The mental picture most people come up with when discussing empaths is not necessarily a flattering one.
Empaths are often assumed to be meek, as well as melodramatic, hypersensitive, anxious, and codependent.
Part of the preconceived expectations around these sensitive souls is because many empathic people can, in fact, embody behaviors associated with those traits.
For the average empath, day-to-day life can be overwhelming. In addition to being barraged by other people’s thoughts and emotions coming in from all directions, there’s also the onslaught of other sensory overload.
Many, if not most empaths you’ll meet are also hypersensitive to things like light, sound, and scents, among other things.
As such, what someone else assumes to be melodrama or codependency can actually be extreme overwhelm from all their senses on hyperdrive, and needing to depend on their partners/friends to take care of them when they’re paralyzed from over-exposure.
This does NOT mean that empaths are weak. Not in the least.
In fact, many empaths also exhibit what are traditionally seen as Alpha traits, albeit in different scenarios than may normally be associated with Alpha types.
They Can Be Gentle AND Strong
Do you know how many empaths go into careers in which they’re of service to the most vulnerable members of society? A LOT.
If you sat down and spoke with a random group of nurses, hospice workers, and animal rehabilitators, you’d discover a startling number of them are deeply sensitive, empathic people.
They were drawn to their chosen careers because they’re so affected by other people’s suffering that they wanted to do something, anything, to help.
This is where the strength aspect is made apparent.
Sure, some of these healer types may seem quiet and meek-ish, but consider for a moment just how strong a person has to be to work with people and animals who have chronic or terminal illnesses.
Not only do they need to have enough spiritual strength to be able to show up, day after day, and help others who may be suffering deeply with both emotional and physical pain, but they also need to be self-confident and assertive.
An elder with dementia may well lash out at a nurse for daring to give her the medication she needs.
A child who’s facing yet another treatment for pediatric cancer needs a nursing team that will be both encouraging and compassionate.
An injured animal that doesn’t know what’s going on and needs to be restrained in order to be healed will cry out piteously.
Imagine the levels of strength and courage that are needed on a daily basis to do this work.
They Can Be Natural Leaders
An Alpha empath can be incredibly successful in a leadership role because she or he has the ability to negotiate with the help of empathic awareness.
When you can sense what the people in your board meeting are feeling, you can “work” the room accordingly: getting the naysayers enthusiastic, calming the fretful, and reassuring the hesitant.
Alpha empaths lead in a very human, connected way: they are authentic, lean towards cooperative, collaborative efforts, and ensure that those they work with feel validated and appreciated.
They become the true heart of an organization: the central hub from which guidance, delegation, praise, and encouragement can flow.
They make excellent connections with collaborators and investors, and can also tell when the team needs a pizza and beer night.
An empathic boss might tune in when one of their employees is having a hard time, even if they’ve been wearing an “I’m FINE” mask while at the office.
They’re understanding, compassionate, and can work with people to sort out solutions that work for all involved, instead of being uncompromising and demanding.
One major downside to being an empath is that, since they’re extremely giving, kind lovers, a lot of partners (particularly narcissists) hone in on empaths because they want to keep them as pets.
Empaths are pretty much their ideal partners, as these sensitive folks generally tolerate a LOT of abusive/negative behavior because they can see the pain and origins behind those damaging actions.
Being able to fend off narcissistic predators needs a lot of strength, self-assurance, and the ability to tolerate absolutely zero bullsh*t, even if they understand where it’s originating.
The Alpha empath can have compassion for a person’s suffering, but also maintain that “I love you unconditionally” does not mean “I will tolerate your mistreatment and cruelty towards me forever.”
There’s also no tolerance for poor behavior toward them in the workplace, whether it’s a manager who treats them unfairly or a colleague who isn’t pulling their own weight and dumping extra work on them.
They’ll stand up to anyone who mistreats them, and although they’ll do so with a measure of understanding and compassion, they won’t back down from defending their principles.
They Are Unlikely To Be Manipulated
Building upon the previous point… some empaths end up being manipulated and mistreated, particularly by narcissistic and other self-serving types because those jerks know that empaths hate the thought of causing other people pain or suffering.
A bit of a guilt trip here, some gaslighting there, or even a full-on emotional assault meant to wear down the sensitive one usually works wonders for the manipulator to get what they want.
This doesn’t fly with an Alpha empath.
They’ll just raise an eyebrow and remind the person that they know where the door is, and they’re welcome to walk back out through it.
Being empathic, this particular Alpha will also be able to see through the cleverest attempt at covert manipulation, since he or she can sense where the person is coming from.
This makes it easy to dodge and regroup, and to even turn the manipulator’s attempts back on them (usually to their chagrin).
They Have Incredibly Fulfilling Relationships
When thinking about Alphas, most people assume that they’re arrogant and demanding, but that’s not necessarily the case.
A person who is both empathic and naturally dominant can be one of the best types to have a relationship with.
They’ll be aware of their own needs and wants, but won’t put those ahead of everyone else’s.
And although they may have specific ideas about how they want a household run, they also want to ensure that everyone else is heard, acknowledged, and has a fair say in domestic situations.
When your partner is both an empath and an Alpha, chances are good that this person will be able to sense and anticipate your needs before you even realize you have them.
They’ll take the initiative to get you what you need, and will make sure their own needs are met as well.
If there’s a problem that needs to be addressed, they’ll step up and take action to sort it, while also ensuring that they’re approaching you in a manner that’s understanding, compassionate, and supportive.
They’re not out to cause any harm, but are rather aiming to work with you to achieve the best outcome for all involved.
Do you consider yourself both an empath and an Alpha personality type? If so, how do you negotiate that combination? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais region. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.