Being social species, humans come with built-in empathy. Some of us are less empathetic, some are more on the spectrum of empathy. Lack of empathy sounds bad, and it is. It’s a major symptom of psychopathy, sociopathy, and narcissism.
Excess of everything, including empathy, can be harmful. Yes, there’s such a thing as having too much empathy. People with hyper-empathy are hypersensitive to the emotions of others. While being sensitive to others’ emotions can be a good thing and helps us bond, too much of it can be detrimental.
That’s why hyper-empathy can be seen as a disorder. It disrupts the life and well-being of a hyper-empathetic person. The cons of hyper-empathy tend to outweigh its pros.
The major pros of hyper-empathy are being highly aware of yourself and others, feeling things deeply, and being intuitive. Major cons are getting overwhelmed by your own and other people’s emotions, being prone to mood swings, and having a thin skin.
Types of empathy
1. Cognitive empathy
Cognitive empathy is the ability to imagine the other person’s experience. It’s putting yourself in another person’s shoes and seeing things from their vantage point.
2. Affective empathy
Affective or emotional empathy takes it one step further. You not only put yourself in their shoes, but you also experience the emotions they’re experiencing.
Hyper-empathy is an extreme case of affective empathy.
Taking the hyper-empathy disorder test
This test is for you if you’re wondering whether you’re a hyper-empathetic, an empath, or a highly sensitive person. It’s not for people with a neurological condition resulting in extreme empathy, such as echopraxia or synaesthesia.
The test consists of 15 items on a 5-point scale ranging from Strongly agree to Strongly disagree. It’s completely anonymous, and your results will only be visible to you.
Hi, I’m Hanan Parvez (MBA, MA Psychology), founder and author of PsychMechanics. I’ve published one book and authored 400+ articles on this blog (started in 2014) that have garnered over 4.5 million views. PsychMechanics has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur. Feel free to contact me if you have a query.