Quiz: Am I an Intuitive Empath?
Have I been labeled as overly sensitive? -Yep! All the time. By almost everybody I know. Even by me!
If a friend is distraught or in physical pain, do I start feeling it too? -No question.
Am I drained in crowds, going out of my way to avoid them? -You betcha.
Do I get anxious in packed elevators, airplanes, or subways? -Mmm, not always. I do OK on airplanes and subways if things are settled. If people are shouting, or if everybody is scared due to some turbulence, then it gets stressful.
Am I hypersensitive to noise, scents, or excessive talking? -All three!
When I see gruesome newscasts, does my energy plummet? -Definitely, although I can't say this happens often, because I studiously avoid watching any sort of newscast at all - they are almost always gruesome.
Do I get burned out by groups, require lots of time alone to revive? -Yup.
I found this quiz while searching for scholarly information about reading body language, per my recent interest described in this post.* The quiz was far from scholarly, but I was interested, so I kept reading. Pretty soon I discovered that the world of holistic healing/energy work/psychiatry is profoundly divided over whether or not being an intuitive empath is a gift or a major problem.
The web page that the quiz came from says that if you answer "yes" to one question above, you are probably an intuitive empath. If you answer yes to all of them then - uh oh - your tendencies are draining you of your life energy. Never fear, there is a list of things you can do to combat stress! Alas, I've been doing all of them ever since I can remember, and I'm not cured yet. What then?
Another test informed me that I am 100% hypersensitive (I answered "yes" to every single question). A pseudoscience article on About.com assures me that I have every single "symptom" of intuitive empathy.
On the other side of things, if you google for "intuitive empath", you will mostly find adverts for women who profess to be "intuitive empath healers". Some people offer training programs that teach you how to become more empathic (as a way to boost communication skills). My own mother thinks I'm psychic.
My favorite was the page that suggested that I am "allergic to life".
Some sources say I should be showering daily in order to wash away negative energy (I do, but I assure you, it doesn't work). There's a special diet for people like me (not interested). Some say I need therapy (been there). Energy crystals may solve this problem (no thanks). I need to rid my life of "energy vampires" and/or "energy suckers" (I don't think I know any). One even suggests that I am unconsciously in contact with the "oversoul" of everybody I meet and that I need to learn how to stop doing that.
I'm totally fascinated by this all, which I guess is only natural, since it's always fascinating to see one's defining characteristics listed somewhere, but actually I find it somewhat perverse. First of all, all those web pages have loads of suggestions for how to deal with life (stimuli, situations, etc), all of which I've tried, and most of which make only minor differences in my life. I'm guess I'm kind of off-the-charts-weird. Which isn't as comforting as, you know, finding the answer to life splashed up on wikipedia, but what was I expecting, really? Second, all the web pages I've seen are completely immersed in theorizing about chakras, auras, energy fields, religious healing powers, and so many other supernatural things I can't keep them all straight. As the articles all cleverly suggest, I am very drawn to the idea of healing - I don't deny it - but I complained about in this earlier post, I can't understand why these characteristics can't be described without immediately attributing them to the supernatural. Bottom line is, I'm interested to know if there are other people out there who are similar to me in this respect, but I don't really want to know how I can be saved from energy vampires!
*The paragraph that I originally found was this:
"Empaths often possess the ability to sense others on many different levels. From their position in observing what another is saying, feeling and thinking, they come to understand another. They can become very proficient at reading another personís body language and/or study intently the eye movements. While this in itself is not empathy, it is a side-shoot that comes from being observant of others. In a sense, empaths have a complete communication package." The source was a terrible pseudoscience paper which asserted that an "empath is able to sense [these] vibrations and recognize even the subtlest changes undetectable to the naked eye or the five senses", but if you want to see it, it's here.