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Study Links Social Anxiety To Being An Empath

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posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:44 AM
Someone needs to test how accurate people who consider themselves empaths really are. I also wonder if the ability applies equally to negative and positive emotions/vibes/feelings. And I wonder about the association between this ability and having an emotionally volatile parent or homelife....

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:47 AM
a reply to: kosmicjack

My childhood was totally messed up, and I have a firm belief that abuse and childhood trauma does indeed lead to abilities later on in life. I think when the survival response is triggered at a young age over a prolonged period of time, the brain seems to develop abilities to cope and avoid, which is part of the empath.

But that is just my own personal theory.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:50 AM
a reply to: Darkblade71

Agreed, totally. It's about survival.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:53 AM
a reply to: Darkblade71

Well, I had a crappy childhood too. Addict parents, abusive father, its a whole thing. I never considered that might have influenced my "abilities" (for lack of a more accurate vernacular) but I can see how they could be related.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 12:04 PM
I kind of get idea of social anxiety going with empathy, but I wonder if this has to with how people with the anxiety care about how they act or appear to others as to not provoke insult, or they are afraid certain interactions, like confrontation, which is one I usually associate with what Im thinking from my experience.

I normally don't get anxious in crowds, I normally just don't like crowds. They can be noisey and also stink at times, or just plain rude where my anxiety of going to jail would shoot up. Normally from I noticed from experience, is that I get anxious about looking into strangers eye, or maybe it just the rudeness of staring.

Who knows, momma raised me better then that. Hell in Canada, you get in more trouble for fist fighting then a stabbing, or possibly stabbing of rape assailant. It jungle out there man, don't get me started about group of black guy with that one scary white guy whole do anything for respect.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 01:12 PM
Super cringe

Let's not pretend these people have superhuman abilities lol far from it

Social anxiety is usually caused by trauma in childhood or later in life as adults, it is because of this trauma that the human brain backs away from the world and so the mind focuses more on threats

All people have these abilities in heightened states of stress

My brother suffers with social anxiety extremely badly and so does my fiancé both of which are medicated for it, the brain needs to learn to trust people again, trust the environment again switch of and enjoy life again without thinking bad things are going to happen and stop letting those negative thoughts get in, with cognitive therapy and time people tend to get on with living a normal life again or for what seems like the first time

Man up

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 01:25 PM
So maybe there are a few things with this. There may be people who have social anxiety who worry about how they appear to others, which is the reason for their anxiety. More like a perceived judgement even though those people aren't actually judging them. Or it's a type of conditioned social anxiety, where something happened to them and they developed a fear of trusting/being around people.

Or maybe the type of anxiety empaths feel is actually anxiety that the other person has. Empaths from my understanding can actually feel what another person feels. Sometimes this can get mixed with their own base emotion. An empath is not a "superhuman" thing, if we are talking about picking up "vibes" from another person. Empaths can seem super human to someone who is not an empath, because they aren't necessarily able to pick up those vibes as easily as an empath does. I dunno, I'm just speculating on the possibilities.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 03:33 PM
a reply to: FlyersFan

Empath's are people that use, or tune into a extrasensory perception. One that most people consider does not exist, or is just a myth.

The reason more people today are suffering from anxieties, panic disorders is that they are not acknowledging, developing, and learning how to use their extra senses.

It's not taught in schools, college, home, or work, in fact many times extra senses are ridiculed as a girly thing, but let the truth be known it is the one of the strongest, and most reliable senses we have here on earth.

edit on 16-1-2015 by Realtruth because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 03:37 PM
Makes sense to me this connection in the op.

I grew up with extremely volatile parents, so I figured social anxiety was just a normal result of being acutely aware of other peoples emotional state.

For years I couldn't even listen to music out loud for fear of altering someone else's psyche and being concerned about where there head was at and wether I was infringing on their rights.

I can read a room full of people in seconds and am amazed at how their energy affects me, which is why I've always loved drinking and bars because alcohol could remove the wall of awareness between me and the world, and allow conversation to flow.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 03:44 PM

originally posted by: kosmicjack
Someone needs to test how accurate people who consider themselves empaths really are. I also wonder if the ability applies equally to negative and positive emotions/vibes/feelings. And I wonder about the association between this ability and having an emotionally volatile parent or homelife....


