Empath Sickness

Empath sickness is probably the most common problem found among practitioners of magic and naturally gifted psychics. It seems to be a problem among members of every single magical religion and spiritual group. If you haven’t yet suffered from it yourself, the odds are you’ve seen others talking about it online or within your own real life spiritual groups. It’s a fairly large problem within the community.

It’s also a fixable problem. There are techniques to manage empath sickness that, if used correctly, are 100% effective. Unfortunately though many ritual magicians, among both Pagans and Ceremonialists, believe that every single magical problem can be fixed through shielding or banishing rituals. So the advice given to anyone suffering from empath sickness, usually by people who have never suffered from it, is that they need to shield better. Shielding is at best a temporary fix for empath sickness and it causes a crapload of other problems. Typically the person suffering from empath sickness will stop shielding even before it starts to become ineffective, because their ability to function is hindered even more from the shielding than from the empath sickness.

Symptoms of Empath Sickness:

The most common symptom of empath sickness is a fear of crowds, also known as agoraphobia. In the early stages of empath sickness, the empath will just be uncomfortable around crowds, and then later they will be noticeably agitated by them. As the agitation and discomfort get worse, the person may start actively trying to avoid crowded places, and this is the point where it really starts to affect their day to day life. At its worst a person may become terrified of crowds, and may be averse to any action that would put them into contact with a crowd.

In the same way, an empath may eventually develop a fear of smaller groups. Usually an empath can manage everything okay if the group is small enough, but as their empath sickness gets worse, sometimes smaller groups can cause a problem too.

A person suffering from empath sickness may also have issues dealing with individual people, especially if they are very emotional. This usually won’t be an issue until the empath sickness has already progressed very far. At this point the empath may become a shut-in and start to avoid prolonged contact with anyone.

Someone suffering from empath sickness may also have issues dealing with certain places. This can be anything from a small area, like a house, to an entire city. How bad this symptom will be depends partially on how strong the energy is in the area, how combative it is, and how compatible it is with the empath.

What Causes Empath Sickness

As we all know, when we want to work magic we manipulate energy and move it in different ways. Energy doesn’t just appear when we do magic though. Energy is a force that exists through out the universe and which is in constant motion. Energy is always around us doing things.

Energy is also tied into emotion, and energy carries emotions within it. A person feels a certain emotion, and their body emits that type of energy. That energy then exists in that place for, usually, a short period of time. If another person walks into that energy, they absorb some of it, and that initiates the emotion within them to some degree. This is how empathy works. And everybody does this, not just magicians and psychics and empaths. Every single person on this planet is able to do this empathy trick to some degree. It’s how we intuit others feelings and it provides the basis for compassion.

An empath is someone who is especially sensitive to this information. They feel it much stronger than most others do. A person may be born this sensitive, or they may train themselves to become this sensitive. Being sensitive comes with a lot of advantages. An empath is better able to identify the specific emotions of another, they are better able to identify who the emotions belong to, and they are better able to quantify the severity of the emotion. Being able to sense energy at that higher level also aids in energy manipulation, which is what magicians do.

Part of the problem is that not all emotions are good. You may not want to feel someone else’s heartbreak or rage. Another problem is that too many emotions become difficult to handle. With a group of say a hundred people, not everyone in that group is going to be feeling the same way. One person may be in love, another excited, another on the verge of suicide, and so on and so forth. At least a few of those people are probably going to have very intense emotions. An empath is going to take all of those different emotions in at once. It’s a chaotic emotional experience where the empath is pulled in a lot of different directions at once and has no idea how to feel. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling and after a while an empath is going to want to avoid it.

A lot of times places will work a lot like people. Different places have certain energies to them, and different cities have different energy themes. These energies will hit an empath much harder than a normal person. If it’s an energy the empath is compatible with, there probably won’t be much of a problem. However if they aren’t compatible with the energy, it can cause some degree of discomfort.

How Empath Sickness Develops

A person doesn’t just get empath sickness from being an empath. At first they’re usually fine. Then they start to show minor symptoms, and left untreated these symptoms progress and get worse. So why does empath sickness get worse?

