The Ecstasy of Surrender

The secret key to manifesting power, happiness, and success: letting go.

Are You a Physical Empath?

Empathic illnesses are those in which you manifest symptoms that are not your own. Take a quiz to discover if you're a physical empath and learn tips on how to protect yourself. Read More

Empathic illnesses in families or close-knit groupings?

I wonder if this has anything to do with the odd phenomenon of how a bunch of fertile women living together in a dorm -- besides being the set-up for over 9,000 chauvinistic jokes over time -- tend to end up synchronizing their menstrual cycles to almost hours within each other. Or so-called sympathy pains that occur when one member of a couple is pregnant. (I also wonder if, with the rise in same-sex marriages and couplings, if the pregnancy sympathy pains occur in lesbian partners when one has become pregnant through surrogacy, as sometimes happens with male husbands in heterosexual marriages/relationships.) The other thing I'm curious about is if this has any association with "broken-heart syndrome," where the death of a close family member, friend, or spouse/partner brings about the death of another soon after.

Also, what about family caregivers? My grandmother has been in and out of hospital over the past year with various non-contagious infections and ailments, most commonly UTIs. Not long after she goes in for treatment, my mother gets one and so do I. Obviously you can't "catch" a UTI like you can MRSA or something "in the air"; is this considered an empathy illness? Obviously too, it would have to be among "caregivers" of the same species; a dog getting sick from Parvo wouldn't cause the human companions to catch a canine-specific illness. Nevertheless, how do you explain the above scenario, and what is the association with empathy ailments in the cases of the other above scenarios, including caregiving in general?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Judith Orloff, M.D., is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and the author of Emotional Freedom.


Subscribe to The Ecstasy of Surrender

Current Issue

Dreams of Glory

Daydreaming: How the best ideas emerge from the ether.