absorbing it, getting high off of it. Beats the hell out of other highs they could seek. I specify high school because I hear that empath children handle school differently. I did not, I was a clown even in grade school. Since I am unsure about the empath child, they’re excluded here. The less content empaths are introverts & it’s is a huge challenge to deal with oneself if they’ve rolled introvert & empath in the genetic roulette.
Empaths can be great writers if they have the literacy skills to go along with it. Some of the best novels are beautifully written by people who have never, ever experienced what they are writing about, and those writers lacking the trait only WISH they could do it, too. So how do they know how to wrap you up & carry you off into Mordor? They can channel energy that is not their own. The greatest movie script writers… often Empaths.
The typical person will never beat the empath when it comes to designing & giving away energy.
Actors? You bet. How else does one portray issues one has never faced? I am of the opinion that most of the world’s empaths live in your television. Some roles are easy & have been done on TV over & over so any actor can act them out just having seen the situation so many times. But, what about those special roles that the scriptwriter or casting director knows only a certain breed of actors can pull off? They’re looking for an empath whether they know it or not. Some roles you just can’t teach an actor to play, and there’s only so much they can learn from a school. At some point, the actor has to just feel it. And either they do or they don’t. I also assume this is why so many fail at the whole “Hollywooding” thing. They go there thinking they have the same chance as any other but that is just not true. Many actors might want a certain coveted role, but not just any can have it- because an empath has it & the typical person will never beat the empath when it comes to projecting & giving away energy. Any career where one can transfer energy attracts an empath. They are less motivated by making money & more motivated by the opportunity to transfer energy to as many people as possible. It feels good. They don’t know why.
The empath is often caught rooting for the underdog (sports might be the exception). It doesn’t matter who the underdog is. If said underdog is a live being, the empath is able to see things from their perspective. Usually the empath defends them until they become an underdog too.
Feeling things too deeply can also be someone’s undoing, that’s fairly obvious across the board, so empaths who are particularly unguarded are doomed until they find a way to make peace with it. I am personally OK with feeling things deeply and I can effectively separate those feelings from my own feelings so this will not be my undoing… that said, recognizing that they aren’t MY feelings was the hardest part but it got easier as I got older. Although, even as an adult fully ‘aware of my awareness’ of others emotions, I have been blindsided by feelings that weren’t my own. That was bizarre, but next time it happens I am going to know immediately what’s going on rather than being confused as all get-out. I figured it out before things got awkward! That’s a story that likely won’t make it to the blog. It’s too strange & it suggests that there are ghosts, which I am not prepared to take a position on.
Sometimes the Empath theory doesn’t pencil out though…
I once thought I had a very good understanding of who is NOT an Empath: how can I say this without sounding uh… un-empathetic? First, understand where I am coming from: When my intuition tells me a thing, there is NO WAY I can do opposite of it. I can’t anymore than I can pour salt in my own eyes. So the following has me in a pretzel… We all know the story of that woman who just can’t make good decisions about men. She gets knocked up by several of them in a rather short period of time. She gets terribly abused & sticks around for more of the same. She might date a drug addict IN PRISON and think he’s an OK guy. I would think that woman has NO intuition at all, because if she did, where the hell did it go just now? Some have strongly disagreed with me on the grounds that she may still be an empath, but she’s been trapped by her mates more dominant energy because she mistakes it as her own blah, blah. I called BS & I think I still do, but I am now avoiding the subject because I can’t figure out how one who fits criteria for the ‘intuitive’ could miss the caution light. An empaths intuition isn’t just the common sense of knowing that having a criminal for a mate is a bad idea & choosing to look elsewhere, but it is the one thing that can stop you in your tracks & prevent you from going there regardless of how bad you want to. Beyond common sense, the empath feels so opposed to the energy of this opportunity to make a poor choice that there’s no desire even if the man is hot, whereas someone without the trait might still be attracted and make exceptions. Men experience this too, they can make poor choices in just as many areas, & men who are empaths are not my specialty.
