Don’t Like What You See? Look a Little Closer… The Mirror of the Empath

mirrorWe have all experienced it, being around someone who has either taken an instant dislike to us, or a bizarre resentment suddenly appears in those we have known for some time. We may have no idea why the other feels this way, as we certainly have not given them reason to have such repugnance towards us. No matter whether they try to hide their feelings or not, we can still sense their loathing and it does not feel good!

Someone taking a dislike to another is a completely normal and acceptable part of life with everyone. We are all different and there will always be some people we do not get along with, whether Sensitive or not. For example, the first impression the Empath has when we first meet someone is always spot on, as to whether we could like or trust that person. This is due to having a strong sense of intuition and the ability to unconsciously read others. However, what can be baffling to the Empath is why some people act in such an animostic way towards us, when we know ourself to be a likeable and trustworthy person. Often we are not given a reason when someone suddenly changes towards us, becoming cold and uncaring almost overnight. It can just leave us scratching our head.

Through observations and contemplations I have come to discover there are three main reasons why people either cool off or take an instant dislike towards the Empath and here they are:

  •  We Act as a Mirror Reflecting Back Their Truth
  • Our Vibration is too Fast
  • Our Stillness is Wrongly Interpreted

Reflecting Back

One of the main reasons others can become repulsed by the Empath is because we reflect back to them the truth of who they are. It is so common for people to act in an inauthentic way to hide who they truly are, that many do not question their own motives or try and change their behaviour. The reason most people hide a side of themselves is because they don’t like certain aspects of their personality. It may be that they are insecure, they may feel deep shame about themselves, or they may hide a trait of their personality because they do not believe it will be liked or accepted by others. On the darker side of the spectrum, some may hide aspects of their personality in order to manipulate others. However, for the majority of people who put on an act, they do so simply to fit in. The fear of being judged or disliked, for what they don’t like about themselves, makes some wear a mask when out in public. Even those of a Sensitive nature will put on a face when out in the world (partly because we know we would look like complete fruitcakes if we showed how we really felt inside). There are some, however, who never remove their mask and go through life with a false identity.

When one comes face to face with an Empath there is no hiding from these concealed traits; the mask comes off and they are displayed in full view. The traits one has worked so hard to hide or deny are now being waved in your face and can cause a torrent of ill feelings to surface, which will often be directed towards the Empath.

Because being with an Empath can bring up intense feelings in others, it can be the root cause of a strong loathing. However, what those who encounter this won’t realize is that the intense dislike they have towards the Empath is simply a reflection of their hidden side. The truth of who they are and aspects of their personality, they hide because they don’t want to admit to having, are revealed. Anything hidden becomes seen within the ‘Mirror of the Empath’.

The Mirror Effect

Because an Empath picks up on other people’s emotions, hidden behaviours and true personality traits, we can take them on and thus project them back out to their rightful owner. We can wear other people’s truth like the mask they hide behind; even if we are consciously unaware that we are doing it. In the days before we become aware that we are an Empath, we may mistake these insecurities as our own and have no idea that what we feel, we can then project and reflect back.

If someone has traits that they particularly don’t like about themselves, they are reminded of them when in an Empath’s presence. This is the reason an instant dislike for the Empath is formed or why resentment can build towards them over time. Anything hidden within such as: an insecurity, suppressed shame, guilt or anger will only get bigger the longer it is left buried. Because we can make others feel their own truth, a sudden dislike for us may develop as the suppressed feeling, within the other, builds. Jealousy, anger, hatred, feeling unworthy, low self-esteem and self-grandeur are just some examples of what we might reflect back to others.

If this has been your experience, where someone suddenly starts being off with you, it could very well be that you are reflecting back to them the truth they deny. Or there could be another reason…

Our Vibration is Too Fast…

Just like an Empath’s need not to be around people who spew negativity, there are some people who cannot stand to be around those who vibrate a clean and shiny energy. When you start to work on yourself and make any positive changes to your mind, body or spirit you become cleaner and purer and this can be cause for a rejection from those who are addicted to low-level vibrations.

I have noticed that when I have been in an emotionally low place, in the past, there are some who seem to prefer me that way. Yet when I made big changes to myself and my life, and put myself in a high vibrating space, I could tell that some friends didn’t like it. It felt like they wanted to bring me back down. They did this in numerous ways, such as snide comments, ridiculing my discoveries or new ways of being. The sad thing is, they were often unaware they were doing it.

