How an empath experiences someone else’s trauma

How an empath experiences someone else's trauma
Image courtesy of Pixabay

It’s hard enough for me to meet people being an empath and an introvert.

If I were to consciously think about all the possibilities of experiencing other people’s trauma on any given day, I would never leave the house or answer the phone.

I would never look at anything on the internet or watch a movie. All of those things leave me dangerously exposed to grief and pain.

So, I don’t think about it.

Instead I think about how I would really like to have my own local community and friends to hang out with so I’m not so isolated all the time.

I think about the business I want to grow, the healing I want to share, the things I want to teach, and the community I want to nurture.

I think about how another empath experiences someone else’s trauma and how much help they need dealing with this kind of thing.

Then I step bravely out of my house into the world looking forward to the adventures that life brings.

I decided to do something “fun.”

I got a temporary job helping to set up a new Pottery Barn store in our area. It’s a 10-day gig, I’ll meet lots of people, and I get to be part of bringing something exciting to the community (even if it is a corporate chain store. I mean, it’s Pottery Barn for goodness sake!!)

Oh, and did I mention my 40% discount? Well. There’s that. So, why not?

So I show up at my first day of work.

Now, as an empath AND an introvert, it’s not easy for me to meet people.

It’s stressful. It’s hard on my body. I get knots of anxiety in my stomach when I have to make conversation.

And walking into a room of people I don’t know then having to talk to someone? No thanks. I’d rather go get a root canal. That’d be more fun.

But the consequences of isolating myself are… isolating. And lonely. (And, really hard to get clients — imagine that!!) So, I walk in and look for someone to talk to.

The first woman I talk to asks me what I do.

So, I mention the coaching and spirituality work that I do to help women develop their intuition and figure out who they really are by peeling back the layers of who they’re not and healing what wants to be healed so they can find their true happiness… only for her to insist that the only way to find true happiness is through the Lord. That’s the only way.

So, that first conversation… yeah, not exactly how I wanted to break my shy, introverted ice.

But I can brush that off. I am confident in the work that I do even if it isn’t for everyone and that’s ok. We can still be friends.

I talked to a couple other lovely ladies and they were highly intrigued by my work as I was their’s.

And the few other people I talked to were pleasant too… so all was well. And my wall of discomfort started to dissolve.

That is, until my phone started with that horrible buzz. And here’s where things go down hill.

I pull out my phone to see what terrible weather event is heading our way (that’s what that awful alarm is, right? and we were already under a deluge of rain from Tropical Storm Cindy).

But, no. It’s an Amber Alert. And it’s local.

As an empath who soaks up other people’s emotions like a dry sponge soaks up water, seeing that message is like someone punching me in the heart. I am immediately scared for that child.

But I’m at work and we’re working, and nobody else seems to be affected by the alarm like I am. So, I make a mental note of the details and put my phone away.

I can feel my walls start to go up a little.

A few minutes later, the Amber Alert alarm goes off again.

This time it’s like a volt of electricity that goes through my heart for that child. I can feel my emotions activating.

Imagine when you see a bunch of leaves and debris stirred up by wind into a little tornado. Like that. Only in my chest and gut.

There’s nothing I can do about it except be on the lookout when I get in my car. So I put my phone away again.

A few minutes later, the same Amber Alert goes off for the third time. Really???

At this point, I get really sick to my stomach. It’s all I can do to not burst into hysterical tears.

I can feel that little girl being scared and wanting her mommy. I can feel her mom’s terror of losing her child.

I can feel the fear in my stomach, in my heart, in my throat that I imagine that she feels. (Whether she’s actually feeling them or not, I’m imagining her feeling them and that makes it real for me.)

I am appalled that no one else is responding like I am. Doesn’t everyone want to stop what we’re doing and go look for that poor little girl??

But wait. As an empath who has had to learn to stuff my emotions for much of my life, I’m doing just that.

I’m holding myself together. I look normal. Nobody who sees me can tell that something is wrong.

That’s what we empaths do. We stuff and hold because we have to find ways to function in the world.

But it’s too late and my walls are now fully up.

Even though I’m still sharing physical space with all the people around me, things have COMPLETELY shifted in that moment.

I’m in my own guarded space, my own padded cell, I’m completely closed off. My walls are up and the roof is on and sealed.

I stop making eye contact. I stop hearing the noise that’s around me.

I’m aware that my breathing has changed to a more anxious breath.

I move to the outer edge of the activity so I can have my space.

I feel alone even though nothing around me in my physical environment has changed.

And I keep praying for that sweet little girl.

I send Archangel Michael to surround her with white light and peace. And I pray that this is just the case of one parent’s vengeance against the other, but that this child is in no danger.

It’s all I can do.

There’s no turning around for me at this point in this environment so I finish my work shift in shut-down mode and I leave as quickly as I can. I’m exhausted.

How an empath experiences someone else's trauma
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Returning to the Light

All I want to do when I get home is crawl into bed and sleep so I can escape the experience — all of it: the fear, the thoughts, the nausea, the exhaustion, the downward spiral.

But I know better and I have tools to help me work all of this nasty energy out of my body and my energy fields.

Yes, sometimes we need to rest our bodies, as in sleep. But sometimes resting means something entirely different, and for me it means doing some work to expel this energy.

I have to get it out because I’ve done so much work to clear out emotions and experiences I’ve been holding onto for years.

