Empaths: Emotional Sponges


Empaths are highly sensitive people, who have an intense ability to predict the thinking and feelings of people surrounding them. Psychologists used the word “Empaths” to describe an individual that carries an ample amount of empathy, usually to the limit of taking pains for others at his own cost. Empaths are often introverts and need ample time to restore their energy if they feel influenced and drained by others. Too much time alone can also have a negative impact making it important for empaths to learn how to protect their positive energy. Empathy is very important for our optimal well-being. It forms the very basis of human relationships and gives us the feeling of being valued, loved, and cared for. Empathy is important because it helps us understand how others are feeling so we can respond in an appropriate way to any situation. It is typically interlinked with our social behavior and research shows that greater empathy contributes to more helping behaviors.


Empaths come into this world with elevated senses, which is further increased by varying difficulties and challenges they experience throughout their life. Empaths carry the extreme opposite side of narcissists. Genes play a role in the person for being empathetic. This clarifies that empathy is not only genetic but also can be learned. The first finding to predict how empathetic we are is partly due to the involvement of genetics and the second also confirms that women are more empathetic than men on average, thirdly, another fact that proves the existence of empaths is the presence of mirror neurons. These neurons enable anyone to mirror the feelings and emotions of others. This reflects that empaths share the pain, fear, and joy of other persons. It concludes that empaths characterize highly responsive mirror neurons, that resonate with other peoples’ feelings in depth.

In this busy and stressful life, empathy acts as a glue that connects people and holds the relationships together. Everyone can develop empathy as we are social beings.

  1. Empaths give full attention and respect when they interact with others.
  2. Empathetic people understand others more effectively by mastering the art of listening to others in a non-judgmental way.
  3. Empaths communicate well through nonverbal ways of communication that is, dodging eye contact, noticing someone being tense or pulled away, and catching important clues.
  4. Empathetic people don’t talk over or interrupt while others are talking. They think well before speaking.
  5. To understand the other person’s perspective, empaths ask questions instead of offering any advice or imposing their opinion.
  6. Empathetic people are leaders who tackle challenges and difficulties as a team.
  7. Empaths imagine the point of view of others through “perspective taking”. Simply speaking they step into others’ shoes to feel and imagine their thoughts and fears.
empath friend

The attraction between empaths and narcissists is significant. Empaths often called “emotional sponges” can absorb the feelings and emotions of other people easily. This ability of empaths makes them extremely attractive to narcissists because in this way they find someone who can fulfill every need of their, selflessly. On the other way to get an upper hand, narcissists only bombard the empaths emotionally, which makes them cooperative with their needs and demands. It is not common for narcissistic and empathetic people to come together in relationships. Empaths deeply fear themselves as a narcissist. When empaths leave a relationship with a narcissist, they fear themselves as a narcissist.

Common emotional triggers that empaths experience are as follows:

  1. Pains and sufferings or others
  2. Fulfilling others’ demands and expectations
  3. Too much intimacy in relationships
  4. Negative emotions
  5. Childhood abuse and traumas
  6. Feeling of worthlessness
  7. Feeling to be neglected


There are four main factors, which can contribute to heightened sensitivity in humans:                          

  • Temperament: Some babies come into this world with more sensitivity as compared to others and carry an inborn temperament. They give more responsive to light, smell, touch, movement, temperature, and sound. These babies seem to be empaths from the very start.
  • Genetics: Sensitivity is also genetically transmitted. Highly sensitive children often come from mothers and fathers with the same inborn characteristics. It concludes that sensitivity can also be genetically transmitted within families.
  • Childhood abuse and trauma: Childhood abuse can affect your sensitivity levels. Early trauma such as emotional or physical abuse and being raised by depressed and narcissistic parents could potentially take down the normal healthy defenses that a child develops with nurturing parents. As a result of their brought up, they typically feel invisible in the greater world that has no value for sensitivity.
  • Supportive Parenting: Positive and supportive parenting can help sensitive children to develop and respect their inborn gifts. Parents are role models for all children, especially the sensitive ones.

Challenges For Empathy

It takes a lot of effort to be more empathetic. There are numerous challenges an empath has to go through, such as:

  • Empathy requires a lot of attention. Often, we are too busy and do not pay due attention to others’ feelings and thoughts, so we need to be more self-aware.
  • Empathy requires stopping and taking out time to care about others.
  • Self-esteem is another challenge that gets in the way of being empathetic.
  • As empathy is a choice, so we need to choose our way and put aside all the previous negative experiences with others.
  1. Emotional Empaths: Empaths who absorb the grieves, sorrows, and emotions of others as their own are known as emotional empaths.
  2. Physical Empaths: Empaths who feel and absorb the sufferings and pains of others physically are known as physical empaths.
  3. Geomantic Empaths: Empaths who are in firm consonance with physical landscapes are known as geomantic empaths.
  4. Earth Empaths: Empaths who are stably connected to earth and nature and feel changes in the environment are known as earth empaths.
  5. Intuitive Empaths: Empaths who coordinate well with their inner states and allow intuition to lead the way are known as intuitive empaths.
  6. Animal Empaths: Empaths who can understand the emotions of animals, their needs, and desires are known as animal empaths.

Listed are nine self-protection strategies for empaths

  1. Identify your symptoms and emotions, not affected by others.
  2. To counter negative energies breathing slowly and deeply works.
  3. Move aside from the source which is disturbing your emotions to get relief.
  4. To avoid discomfort while interacting with others, limit physical contact such as handholding, hugging, eye contact, and touch.
  5. To dissolve pain and stress, use detox in water as empaths love water.
  6. To survive set limits and boundaries with people.
  7. If you have collected negative energies from others, find time to isolate yourself to align and control your powers.
  8. To clear negativity, spend ample time in a clean and fresh environment and empaths are nature lovers.
  9. Take regular time out from online media that triggers your negative emotions.

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Written by: Tahira Rubab Hafeez

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