It is no joke that being an empath can be pretty dang difficult. Feeling the emotions of others on top of your own can be an overwhelming experience, to say the least, and empaths need to understand the nature of their ability in order to master it.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where traits like sensitivity and empathy are not valued, so a vast majority of empaths are not taught how to handle their gifts, or even taught that they have a gift at all! Regardless of whether or not an empath knows they are an empath, they still feel the emotions of others around them. But if they are unaware of what is happening to them, they may be very likely to try to cope with the constant emotional stimulation in negative ways.
Below are 4 negative ways empaths cope with their ability in an effort (whether it’s intentional or unintentional) to shut off all of the noise they feel.
1. Victim mentality
It is not uncommon for empaths to feel as if they are victims in life and that everything happens to them. This is understandable in a way because untrained empaths constantly struggle with feeling emotions that aren’t theirs, which can make one feel as if they are being violated.
The problem with the victim mentality is that it can lead to a huge sense of disempowerment and leave empaths feeling as if they are not in control of their own lives or worse, feeling sorry for themselves. This sense of disempowerment can be detrimental to the health of an empath as it can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness, which can be very difficult to overcome.
2. Drug and/or alcohol abuse
It is unfortunate, but not unheard of for empaths to abuse drugs and/or alcohol in an attempt to turn down the volume on the emotions they feel. Drugs (prescription or recreational) and alcohol can cause a temporary sense of euphoria and may even numb or dull the senses, which is why they are used as coping mechanisms.
For obvious reasons, this is a very unhealthy way to cope with being empathic and will not help someone achieve empath empowerment.*
3. Unhealthy weight gain
Another negative way that empaths may cope is by gaining an unhealthy amount of weight. In a way it makes sense why some people do this, because putting on weight can help to serve as an actual physical buffer between the empath and the world at large. It is essentially like having a barrier of emotional protection at all times, which can be beneficial from a certain perspective, but has too many negative health consequences to be truly positive.
4. Complete emotional withdrawal
Finally, some empaths may try to cope with their sensitivity by shutting down their emotions entirely. This can be effective as not being able to feel any emotions at all will obviously prevent empaths from feeling the emotions of others. So in a way, this coping mechanism does work, but it can be detrimental as well.
It is not healthy to block out emotions, and can lead to all sorts of health ailments further down the line. Read my bio for a personal account of what emotional withdrawal can do to your health.
The Bottom Line
It is very important for empaths to learn how to master their ability so that they can go on to lead healthy and satisfying lives. Without learning how to do this, they may resort to some of the negative coping mechanisms listed above, which can lead to all sorts of problems.
There are tons of resources available through this website to help empaths figure out how to best manage their ability. You don’t have to do it alone!
*Please note, that Nicole Berrios is not a doctor or psychiatrist, and everything outlined on this page is for informational purposes only. If you or somebody you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, drug abuse or is struggling with a weight issue, please seek out appropriate medical and/or psychological help.