Now that you know Empaths are normal people & not some kind of… whatevers…
It is a trait that’s fun to know about if you have it or are personally committed to someone who does. If you don’t do something to acknowledge this thing, then you’ll be an agoraphobic, sobbing mess, basically (not literally, that’s an exaggeration). Because the empath’s fate is overwhelming for many people, some don’t appreciate it & instead see it as a terrible burden, which is unfortunate. When that happens, their partner sees the as a ticking bomb & that’s how the fights start. It could be incompatible with other traits one inherits, in which case, that really sucks and it’s harder to embrace. I mentioned the introvert earlier. I know a little bit about this because my eldest son is one & I am so glad he’s not bothered with silly things like persistent inklings, he would go crazy, like the “Get Off My Train!” crazy. To imagine being an introvert but still having to deal with the awareness of everyone else’s energy vibes & not knowing how to shut them off- just, ugh. They’ll hole up like a hermit crab.
Thankfully I learned how to appreciate energy at a very young age, before I developed other traits and thanks goes to none other than God himself that all other traits were compatible. As far as people around me, adults often mentioned that I had a dedicated guardian angel, & even knowing that I had no parents, they recognized that I clearly didn’t need saving. My closest friends didn’t really think I was weird in any BAD way, but they did notice that I was always right about things none of us knew anything about & if I said, for example, a cop was near us, eventually they stopped doubting me & they just slowed down to the speed limit. They thought I was ridiculously intelligent. Turns out, not really. Smart people do some dumb things when there’s no hunch to rely on. And, even me (being fully aware of my peculiarity) lacks immunity. I am not always paying attention to it & can do dumb things too. I can turn the cricket off & forget to turn it back on. I have to flip the switch on occasion, or else it is exhausting. I would be very, very tired. It is energy being used, all day, if you don’t shut it off. Giving, receiving, channeling, juggling etc.
So, is the empath thing really actually a thing?
I don’t know. I mean, I know its a thing but I don’t know if it needs a label. I want to link you to lots of places that talk about the Empath but instead I am choosing only 1. Here, there’s actually a formula & a nicely inked article on top of the formula, effectively burying it, which is why I posted the official criteria for an empath here. Below is a quote from a UK professor that tried to study the empath & empathy vs intuition in general. He explains in the most simple terms the best he was able to do. More detailed info on the study here, science almost has us figured out!
“We found that areas of the brain involved with awareness and emotion, particularly those areas connected with empathic feelings, in the highly sensitive people showed substantially greater blood flow to relevant brain areas than was seen in individuals with low sensitivity during the twelve second period when they viewed the same photos,” said Dr. Aron, a Research Professor in Psychology at Stony Brook.
Everyone channels each of their personality traits uniquely, and Empaths are no exception. It’s much like someone with a musical talent, if they don’t want to sing, they wont. They’ll play a guitar instead. Or compose. Empaths also get to choose what to do with it. So, now that we got that out of the way I can tell you what the peculiar trait has been like for me. The world would be better if everyone had this advantage. No one would choose a bad spouse anymore, that’s for sure, & that’s where most of the worlds problems begin: The breakdown of the family unit.
Of course, since there is nothing typical about me, I am not your typical empath. I had to rely on intuition alone much sooner than most. For me, being aware of different levels of energy has been fun & has literally saved my life. It replaced my parents. It is like when losing your vision, your hearing will be magnified. I had to replace absent parents with something. Intuition, inklings & hunches it was.
I have always loved people watching. I learned to remember something about each person I came into contact with, subconsciously. I know now that it was their “vibe” that was being stored in my memory, somewhere. I learned to recognize the ‘stored’ energy when I encountered it somewhere else. I even learned to pull it out of my memory & hijack it as my own when necessary, and this was where most of the fun was had & it became a big deal for me to be able to do it. I learned to step right outside of my own person and go totally out of character fairly easily. Recognizing those vibes has nothing to do with the appearance of a person, contrary to popular belief. An average person might encounter a scruffy, drunk man in a dark alley and immediately be afraid of what they saw, then later say it was a bad vibe when truly they were skeptical about the appearance, as we are conditioned by society to be afraid. Not me. Not ever. Me? I would have picked up his energy way before I ever got close enough to him for it to matter. If his energy was clear I might have even gone up and talked to him for hours & improved my recognition of that energy. Within 5 minutes I could have rattled off his traits and what his dark secrets might be. And when I met others with similar energy, I was familiar. I did use this trick for some terribly ornery things eventually. Not proud of that, but it is what it is & even at my worse, I really was not THAT bad.