Unless you’re born naturally empathic, you have to train yourself to be sensitive. There are also techniques you can use to manage this sensitivity, and these techniques go hand in hand with developing your empathy. Usually a person who is disciplined enough to train their empathic sensitivity is going to be disciplined enough to train the techniques they need to manage it.

Empathy however is something you’re going to end up using hundreds of times a day. It doesn’t have an on switch, it’s just always on. Every time you walk into a new place, or come near someone, your empathy is going to start up. The best way to train yourself in any magical practice is to practice it, and you’re constantly going to be practicing empathy.

Once you pass a certain threshold in developing your sensitivity, you don’t have to train it anymore. Just by existing, you’re going to get better and better and better at it. Its a magical ability that you don’t have to do any work to develop.

The problem is, those techniques that help you manage your sensitivity, they don’t develop themselves once they hit a certain threshold. You need to train those techniques in order to get better at them, and you need to be better at them so that you can keep up with your ever expanding empathic abilities. It’s sort of like a race where you’re always trying to make sure your empathic abilities don’t get ahead of your training.

This is why empath sickness, as a serious problem, is more common in naturally born empaths. Many of them never learned some of the energy manipulation techniques they need to control the sensitivity, and they’ve never had to show any discipline in developing those abilities. With people who have developed their empathic abilities, it’s still a problem, but those people usually figure out how to fix it after a while. Often times these types of people stop practicing magic all together, or life gets hectic and they don’t have as much time to spend on their magical practice anymore. They stop training the techniques, and the empath sickness eventually hits them.

Why Shielding Is A Bad Idea

The answer I always see given for how to deal with empath sickness is that a person needs to learn better shielding. That is not a solution to the problem. There’s a problem in the magical community where a lot of people seem to think that shielding and banishing rituals are the best solution for every problem, regardless of what that problem is. Look on any message board where people talk about their magical problems, and every answer will be shielding or a banishing ritual. I can probably write a whole article on this issue, but the people who give these sorts of answers usually aren’t very good at magic, or even practice it much. It’s the sort of answer that requires very little thought and less first hand experience.

The first issue with shielding is it cuts off your empathy. All of the cool advantages you get from being an empath go away, and now you’re expending energy and using magic to be a mundane person. However people who suffer from empath sickness don’t just start suffering from empath sickness. Many have been using empathy for years before this happens, and many were born with an empathic sensitivity.

When a normal person interacts with another, there are certain signals that help them determine how that person feels right now. Things like tone of voice, body language, and even verbal clues hidden in what they say. Empathic people though have an extra advantage. They’re able to sense their energy and get an idea of how the person feels. If a person starts talking to them and then starts pushing out sexual energy, that person probably has a crush on them. With such a huge advantage, empaths never have to bother to learn those normal signals and how regular people interact with one another, and many of them never do. Some used to be able to interact with others normally, but after years of being empathic they’ve kind of forgotten how.

If you take someone like that and cut off their empathic ability, they become unable to interact with other people. All of a sudden they don’t know how they should be acting in a social situation. They can’t tell if a person is flirting with them or just being polite. They can’t tell when a person needs to be comforted, or when a person is angry at them. A lot of times not knowing what to do will make them nervous in social situations, and this issue will only become worse after a few awkward moments. Eventually they may not want to be around people at all because they develop a fear of social interaction. This is why many empaths who have some success with shielding eventually stop doing it.

If you’re a practicing magician, shielding will also severely limit your magical ability. Not only are you expending energy to sustain the shield, but the shield makes it difficult and even impossible to manipulate energy outside of yourself, or sense what’s going on around you metaphysically. The worst thing any practicing magician can ever do is constantly shield.

The other problem with shielding is that it doesn’t stop a person from developing their sensitivity. You’re still going to become a better empath while shielding. This means your shield will be less effective, and the only way to fix this is to make your shield stronger. This means your shield is going to be pulling more and more energy off you, making you metaphysically weaker, and eventually it won’t be able to compete with your empathic ability at all.

So What’s The Solution

To deal with empath sickness you need to develop two abilities. The first is the ability to balance energy. This takes energy which is intense and instead focuses it in a calm way. That way the emotion can still be felt, but it takes the edge off it.

