Have you ever wondered whether empathy is built-In? Does it come part and parcel of being an Empath? Or is it something that comes with the journey of life?

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. He was explaining to me how he was teaching his daughter the impact of her actions, and how teasing or making fun of other children was not a kind thing to do. Which then led to the discussion as to whether telling your child is enough? Or do they have to experience unkindness from others for them to understand the impact of cruelty.

It got me thinking… If I hadn’t been on the receiving end of cruel words, as a child, would I have the same empathy and understanding as I do now? In that I always try to consider the effect of my words, and will avoid saying something that may hurt or offend another. Or, did my empathy come part and parcel of being an Empath?

Let’s face it, there aren’t many children who sail through life without getting bullied or teased for one thing or another.

I’m sure you all have memories of being picked on by someone, whether that be an older sibling, parent, teacher or other. I don’t think anyone really escapes. And whether sensitive or not, the effects of being on the receiving end of cruel words in childhood can be carried for a lifetime.

However, just because we were on the receiving end of unpleasant behaviour, doesn’t always mean we were innocents. People can have very one-tracked minds, or should I say they can have selective memories, in that they remember being hurt or teased, but don’t remember the things they did themselves as children.

I was by no means perfect as a child. In my youth I did my own fair share of inconsiderate stuff. I know I have said unkind words to others. Even though, at the time, I knew it was wrong.

Looking back, I’m not really sure why on occassions I was unpleasant. Perhaps I was finding my way in the world. Maybe even trying to fit in. However, I also think it could have been that I was mirroring certain people’s pain, especially in teenage years, there were so many strange emotions to deal with.

From a higher perspective, I was also giving myself an experience. Because one thing is for sure, the times when I said mean things to others, have stayed with me and haunted me through life.

Not that I realised this back then, but being an Empath meant I got to feel the impact of any cruel words I said. Like instant karma.

Now, in case you are wondering what types of things I said, it was just the usual childish stuff, and it wasn’t a regular occurrence. But had I not been on the receiving end of cruelty, and had I not myself participated, would I have the same level of empathy?

Something I love (and sometimes detest) about Empath life is there is always an experience to learn and evolve from; usually from experiencing difficult situations and difficult people.

As an adult, before I understood that not everyone felt the things I did as an Empath, it used to baffle me how people did or said unkind things without, seemingly, feeling anything. Or how they could let others down, without so much as a whiff of remorse.

Even now, I look around the world and see how people, who themselves have a history of being oppressed or bullied, openly attack others. Often it is that they are attacking those whose opinion are not the same. But attacking, ridiculing or bullying someone, because their opinions don’t align, shows a distinct lack of empathy. As the age old saying goes: two wrongs do not make a right.

So, this would suggest to me that enduring difficulties in life, at the hands of another, does not always build empathy.

We all get angry. (Yes, that includes the Empaths of the world.) It is a human emotion. But taking it out on another will never lead to anything good for anyone. Inside, I believe most adult Empaths can feel this. And this stops them from intentionally causing unnecessary pain to others. I say intentionally because we can all inadvertently offend or upset others from time to time. Whether that be through word or action.

I should probably also point out that being an Empath does not make us saints who are devoid of any ill-feelings towards others. We are human, having a human experience, and all the obstacles that come with it. But most Empaths will not lash out or give people a piece of their mind, especially in public. Unless they are defending another, whether that be human or animal.

One thing is for sure, you won’t find a real Empath being an online troll or bully, or publicly humiliating another. They tend to walk away, rather than attack, even when they know they’re right. (You may find a narcissist, disguising themselves as an Empath, attacking others in online spaces. But that’s a post for another day.)

I’m not saying an Empath won’t defend themselves, but they won’t generally be the one to openly ridicule or criticise another for their beliefs or opinions.

Why? Because they know what it feels like. Their empathy stops them. And that empathy also allows us to understand that we are all supposed to be different with different heroes, opinions, ideals and beliefs.

So, getting back to my original question, does empathy come with being an Empath? Yes, my answer is yes. We can certainly work on and build this empathy, and it will most certainly develop by ourselves enduring difficult times, but I would say it is very much part of being an Empath.

Hope this helps on your journey…


©Diane Kathrine


  1. Thanks for the read! Definitely opened my mind. I never thought about other people experiencing empathy or sympathy the same way as me.. I didn’t realize why it always seems like my feelings/emotions are so strong compared to others. I knew why mine were, but it was nice to see the other perspectives. Have a good day!

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