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    Thread: Tell me about Empaths

    1. #26
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      Empaths do not have synesthesia, we feel the emotional response that others feel by looking at or hearing them. It has to do with interpersonal connections. Synesthesia involves phantom sensory data, empaths do not receive any of the sensory data, only the emotional reaction. The opposite of a psychopath is theorized in many directions, one being schizophrenia because their amygdalae are over developed and a psychopath's is underdeveloped. Another is social anxiety disorder which people have who often feel like their walking on eggshells around others. An empath is neither of these either, we simply have an over abundance of mirror neurons which causes us to nearly replicate the emotions others experience rather than merely take in a sense of them as someone with an average amount of empathy would do.

      However that doesn't mean I rule out a possible relationship between social anxiety disorder and empaths, it's just that they are not always paired. Social anxiety often has to do with more time spent considering others, an empath does not need to consider others more often, they simply feel the same emotional reactions. They may also both bloom from a childhood requirement to tune into their parent's emotions, whether to avoid getting beaten or because their parents were very distant. To be clear, psychology is a spectrum of grades, not categories, so saying what something definitively is and is not is a dubious practice.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      Empathy is caused by mirror neurons, which replicate the neurological experiences of others to give you a harmless taste. An empath has an over abundance of mirror neurons.

      To understand what it's like being an empath, imagine watching someone smell the inside of a very nasty old shoe, and though you cannot place what, specifically, the smell is like, by watching them your brain chemistry makes you feel as though you just smelt something repulsive. All of the neurological effects of the sensory data carry over without the data itself.

      That's the lighter side, the heavier side is watching someone relive a traumatic experience in their life and you break out crying. You don't need to have experienced getting a catheter removed to know what it's like, you merely have to listen to someone as they relive the experience. Again though, the specific sensory data does not carry over, which stands it apart from telepathy and shit like that.
      Is this proven or just a theory? Not that I doubt you im just curious about this. By the way do any empaths here have empathic parents and or siblings?

    3. #28
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      It's all theory but it's not my theory. Mirror neuron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    4. #29
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      Empaths do not have synesthesia, we feel the emotional response that others feel by looking at or hearing them. It has to do with interpersonal connections. Synesthesia involves phantom sensory data, empaths do not receive any of the sensory data, only the emotional reaction. The opposite of a psychopath is theorized in many directions, one being schizophrenia because their amygdalae are over developed and a psychopath's is underdeveloped. Another is social anxiety disorder which people have who often feel like their walking on eggshells around others. An empath is neither of these either, we simply have an over abundance of mirror neurons which causes us to nearly replicate the emotions others experience rather than merely take in a sense of them as someone with an average amount of empathy would do.

      However that doesn't mean I rule out a possible relationship between social anxiety disorder and empaths, it's just that they are not always paired. Social anxiety often has to do with more time spent considering others, an empath does not need to consider others more often, they simply feel the same emotional reactions. They may also both bloom from a childhood requirement to tune into their parent's emotions, whether to avoid getting beaten or because their parents were very distant. To be clear, psychology is a spectrum of grades, not categories, so saying what something definitively is and is not is a dubious practice.
      Heh, gotta bump an old post.

      I would disagree with your assumption that synesthetes cannot be empaths. I discovered only recently that my perception is very different from the majority of the population as I was asking for help when learning French. I have an (I guess) rare form of synesthesia that's called "ticker-tape synesthesia". Basically, when I hear people talk, I see their words like subtitles in my mind. Same as when I'm speaking. It's a little difficult when I'm in a busy room with a lot of conversations going around and it changes how I have to learn a language (because I see the words in my head and sound it from the spelling there). People with unclear speech or accents it appears different. Music lyrics I can't really explain but it flows differently. Words do have emphasis and pauses often carry punctuation. The cool benefit is that it makes it ridiculously easy to proofread papers, the errors just jump out at me since I'm so used to seeing it and my spelling and vocabulary have always seemed decent. Oh, I very rarely have speech in my dreams but I often dream of text conversations.

      I've known for a long time is that I experience rather strong empathy. It's sort of a double-edged ability to have. On the one hand, it allows me to enjoy being around people when they are happy... and to enjoy making them happy and experiencing things with them. On the other hand, feeling anger and sadness can be overwhelming. It's actually been an interest of mine to block it out as much as possible else it grates on me. There's just a lot of situations I can't improve and I can't put myself there. It turns out this crosses into the synesthesia I experience because I can actually feel some physical perception of others too, it's difficult to explain. Like if I see a person cut, poked, or touched I will often feel the sensation on myself too. Lim picked up some of how I experience the world differently. Honestly, I wish I could turn it off as I feel it does more harm to myself than good. It just makes getting to know people more difficult, it makes living life more complicated, you see the effects of what you do a lot more. I've known sociopaths and worked amongst them. There's distinct advantages to being that way, especially as a leader. You don't get to feel when people hate you, you don't feel accountable for your mistakes. I suppose the flipside is the sociopath doesn't get to experience as fulfilling relationships.

      And no, I don't really have social anxiety, I've just never really been able to read lips and seeing words form out in a loud room is difficult so it's pretty worthless to try to talk to someone in a loud concert/bar/club. Written text I can generally feel a person's mood at a given time, I'm also very good at detecting quite a bit more through text; one community I use it to spot scammers.