Vibrating in a higher space can make us naturally repel even those we love. People sense change, whether it is visually apparent or not, and they can feel when another has changed or stepped up their frequency. Not everyone is ready to raise their vibration. Some may still have lessons to learn at the level they are at and are not ready to move forward with us. Because they are not ready to move onwards and upwards they may try to draw us back down. Also, if we don’t feel like a fit to them anymore, it may be the cause of hostility towards us and another reason why they are repelled.

Our Stillness is Wrongly Interpreted

To those of an insecure nature, our quiet, and sometimes distant, ways are often seen as a form of disrespect or a snub. Because we may, at times, appear aloof, some may class this as snobby or superior behaviour. Wrongly assuming we believe we are in some way above them. Normally, when an Empath acts in an aloof or distant way, it is because they are on overload. Having taken on too much stimuli from their surroundings and in serious need of recharging, the Empath wants nothing more than to be invisible to others.

When we are on overload and heading towards a fatigue meltdown, the last thing we can deal with is someone offloading their troubles on us, like so many like to do. Even polite conversation is too much for us to bear. This may be interpreted as a rejection or an insult to those we are quiet towards. The last thing we would want anyone to suppose is that we are snobby or believe we are superior to anyone…we really aren’t.

Because others don’t feel what an Empath feels, it is very difficult for them to understand why we act the way we do. Sadly, the more insecure someone is, the more they will be offended by our quiet ways. And if they see us as blowing hot and cold or being disrespectful towards them, they may reject us as a way to hurt or have a dig at us. This may be experienced as a shunning or cooling off towards us or even in nasty behaviour aimed our way.

So there you have it; a few reasons why others shun or dislike the Empath. If another seems to have an aversion for you, for no good reason, remember not to take it personally. It is often just the Mirror of the Empath at work, reflecting back their truth.

Until next time…


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©Diane Kathrine at Empaths Empowered

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44 thoughts on “Don’t Like What You See? Look a Little Closer… The Mirror of the Empath

  1. Ok I have been trying to get as much truth to who I am along with trying to respect my spiritual father who is my biological father as well. We both are church goers non denomination and yes I am a Christian that’s why it’s so hard for me to understand completely how to be who I am with out disrespecting or disappointing my dad. Because he is my creator part of that Devine family I honestly get lost sometimes with who I am. I share with him these blogs and ask him what he thinks and he tells me to stick to the bible….. Because what good what it so if u don’t fully understand my gift if I don’t know how to use it. I know I am a healer or sometimes I prophesy and I am focusing on virtues to gain that love power to use. It’s just sometimes like I said I get lost. Please any advice would help. Thank you God bless💗

    • As an Empath we are constantly searching for answers and looking for our own truths. We want to be able to live a life that fits our beliefs and inner-feelings. Unfortunately it does not always fit in with other people’s plans or ideas of how we should experience our life.
      There are so many ways of being, opinions and expectations thrown at us from family, friends and society that it can be difficult to find or live our truth. We also have a natural fear of not fitting in or letting others down. An Empath will often put the needs and wants of others before their own, which can leave them feeling lost and frustrated.
      You are in a position that many will find themselves in at some point. The soundest advice I could offer in finding your path is to follow your heart and inner-guidance. The best person to tell you what direction you should go or how you should live is you.
      On the many blogs you come across you may find lots of advice on ways to make life easier, happier and healthier but it has to feel right to you. We are all unique and all have different paths to walk. This journey is full of obstacles and challenges for us to overcome. If we keep working at them and strive to be the best person we can be, we will continue to develop and increase our inner-knowing. More doors then open and truths are revealed.

  2. When I feel that I am being attacked by someone’s attitude towards me I feel angry.
    I react angrily sometimes raising my voice which I can’t seem to control no matter how hard I try not to.
    How can I help myself? It just seems to leave me feeling worse.

    • Hi Anne,

      What you are experiencing is common with many Empaths when experiencing an ‘attack’. It is like a trauma trigger response. You can be activated when sensing even the slightest threat. It is a natural protective defence mechanism activated by part of the brain. In those who are Sensitive this activation is hyper-reactive. It can be controlled, but we have to work to get ourselves in balance. I cover this subject in my new book, which is due for release next month, and give ways to get it under control.

      You may find this post helpful
      It offers ways to help get/stay in balance.