The second thing that needs to be developed is the ability to convert energy. You need to be able to take one kind of energy and turn it into another. In fact, eventually you should learn how to take dozens of kinds of energies and turn them into a single type.

This is easily done with simple energy manipulation. Pull energy into yourself, change it to another type of energy, and push it out. Pull energy into yourself and calm it, then push it out. You can pick up twenty different kinds of gemstones from any occult shop for $20. Each of these gemstones is going to contain a different kind of energy you can pull out and play with to your hearts content. You can also just sit and meditate and mess with the energy inside yourself.

It really doesn’t take much time, it just takes constant practice. Ideally you’d want to spend ten to fifteen consecutive minutes every day practicing. Realistically though, if you aren’t having any problems, fifteen minutes once a week should be enough to keep you well. If you are suffering from empath sickness, I’d suggest doing ten minutes or more every day at least until you’re feeling well.

35 Responses to Empath Sickness

  1. PhoenixAngel says:

    Thanks Rob for this perspective on shielding. I am going to pass this on to some friends

    • Rob says:

      Thanks. I’m thinking of finally writing an entire article on shielding and banishing rituals. I talk about it enough in other articles and in other people’s comment sections.

  2. atasi says:

    loved the post on empathy. i have felt that shielding makes you indifferent and then even if you want to know what’s happening inside a person, your empathy have been already switched off. there’s no way to help that person.
    please tell about the exercise in a bit more detail.

    also suggest which gemstones to use for energy manipulation.

    • Rob says:

      The type of gemstone really doesn’t matter. It does help to have different kinds of gemstones though, so you expose yourself to different kinds of energy. Actually once you get good at it you really don’t need the gemstones anymore, and it’s really used more by beginning practitioners than anyone else. If you want to save some money, and you know some more experienced practitioners, you can always ask them if they have some gemstones they don’t want. I know I have dozens of them just laying around, most of which different people gave to me.

      As for exercises, pull energy out of the stone, either balance it or convert it to something else, and then put it back into the stone, and repeat the process again and again. It’s actually really easy to just keep a few stones in your pocket so that if you have any free time you can put a hand in there, clench a stone, and work with it for a few minutes.

      If you can’t do that yet, I’m currently working on a series of articles dealing with exercises to increase energy manipulation, and I’m hoping to eventually get four or five parts published. Right now one part is already up.

  3. atasi says:

    thanks a lot Rob, for answering my curiosity. i am looking forward to your articles o energy manipulation.
    my best wishes to you and your good work of spreading true knowledge!

  4. munzgalactic says:

    What if an empath went through a heartbreak and depresion. Would that make them more sensitive too?

    • Rob says:

      You mean like a compound effect? Not really. The main reason an empath wouldn’t want to be around someone that is heartbroken and depressed is because they don’t want to feel that way. If they’re already feeling that way, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Same as if you had two people with the same emotions, it wouldn’t make the situation any worse.

  5. munzgalactic says:

    Ok. And if an empath should have anxiety and agoraphobia? And past trauma re-emerging sum how, im not sure if past trauma re-emerging has something to do with the increase of psychic sensitivity? It feels like it. Because when i went through something like that my sensitivity was so high i could feel every tiny thing more than before. Almost like when a part of u comes to light to be healed u increase ur gift. Maybe?

    • Rob says:

      I can’t tell if you’re trying to say when you get emotional you become more sensitive, or if you’re saying that after an emotional event, you became more sensitive all the time, even after you had regained emotional stability.

      If you’re only experiencing the increased sensitivity when you’re in an overly emotional state, it could just be energy management issues. Internally your body is creating energy, which is connected to your emotions. When these emotions are strong, it creates more energy. Negative emotions tend to be especially bad, but even positive emotions can be problematic when they come on too strong.

      So when your say feeling heartbroken, your body, metaphysically speaking, is trying to deal with this as best it can. It’s going to be making some effort to stabilize yourself, stop the damage that is being done, and then start to make you feel better in an effort to get you back to a normal state. When that heartbreak is very intense, it can exceed your body’s ability to deal with it. In this case you’re exhausting yourself trying to fix it, and the situation is still getting worse, or maybe getting better but at a very slow progression.

