I have great difficulty with being too empathic. When I hear about the sufferings of innocent beings- whether they are people or animals, (but especially children or entirely defenseless animals), I literally suffer for them in my mind, and I have to work to block out the thought of their pain.
Honestly, the stories of the sufferings of some of these people haunt me and I literally suffer from it in a way that comes back to me periodically. I cannot tolerate repeating some of the stories, but I will give an example. Last August a woman drove to work and left her 11 month old baby in the backseat of her minivan for 8hours while she went to work and the baby suffered terribly and died. I didn’t read that- I read a detailed description of how the baby suffered and what she felt before she died and the evidence that the coroner had to that effect.
First, the story made me cry. Not, I felt like crying, or a few tears were in my eyes- I really cried. I then went to bed, got up the next day, went about my normal life, and that evening when I had time to think my mind went back to the story and instead of dwelling on the horror, helplessness and pain of that story I became furiously angry at this mother for being so disconnected from her child and for (seemingly) valuing her career before her baby at home that needed her. (She was an evangelical Christian and was married to a man with a good income, and was in a profession she could have temporarily left to stay home with her infant.)
So, after a few days I put the story out of my mind, but there are other stories like this that haunt me and some are so terrible they come back to me when I see things that remind me of them.
In some ways I value my sensitivity, but in other ways it makes it very difficult for me.
Now, I do have company- this particular story caused an uproar in the community and there were lots of people who were just as upset by it. The problem is I think I have a tendency to feel things even more deeply, and as a defense to those emotions I tend to withdraw, and even sometimes to lose faith.