How much empathy is too much empathy?


Is there something termed as “too much empathy?” I personally thought no term such as this exists, but when I checked on it I was surprised that it does exist. First things first, why did I check on this at all? There are some people I, sometimes, find myself unable to step in shoes of. I mean I cannot imagine doing what they do or what they have done. Looks like, I should not have to. So empathy means understanding what other person is going through and being able to gauge what they need and also be able to understand why they need it. It can be a gut that tells you or your understanding of that person. We, as humans, want to be understood without having to explain. Empathy is not agreeing to people who are wrong but just understanding when people feel discomfort to express and just respect that. It can be an actual challenge when the other person is struggling to articulate and feel it is a pressure to explain and that is when most empathy might be needed.

There is a term called as “empathetic reactivity” and it essentially means “when too much empathy is bad”. It is also be termed as “toxic empathy”. When we are empathizing, we are taking on other person’s feelings and when it is so excessive that we feel them as our feelings that is where we need to step back and check ourselves. Such stream of emotions can lead empathizer to hopelessness and depression. Another prominent and known problem here is when you empathize with everyone, you could end up feeling drained and having no time for your problems.

Although I know world needs more people who empathize, there are also good folks who are doing overtime here and this is just for them to take a break and concentrate on their ownself.

6 thoughts on “How much empathy is too much empathy?

  1. I agree sometimes everyone needs to empathise but you can empathise too much. It is dangerous to empathise too much as it can cause you to stop looking after yourself and cause depression, as you said. It is sometimes good to just concentrate on your own life as there are some things you can’t change no matter how much it hurts to see someone going through something horrible.
    That being said if everyone showed some empathy now and then the world would be a better place and horrible things would be limited.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is exactly how it is, you have touched the crux of this post! Although I have to say, it is so hard to watch someone you dearly love go through something difficult because no matter how much you tried, it cannot be changed without hurting our own self. Agreed, empathy is what this world needs in abundance so each individual being a little empathetic can make this a better planet.

      Liked by 2 people

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