The Dark Side of Empathy No One Talks about

///The Dark Side of Empathy No One Talks about

The dark side of empathy is rarely noticed or talked about. Yet, it exists and can poison an empath’s life.

Empathy is the capacity to be able to put oneself into another person’s shoes and understand their thoughts and feelings. An empath is a person who has the ability to resonate with other people, on many different levels, so that they can accurately feel their emotional wellbeing.

It is not yet known how empaths have this ability, but many believe that it is innate and is handed down through our DNA.

As for how it works, everything in the world resonates to an electrical energy; it is thought that empaths are able to sense the changes in this electrical energy around them.

Empaths are typically regarded as being sympathetic, caring, sensitive to the feelings of others, and compassionate souls. So would it surprise you to learn that there is a dark side to being an empath?

The very nature of empathy means that many people rely on empaths for support and guidance. It also means that empaths see much more of the world than we do, and as such, this can cause problems in different areas of their lives.

The Dark Side of Empathy

They cannot handle their own emotions

You would think as an empath is well-versed in emotions they would be experts in handling their own, but the truth is they are in a constant battle to keep these emotions in check. Because they feel others’ emotions so keenly, particularly others’ sadness, it can sometimes bring them crashing down into depression.

They find it hard to distinguish between their own emotions and others’ and have to find other empaths to share their thoughts with.

Dealing with negative energy results in fatigue

Empaths have to deal with a huge amount of information from their sensitivity to electrical energies. This can make them feel overwhelmed and extremely drained as they try and make sense of it all.

They are particularly susceptible to negative energy, as this upsets them greatly. When all they can sense is negative energy, they can swiftly become fatigued.

They are taken advantage of

Because empaths are trusting souls who always believe in the goodness of people, they are quite often taken advantage of by the less scrupulous amongst us. Empaths are typically generous and kind and are givers by nature, this can lead them to attract those that only take and never give back. When an empath finds out that they have been conned, they can easily fall into a deep depression.

They neglect themselves

As empaths prefer to give to others rather than receive, they are more likely to neglect their own welfare, including their mind and body. This is the dark side that is all too common, as empaths are fatigued from the stress of what they experience, is it all too easy to forget to take care of themselves.

It is hard for them to fall in love

Because an empath has seen all the cruelty in the world, they find it extremely difficult to give themselves totally to someone. They hold a little piece of their heart back, just in case they are going to be hurt in the future.

They cannot allow themselves to fall deeply in love because they are fearful of experiencing all that passion, it could be too much for them to handle.

They often feel like they carry a heavy burden

Empaths are selfless people who are bombarded by sensory information on a daily basis. They feel that their role in life is to help others, but this places an enormous burden on them, as they cannot possibly help everyone that they come into contact with. Despite the harm to themselves, they would still rather carry another’s person’s problems than let that person down.

To conclude:

Empaths should realise that the problems of the world are not theirs to solve. To prevent the dark side of empathy from taking over their life, they do not have to give themselves to every single person they meet. At the same time, they should let down the walls of their heart once in a while.



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By |2018-09-15T20:03:11+00:00May 21st, 2017|Categories: Empath and HSP, Personality|Tags: , , , , , , |18 Comments

About the Author:

Janey Davies has been published online for over 8 years. She is the head writer for, she also writes for, and has contributed to She has an Honours Degree in Psychology and her passions include learning about the mind, popular science and politics. When she is relaxing she likes to walk her dog, read science fiction and listen to Muse.


  1. Paul May 22, 2017 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    “… it is thought that empaths are able to sense the changes in this electrical energy around them.”

    Sounds exceptionally hokey to me. Is there a source for this claim?

    • Ana May 26, 2017 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      Birds navigation when migrating requires tiny magnetites in their brains reacting to earth’s electromagnetic field. This is awesome for 2 reasons: 1- earths electromagnetic field is not that strong, specially being this one of the weak electric forces, and 2 – magnetites are hugely..small. Well, either way it happens, it’s known that it happens and it is being addressed by quantum biologists. So, not beein able to definitly prove why or how something happens does not discard tge possibility that it does happen 🙂
      I am a sensitive empathic person. That means that not only i go through the day feeling with my 5 senses (and not with a intuiton like mechanism) the energy around me (which is both great and horrible), I also disrupt every electric machine at home and office. These I know that are electric interferences. Why? How? I dont know. Maybe some day we’ll all know 😉

    • Hoeby May 26, 2017 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      Yeah this could have been written in language less rich with “woo”. It is of course true there are those more intuitively tuned into others emotions and more open to feeling their effect because of a somewhat over active amygdala. Helping those you empathise and sympathise with, constantly seeing others pain is of course going to be a burden and this type of personality often has issues with anxiety and depression.

    • Chris Nixon May 29, 2017 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      Would a source even be relevant for something that is merely a thought?

    • Mario January 4, 2018 at 9:36 am - Reply

      It sounds like some sort of super power I know, but it is as close to a real explanation as it gets :/ . You just “feel” it, like its not necessarily an electric energy, more of how you can sense when a situation is getting heavy, that sort of thing.

      The article is rather close to reality, but for some reason they decided to add a wow factor, which frankly is a bad idea cause it kind of makes it easy to ridicule.

      No need to make it seem even more special.

  2. Anne May 25, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Personal exoerience

  3. Josh May 26, 2017 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Shits on point 100%
    Was nice to get a confirmation

  4. Kevin May 27, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Brilliant article, thank you. Defines my life to a T. Clearly written from an experiential perspective.

