If you’ve landed here, you probably are familiar with the term empath.
And you’re thinking you may be the intuitive type. You might be right.
In this post, we’re going to cover the types of empaths and the signs that you are an intuitive empath. And if you discover that you are one, you’ll want to stick around to learn about how to avoid pitfalls and own your intuitive power.
What is an Empath?
According to Dr. Judith Orloff, an empath is a person who can feel and absorb other people’s emotions and/or physical symptoms. We’re talking about highly sensitive people here, but not all highly sensitive people are empaths.
A highly sensitive person is someone with a strong sense of empathy. They understand and can easily relate to someone else’s pain.
And there’s a fine line between being a sensitive person and an empath. But there is one important distinction. An empath feels other people’s emotions as though they are their own.
It’s the difference between being able to relate to something and absorbing it into your own energy.
8 Types of empaths
If you start down this rabbit hole, you’re going to find that there are many types of empaths. How many you find will depend on the source you’re looking at. I’ve seen anywhere between 3 and 15 listed. And I think as we collectively dig into this topic, we’re going to gain even more clarity.
In this post, we’re going to cover the broad definitions of a few commonly accepted types just to give a flavor for what’s out there. You may know you’re an empath but are wondering whether you are an intuitive empath or another type. So this is an important section to review, but the remaining focus will be on the intuitive empath.
Here are the types of empaths:
This type of empath fits the general definition of taking on other people’s emotions. If you’re any type of empath, this is something you’re familiar with. Some are only emotional empaths while others can also fit other types.
If you feel someone else’s pain or discomfort on a physical level, you’re a physical empath. So if you’re around someone who has a headache or back ache, you’ll start feeling similar symptoms. Alternatively, you could simply know that someone has a physical symptom without feeling it.
Similar to Dr. Doolittle, an animal empath seems to be attuned to an animal’s needs and overall state of being. If you’re an animal empath, you probably prefer the company of animals to humans and they enjoy being around you too.
Plant empaths have an especially strong connection with nature and intuitively know how to care for plants and trees. These people have an intuitive knowing of which plants are edible and which are poisonous.
These empaths can instantly read the energy of a room or object. These are people who may be able to hold an object and tell you about its owner.
Spiritual empaths or mediums
This type of empath has a natural connection to the spirit realm and can communicate messages from beyond.
This is a Native American term that describes a specific type of medium. Instead of channeling and relaying the spiritual message, the Heyoka will absorb emotions and act as a mirror, showing people what they need to know.
If you’re an intuitive empath, you can identify with having a deep sense of knowing. You may have dreams that play out in reality or an innate sense that something is off about a situation.
In understanding the types of empaths, the important takeaway is that you don’t need to have traits of all types in order to identify as an empath. You don’t have to know when someone is in physical pain or communicate messages from spirits to be an empath.
If you strongly identify with any type of empath, you are probably one.
And if you don’t, don’t force it. Being an empath isn’t inherently better or worse than being a highly sensitive person or anything else. In fact, the gifts of an empath come with some very serious challenges.
But the key to overcoming those obstacles is to identify exactly who you are, and that you’re not alone.
5 Signs you’re an intuitive empath
1. You understand why people feel what they do
All empaths can feel other people’s emotions, but you have some level of understanding of why they feel the way they do. Maybe you see someone crying and know that they’ve just suffered a loss. Or someone is happy and you’re sure it’s linked to financial success. The only way to find out if you’re right is to have a conversation with that person, but the key to this is knowing the reason before you’re told.
Understand that this isn’t a conscious thing. You’re not sitting there thinking, “I wonder why she’s crying” and coming up with guesses. This knowing comes at a subconscious level without any guesswork.
2. You enjoy playing psychologist
If you’re an intuitive empath, you enjoy talking to other people about the reason behind their feelings. You may have even chosen a career in the mental health industry (though not all mental health professionals are intuitive empaths).
Sometimes, you may have an intuitive sense of knowing why someone feels the way they do without talking about it. But even if you don’t get those vibes, you find it easy to root out the cause of someone else’s pain. In fact, you enjoy doing it. You’re probably the person everyone goes to with their troubles – unless they’re looking to avoid the truth.
3. You have a deep yearning for the truth
In any situation, you need the truth to surface. This doesn’t mean you’re without secrets, but you definitely don’t like them. An intuitive empath is likely to root out the truth in any situation because they have a strong intuition that’s pulling them towards it.
This can be a blessing and a curse, but you often feel the need to expose the hidden truth behind someone’s lies.
4. You have a deep sense of knowing
You have a friend who is across the country and you just know something is off. Or someone says goodbye and you just know it’s for the last time. There’s no explanation for knowing. You just know. And you end up being right 100 percent of the time.
5. You easily spot liars
If you’re an intuitive empath, you read people very well. Because of this, you can instantly tell when someone’s body language isn’t aligned with what they’re saying. And from my experience, there are no exceptions: This person is being dishonest.
Can anyone be an intuitive empath?
Personally, I think that we’re all intuitive. But our level of intuition can vary based on a variety of things.
Think about about cases where someone has only one or two strongly intuitive experiences in a lifetime. We’ve all heard the stories where a sibling feels another’s pain out of nowhere or a mother knows her child was hurt.
