Are You An Empath With Social Anxiety? Then This Is For You

by Aimee Cartier

Once, I was in a casino bathroom with my three-year-old daughter. Haha! I know that sounds so weird! But it’s true. I wasn’t there gambling– but whatever, we were there in that bathroom and this is what happened.

When we got out of the stall there was a twenty-something woman there washing her hands very thoroughly. As I started washing my own hands in the sink next to her, the woman mentioned why she was cleaning her hands so comprehensively—something about hating to have dirt under her nails. I think she was saying this because my daughter was observing her so intently.

But then in a woosh of information she came out with how she gets anxious in situations like these [being at a casino] —“some kind of social anxiety or something” she said. She went on to say how washing her hands calms her down and makes her feel better. She also “randomly” told me that her sister was a [psychic] reader.

As she was telling me these things I saw in a flash in my mind how it happened for her—what was actually going on to cause her anxiety. She had no shields. She was an empathic woman wandering around in a place that is rife with anxious tones. We were in a casino for crying out loud! There is plenty of anxiety, desperation, and fear floating around in a place like this. It was like she was walking through wafts of it, that coupled with the noise– the dinging and the buzzing that happens in a casino– and the color flashing lights all over the place– it was amping her up. She had no place to focus and calm down—except the warm water.

Empaths are naturally porous– to live easily in the world they need to learn how to create their own natural boundaries so they aren’t just wandering around picking up everyone else’s vibe.

I could see she was desperate for help so I calmly described what I saw was happening to her. I quickly walked her through a method of divesting herself of other people’s energy and creating a shield or boundary for herself. I applauded her for knowing the warm water would help her, and taking that step. This all took about a minute; I was still washing my and my daughter’s hands. As I was drying my hands she said, “It’s amazing. I feel so calm now. Just standing next to you made me feel so calm. This anxiety usually lasts so much longer.”

In this case, this woman’s empathic ability was also her advantage. Because she was empathic, just by standing next to me she was adjusting immediately to my vibrational tone. In her normal, even unconscious way, she reading me and downloading the vibration into herself.

I could tell she was reading me because more than just feeling secure in my presence and sensing that I was a safe harbor for this information– she also “randomly” mentioned her sister was a psychic reader. I am a psychic – without being fully aware, she was picking up the resonance and blurting out everything that she was sensing.

Empaths are unconsciously reading people constantly. It comes so naturally to them—and until they learn how to manage their ability– they are reading people ALL OF THE TIME– reflexively picking up WHATEVER others are putting out. And this is where the idea of “social anxiety” comes in for me.
I’ve heard empaths mention having “social anxiety” so many times that it has become a red flag for me. I’ve also seen so many of my students shift this through my Empath Intuition University programs and a little training that I felt like it needs addressing.

I see empathic people walking around thinking that something is wrong with them– to put it in this woman’s words, thinking that they have “some kind of social anxiety or something.” When often, from my perspective, it is a basic product of just wandering around without a single energetic boundary in place. Of course it is uncomfortable to constantly feel every whim, emotion, or energetic way of being that you come across! Even if you are NOT at a casino! But sheesh, especially if you are!

That moment in the bathroom I don’t really think this woman locked on to the words I was saying about how to stop this from happening to her, (at least not right then). But as I spoke, her body was realigning itself to the tone and vibration that I was putting off, even as my words were coming out. In this case, my energetic stance was like a lifeline for her.

I wasn’t trying to do this. I didn’t walk into that bathroom intent on helping a person get out of her drowning anxiety. I wasn’t even cued in to what she was experiencing until she started talking. I wasn’t “reading” her in any way. In fact I very purposely don’t read others in most situations. At that moment I was just in my normal mom stance standing in the bathroom with my daughter. I was literally thinking, “I love that my daughter is seeing this adult wash her hands so completely! What a good example!”

I was, however, by default exuding, “We are all safe here. Everything is good. We are just in a bathroom washing our hands. No big deal.” Not on purpose, but just because that’s where I was at energetically speaking.
Just that emotional tone alone made a huge difference for this woman. In her normal, even unconscious way, she was able to read it herself and to start downloading the vibration into herself.

So I guess my point here is, if you are empathic, it can feel like something IS wrong with you when you go about your life “reading” every human you come into contact with. “It’s exhausting!” as one of my Empath students put it recently. Yes, yes it is. But I want to tell you– there’s nothing wrong with you. You may not know exactly how to manage your abilities, but that doesn’t indicate a fault. It indicates a lack of or a need for information.

Come and see me the 2nd Tuesday of the month at East West Bookshop and I’ll provide you with the tools you need to start managing your ability and decreasing your overwhelm right away. I don’t want you walk around feeling like you’re flawed, when you are not at all. You’re just an empath. You may need a little special care and feeding, but there is nothing wrong with you.


Aimée Cartier is a psychic guide, author, and the founder of Empath Intuition University. She guides empaths who are overwhelmed and sometimes debilitated by their abilities how to work with their sensitivities, get and stay connected to their own power, and ultimately how to use their empathic gift to help themselves and others. She works with empaths who know this ability must be good for something and want to harness that goodness! She teaches “Understanding Your Empathic Ability” at East West Books every second Tuesday of the month from 7-8:30PM. More about Aimée and her work can be found at

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