  5. Alvin May 27, 2017 at 8:42 am - Reply

    It’s when we do give our entire selves in love, and are told that it’s being returned, but knowing it’s not, because we know, that really kills us inside. We loose our calibration and ourselves, fearing that we’ve finally gone cookoo and are so lost, that we keep questioning….only to be torn between what we hear and what we feel.
    Perhaps the lesson is still to trust ourselves and our feelage (knowledge) regardless….and that hurts, when we find that we can also be the subject of the dark emotions we feel so painfully from so many around us as we navigate this experience of this life.
    Life is meant to be lived and love…is still meant to be given

  6. Rich May 29, 2017 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Great article, I can relate.

  7. Jebus May 29, 2017 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    I think people don’t understand what the dark side of empathy really is because all i hear is how a novice can be overwhelmed by the side effects. Not all empaths are at the mercy of their ability nor are they good people for example here is my five step guide to the dark side of empathy. For example some of us have learned how to shut it off and only use it when it benefits us but this is just the first step in putting this ability to use. The second is learning how to completely shut off your own emotions and in doing this your ability to accurately read others greatly increases. Once you have reached this step you will be able to obscure your true intentions while reading your target and combined with even a basic understanding of psychology can prove a powerful tool for interrogation. The third step is the ability to mimic emotions without feeling them and to accomplish this you need have experienced the desired emotion intensely. Once you are familiar with the vibe of the desired emotion you practice emitting that particular electromagnetic signature without succumbing to the emotion your projecting which will enhance your ability to miss-direct, decive or manipulate a person or situation. Step four is learning how to project your will onto others and to accomplish this you need to resonate the frequency of your aura with your target as closely as possible so to disguise your will as their own and emit powerful pulses of particular emotions combined with verbal cues through conversation. This can alter the targets perception of how they think they feel about whatever it is you want them to do. Finally step five is using your aura as a precision tool to disrupt brain function for example disrupting the limbic system can prevent a target from clearly recalling a conversation or incident and targeting the cerebellum will disrupt motor function. Personally i would go for a blanket disruption as sometimes both effects are desirable and there you have it the five basics of the dark side in a nut shell.

    • Mario January 4, 2018 at 9:40 am - Reply

      Great comment, but you make it sound WAAAAYY easier than it actually is.
      I learned to numb my feelings and mimic other ones at a young age and ended up doing it quite a lot, to the point where one day I couldnt distinguish which were real and which were fake. Makes you feel dead and void inside.

      Took a strong emotion (love, surprise surprise) and a bit of time for me to get out of it. Now a days i just hold back from my emotions the conventional way, focusing on other things, but the time I spent mimicing other feelings really helped to gather a better understanding of them and make it easier to understand people and figure out their possible reactions and also to understand their emotional state and causes.

  8. Sylvia May 30, 2017 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Jebus and I agree more with you. Shutting the emotions to those WHO have disappointed us over n over ,to make them pay.and using the same emotions to get everything

  9. Spock October 7, 2017 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Ummmm…. being emotionally sensitive to people’s feelings is not a super power…
    The term ’empath’ is like saying I CAN FUCKING FLY AND SHOOT LAZERS FROM MY EYES… no….
    It’s called being human and being raised right to care for others… it’s called giving a shit.. to have… ’empathy’.

    Empaths are not some kind of alien being with supernatural psychic abilities…

    I tune into people’s feelings, I can sense pain, anger, joy, worry… again, that’s what we’re all able to do so long as we actually give a damn. It’s not some kind of paranormal ability. SERIOUSLY.

    • Mulder November 28, 2017 at 7:40 am - Reply

      Not. Paranormal? Really?

      • Mario January 4, 2018 at 9:42 am - Reply

        Yea, the person made it sound WAY more “paranomal” than it actually is.
        To put it in simple words, its all about the “Feel”.
        You know when you do something and it “feels” right without you needed to check or making sure?
        Its very similar to that, but rather than just being a “good” or “bad” only, it’s sort of a bigger spectrum, thats all, and with time and practice, you start to fine tune the feeling and understand it more.

  10. TREVOR DANE RESPRESS June 25, 2018 at 12:52 am - Reply

    As an empath I find it easy to fall in love rather than hard. That may be because I’m not necessarily afraid of getting hurt because I have learned just to expect it as part of loving. I do end up getting hurt easily.

  11. Mica September 14, 2018 at 10:27 am - Reply

    As an empathetic person, I agree with many of the points in this article as I have experienced them. Though this article was disheartening with its “wow” effect added. having spoken deeply with many empaths and those you have no empathetic comprehension has given me a deeper understanding of this skill I have. It’s easy to disregard empathy as innate or an anomaly, but it’s a skill that can be honed and utilized if you choose to do so. However it’s something you can easily get rapped up in and lose yourself, spending too much time diving into the emotions of people around you can easily be disorienting, overwhelming, disheartening, and can leave you feeling sad and empty inside. To find a healthy balance of being a supportive and considerate person, and someone who looks out for themselves is something I’ve yet to achieve. Though I hope to one day do so as I’m no use to anyone if I exhaust myself to the point of breaking.

    I love being empathetic, but as this article states – it’s difficult at times and can lead to you closing off your heart and yourself from those around you. Especially if you’re someone easily hurt and find it hard to recover from those scars.

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