Being a mother heightens empathic senses.

When a mother knows that her child is in trouble without seeing, hearing or even being in the area.

When a baby cannot talk yet a mother knows exactly what the baby needs, empathy.

When you think of a person, and milli-seconds later the phone rings and it's that person.

When someone has a feeling they shouldn't go somewhere and something tragic happens at the event.

The only person that can test, or even reaffirm empathy is through one's own perception, and experiences. Otherwise there will always be doubt and dismissal.



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 07:04 PM
I learned somewhat late in life (after I was grown and had 2 children) that I was an empath. Never liked crowds or even small groups of people as they have a sensory overload effect on me. Even one other person with an exceptionally strong personality/will can have that effect on me so the social anxiety is a natural response to the desire for social avoidance and the overwhelming emotional input all those people generate.

When I started having children I could no longer get away with avoiding social situations (PTA, playdates, birthday parties, etc.) and had to force myself to deal with the social situations. Xanax helps immensely but I rarely take it (it's addictive and who needs that monkey on their back?).

When in social situations/crowds in which I can retreat into myself without being too obvious I noticed that the majority of feelings being generated by others were those of fear: fear of rejection, fear of judgment, fear of being alone, fear of failure. It was around that time of discovery that I tried to calm or reassure those around me and found that empathy is not a one way street. If you practice, you can actually alter the feelings of someone else by projecting your feelings outward.

I know it all sounds rather "woo-woo" but I've been practicing it for about 30+ years now and, while I still don't like the sensory overload of crowds, I don't deliberately avoid social situations because I know I can change the mood.

I'm glad to see empathy is being taken seriously enough to garner scientific studies into the phenomena.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 07:12 PM
Let's get real here for a second. The actual study says nothing of being an "empath". This is a cultural construct, not a legitimate anything. The MBTI is cute, but again, not a legitimate anything. Ever been in myers briggs forums? Ever taken the test? How can you be borderline S/N or E/I when the cognitive functions are entirely in opposition if you simply flip from ISTJ to INTJ, or ISTP to INTP? It makes no sense! Ever noticed how people have their own stereotypes for... types, and bias, and ... lack self-awareness to answer the tests correctly, or how the supposed professionals have different assessments for the qualifications of each type? More pseudo-science in action.

Take note, as well, the curious finding of the study. These individuals with social anxiety have better COGNITIVE empathy, not AFFECTIVE empathy. Makes sense. They are overstimulated in general. Doesn't take a study to tell you the obvious.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 07:15 PM
a reply to: FlyersFan

Good thread FlyersFan. I agree, empathy is something that some people have more than others. I have social anxiety myself, and I am very sensitive to what other people are feeling or thinking. I used to be oblivious to it, and I was a lot happier.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 07:33 PM
I am hypersensitive to the emotions of others. I always have been,
but I consider it an asset, not a detriment.

I certainly don't feel any social awkwardness or paranoia.

Being able to relate to how someone else feels, or to look
at certain situations from someone else's perspective just makes
living life easier.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 07:39 PM
One poster wrote about felling safe in his "man cave". Personally I can relate to this. When I am out in public I fell overwhelmed. It has not all ways been like this but for the past couple of years I have been in seclusion. I have become sensitive to emotions,music,smells, all of my senses are perceived as being overly sensitive.

Now dont get me wrong I believe I am a empath and have been my whole life. My mother used to make bets with other mothers. "I bet $10 my kid can calm your kid down." She never lost. I did not know it at the time but when she asked me to calm other kids down I was connecting with them, threw "vibrations", "Energy", what ever you want to call it. At the time I did not have a word for it so I did not consciously know what it was. It just was. Most people wear amazed that I could calm there children down.

I had just read a article about how the heart emits a magnetic field. Maybe this has something to do with it?