There are a few levels to this answer.
Some people are born with a strong natural intuition
These people may seem otherwise blocked, but they have intuitive dreams or other types of knowings regularly. There’s no doubt that some people naturally possess stronger intuitive powers than others (regardless of ego).
Situations can bust through personal blocks
In the case of the mother’s intuition, one could say it was a one-time spontaneous event. But my unpopular opinion is that it was always there. I believe the ego is the biggest block to intuition, and if there’s an event that’s significant enough, intuition will bust through and take over.
You can strengthen your intuition
The more you pay attention to your intuition, the more you will have. This is something almost everyone agrees on. And, interestingly enough, the work to strengthen your intuition involves letting go of the ego.
So, we’ve covered the intuitive side of things, but what about being an intuitive empath?
This is a complicated question. Most experts will agree that only about 10 to15 percent of people are empaths. But I think there are many more people who have no idea they’re empaths.
This is theory based on my personal experience, so I’d love to hear about your experience. When you get through this post, please comment below to let me know what you think.
I was born an intuitive empath. This much I know.
But because I was so sensitive and introverted, essentially everyone in my life tried to “toughen me up.” They told me what to think and how to act so I don’t get rolled over.
Here’s what I’m getting at…
From a very young age, I was taught (by very loving and well-intentioned people) to squash my empathic nature.
So I went through a period where I did whatever I could to “fit in.” Spoiler alert: I never felt like I fit in.
But I did adopt a harder exterior that wasn’t me. And this brought me further away from my authentic empathic self.
Isn’t it possible that more people are doing the same thing? And if they are, how do we know whether they’re empaths?
3 Common roadblocks for intuitive empaths
There are some definite downsides to being intuitive and feeling other people’s emotions. So as an intuitive empath, you may struggle with one or all of the following roadblocks.
1. Feeling like an outsider
As an intuitive empath, you know there’s something different about how you process things. You feel more deeply than others, and you understand things better without explanation. As a result, you don’t feel as connected with others who don’t share your abilities. It’s an interesting problem because in a way, you’re more connected with people, but it can also feel isolating.
What to do
If you feel like an outsider, keep learning about empathic abilities and read more posts like this one. If you can find other people who understand empaths, talk to them about what you’re going through. The reason you feel so isolated isn’t because you’re different from your friends and family, it’s likely because it feels abnormal. But you should know that it’s completely normal.
2. Getting overwhelmed
Overwhelm and fatigue are major problems that all empaths face, and if you’re also highly intuitive, you can expect another level of fatigue. Intuitive empaths can sense things in various ways, but the best way I can describe my empathic ability is that I can sense intention. And it can be overwhelming. On top of sensing someone’s feelings, you have the ability to see deeper into their situation in some way.
What to do
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you must recharge. And this looks different for everyone. But in most cases, it means spending some alone time. If you feel like you can recharge by spending time with one special person, do it. Do whatever feels good to you, but make sure to spend some time on self-care.
This is a issue you might think intuitive empaths would avoid altogether, but unfortunately, the opposite is true. It’s really not easy being an empath, and you may find it comforting to hang on to a connection with another person. And if you’re not careful, you can get mixed up with a narcissist. I know this from experience, but after some digging, I’ve learned that the connection is extremely common. Intuitive empaths are great targets for narcissistic abuse because they are so skilled at feeling emotion and detecting intention. The emotional abuser doesn’t have to do much to get through, so they can keep their abuse extremely covert. But it’s our tendency towards codependency that’s really to blame for overlooking the red flags (if you really examine a relationship gone wrong, you’ll find them).
What to do
If you’ve had an encounter with a narcissist or emotionally abusive person, as so many of us have, it’s time for some internal work. Learn more about narcissists and codependents and start investigating how you got into this situation. This is about digging deeper into any issues you have than building anger towards another person. If you’re in an otherwise healthy relationship but know you have a lean towards codependence, self-exploration will help here too.
How to strengthen your powers of intuition
The best way to strengthen your intuition is to strengthen your authentic self and get the ego in check. I you’re interested in starting this journey read this post first. It explains the function and importance of the ego and how it can also be problematic.
Next, follow these steps in every day life. And remember, you’re honing in on a skill, so it takes practice and dedication.
Meditation is a powerful practice that can help you become more mindful. What does this mean? Well, it’s about living in the present moment. And that also means keeping the ego in check.
Try meditating every day for 10 to 30 minutes. Over time, you’ll notice your intuition naturally rising – even if this is the only thing you do.
Trust your gut
This may seem like something that goes without saying, but you’ve actually to start trusting and acting on your intuition.
Raise your vibration
There’s a lot you can know about energetic vibration, but you don’t have to dig deep into the topic for this one. Just do things that naturally make you feel good. Avoid artificial sources of energy or satisfaction. This means limiting coffee (here’s why) and alcohol. Start looking at everything you consume with intention to decide whether it’s a good fit for you.
If you’ve identified as an intuitive empath, it’s a good thing. Your powers of intuition combined with the ability to connect with people’s emotions can guide you well.
Now, it’s time to lean in to this ability and make the most of it.