Understanding the Emotional Empath and Ways to Cope With This Personality Trait

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Are you an emotional empath? Did you know that your vivid look at your surrounding is an asset that the rest of the universe demands? However, unless you learn to be compassionate without being drained, this personality trait will pose a serious challenge to your mental health.

See empaths have their lives revolving around sensitivity to other people’s feelings or the environment. But, unlike other empaths, the emotional empaths face the highest-burden of emotional exhaustion. They will absorb the fears, pains, and anxieties of other people to the point of harming themselves.

So how can you live a healthy lifestyle when you have this personality trait? Let’s discuss your options below.

Who is An Emotional Empath?

An emotional empath is anyone who will pick on the emotions and sorrows of others and own them. This involuntary emotional reaction makes the empath to crave to be with those in a celebratory mood and those in need alike.

For example, they will celebrate a friend’s promotion with such excitement you’d think the management miswrote the name on the promotion letter. And, when the empath has a friend who is grieving the loss of a loved one, they will have an emotional crisis due to this overwhelming and stressful event.

This roller coaster of extreme emotional reactions to others is exhausting.  With time, the emotional empath loses their ability to manage such distressing emotions. What happens next is an emotional burnout that makes the individual indifferent to life. It is the exact opposite of the all caring person they ought to be.

Tell Tale Signs of an Emotional Empath

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Emotional empaths need to set clear boundaries in their social interactions. It includes picking friends, careers, and home locations that are conducive to their mental health. But, they must also understand who they are and what social interactions are safe for them.

If you suspect that you are an emotional empath, confirm that you are indeed one before devising coping strategies to leading a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

Here are the three most common signs of emotional empaths:

#1: Emotions Are Too Contagious

When you smile, laugh, frown, nod, or sigh to mimic the other person’s facial expressions, do you feel like their emotions catch up on you with the least effort from you? For example, when you frown back at someone, does it trigger unexplained sadness in you? That is a typical reaction from an emotional empath.

#2: Inability To Differentiate Their Emotions From Those Of Others

When an emotional empath mimics a smile while in a face-to-face conversation with another, they get happy. Only that the individual can never tell whether this happiness is due to events happening in their life at that moment, or, it is purely an empathy-related response. The same case applies when they see someone crying, and they begin to sob, or someone anxious, and they start feeling uneasy.

#3: Holidays and Memorials Are Some  Of The Worst Days Of the Year

Holidays such as the popular Black Friday bring joy to many shopping lovers. But, for emotional empaths, they would rather have this day scrapped off the calendar.  The shopping experience leaves them frantic, physically drained, and emotionally exhausted. It is the mixed feelings of impatience, frazzle, stress, and worry from shoppers competing to get the best deals that are too much to bear.

The Advantage of Being an Emotional Empath

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Emotional empaths’ extreme empathy is a welcome gift to humanity. When they take up professions like nursing, teaching, or veterinary medicine, fulfilling their job tasks comes naturally to them. The teacher will get a sense of satisfaction knowing they took part in building a child’s career. Likewise, it is fulfilling when empath nurses help a patient to recover from a near-death experience.

Emotional empaths can also express their feelings through art, music, and architecture. They see the beauty in the rather ordinary routines. In turn, they can use their personalities to aid healing in others, restore calm, and give a voice to the voiceless in society.

The Challenges

On the downside, these three common challenges face emotional empaths: 

#1: Easy Targets to Energy Vampires

Emotional empaths are at high risk of emotional exhaustion from narcissists and energy vampires in their social circles. These persons can manipulate the empath’s deep connection with them and use it for their selfish gain.

#2: Negative Emotions are More Contagious

Studies on Emotional Contagion (EC) indicate that we are more drawn to negative emotions than positive ones. And, emotional empaths are no different.

#3: The Emotional Sponge

An emotional empath can never choose what emotion they will absorb next. For as long as the person interacts with the outside world, their emotional wellbeing remains bombarded.

Self-Care Tips for the Emotional Empath

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Finally, here are some self-care measures that emotional empaths can use: –

#1: Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is about knowing how other people’s emotions are affecting your state of mind. Then, make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive persons. Likewise, take time to study friends and partners before settling into long term relationships. It will give you time to identify and avoid having unhealthy relationships with narcissists or energy vampires.

Also, pick careers that are conducive to your emotional state. You don’t want to be surrounded by disgruntled coworkers, a noisy work environment, or customers that leave you feeling drained.

#2: Practice Emotional Hygiene

Emotional hygiene involves:

  1. Taking note of the instances when you feel an emotional burnout
  2. Cutting yourself some slack – be compassionate to yourself first
  3. Letting go of a past bad experience
  4. Looking at failure as a learning experience towards success


Controlling and regulating emotions is particularly hard for emotional empaths, more so, when they begin to express feelings for others or an incident. Yet, these persons can take steps to retain their control before they hit an empathy shut down. It is more about appreciating what makes them tick, coming up with adequate boundaries to safeguard themselves, and having coping strategies to get them back to their regular self especially when things get out of hand once in a while. However, for emotional empaths, an emotional burnout is almost inevitable.