Most would argue that empathy is a good thing, and of course it is. When we’re hurting and a friend acts in a way that communicates that they know what we are going through, we feel loved. Empathy is an essential part of the development of healthy attachment in babies and in strong adult relationships as well. Most studies on empathy, therefore, look for how we can develop more.
For empaths, developing more empathy is not the problem; managing our overwhelmed nervous systems in the face of others’ suffering, is. As it turns out, most of us are not very good this.