I’ve suffered the physical, emotional, mental, and financial problems that manifest from too much stuffing and I’m not going back there again.

I learned my lesson.

And that’s the key for empaths. Holding things inside and doing things to escape only makes it worse and makes you more sensitive the next time.

You can’t help anyone or anything — especially yourself — if you’re constantly triggered by every day life events.

So find a way to clear yourself out.

My process for clearing out my empathic channels is creativity.

How an empath experiences someone else's traumaSometimes I’ll do a full-blown Soul Art journey. Other times all I need to do is an energetic sketch.

Either way, simply getting out my coloring things and expressing my emotions on a canvas of some sort gives those trapped emotions a path to escape.

As I’m coloring or painting, I can literally feel the toxic energy draining from my body until my inner equilibrium is reset and I feel harmonized (and normal) again.

It’s my saving grace.

How it Works

Why does the act of creativity soothe the Soul and calm the senses?

How does it create a path for toxic energy to flow out so that the artist can rest?

Well, creativity is a special tool that does what not much else can.

Technically, it accesses the limbic system in the brain where emotions and experiences are stored and gives them a way to be expressed.

But the magic occurs because those emotions and the energy that you soak up as an empath, and the accompanying sensations in your body often don’t have words.

They are primal feelings and urges that can’t be fully and accurately explained.

Creativity gives them a voice.

Think about when you have a craving for some sort of food, but you don’t know what it is.

You can’t name the food you’re craving, but you can eat different things until you feel in your body that the craving is satisfied.

The craving feels like anxiety, a hole, electricity.

When that craving is fed with what it wants, your body settles and you feel calm. (p.s. careful: this can also be an addiction)

Yes, I described above what happened to me and painted a picture for you the best that I can.

But no matter how I describe the experience with words, it doesn’t quite represent the debilitating feelings that occurred in my body.

No words can truly describe what I (and every other empath) felt in that moment.

But creativity can.

How an empath experiences someone else's traumaThat’s why it’s my saving grace and how it’s become the main focus of my personal journey and the healing work that I am here to do in the world.

Work with me and you will, without a doubt, receive creative visualizations and homework to move your energy, clear your path, and help you heal your invisible wounds.

Creativity is powerful enough to heal issues that you haven’t been able to heal any other way.

It’s clear enough to answer your most important questions. And it empowers you to take control of your life.

So, for all my empath friends out there who know what it feels like to shut down in order to function in the world, and to anyone who has ever had any sort of traumatic experience in your own life that created fear, anger, resentment, separation, depression, or in any way made you shrink (ahem… that would be everybody), I want to offer you a creative exercise to help the emotion move through you and out of your body.

It’s called Energetic Sketching and it’s super easy. No artistic skill or training is necessary to practice this.

Energetic Sketching is a process of making the invisible, indescribable feelings visible. To give them a voice. To let them express how you feel on paper. To release and transmute them… and help you feel free, whole, and complete again.

Download your free Energetic Sketching tutorial by entering your name and email in the box below.

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Basically the process is this:

1) Get yourself into your sacred space where you will not be disturbed and where you feel safe expressing yourself.

2) Allow yourself to intuitively sketch, doodle, or scribble whatever you are feeling in your body. It doesn’t have to make sense or look like anything. There’s no judgment or expectation here. You are simply giving your emotions a way out of your body.

3) Ask your finished sketch for a message. What is your best next step for healing this? How do you bring this to completion? Is your release complete? What else is asking to be released? What is the silver lining here? What is the blessing or lesson you received through this experience? (or any other question that comes up for you)

4) Send out your gratitude for the experience, the lesson, the healing, the release of the emotion, the clearing of your channels, or whatever feels important to you.

5) You can save your sketch, throw it away, journal about it, burn it, or whatever you like in order to close the loop and disconnect fully from the process.

How an empath experiences someone else's traumaHere’s a tip: No matter how much something has hurt you, there is a gift in it.

And that gift is this: the way your body reacted to the experience it did so that you would close up and protect yourself.

Because you are sensitive to your own pain and the pain of others, your body does what it can to protect you, so the trigger of pain signals you to shut down your heart and put up your walls.

It’s a self-protective measure and it’s a gift that your psyche naturally wants to protect you.

So all releasing is best done with love and care for yourself through the process.

No judgment. No anger at how your body is holding pain.

Only love to yourself for doing the best you could with what you had in the moment. Ok?

If you would like to download the full Energetic Sketch journey with instructions and prompts, enter your information below and you’ll receive your journey right away.

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What is your method for releasing stuck energy and emotion so that your empathic channels are clear? Share with us in the comments below.

Oh, and by the way, the little girl was found safe. I am sending up a world of gratitude to Spirit and Archangel Michael for protecting her and getting her safely back home.

love, jen




About Jen...

human spirit guide

Jennifer Blumenthal is the Human Spirit Guide + Soul Healer of Seduction of Soul Studio where she teaches women to trust their intuition and helps them {re}connect with their true selves so they can live happy, spirited, fulfilled lives.

Jen’s philosophy: "Trusting your intuition will lead you to the healing you need to shed the layers of who you aren’t in order to find who you really are. The more you become who you truly ARE, the more Soul freedom and fulfillment you’ll experience in your life.”

Want to learn to step into who you truly are and find your Soul happiness? Schedule a free SoulTalk Session with Jen here