Toxic Empathy: All You Need To Know About This Syndrome

Last Update on January 6, 2023 : Published on January 7, 2023

When my loved one is hurting, I do everything in my power to make them feel better, even if I have to neglect my needs. But lately, I’ve realized how toxic this pattern is and how it is affecting my emotional health. While empathy is a great life skill, too much empathy that leaves you feeling emotionally drained and overwhelmed can be harmful.

This trait is very aptly named toxic empathy. A toxic empath is someone who not only shows empathy, understands others’ emotions, and relates to their feelings, but also allows the emotions of others to consume them to a point where they can’t distinguish between their emotions and those of others.

Toxic empathy can make you feel like others’ problems are yours and if you don’t solve them, then you would’ve failed your loved one, even though it’s not your responsibility. So, if you’re a toxic empath, then you (literally) put yourself in someone else’s shoes!

Below, I’ll help you explore more about toxic empathy, its signs, and how you can overcome toxic empathy and protect your emotional health.

Is Too Much Empathy A Bad Thing?

Empathy is a skill we all need to have. This skill makes us more human as we allow ourselves to understand and interact with other people’s emotions like our own. However, when you are too empathetic, you eventually begin to lose the motivation to take care of your needs and emotions when all you have is overshadowed by others.

Toxic empathy can be negative to the extent that you lose the ability to separate your emotions from others. This trait is very common in people who are recovering from narcissistic abuse and emotional manipulation.

Toxic empaths put others’ needs over their own and can very easily neglect their emotions in favor of caring for others. They lose the ability to think and feel for themselves and greatly depend on other people’s emotions. If you’re a toxic empath, then you look at situations in your life from other people’s perspectives rather than have your own perspective on the situation.

Now, how to know if you’re a toxic empath? Here are some signs to look out for.

Signs You’re A Toxic Empath

  • You pity other people’s situations and use it as an excuse if they are mean and rude to you.
  • You give in to other people’s demands without a fight and can find it hard to say “NO” to them.
  • You unintentionally replicate others’ stress symptoms. For example, if your loved one is anxious, then you’ll show signs of nervousness such as trembling limbs, sweaty hands, etc.
  • You mirror others’ emotional pain and constantly feel sadness that lasts for a prolonged period.
  • You feel physically and mentally exhausted after every social interaction.
  • You are unable to fulfill your responsibilities or take care of your emotional needs because you feel too overwhelmed or drained to do so.
  • Here’s a classic example of toxic empathy that I hope you can relate to; you can be a toxic empath if you’re the one everyone comes to for advice on anything. This makes you feel overwhelmed by all of their attention and leave you feeling mentally drained, unable to take care of your own problems and turbulent emotions.

Now, if you’re a toxic empath, then here are some things you can do to overcome this trait and protect your emotional health.

How To Stop Being A Toxic Empath?

overcome toxic empathy

1. Separate Others’ Problems From Yours

This can be easily done by putting some boundaries. Boundaries can help you separate your problems and emotions from others’ emotions and can be a great way to support others while not neglecting your needs and problems. Keep in mind that other people’s problems are not your responsibility, and you are not obligated to take their burdens as your own.

2. Prevent Emotional Hijacking

We are wired to respond to others’ emotions, but this could also make us susceptible to emotional hijacking. Emotional hijacking is when others’ feelings control yours, even when they are different. You should not feel physically anxious when you see your loved one is anxious.

To avoid this, make sure you learn how to identify and separate your emotions from others and then relax until only your emotions are present.

3. Work On Healthy Relationships

In some situations, people seek you for advice or to vent out their frustrations, but may never allow you to share your feelings with them. This is not a reciprocal relationship or even a healthy one. If you’re a toxic empath and want to stop toxic empathy, then you need to work on creating healthy relationships.

Again, you can do this by setting healthy boundaries and communicating clearly about how you feel about the patterns followed in the relationship and what can be done about them.

4. Seek Professional Support

If you’re constantly overwhelmed with emotions that are not all yours, then it is recommended that you speak to a professional about it. Listening to others’ problems and unmet needs can make you feel stressed if you’re empathetic. While there’s nothing wrong with being empathetic, too much empathy can cause you to be consumed by others’ emotions and neglect yours.

Make sure you learn how to balance it out so that you are taking care of your loved ones while protecting your emotional health.

What Next?

If you’re looking for professional help, then you can connect with a therapist or counselor by clicking on the link below. BetterHelp offers counseling and therapy to help you manage your emotions at a low cost.

Get 20% Off on Betterhelp Appointment

Remember, you can protect your emotional health and stop toxic empathy by setting healthy boundaries, not letting others’ unmet needs overshadow yours, and striving to create healthy and reciprocal relationships.

I hope this blog helped you understand what toxic empathy is and how to stop toxic empathy to protect your emotional health. For more, you can write to us at or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts in the comments below.

Take Care!

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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