      Hope it helps.🙂

  3. I’m teary-eyed right now. Thank you for this. I always wanted to win the “Good citizenship” award in school growing up but have always had people, including teachers, who, despite my best efforts, took an instant and strong disliking to me (and thus never won). I mention this because, until today (I’m 40), I’ve wondered why or what I’m doing wrong or how I might change…This makes so many things make sense and relieves a great a burden of self-blame. Thank you

  4. Thank you for this article. It has been hard for me to accepted the fact that I am emphatic, although I knew it from childhood. My freshman year in college, one of the first classes in my major, I was faced by a professor whose disdain for me was instant and overwhelming. I always thought the reason was because she saw her younger self in me. Thanks for the validation.

  5. In the last year or two I’ve found that positive people get very attracted to me, negative people want to destroy me. Here’s a quote from M.Scott Peck:

    ‘Evil people hate the light because it reveals themselves to themselves. They hate goodness because it reveals their badness; they hate love because it reveals their laziness. They will destroy the light, the goodness, the love in order to avoid the pain of such self-awareness. My second conclusion, then, is that evil is laziness carried to its ultimate, extraordinary extreme.

    As the integrity of their sick self is threatened by the spiritual health of those around them, they will seek by all manner of means to crush and demolish the spiritual health that may exist near them.’

    I’ve searched your site for mention of psychopaths but didn’t find anything. Are you aware that empaths are prime targets for psychopaths? Psychopaths aren’t all serial killers – a huge number live in plain sight in society, hiding behind a ‘mask’ of sanity. Donna Anderson’s blog,, details her story and is one of the first websites about psychopaths and is mentioned in Professor Hare’s book, ‘Snakes in Suits.’ Hare devised the standard assessment tool for psychopaths, the PCL-R (Psychopath Checklist Revised) which can be found on Wikipedia.

    Donna Andersen’s story, detailing her involvement with a psychopath / sociopath is at

    Here’s another couple of websites about psychopaths. The links go to pages touching on the subject of empaths, but each site has a lot more information about how and why empaths are such prime targets.

    And here’s a summary of the relationship between psychopaths and empaths:

    Empaths find psychopaths attractive because of the psychopath’s lack of overwhelming emotions. When the psychopath turns nasty they find it difficult to fight his darkness.

    Psychopaths find empaths attractive because they’re willing to share all their resources (time, money, love, s*x), because they have poor boundaries which can easily be overcome, because they give endless second chances, because they’re good at bringing up the P’s children (when he does a runner), because they often have lots of life energy to drain and because they feel emotional pain very easily and provide a lot of entertainment for the psychopath in the discard phase.

    • Hi

      Yes, I am aware of the connection/draw between some Empaths and narcissists/psychopaths. However, I have not written about the subject on my blog (it is covered in one of the books I’m working on) because I tend to write here mostly about my own life experiences or the discoveries I have made on how to make the Empath’s life easier. I have a very high intolerance to anyone who is a narcissist or a psychopath, and try to avoid them like the plague. For this reason I have little to share, in the way of life experience, on the subject.

      My ability to read people, especially on first encounters, has always been accurate. I can see a psychopath even if they are hiding behind a mask. I have tons of empathy and experience powerful emotions, but I am not drawn to those who have none, like some Empaths are. Narcissists and psychopaths have always felt really, really wrong to me. But I understand this is not the case for everyone.

      An Empath is often on an emotional overload, whereas a psychopath is emotionally shallow. The saying opposites attract is at work with the attraction between a psychopath and Empath. Nature has a way of creating balance and in drawing opposites together this can sometimes be achieved. A psychopath is the very opposite spectrum to an Empath, even down to the way their brain works. The parts of the brain that incite emotional responses are dormant in the psychopath; the same part of the brain is in overdrive in the Empath.

      But thanks for sharing this. It has inspired me to write a post on the subject for those who have been drawn into such relationships and may need to understand why.


  6. Thank you so much for this article, Diane! I’ve recently changed jobs a few times and I’ve been determined to be polite and friendly to everyone, showing interest in what they say etc. I’ve also worked hard on monitoring my thoughts and eliminating any feelings of envy, fear or anything negative, usually only blaming myself for whatever arises.

    However, as you’ve described, I feel that some people just flat out don’t like me and often it comes over time. Sometimes having not even spoken to a specific person, I can still feel his or her negativity towards me, which of course results in me blaming myself or trying to find a reason as to why this person feels this way. To tell you the truth, this has been driving me nuts! Whenever sensing that some negativity is directed at me, I also go in to a mental overload trying to determine whether I’m just imagining all of this, whether I’m just projecting my own insecurities on to others… I learned, though, to trust my intuition.