      These same techniques and resources your body uses to deal with internal energy it’s going to use to deal with external energy. So when someone approaches you with their own negative emotions, your body is already expending everything it has to fix what’s going on internally, and so nothing’s really left to deal with this new energy. In this way the energy can hit you a lot harder than if you were stable and normal.

      Even if it isn’t such an extreme case, and your body is dealing with its internal energies adequately, the fact that it’s doing anything is going to mean it has less resources available to deal with external energy.

  6. munzgalactic says:

    Thank u so much for replying rob, it makes so much sense what you said :) and what it is, is having a emotional events build up over time, then trigers from past trauma as well i think. In that case processing emotions would help stablise the energy right? Then there is more energy to help out on the outside, since u freeing it on the inside? Somebody told me u heal energy with energy. I think us empaths handle these situations bit differently to “normal people” esp the born ones. Id also like to ask..do you think the recent solar flares would affect “senstives”?i read something about having more magnetite in the body that could have something to do with it.

    • Rob says:

      Magically inclined people, natural empaths included, tend to handle energy different than most people do. In addition to creating larger amounts of energy, they’ll also take energy in and hold it for longer periods of time, and usually be working with larger amounts of energy. In contrast most people deal with smaller amounts of energy, which also means they both produce smaller amounts of energy and absorb smaller amounts of energy from outside sources. This energy also tends to completely pass out of them after a relatively short period of time. This is a preferable and easier way to manage energy because a person has a lot more opportunity to readjust their emotional state and balance out their internal energy.

      When you’re dealing with these larger amounts though, it becomes more difficult to manage and balance the energy, and because energy and emotion are tied together, the energy is producing a negative emotional state and the emotional state is causing more negative energy to be produced. This creates a cycle where the energy feeds on itself, continually creating worse mental states which produce larger amounts of negative energy. After the situation gets to a certain point it becomes impossible for a person to manage the completely energy and bring themselves back to a normal state. At that point the person is just going to spiral downward and get progressively worse.

      And of course any emotional issue that does occur when a person is in this state is just going to be amplified and make everything worse.

      Dealing with the emotions, by itself, isn’t going to fix the problem. Most likely the energy issue is going to create a situation where the person can’t even really deal with the emotions. The only way to fix this is to balance a person out so they stabilize, which is only really achievable through psychiatric drug use. That solution only fixes a symptom though, not the problem. Once the person stops taking the drugs, they will start to deteriorate again and eventually find themselves in the same situation. Also every time they go through this cycle, the deterioration is just going to happen quicker.

      The only long term solution is to attack the problem at the energy level. A person needs to learn how to balance and manage their energy so that it doesn’t get to that point anymore, and if it does happen to get there they have the tools to pull themselves out of it. Of course this will require, in part, dealing with emotional issues and problems, but that needs to be done in tandem with learning how to work with the energy.

      The solar flares may have some affect on the general energy of certain areas and how that energy moves, and in that regard it might affect sensitives. However sensitivity isn’t really a physical trait, although there are some physical elements, so the physical make-up of a person’s body shouldn’t really be a factor.

  7. munzgalactic says:

    Would doing reiki on oneself be considered balancing your energy?

    • Rob says:

      It depends exactly what you’re doing. Reiki is a system of energy manipulation though, and it should give you the tools to balance yourself.

  8. munzgalactic says:

    Thats the only tool i have atm, and yep it has happened before. Some people tried cleansing me by removing an energy blockage, but after that i felt more fragile, like my aura had holes. I was litraly forced though. They kept saying i must get some energy, and noticed i lose my energy quickly. I did the method u explained with the gemstones, i felt bit charged up after. So i held my cat to ground myself. They help a lot. So now i use reiki.

    • Rob says:

      You should really deal with your energy balancing issues yourself. It takes constant maintenance to keep your energy balanced, and so having someone else balance it isn’t going to do much good in these extreme situations.

      I also wouldn’t recommend letting anyone mess with your personal energy without your permission. They have no right to forcefully do that, and they can do a lot of damage if they don’t know what they’re doing and they’re not used to dealing with someone with your type of energy (I’ve seen reiki folk make this mistake before).

