As mentioned in this article, the word empathy derives from the Greek words “em”, which means “in”, and “pathos”, which means “feeling.” Therefore the term empathy means “in feeling.” Then throw in the word “overactive” and the term “overactive empathy” quite literally means “overactive in feeling.”
So basically, to experience overactive empathy means experiencing “too much feeling.” Welcome to the world of an empath!
Empaths can feel the emotions of other people in addition to feeling their own emotions. Not only do empaths feel an abundance of emotions (both the emotions of others as well as their own), but they can feel said emotions very deeply and intensely. This is an awful lot of feeling for one person to have to do, and many empaths find themselves wondering where the “off” switch is (hint: there isn’t one!).
Why Do Empaths Experience Overactive Empathy?
Because the universe is ruled by the law of attraction (meaning like attracts like), if an empath is feeling their own personal emotions deeply and intensely, they will be much more likely to tune into similar feeling emotions that other people may be experiencing.
And if an empath has either recently discovered their ability or simply doesn’t know that they’re empathic in the first place, the chances are very likely that they haven’t yet learned any techniques to help them get a handle on their emotional sensitivity.
This is a surefire recipe for one to experience overactive empathy, which can leave many an empath feeling like a hot mess!
Basically, overactive empathy is like having the volume on the emotional stereo turned up too loud, which can lead to complete emotional and sensory overload.
How to Deal with Overactive Empathy
So what’s an empath to do? Is an empath simply doomed to be like a sponge that gets overwhelmed by the emotions of others whenever they feel their own emotions? In the beginning it may seem that way, but this absolutely does not have to be the case.
This is the sole reason why this website exists. Being an empath can be a very intense experience and it is important for empaths to have tools and techniques they can turn to in order to help them feel less overwhelmed and more empowered by their ability. Learning to become an empowered empath is a process that takes time and effort, but it is a 100% attainable goal. And the fact that you are here reading these words is a great start!
The Bottom Line
While there isn’t an “off” switch to empathy, you can absolutely learn how to better manage empathy so that it becomes more of an asset rather than a curse. The key is to become empowered! And while overactive empathy can be immensely frustrating at times, it simply means that your empathic abilities are alive and well, and that is a good thing!
Now all you need is to start learning some tools of the trade to help you get a handle on it all.
I recommend heading over to the empath empowerment page for resources on where to begin in this whole process and actionable steps you can start taking today to get a handle on your overactive empathy. You got this!