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I think one of my family members might be suffering from hyper empathy syndrome. She seems to know exactly what is going on in my mind, everyone else's too. Frankly, it really freaks me out. It is as if I don't have privacy of mind when I am in her presence, almost like she is psychic. The more I try to hide my feelings, the more she anticipates them. 

So, could it be that she has hyper empathy syndrome? I have heard of this term and it seems to apply but I am not quite sure if that is what hyper empathy syndrome means. What I would like to know as well is, is this dangerous? 

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Eh, it is very difficult to know exactly what's going on with your relative. But it sure as hell sounds a little freaky. I watched a documentary about sociopaths once and although people say sociopaths cannot experience empathy, they sure as hell seem to be able to know what people are feeling... somehow. They zoom in on your feelings like emotional vampires, and exploit them how they can. 

So, just being able to know what someone is feeling doesn't necessarily mean hyper empathy syndrome. Is your relative a nice person, and is it just that you are uncomfortable with their empathy? Or are they using your emotions somehow? If not, then I don't think it is dangerous. I think hyper empathy syndrome is mostly uncomfortable for the person experiencing it, rather than for others. 

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Agreed: hyper empathy syndrome can be "dangerous" for those who are experiencing it, because they absorb emotions other people are feeling and it can be really draining. I can easily imagine that having hyper empathy syndrome can lead to depression or a nervous breakdown. 

Hyper empathy syndrome should not be dangerous for people on the receiving end. It is not unique to people with hyper empathy syndrome to be able to gauge your feelings accurately, anyway. Your body language usually gives that away to any emotionally intelligent person, unless you are a great actor. The difference between normal people and people with hyper empathy syndrome is that they actually start feeling what you are feeling. 

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Gently, OP...

Hyper empathy syndrome apparently does exist, though it's not in a diagnostic category of its own right now, but is that really what is going on here? It sounds to me like you're the one who is hyper aware of what your relative is doing, or maybe you have some kind of beef with her. 

OR perhaps she is what you might call a "touchy feely person", who likes to talk about emotions a lot and seeks to offer advice and well wishes or help to everyone, which some people do not appreciate. That by itself does not indicate hyper empathy syndrome. Hyper empathy involves brain changes, as far as I am aware, and may be caused by illness or surgery. 

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Overactive empathy can make life very hard for people who experience it. I think my empathy levels are completely normal, but I think I can relate to hyper empathy syndrome by thinking of how I feel while I have PMS. It certainly increases the emotions I feel while watching a movie or talking to a coworker about their problems, and it makes me swing between crying and feeling ecstatic, but it's also not mania like bipolar people experience. It's just... an amplification of what I experience the rest of the month? 

So, I am wondering if having hyper empathy syndrome feels something like that, but probably much more intense?

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Hey, 

Are you familiar with the term "empath"? I just looked it up in the dictionary (well, Google's) to be sure, and it says an empath is a person who has the "paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another person". It adds that it's mainly a science fiction thing, but I think some people are really like that, and yes, that might be hyper empathy syndrome. 

Your family member sounds like she meets the description, going off what you said in your post. What I don't exactly get is why you're asking if it is dangerous to be hyper empathetic, unless you think your family member is abusing the knowledge she has of other people's feelings? If so, THAT in itself wouldn't be very empathetic, would it?

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That makes a lot of sense. When you look around, some people are going to say that hyper empathy syndrome isn't a real thing at all. When you type the word "empath" into your search engine, you get lots and lots of results that are even less scientific than hyper empathy syndrome though, like quizzes that are meant to determine whether you are an empath. How come people accept that as fact, but not hyper empathy syndrome?

I really do believe that some people are, how do you put it, extremely in touch with their own feelings and those of others. I don't know whether that is a disorder, but I see how it would be unpleasant to never be able to turn that off. 

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Diagnosing hyper empathy syndrome apparently involves looking at how much the overactive empathy interferes with a person's life. That means a person with hyper empathy syndrome finds the overactive empathy interferes with their identify and social interactions, that it negatively affects their health, and that other people recognize their behavior as not being inside the norm. (Your comments about your relative demonstrate that this is true for her.) It can even cause depression. 

In that sense, I would say hyper empathy person is dangerous for people who are affected. If you are simply super empathetic without it leading to problems, you would not be diagnosed with hyper empathy syndrome. 

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Is hyper empathy syndrome perhaps connected to other psychological disorders? Ones that come to mind that might produce extremely strong empathy or being attuned to what other people are feeling are PTSD, borderline personality disorder and depression. Anxiety could qualify as well, perhaps especially social anxiety. So perhaps it could be a symptom rather than a disorder in itself sometimes?

What I want to know is how is hyper empathy syndrome treated. Does it work to take antidepressants, or mood stabilizers perhaps? Is therapy the answer? Can people with hyper empathy syndrome learn to switch their emotions off, or deal with them better? 

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