Empathy is a complex one. My empathy has been out of control lately so the topic comes at a good time. I've found the only way to cope with it is to use a similar method to what soulseeker laid out. The mechanics behind this sort of method is all about transmutation and grounding. So an understanding of energy is first required, understand energy and that emotions are a form of energy and that what you are seeking to do, is to purge and transmute the energies/emotions so that they are not held in your energy field.
If they remain held in you which is what happens to most empaths, then you may begin the process of processing the emotions as if they were your own. Again processing is another form of transmutation and healing, some of us are literally built to be energy transmuters or "balancers", i know for instance that i am
However just because the ability is there to take on an "energy dump" (a term coined by energy workers) it doesn't mean that 1. you should personally be taking on peoples issues/emotions, because this in it self can be really problematic and I seriously don't know how any empath could cope with it or stay sane for that matter, if it was happening 24/7. Furthermore the energy dumps tend to happen on a more subconscious level and just like soulseeker said in her account, that her friend felt better and relieved of her issues/emotion, while soulseeker felt worse. People don't even realise when they have energy dumped on someone and that is why they feel better after spending time with a certain someone. The idea is to strike a balance, energy can still be transmutated, a person can still be helped to deal with their energy load, but it can be done in away that doesn't require you to hold onto it or process it as if it were your own.
The answer is to simply begin a strict practice of clearing your self after you have spent time with any person or place. Do it multiple times a day. Some people find blocking works well, i personally don't. Shielding and grounding come together as any good shield should be grounding you at the same time. You can google these things and devise something you feel works for you. But the clearing method is basically using the universal divine light/love energy to pass through you from crown to root/toe and flushing you out. Like a water fall rinsing your energy field out of anything which has got blocked or attached to you. There are ways to make this method more potent by practising this as a daily meditation, where you practice holding your connection to the centre of the galaxy core, while simultaneously grounding to the core of the earth. This brings you into the territory of energy work, reiki, yoga, tai chi, and meditation. Again it would be beneficial to find a practice which allows to you to work on and express your energy and connections daily. One meditation that works well for me is the violet flame meditation, i use it as a transmutation workout and it seems to be one of the few that helps to clear to the most deepest levels and pull me back to myself very quickly. Here is some info on how to do the violet flame here - http://www.wellbeing...meditation.html
So at the end of the day this all comes back to energy, transmutation, grounding and healing. One day in the future when society and people become more energy aware and empathetic as a whole, we will begin to realise that we all have a responsibility in taking care of our energy fields and grounding, and then healing at that level and assisting others to heal, will become much more substantial and respected. But until such a time, we have to learn how to manage energy and our boundaries and that is not a bad thing.
Emberdawn i feel what may benefit you is to do a cord cutting between you and this person and reclaim your energy back. Cord cutting is not as scary as it sounds, it is a given that energetic cords form and attach between people, even people you don't know but have just spoken to at some point. The cords vary in size depending on what the relationship is and where the cord is located on your etheric/ energy body can influence other things too.
The purpose of the cords? like an internet - the cords exist as energy information highways between people, exchanging energy, and info on the subtle levels.Note not to be confused with soul connections or bonds which exist on the soul level and can not be interfered with. It's okay you can't mistakenly discord those ones as they exist on a higher level beyond the drama and ego of 3d physical level. The cords we are discussing today are merely the lower level subtle body energy cords, so just to make that distinction absolutely clear.
When relations between people are good they serve no harmful exchange. However when relations are bad, or you know people of a negative disposition, with dishonest/ ill intentions towards you/ or life in general, or in the case of an abusive/dysfunctional relationship, the cords can begin to serve major problems. This is because in any relation between 2 people, there is a receiving and transmitting level of energy, and these cords facilitate this 24/7 and keep all the old patterns-even dysfunctional ones and issues, zipping back and forth. In the case of an empath, this effect is even more heightened, and because most people are oblivious to the subtle/energetic level, empaths more often than not end up getting the raw end of the 'deal' and energy dumping. For example energy vamping, draining, emotions that don't belong to them, moods etc, empaths become the equivalent of the "international operator" for all their friends, family and associates who ping back and forth data/emotions/patterns millions of time per day. So it makes sense to cut the cords of those who are in a state of discord themselves or who no longer serve you to your highest good. It may seem a selfish thing to do, but it is not, you are not harming the person by doing this and you are not ignoring that the person has problems, but what you are doing is making sure you protect your sanity, space and energy.
In metaphysics and in energy healing circles, Cutting cords therefore is seen as a healthy thing to do, and part of the maintenance needed to keep yourself clear and holding your own space. It is something I personally practice on a regular basis as does my empathetic and aware friends. When doing the daily clearing as described earlier in this post, you can include it in your intention to discord any cords or 'ego hooks' from your energy field or consciousness that are not to your highest good.
I have used the cord cutting. I cut everything but a very thick cord. It looked important so I left it alone. I will do this more often.
I agree with what you say. This is the last effort I make on his behalf. He knows about this stuff but ignores it and forgets it. I was just hoping I could get him to remember and try.
Thank you everyone who posted I will try your suggestions.