*When an otherwise good man behaves badly, its probably because he got tangled up with a very mischievous empath. There are songs about this! Empaths, even ugly ones, are awfully persuasive! They know which fancy needs ticklin & by this I mean that of all the flirtatious approaches, they’ll choose the exact one that’s gonna work. He didn’t stand a chance. This same approach tends not to work as reliably with roles reversed.
When around a large group of people, only when I was young did it throw me off. Some empaths feel all of the energy coming from every direction and are very anxious in crowds. Disneyland would be an awful place for an empath who hasn’t been paying attention. As a mother, I got so intuitive that I knew when my kids needed to stay very close to me in a crowded place, and within my reach. I would feel a devious energy if it was near. When it was a safe distance away, the awareness left and I was able to let my kids group up again and run ahead of me to the next ride. For the painfully ignorant empath, it’s like being chased by bill collectors while having millions of dollars in the bank. If you aren’t aware that it’s there, you can’t use it to get what you want, which at that moment is PEACE & serenity.
This doesn’t stop at just having somebody all figured out in 5 minutes or less. That part isn’t really all that impressive, and actually, no tendency of an empath all by itself really is impressive, by itself. It is just that all of it together at once can floor you or those you are committed to. All of my “flooring” occurred before I was 7 years old & I got over the strangeness of it. I remember as early as 3 years old feeling the ugly or careless energy from others. People in the grocery store sometimes scared me. You know how some toddlers are a bit more judgy about who holds them? Maybe that’s indication that your child could nurture this trait & it could grow beautifully or be oppressed & go away or get replaced by other personality quirks & interests. I’m guessing a short attention span could put the kibosh on it.
On the flip, some kids will go to anybody, take that candy from anywhere. Some kids will sleep anywhere, deeply. No sign of discretion whatsoever. Not the child who is an empath. She sleeps with one eye & ear open. No energy can be introduced without her knowing about it & waking up to explore it. Still, I suspect that the trait can hide and even go away as her adult personality develops. But, wouldn’t it be cool if you could see this coming as well as any other special talent, so you could nurture it like any other?
Experts on this subject say that empaths would have known the world was round when all evidence pointed to it being flat. I can relate to that. I don’t always know why I feel the way I feel or think what I think, I just know that I am not wrong when my feelings about something oppose logic. Typical people only make decisions by something appearing to make good and logical sense. The empath doesn’t necessarily care about logic because logic is only good until it isn’t & facts are only facts until they aren’t. The gut feeling will win.
I have avoided making lots of decisions that would have been bad, not because I was using logic, I was too young to have much use for that. I didn’t choose bad boyfriends & I knew which girl friends to trust (none, save for one). Well… I guess I did date one bad guy, but it was not because I didn’t know he was a mess the moment I met him (if you want to know about him, go to the Knavery page, if it’s not there now, it will eventually be). It was because I didn’t care that he was trouble. I was tired of always making the right choices during that phase of my life & just wanted to see what all the fuss was about him. I was a teenager, I did lots of rebellious things. God really did have to step up at that time because I was not listening. Maybe I will share all of those incidents someday, only for the sake of making my descendants laugh at my idiocy & maybe learn from it. I got myself into some ridiculous, even dangerous situations. Very dangerous. Honestly, I should be abducted, dead-dead, raped, strung out and in debt to gangsters by now, if it weren’t for my fancy levels of intuition & knowing who to have in my life, why to have them in my life & for how long they could stay in it without becoming an issue. It was knowing which way to turn at every road, in spite of having no map to follow and no experience. Now, I feel I’ve explained in all the ways I know how to, so, I am done with that. Hope it helps you understand & deal with either yourself or someone you love.
In closing, this is not a license to turn your back on any kids.
Not every child does so well when in my situation, most of them need saving so I am all for saving them. If you know a kid who has no authority figures in their lives, pay attention & throw them a rope any chance you get. I would be silly if I thought I didn’t have ANY help from Heaven in instances where I chose not to take care of myself. It was up to me to make sure that I always put 2 & 2 together & recognized cause & effect very young, but, when there was no more I could do or would do, I believe that a higher power, such as God, did some kind of magic. Unless there is still some part of me that is doing tricks that I am not aware of, God had to have stepped in on a few occasions when I just didn’t give a damn. It was busted at one point. Busted pretty good too.