Hyper-Empathy: Is Hyper-Empathy Syndrome Real?

Last Update on June 20, 2024 : Published on June 22, 2024

If I ask you to describe empathy in a short sentence, what would be your response…empathy is keeping yourself in someone else’s shoes… right? Empathy in reality looks like, consoling a friend after a break-up or providing a shoulder to a loved one to cry on during their tough times. Empathetic people are able to understand others’ emotions.

But, have you ever thought about what hyper-empathy looks like? Hyper-empathy is different from empathy as the person struggling with hyper-empathy is able to feel others emotions with higher intensity.

In psychology, this condition is termed hyper-empathy syndrome. In this blog, we will take a deep look at what is hyper-empathy syndrome. So, let’s get started!

What is Hyper-Empathy?

Hyper-empathy can be seen in situations wherein people get in sync with other’s problems or emotions with higher intensity. Hyper means “higher than average” which in the case of hyper-empathy syndrome means feeling for others too intensely.  In some severe cases, they even start mirroring the same emotions or problems with the same intensity.

In simple words, hyper-empaths care too much about other people which challenges them to regulate their emotions and often struggle with negative feelings. Hyper-empaths are often referred to as over-sensitive people and the best part about hyper-empaths is that they are able to form healthy connections with people.

On the other hand, it makes them unmanaged, unheard, and neglected. This results in the development of co-dependent relationships, neglected personal or emotional needs, and poor boundaries in the relationship. Empaths are more likely to develop hyper-empathy because they naturally comprehend other’s problems

Symptoms of Hyper-Empathy Syndrome

One of the most important symptoms of hyper-empathy is that they experience other’s emotions or feelings to an extreme level. Be it excitement, sadness, joy, or fear, they take up every emotion as their own. According to psychologists, it’s okay to take upon positive feelings but it can be emotionally draining to take upon negative feelings.

Below listed are some of the common symptoms of hyper-empathy syndrome:

  • Strong emotional responses to others negative experiences
  • Persistent strong emotional responses to others negative experiences even after days
  • Overwhelmed feelings after interacting with people about their problems as if the problems happened to them
  • Intensely focused on others problems and neglecting their own problems
  • Unable to say no to people because of higher empathy episodes
  • Shows intense reactions because of others sufferings or challenges
  • Shows self-blaming or self-assuming tendencies
  • Often struggle with burnout or exhaustion caused by feeling too intensely
  • Struggles with physical reactions such as nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach
  • Lacks personal boundaries

Hyper-Empathy and Its Connection with Mental Health Conditions

Some of us are highly empathic and emotional as compared to others. We often have a certain personality type that makes us see different situations through different lenses.

In some severe cases, hyper-empathy might be an indication of the presence of mental health conditions such as:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Research shows that higher sensitivity in ADHD can lead to great emotional reactivity and empathy. This means ADHD people get intensely affected by other’s moods, feelings, and emotions; however, they experience difficulty expressing strong emotions.
  • Anxiety disorder: Anxiety levels are often driven by fears, codependency, and high cortisol levels which might result in anxiety disorders followed by hyper-empathy.
  • Autism: Autistic people tend to have either a lot more or a lot less of different factors. in the case of empathy, autistic people tend to have hyper-empathy, research shows.
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD): Hyper-empathy is one of the common symptoms of BPD which is why people struggling with BPD are not able to regulate their emotions.
  • Codependency: Hyper-empathy often results in a lack of sense of self-worth which can be transferred into codependency in relationships.
  • Trauma: Hyper-empathy can also be developed due to unresolved trauma. For example, sexual violence makes people get in tune with their and other’s emotions overly.

Causes of Hyper-Empathy Disorder

If you’re someone who feels everything deeply and intensely, it might indicate the presence of mental health issues. Below listed are some of the common causes of hyper-empathy disorder:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Pleasing heart
  • Neglect experienced during childhood
  • Trauma

How to Maintain the Right Balance of Empathy?

Hyper-empathy makes every day functioning challenging, especially when it comes to focusing on your personal and emotional needs. Here’s how you can learn how to maintain the right balance of empathy:

  1. If you’re feeling stressed lately because of others’ negative emotions, take a pause, distract yourself, and focus on resolving your feelings.
  2. Practice detachment but don’t give up on kindness and support.
  3. Work on your self-awareness with the help of journaling and mindfulness
  4. Focus on self-care to take a break from empathy and incorporate relaxing activities
  5. Set healthy boundaries for yourself to avoid feeling and giving too much
  6. Practice self-compassion to learn how to maintain healthy relationships with people

I hope this blog helps you understand hyper-empathy. Comment down and share your views on the same or you can also write to us at Calm Sage. For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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