      Anyways here's some links to a study about the mirror-touch stuff, it falls in line with the mirror neuron theory. Ticker-tape you can find out about by googling:

      Mirror-touch and ticker tape experiences in synesthesia
      Mirror-touch synesthesia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


      Hope this is interesting (and nobody thinks I'm crazy) :-\
      Just keep moving…

    5. #30
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      I don't believe that Original Poster was meaning to say that synesthetes cannot be empaths. It looked more like he was stating that the two are not always linked and may more often than not, indeed not be linked. To say an empath absolutely must be a synesthete doesn't really make much sense, so it naturally follows to me that that is what he meant by what he said. For what good reason would the two be inexorably linked? Or perhaps I should say, even if all synesthetes are empaths (not saying they are, this is a hypothetical situation), not all empaths would therefore be synesthetes.

    6. #31
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      "Empaths do not have synesthesia". If he said some or most, that would be an argument as to his meaning.

      But I'm saying the phenomena can be related, there is some science backing it up. It's just less understood than the more prevalent grapheme-color synesthesia is. I absolutely do not think all empaths are synesthetes nor do I think all synesthetes experience empathy (especially since there are many types).

      I just related my experience with both from what I know.
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    7. #32
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      Quote Originally Posted by TheUnknown View Post
      "Empaths do not have synesthesia". If he said some or most, that would be an argument as to his meaning.

      But I'm saying the phenomena can be related, there is some science backing it up. It's just less understood than the more prevalent grapheme-color synesthesia is. I absolutely do not think all empaths are synesthetes nor do I think all synesthetes experience empathy (especially since there are many types).

      I just related my experience with both from what I know.
      I think what I meant to say to explain what he meant is that all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.

      In relation to the topic, I'm mildly autistic and generally lack a lot of empathy of any sort. Can an empath better describe to me what it is that compels them to feel? Is it like the mirror-neurons have such a profound ability to alter your own emotions and feelings that they take over? Watching anybody or anything with a face or that is anthropomorphic at all can force you to feel what it feels? Is it controllable? Is it harder based on the number of people around you, or does that actually make it easier? Does your mood from the day change your reception of feelings a lot as well, or more or less does it not seem to have much effect?

      You see, no matter how hard I try, unless I am in an odd situation or something just clicks for me, I am left trying to analyze everything people do rather than have a feel for what's going on. I literally had to teach myself and keep using some guiding principles to make sure I don't come off as an asshole totally by accident to anyone I talk to, or not seeming totally clueless about stuff. I often have to be smacked in the face with things, I don't get hints. Oh, that's another thing, are you adept in social situations, or does it often feel overwhelming? Do you get hints easily, or do you sometimes get too many and think a lot of them might be false and you're thinking about it too much?

    8. #33
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      I'm not compelled to feel empathy, I just do. As I said above, it's not really like I have a choice in the matter. It's like asking someone if they are compelled to see, they just do. I can sorta tune it out in the same way you can stare into the distance and not really focus on seeing anything when it comes to strangers. But yes, in general others' emotions will have a direct impact on how I feel. I pick it up sometimes from other animals, but nearly as complex (expectedly) as it is from humans. People I have bonded with I will always feel it and really can't tune it out.

      But yeah, I get it with autistic people that they can't "feel" the mood of a group of people. It sucks in a lot of ways for you and it doesn't in others. You can try and learn customs and how to act around people but it will never cover all scenarios or fit properly. You're always going to be searching for a connection with other people and vulnerable to sociopaths that will try and exploit your wanting to be accepted. On the same sense you aren't dealing with all this noise and the negative effects of feeling others emotions. In a relationship you do not become a mirror of someone else's emotion.

      Funny you mention it, I worked with a narcissistic sociopath for some years who lacked any ability to emphasize with his coworkers and the customers he was trying to sell to. He always went out with emotionally unstable girls because I guess he didn't understand the wild swings in mood and could take advantage of some of the swings. He had a lot of drive to go out and sell but was incapable of telling when a client didn't like him and took him for a schemer. Sociopaths do not feel empathy but they understand cues, they understand how to play the game. So as you mentioned, they will study the reactions of people and learn to use it for their own benefit. This is not necessarily a bad thing to know how to do. But, they will push to get ahead and charm and talk to get what they want (disregarding any sort of emotional wreckage they leave behind them). In his case though, he was one of the most insecure people I have ever met.

      For social situations, I am pretty adept at catching cues and seeing if I said a wrong thing, etc. I do get overwhelmed dealing with a lot of new people as it's a lot of information for me. I picked up a lot of random knowledge so I can manage pretty well in most conversations. It's taken me a long time to not really care so much about what other people around me are feeling about me at that moment, it's important. I will try to avoid places with a lot of high anxiety, negative energy . I focus on my close friends and family, the people closest to me are the ones I generally try not to let down. It does drive me, as it's really intolerable to feel resentment and disappointment from them.

      I dug around to see if someone else put this into words better than I can, I found this blog entry, she is spot on: The Relationship between Empaths and Narcissists : The Spiritual Eclectic

      Not a thing to desire, enough people have problems managing their own emotions, imagine being able to feel all that in addition to dealing with your own life problems, that is what an empath deals with. On the plus side, the more I have to deal with it, the better I get at seeing things from other people's perspectives. It's just trying to maintain my own passions and interests and not getting caught up in others' that is difficult.
      Just keep moving…

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