Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

The Dark Side Of Empathy

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Empathy is one of the most fundamental and important skills in regards to relational and professional success. You cannot build relationships with anyone without the ability to connect and understand how they experience the world.

But high levels of empathy also carry a dark side that must be managed.

Sarah Boyd

Individuals that have a strength in the area of empathising with others thrive in caring and creative professions, are able to build rapport towards others with ease, & understand individuals in a very deep way.

But these individuals may also find they have a weakness with mood swings, experiencing emotions very deeply and even struggle with higher levels of anxiety.

Studies have found that individuals who are diagnosed with clinical anxiety disorders, are much more likely than others to also have high levels of empathy, and understand other people’s joy & pain easier than others.



1. You will have a highly sensitive emotional life: feeling things more deeply means it is often a lot easier to struggle to control our own emotions. We are much more likely to find ourselves in an unhealthy and unproductive place.

2. You are more likely to struggle with emotion contagion: this is where you catch the mood of another person you are spending time with. You may have started the day feeling a certain way but as soon as you have contact with another person you ‘catch’ their emotional mood. For more on emotion contagion, read ‘Why we catch people’s bad moods’.

3. You can become so connected with everyone else’s emotions, that you become unconnected to your own: It is often common to see individuals with high levels of empathy, loose themselves in taking care of the people they care about so much.

They continually sacrifice their own needs for such a long period of time that they loose connection with what those needs even are. They end feeling drained and empty.



1. Become clear and connected with your own needs: it is not healthy to take care of others at the expense of your own self. You need to know what you feel and what you need clearly, before you come into contact with others.

2. Protect yourself & your emotions: people with high levels of empathy are often taken advantage of by people who are like ’emotional leeches’. Once you realise that your gift of empathy has a dark side that you need to manage, you may decide that there are certain people that negatively affect you when you spend too much time with them.

Protect yourself and your emotions – they are a gift to you.

3. Take control of your emotional life: rather than feeling like your emotions are controlling you, make sure you are controlling them. Become self aware of your emotions and put strategies in place to balance them out.

Don’t remain the victim of your emotional state.


Empathy is one of the most beautiful abilities to connect with others in our world. When we manage it by being aware of our own needs & protecting our emotions, it will serve others and the world in a significant way.

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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.