Ask an Empath: Feeling Someone Else’s Physical Pain
Question: Can an empath really feel someone else’s physical pain?
From my personal experience and the experience of empaths I’ve been close to, the short answer is yes. Not only emotional pain, but we can feel physical pain. That’s not to say that we automatically feel the physical pain of anyone and everyone. In most cases, it’s someone we have a close connection with, though sometimes it’s a vague acquaintance or even a stranger.
The first time I remember feeling someone else’s physical pain is probably a circumstance where many a new mom can relate. My newborn daughter was only 3 days old when the hospital asked me to take her into the lab for bloodwork. The moment they pierced her little heel, I felt it. The pain took my breath away.
When I told the empathic friend closest to me, she relayed how her adult child had been attacked and injured faraway in another part of the world. When he was able to contact her to assure her he was okay and then tell her what had happened, she already knew. At the exact time her son was attacked, this long-time empath had felt his pain and his injuries as her own—and knew they were his.
Later, but before I realized I was an empath, my dad was in the Cardiac Care Unit with a triple bypass. As I stood over his bed on a brief visit to his curtained room, I clasped his hand and he opened his eyes. Just then, a bolt of pain hit him and I felt it course all the way through my own body. He was the one who’d had his chest opened and had been out of surgery for only hours, and yet I felt it just as surely as he had. I was startled and upset by the sudden extreme pain I’d felt. I couldn’t explain it. I let go of his hand and was ushered out of the room seconds later, and I never told anyone.
A few years later, when travelling with an energy healer and observing her with her clients, I began to feel what her clients felt—physically or emotionally. I was overwhelmed at first—the healer said I had the most surprised look on my face! I positioned myself so that her clients could not see me but I would point to where I felt their pain and the healer would focus her work there. Every time, the client would tell her that they were having pain in the particular area I had pointed to.
Since then, I’ve noted strangers’ and acquaintances’ pain most readily when it is heart-related. There is a particular pressure I feel in my chest when I am around these individuals. I often discover, when I broach the subject with them, that they have recently started seeing a cardiologist for chest pain or that they have made a fast-upcoming appointment for heart-related tests and are currently experiencing pressure in their chests.
I can’t say that this is normal for every empath, but this is how I have personally experienced the physical pain of others.
Photo Credit: AlicePopkorn, used under a creative commons license. See more of this picture and AlicePopkorn’s beautiful work.