      I’d consider what they did an attack, and if it were me I’d respond in kind. I’d of course show some restraint considering the situation, but I’d make it hurt enough that they wouldn’t try to do it a second time.

      Just to be clear to whoever may end up reading this, I’m referring to energy based attack magic, and not real physical assaults.

  9. munzgalactic says:

    I have 2nd degree in reiki so i do it on myself.maybe they were trying to help, but i felt like one of those kids in the 1800s were people thought it was entities influencing them when it was just their abilities that were fluctuating. Thats what they thought. Whats strange is the person who removed the ‘blockage’ has medium abilities yes she didnt know about mine it seems. Whenever id try to tell my sister who convinced my mother i need to go to this person, when i told her im sensitive to my enviroment its like she thought im in my own world, or just thats its a fear i could push myself out of. Maybe it helped in a way, but i think when it comes to changing beliefs in the subconcious or removing, the person should choose it. I was also taken to a psychyetrist who perscribed me a type of prozac and traquilizers, i didnt take it though, didnt want to mess with my brain chemistry. After all that has passed, iv found balance with reiki. But i have done some excercises with pebbles like you explained. I think some people see it as some subconcious belief that you take up peoples feelings, like being an empath is an affliction. I think when healings help empaths its because the issue dealt with releases energy to help buffer the outside.

    • Rob says:

      I’ve never personally practiced reiki, but I think it’s a really good system. I’ve met some people who didn’t seem very talented or even intelligent that had a good sense of energy and how to move it all because they have completed a good reiki program. Not to be insulting, but if they could get such good results from it, I’m pretty sure most anyone can. Which is why I think the system has become so popular and is used in professional settings, like massage therapy.

      If you went to this woman for help though, I really don’t know what to tell you. I’d still say you should be a bit more forceful in making people respect your boundaries, but what did you expect when you went there?

      As for the drugs, I’d suggest not taking them if it can be helped. Such things can play havoc with magical abilities. If you do need therapy though, there are therapists who don’t prescribe drugs.

  10. munzgalactic says:

    Thank u for all the info. I hope this info also helps other empaths.

  11. Austin says:

    Thank you for addressing this. As someone who primarily does readings/consultations/divinations for a living, I am constantly in the presence of many people’s pain and confusion. Transmuting that into clarity is absolutely key.

    I’ve gotten the “shields up!” advice a hundred times, and agree with you as to its uselessness. I need to be able to read people to do my job well.

    In addition to the methods you mentioned for dealing with the perils of sensitivity, I would add that Taoist rooting practices are extremely effective once the appropriate channels are open.


    • Rob says:

      Thank you. I’m actually kind of surprised by how popular this article became. I lot of people seem to be linking to it on different forums. The shielding thing isn’t even limited to just empathy. It’s become a catch all solution for everything, and one that rarely works well for anything. When people don’t understand what they’re talking about though, and they want to look knowledgeable, they start parroting these prefabricated solutions rather than actually trying to figure out how to solve the issue.

      • sparrowrose says:

        It’s so popular because there are a lot of people out there who talk about this stuff and so obviously have no clue. I was doing a specific Google search, without much hope of finding anything useful, when this post came up.

        I immediately sat up a little straighter because I saw right away that here is someone (that would be you) who genuinely knows what he’s talking about and isn’t just tossing around the word “empath” to be cool and hip like so many others tend to do.

        Thank you.

  12. [...] Here’s the link to that blog entry. I think I’ll start following that one too. http://robjo.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/empath-sickness/ This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. « Shield [...]

  13. Zoe says:

    Thank you, Rob!
    Very clearly, and very succintly expressed!
    I am sure what an empath. even a sick empath would never want is to lose their capacity for empathy.
    Shielding is a bit like the ubiquitous antibiotic… :-)… kill the germs and everything else along with it (to stretch a point :-P)
    I am discovering that the path of transmutation not only protects and clarifies…. it actually intensifies the whole point that we begin with…. that of unification of composites, integration into the one-ness of life.
    Thank you! Looking out and forward…
    Warm regards,

  14. neriphim says:

    This made dining with my grandparents in the old folks home tolorable. Nice, even. In fact, I think I used to do this before I started getting overwhelmed. You are the awesome.