    I do know that whenever I’m drained and seek solitude, I inadvertently offend others. I then go on blaming myself for not trying hard enough.

    I’m really tired of people but I know that being at ease and and myself among them is my destiny. I just wish I had someone just a bit like in my life.

    • JJ – I so can relate to what you wrote. I can also feel people’s negativity towards me. I actually prefer when it’s apparent as I know what I am dealing with and can act accordingly. But what makes for some real crazy making is when I meet someone new, they are all smiles and ‘act’ like they like me and want to be friends. Do all the right things, but I feel bad vibes from them nonetheless. Their negativity towards me belies their friendliness. In the end I’m always right about such people. But when I try to explain it to others they can’t ‘see’ what I’m talking about as they only ‘see’ a friendly person and that I must be crazy or have some problem for not seeing what they see. It’s not easy when your one of the few who can “see” people beyond the senses of the eye. When you can “see” they have bad intentions for you that nobody else sees til all is said and done. That being said I’m so glad I found this site as I truly felt alone and that nobody else at all could relate. I love my solitude. I hate ringing phones and never carry mine with me (people are always amazed and upset by this), and I truly prefer and quiet evening in as opposed to a concert, fireworks displays or even the movies. I have noticed it has become stronger the older I get (I’m in my 50’s).

    • I appreciate what you are saying…and yet something else to consider is that may be that maybe our own shadow is creating the dissonance and THEY are OUR mirror. Just because we think we are not contributing to the problem does not mean the problem is not within ourselves. It is an opportunity to mind our own energy. It’s not always the other. Asking for feedback can be quite an awakening.

      • Hi Wakeupdancing,

        Excellent point and one I cover in my post

        Facing our shadow side is an essential part our journey but it is also and area that is so difficult for the Empath to navigate as we don’t always know what is ours and that which belongs to another.

        An Empath will often take the blame for any type of rejection from another and beat themselves up for not being good enough, nice enough etc. It is my intention with this post to highlight the reasons many Empaths get the cold shoulder from others, especially after doing much work on themselves and indeed after facing their own shadow side.

        Thanks for sharing🙂

    • How I adore your blog Diane!! You make more sense to me than anyone else I’ve read. Thank you! How I wish you would write a book!🙂

      • Thanks so much Bluedaisy,

        I am in the process of writing a book for the Empaths of the world. It is taking me longer than I thought because more information keeps coming to me that I have to add in. Not complaining though. I’m loving the process.🙂🙂🙂

  7. I am an Empath. Have been all my life. I’ve always felt different and others also could pick up I was different. I’ve been made fun of and bullied for it when I was a child. This article has cleared up more for me. Thank you. I thought I was crazy. I’ve been married to my husband 16 years and most days before he even gets home, which I never know the exact time as it varies, I have always been able to sense he is on his way before he even gets home because the Negative energy just builds and builds. Once he’s in the house it’s palatable. Last night I went to sleep at 9:30 pm. He came in at 11:30 pm. All I did was ask him where the dog was because she sleeps with us every night and he blew his lid!!! Started yelling and raging at me. I honestly don’t know for what. I don’t know if he took it the wrong way. What other way can you take it? But he went on to say I expect him to be a mind reader as to know where the dog is etc.etc. etc… All I did was ask him where she was. Not in a mean tone or anything. But it has been like this are whole marriage. I hate to admit it but after that weird exchange he took off in a huff and slept in another room. It was like I could feel the Negativity in that room leave with him and I could sleep. I’ve noticed that when he is in the room sleeping I don’t sleep well as I can feel the negativity seeping from him. It definitely effects my energy field and not for the better. I always wake up in a panic attack, have depression and extreme anxiety all day. In fact, I have it anytime he has a day off and is around regardless if we say a word to each other or not. I cannot talk to him without him blowing up and accusing me of “ruining his day off.” Any time I try to bring up a normal conversation he does this. His negative Energy is so high it’s stifling. He acts like he can’t live without me but on a day to day basis he treats me with such contempt over nothing. I really feel crazy. Would love to know if anyone else has had these experiences with another individual.

