5 Signs You Are Holding Onto The Toxins Of Others And What You Can Do About It

There are many ways that our physical health reflects the health of our energy selves. The two are intertwined, which is why treating the whole self – Body, Mind, and Spirit – is tantamount to true, deep healing.

I see the energy and physical imbalances as they manifest in my patients each week – the back strain after the loss of a loved one, the head, neck, and shoulder pain from day job stress and computer work, and the hives or joint inflammation that surfaces when there is stress overload or bad food choices, to name a few.

But, one thing I’ve been seeing a lot of, in the past couple of weeks alone, is how taxed our bodies get when we absorb other peoples’ energy.

What does it look like when we hold onto the toxins of others?

Here are some of the common symptoms:

  1. Stomach pain
  2. Digestive issues (ranging from acid reflux, to indigestion, to diarrhea and/or constipation, among others)
  3. Scattered thinking
  4. Attachment to fear
  5. Heaviness in the chest

Not surprisingly, I’ve noticed that many of my patients who get these symptoms are also highly sensitive people (HSP’s) and empaths.

The lovely thing about being an empath is that you easily pick up on how others are feeling. Some may be in touch with this on such a level that they will feel the physical issues others may be experiencing, as if it’s their own. When empaths are able to notice this, and are in touch with their strengths, it is easier for them to recognize when they are picking up on energy that doesn’t belong to them, and then adjust accordingly by not owning it. This can easily be done by simply saying, “I do not accept _______’s energy” as soon as you feel like their stuff is becoming yours. This is especially effective when dealing with toxic people.

But what if you’re an empath or HSP, and don’t know that you are?

You end up being an “energy sponge” soaking in all the energy that surrounds you, the good and the not-so good!

In addition to absorbing the energies of others, the sweet souls who come into my treatment room and report the above ailments have often taken on the pain from others, simply because they can!

This may be done consciously or subconsciously. These are the things I hear them say most often:

  • “When people need to talk, they come to me. They know I’ll listen.”
  • “I am the one who keeps the family together.”
  • “If it weren’t for me, my spouse wouldn’t be able to able to survive the day!”

Much of the time, their Solar Plexus Chakra has been taxed, simply because these individuals may not have yet fully stepped into their personal power, yet have simultaneously picked up what others need due to their highly sensitive nature, and have offered themselves to filling that need. This is a recipe for a personal agency disaster!

Just because you know what others need, doesn’t mean you need to fill that need. (Click to tweet)

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you find yourself wanting to fill the needs of others:

  • “Am I doing this from a place of self-love, or out of fear?”
  • “If I allow myself to be of service in this situation, will it be at the expense of my own physical or mental health?”
  • “What can I do right now to honor, support, or nourish myself?”

To that end, here are a few ways to stop holding onto the energy of toxic individuals, and to release your feeling of obligation around it:

  1. Clear your personal energy. When you take on others’ toxic juju, you lose sight of your true connection to yourself. If you feel scattered or feel heaviness that doesn’t belong to you, it’s time to do some personal energy maintenance! Check out this post to learn some effective ways on how to do so. If the toxic person has entered your living or work space, you might want to do a space clearing, as well.
  2. Know who you are. When you know who you are, what you stand for, and what you will/will not accept in your life, it is much easier to notice when other people’s energies are starting to effect you. The fastest way to knowing that? Get in touch with your Heart.
  3. Strengthen your Spleen. In Chinese Medicine, the Spleen is in charge of transforming what we ingest and transporting the nutrients to the rest of the body. When it’s balanced, we are able to remain sustained and nourished physically and energetically, our digestion is top notch, and, since the Spleen represents the Yi/Intellect in Chinese Medicine, we feel balanced in our thinking. Since the Spleen is also the Earth element, we feel truly grounded when it’s supported. A happy Spleen also demonstrates healthy boundaries. In contrast, when it’s not in balance, we are giving too much of ourselves to others, and neglecting to fully take what we need in life. We will overthink things (sometimes to the point of obsession), feel ungrounded and scattered, and have poor (or nonexistent) boundaries. I will explore the Spleen in another article; but, in the meantime, take note that the Spleen loves schedule, so eating consistently at the same time every day is helpful. Also, warm cooked foods are preferred, over cold and raw ones that make the Spleen Qi work overtime. You can also strengthen your Spleen with Acupuncture and herbs.
  4. Get in touch with your Throat and Sacral Plexus Chakras. Our Sacral Plexus Chakra is not only the emotional seat of our being, but it is also where we get in touch with creatively expressing ourselves. Because of this, it has a close relationship to the Throat Chakra, from which we speak our truth. Simply speaking words that sound empowering is nice, but knowing it as truth coming from your dan tien and Gate of Vitality, the realm of the Sacral Plexus Chakra, is nicer!

Have you ever held onto the toxic energy of others, and made it your own? 
How did it effect you, and how did you move through it?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments, below!

Release and elbow grease,







Copyright © 2015 by Alcantara Acupuncture & Healing Arts. All rights reserved. You may quote, copy, translate and link to this article, in its entirety, on free, non-donation based websites only, as long as you include the author name and a working link back to this website. All other uses are strictly prohibited.

All information on this website is my own opinion, and not to be taken as medical advice. Reliance on any information provided on this website is solely at your own risk. Please refer to your medical practitioner before making any medical decisions.


  1. Grace
    August 25, 2015

    Incredible timing. Was desperate to get this info a few days ago. Thank you.

    • Margarita Alcantara, M.S.Ac., L.Ac., Reiki Master/Teacher
      August 26, 2015

      Hi Grace,

      I’m glad that my blog post came when you needed it! Hope it was helpful.


  2. Kristy
    August 26, 2015

    Thank you for this article, Margarita. Again, perfect timing. I feel like I needed to read this today! I am a nurse (also an empath) and it can be a challenge not to absorb the energies around me at work. I recently started doing yoga and have found this to be very helpful in clearing out old energy. Salt baths, crystals and palo santo are some of my favorites too 🙂

    • Margarita Alcantara, M.S.Ac., L.Ac., Reiki Master/Teacher
      August 26, 2015

      Hi Kristy,

      Thanks for your comment! Sounds like you are doing things to strengthen yourself, as well as clearing out the old energy. I love those methods you’d mentioned! Those are faves of mine, as well. It’s so important to cultivate these things, particularly as a nurse, where you come in daily contact with other people who are not feeling well.


  3. Anna
    February 3, 2020

    Hi, I wonder if there is something I can do when i feel my own resistance to someone’s energy as burning of the heart? When it’s mine and not theirs.

    Live and appreciation,


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