  15. Jim says:

    Can you further elaborate the solutions. How do I balance my energy? And how exactly do I convert it?

    • Rob says:

      Not knowing where you are with energy manipulation, it’s hard to say what you’d need to do. Right now I’m doing a series on energy manipulation, although it’s taking me a long time to get through it. Right now I’m working on part 3, but if everything goes as planned part 4 will deal with energy conversion and balancing, and build on the techniques of the previous three parts.

  16. Jim says:

    Thanks for the response, Rob. I’m just a beginner and just starting out after realizing I was a natural Empath recently. I find myself extremely sensitive towards energy and need to take multiple showers a day just to feel at ease with myself. I found that grounding and shielding helps me. However, you stated that your solutions are better than shielding, so I’m very interested in learning from you. I’ll take a gander and look at your Energy Manipulation series. Do you have any other advice at this time?

  17. Reiz says:

    I get anxiety when I’m in crowds. I’m taking anxiety pills for it, though. Do anxiety pills work for empaths?

  18. Lorax says:

    I don’t completely agree with you on shielding. I feel it is important to be able to create and use shields as appropriate. It doesn’t need to be done as a part of a ritual, simply as self-care. To go with a pretty long analogy; when I get up in the morning I put on moisturizer, and usually at least a light sunscreen. Then clothing – underwear, outerwear. If I’m going outdoors I might add shoes. If my toes are cold I might opt for socks or slippers. I’m not going to put on a coat, gloves, scarf unless I’m going outdoors AND the weather is such that I need it. Most times that do call for a coat don’t call for a parka and goggles. If I’m going to be in the privacy of my home & yard my clothing will be different, and less covering, than if I’m going out in public.
    To bring that back to energy sensitivity, I’m probably going to want to live with the energy equivalent of a t-shirt and shorts. I’m also going to want the skill to cover more as necessary – AND to take the extra shielding off when it isn’t. I wouldn’t be likely to huddle inside a parka, knit hat, scarf, gloves, and boots in a friend’s living room, and I’m not likely to need that ‘thick’ a layer of shields when visiting one person that I’m comfortable with, either.
    Is it difficult to learn to ‘put on’ and ‘take off’ those layers? Yes, somewhat. As a toddler I required a lot of practice getting dressed. I completely agree with you that telling someone who’s picking up more than they can cope with to simply live life wrapped in a parka is absurd, but I do think the skill is very valuable for circumstances that require it.

  19. Faithyred says:

    Shielding helps but sometimes shielding isn’t enough. Sometimes meditation, avoiding certain people, avoiding crowds, isn’t enough. I have had good results with crystals as jewelry, hidden in pockets, under pillows when sleeping. After a very hard week of absorbing friend’s negative energy despite best efforts (everyone around me is having issues!) I’m lying here with an amythest point (good for anxiety) and clear quartz point (energy cleanser & power booster) crystal on my chest (helps with chest tightness), pointed towards my head. I can feel excess energy being absorbed and the remainder getting in balance throughout my chakras. I still feel plenty of healthy empathy but the world and its troubles feel like they have returned to a healthy distance from me. Hope this helps someone. I’ll say a prayer for the world’s empaths tonight :)

  20. Carry-On says:

    I find that water, whether in natural settings or tubs or pools, is very helpful to restore my equilibrium, as long as there are not too many chemicals (like chlorine) or pollutants. Adding crystals to the bath water, including salt crystals that dissolve, and nice scents like peppermint, lavender, citrus, vanilla, or other smells that make you happy can make it even better for balancing energy.

    I believe I might have had empath sickness before I went on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2012. Through that process I have learned how to balance my energy, but there were many overwhelming situations with sick areas of the trail (pollution, historical battles, Trail of Tears, etc.) and with fellow hikers.

    However, the overall effect of all those months on the trail is that I am better able to hold an internal calmness in situations and emotions (my own and other’s) that used to overwhelm me.

  21. Ariadne says:

    I’m confused and feeling lost. I’ve always chalked up my nervousness to social anxiety and/or existential angst, but it’s recently occurred to me that I may (or may not) be a natural empathy with no clue as to managing energies. I’m glad a friend pointed me here.

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