    • Hi Keira,

      Sounds like your husband is using you as his mental punch-bag and stress release valve. In him lashing out at you, he is effectively offloading and giving you his anger and frustration to deal with. Empaths can act as a powerfully calming drug to some, which is addictive for them, destructive for us. Having to deal with that kind of negativity on a daily basis will only serve in shattering your confidence and self-esteem, which will leave you vulnerable and dependent. Not a good place for the Empath to be in.

      Sorry I cannot be of any more help on the subject. Hopefully, someone may comment who has been in a similar situation themselves and share their take on it.


      • Thanks, Diane – Your article really helped me. When I have threatened to leave or have left my husband in the past because of his bad behavior he seemed genuinely upset and almost terrified of losing me. Yet, when I decide to stay and not leave almost immediately the next day I feel such scorn, contempt and loathing from him even though it is not in spoken words. It’s in his energy and I can FEEL it. Even when no one else around me notices anything out of the ordinary I can FEEL it strongly. It’s very unnerving to feel it and be told “nothing’s wrong” when I can very well tell there is. Even more so when others don’t see it and can’t understand what I’m feeling and sensing. Several times even he has admitted to me that what I felt was spot on. But that is very much the exception and most definitely not the rule. Heaven forbid I even try to bring it up as I’m met with rage. Heaven forbid I bring anything up as it is usually met with contempt, scorn and ridiculet. I know it’s a very bad situation, but I’m in my 50’s now with 2 kids still at home. I feel like it’s too late and that I’m stuck. But at least now I have some clue as to why he behaves the way he does. I really felt like I was going crazy. It truly helps to understand. I would very much like to hear from others. Again, thank you, Diane.

  8. Is blowing hot and cold fare to the non empath? Must the empathy take this treatment of others under consideration and not justify their actions by claiming because they are empathy this is an exceptable way to treat others? Playing a little devils advocate here. In the end it’s not the best way to treat those who don’t understand if possible. Is it even a choice?

    • Hi Brad,

      Sadly, blowing hot and cold is not a choice for the Empath, it is a way of being. When we have taken on too much from others we literally have nothing left to give. The emotional overload or fatigue can be crushing. It is very difficult for those who don’t experience this themselves to understand it. We can can end up being attacked for what others consider to be bad behaviour. Which makes our path even more challenging to walk.

      • Thanks Diane

        I experience some of this overload myself and need small breaks. What seems to make it tough is the required break usually makes it hard on those who don’t understand causing them emotional pain which is also hutful to know. Double whammy

      • It is really hard to communicate this and enforce this boundary when necessary isn’t it! I feel like I need to treat myself like a child to prevent myself from being in a position where I could get overloaded. Once I’m overwhelmed though it’s just survival mode for me!

  9. Thanks for your insight Diane. My friends who do understand me (for the most part) say I’m a “crazy magnet”. I completely agree that disordered folks (BPD) are attracted to us. I let my guard down and was completely decimated by two such individuals. The negativity that exist deep within them is overwhelming. I have felt things I didn’t know existed. Such darkness. My abilities seem to be in overdrive and it’s been so difficult to get back to center. Thank you for explaining things so well. It is a great help.

  10. Thank you for putting this so succinctly. I often find it difficult to express what I know is going on with me as an empath.

    A few days ago a family member started spewing negative feedback about her kids and triangulating me into the mix and I put up a clear boundary. I said I did not want to be pulled into any negativity and drama in the new year. She said back to me, “Who does?!??!” which made me laugh because it clearly went well over her head that SHE was the negativity and drama I was referring to. I believe empaths have so much compassion that many manipulative types (people with NPD, BiPolar, BPD, etc) are drawn to us. I find that before I can put up my shield they have already sucked some of my energy out and it takes so long to recover from such an encounter. Ugh!

  11. Dear Diane,
    I can’t believe it has taken me so long to write to you. I want to express my immense gratitude for your existence and the work you put in this web page of yours. Your articles have saved me in ways I can not even begin to explain. My background is in psychology and education, but not even with all those years spent studying and reading and doing all kinds of introspective work have I gained so much insight about my true nature as I have thanks to what YOU have written and shared with the world. You have basically put into this one word: EMPATH a simple explanation to so, so SO much. So THANK YOU Diane, from the bottom of my heart, and please: keep writing!

    NAMASTE (and this probably the first time that I really mean it.)


    • Awww, thank you so much Catalita.

      I know how difficult this path is and if I can help just 1 person by sharing what I have learnt, that means the world to me.

      I am so glad to hear my work has helped you, and thanks for letting me know.


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