Any ways my points is, being in seclusion has made me aware of my empathic ability's. I was never consciously aware of what I was doing until I spent a good amount of time away from people. You wouldn't know what darkness is without experiencing light. I do not believe I am special, I believe every human body is capable of having these experiences. Its just a matter of acceptance.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 08:25 PM
a reply to: FlyersFan

Thanks for the post. I think the study is correct as far as my case.
I would say that my social anxiety would be best described as feeling like I am inside a cage with
lions or bears or gorillas at a zoo.
This is how my nerves always feel without exception when I
am around a group of humans.
I have come to suspect that perhaps human beings are not fully my own
Species; else why would I feel like I do?

I wonder if anyone out there can relate

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 08:35 PM
I don't think I've ever identified with so many posts on ATS as I have with those in this thread.

I don't mean to, but I tune in to the thoughts and emotions of those around me. It can be awful, sitting at a desk and spending all day wishing I was at home instead and not realising that those feelings aren't my own.

Or getting really cross about something trivial that has nothing to do with me. Even planning a fancy dress party outfit for a party I hadn't been invited to and didn't know anything about until well after I'd given the matter some serious thought.

In the above examples I found out the various sources of the problems but I do wonder how much other stuff floating around in my head isn't really mine.

I feel the ailments of other people, too. If I have a close friendship with someone they can be miles away and I'll start to suffer if they are unwell. One of my friends has a heart condition and it can seem a bit tactless if I get pains and have to ask him if he's currently having a problem because it's such a relief to me if he says 'yes'. Well, it means that I only have one of us to worry about.

I don't find crowds draining, I can gain a lot of energy from them. Again, not intentionally. But there will come a time when I just have to get away and when that time comes it's a case of diving down the nearest side street even if it takes me out of my way.

I've heard the theory that abused children can grow up to appear empathic because they have had to learn to anticipate any blows that might be heading their way. So, of course, they are better at reading people. That could account for some of my sensitivity, my mother would hit me just for looking at her the wrong way, but not all of it.

I did realise that part of my social anxiety was due to the fact that I was approaching just about everyone as if they were my mother. I've often been slightly relieved to find other people being pleasant to me in response to my approach but it took a while to work out why I should have a feeling of relief or even of surprise.

What I don't have an explanation for is the way I tune in to people that I come across online. Now, there's an interesting phenomenon. If I've never met the person the only explanation that I can come up with is that it must be some sort of connectedness on the inner planes.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 09:43 PM
I think there are people like me who had to learn to read others to survive. I had a very abusive father. From my first memory I had to read him to avoid making him mad. I am retired now, and if I never had to leave my house, I would be happy. But I fight that.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 09:53 PM
I wouldn't say "empathic" exactly. Maybe we're a little better at reading the physical nuances than others. But empathic, IMO, is really overreaching it.

I'm the kind of introvert that avoids people as best possible because I don't like them much. I've also never really been big on "hanging out" with friends, it's not my idea of fun. I'll never be a party-goer or bar-hopper. I'm not fond of busy restaurants. I despise crowded stores. If I have mingle with the general public, I avoid idle chatter with strangers. I may come off as cold or curt, but I'm A.) Not interested in the slightest, and B.) not comfortable with the notion anyway. I'll give an opinion or get snippy if I'm moved enough to do so, but reading people? I wouldn't say I'm any more special than the rest, maybe a bit more intuitive when it comes to body/facial language, but again, not by much.

posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 10:18 PM
This kinda seems like a "duh" conclusion. I have perceived for a long time that this is the case.
The only thing I'd like to see studied is whether very sensitive persons are born that way, or whether it develops in early childhood.

I have the tentative hypothesis that it is developed. My early childhood was with a mother who was depressed and frequently suicidal or violent, and a sister who was mentally retarded so could not speak- so I had to be extra aware of all non-verbal signs of their subtle flux of state of emotion.... to know if mom was heading into a bad way, or what it was sister needed or felt. I developed a sort of hyper sensitive antenna.

This was a problem when I was younger, because it sort of caused an overload of information around others, but as I have gotten older I can't say it is a problem now.

Developing responsibility was the key. The ability to respond makes for less anxiety. If you know what to do with all the emotion you are picking up, you know how to channel it, to use it, then it isn't troubling.

I often get accused of being too deep, or too much into "psychobabble", but it is through understanding the inner workings of peoples and how to respond effectively to it all that I have gained a better sense of comfort and peace around others.

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