8 Extraordinary Feelings You Only Understand If You’re an Empath

You’ve studied the traits and taken our quiz, but you’re still searching for more clarity on this third eye you have. Or maybe you’re like us—the unfeeling masses (we kid, we kid)—and are just super curious about the topic. Either way, we checked in with Sydney Campos, author of The Empath Experience: What to Do When You Feel Everything, and empath herself, to chat about some of the lesser known acuities you might experience as an empath. Here’s what Campos told us.

Your Eternal Zodiac Frenemy

friends drinking wine

You’ve Felt an Inexplicable Need to Leave the Room
“Ever been at a party or in a conversation where you wanted nothing more than to hit the ejection seat? That uneasiness could be you taking on other’s people’s pain, whether that’s physical, emotional or spiritual. When you sense their anxieties, you become anxious,” Campos explains. So it’s no surprise you’d want to run away from it all. Check, please?

You Know If a Group Event Is Headed for Disaster
That’s because, as Campos says, “You pick up on the vibe of a room before almost everyone else has even taken stock of what's occurring.” You just know in your bones whether book club is going to be draining or uplifting, and whether this “hatchelorette” will be revitalizing or wreak havoc on your crew.

watching tv

You Actually Feel Like You’re in Your Favorite TV Shows
No, you’re not actually quarrelling with Bethenny or Dorinda, you’ve just been watching a The Real Housewives of New York marathon. Campos told us that, “Empaths often feel everything the characters they’re watching and experience it as though it’s happening to them.” Phew, false alarm: you’re not really in Cartagena fighting over bedrooms. *Wipes sweat from brow*  

You Physically Feel the Weight of the World
But oh, it doesn’t end there: you don’t only feel the pain of friends and beloved TV characters, Campos explains, but the pain of society at large. “You also actually feel what seems to be the collective pain and dis-ease occurring throughout the entire planet,” she tells us “You resonate with the experience of carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.” Translation? Time for a massage, hon.

You Feel Like Optimus Prime
Ever feel as if you’re deliberately the glass-half full friend? Campos says that’s because “you are the bearer of sunshine and positivity and love in moments and circumstances that require more truth and lightness—you can easily see through the veil of anxiety, fear, sadness or doubt that others may be experiencing, and you are apt to respond with powerful optimism, reminding others of what they're truly capable of.” (Whoa, that’s incredible. Want to be friends?)

friends chatting

You Feel as If You Can See People's True Potential
Another empath super power, according to Campos, is that “you can see what's underneath [other’s] masked appearances and conditioned behaviors through to who they really are. As such you are an invaluable mirror that helps to remind people of their gifts and authentic power simply by reflecting back to them what you are witnessing and validating what you know to be true.” So yeah, your mere presence is healing. Just don’t let it get to your head.

You Feel Like a Walking Lie Detector
As Campos explains: You can tell instantly whenever someone is lying or behaving disingenuously. It may feel like too much of a burden, but if you use hone it carefully, you’ll be able to make sure no one comes into your space with anything less than love.”

You Feel the Need to Hold in Your Feelings
We know: the irony. But Campos told us that empaths “may have learned at a very young age to not say what they’re really feeling to avoid making other people uncomfortable—perhaps the empath sensed something their counterparts weren’t ready to share.” Campos continues, “Even if their discomfort wasn’t voiced, simply by sensing the prickly response in them might have made an empath subconsciously learn that it’s not safe for [them] to speak your full truth.”

A note from our editor: Think you could be an empath? For more information, talk to a mental health professional.


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...