Is it a Strength, a Weakness, or a Flaw? Lessons from an Empath on the Dangers of Apathy

Hannah Clark, Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Highly sensitive individuals, who have a keen ability to sense what people around them are thinking, experiencing, and feeling are called Empaths. Psychologists may use the term empath to describe a person that experiences a great deal of empathy, often to the point of taking on the pain of others at their own expense. That is me; I am an Empath. I am both a blessed and cursed person. So, when I meet someone, I usually soak up a great deal of energy, and I use said energy to discern whether or not they are a good, okay, or toxic person. When I come in contact with somebody new, I decipher their traits, and I stop and I play a little game: I ask myself, “is it a strength, a weakness, or a flaw?”

Drinking up and breaking down a person’s personality is tricky and complicated, but it is extremely helpful, especially in everyday life and it is a vital skill to help protect yourself; it may be a personal talent of mine. I pick out the strengths first, however, as of late, with the variety of people I’ve met, strengths have lessened. I have unearthed more handfuls of flaws and weaknesses rather than strengths. Ugly flaws and weaknesses. (Of course I have flaws as well, I am human, after all. I’m stubborn and hot-headed). Nevertheless, if you do these things, or are familiar with these traits that I list, let me teach you some very important lessons, and what you can do to gently shake the world for the better, and protect yourself from people that may lure you down the wrong road and hurt you.

The opposite of me, an empath, is an apath. Narcissists and sociopaths have been notorious for recruiting people who are apathetic to help them tear down other people. They are completely indifferent to a victim’s suffering, even if they are supposed to be the best of friends with that person, and they do not question themselves. Sometimes, they genuinely don’t care, and other times, they go along with the abuse because they don’t want to be the target themselves and get swallowed up in drama. These people like to play cruel games with their unsuspecting victims to break down their already crumbling confidence. To succeed, they sometimes recruit little minions to help control and manipulate their targets. Apaths fit this role very well. According to an article on businessinsider.com by Lindsay Dodgson, she states, “Rather than standing up for the victim, or giving them support in the fact they are being mistreated, the apath will instead be completely indifferent to their suffering. When challenged, they come up with excuses and say things like “it’s not my battle,” or “I think you’re overreacting,” or even “well, they don’t treat me that way.” They don’t feel, they don’t care, they don’t attempt to put themselves in other people’s shoes, and they don’t stress about other people. Only themselves.

If you are not taught this trait or are not born with it, people going through a stage of severe depression may be tormented with it, and can usually describe apathy as a nasty empty feeling. It’s one so numb or held with such unrecognizable tension that you may not detect it at all. It’s cunning like a snake, some say; it just creeps up on you and it’s hard to get rid of without help and support. However, it’s not just a feeling. It is also an attitude and can be a bad adopted lifestyle. And sadly, that lifestyle and attitude is one of indifference, unconcern, unresponsiveness, detachment, and dispassion. Sometimes for life itself. Such an attitude sucks you dry of so much energy that you feel lethargic and exhausted after being around someone so insipid; almost too “paralyzed” to act, and certainly without the will to do so. Which is why apathetic individuals are easily identified by their very cold passivity and aggravating aloofness. They “go with the flow”, but in an unhealthy way. Unstimulated and lacking enthusiasm, their interest in confronting life’s challenges head-on is seriously compromised. They just don’t care enough. And frankly, they don’t care that they don’t care. It’s dipped in selfishness and bitterness towards others. Relationships are dropped on shards of glass, people are hurt, betrayed, and forgotten, and the list carries on. Apathetic people just do not care.

Apathy is a flaw, and it is not something to joke about. Apathy that is accepted can even be considered a trait of a wicked individual. An evil person will do something heinous; kick a puppy, rip a child away from their mother, neglect an infant, bully a special needs child, and that’s one thing, but an apath will be much worse. They will observe, shrug their shoulders, and do nothing. They are just as bad as the person carrying out the evil deed. They are not in tune with other people’s feelings, and many don’t even take heed that they are like that; you can’t change them. And they will not get it, they won’t understand, no matter how much you cry and scream blue in the face at them. Thus, it’s best to leave an apathetic person be, and just carry on with your life. Do not give a willingly apathetic person power over your emotions and your life. It is not worth your time, there are better people out there.

The root of apathy could lie in the brain’s structure, a new study reveals. Neuroscientists have found that apathetic people’s brains have to churn more to take an action than those who are motivated. Apaths, like previously stated, do not question themselves, nor do they sense something may be off with them. Their perspective is on themselves and themselves only. Some are just born that way, but others are taught, unfortunately. Narcissistic parents who are self-absorbed equip their children with very few (to no) critical life skills. They baby them and dote over them, and teach them no manners, no social skills, no emotional coping skills, no common sense or interpersonal relationship skills. They teach their children to be apathetic, rude, to hold grudges, to unhealthily conform, to not have a mind of their own, to not ask questions. To control, or be controlled. It is not a strength, it is not a weakness, it is a cold hard flaw.

Insensitivity, indifference, apathy, and aloofness is what will completely destroy this world; humans, animals, and Mother Earth. Fight back against apathy. Go out and help someone less fortunate than you, if you upset someone, analyze the situation and try to understand the other. Show courtesy and respect. Kindness, more than anything. Remember that we are all human, we all make mistakes, but to stand idly by and simply allow it to happen, is selfish, and evil. Beware apathy, and make no room for it; it does not protect you. It destroys. Be more open, more sensitive, more genuine, more aware; let go of the past, forgive, and exercise compassion. It really works wonders. Take it from me, an empath; I know.