Learning empathy?
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22-07-2012, 06:27 PM
RE: Learning empathy?
(22-07-2012 12:51 PM)Leela Wrote:  I have empathy to people through whose situation I have lived myself. And knowing what they are going through, I always want to help.
And these are honest feelings, not faked, not trained to act them well. I have never been standing in front of a mirror, training expressions.
I think the only way you can feel empathy Leela is when you have walked in the other persons shoes..... you said yourself that you do feel empathy so I dont honestly think you need to "learn" empathy.


I think we can easily become hardened to watching things on the internet..... it is after all only a screen and we can turn it off and return to normal life anytime we choose. I used to frequent a certain website that had the most horrific videos of people dying on it..... I have watched people get shot, hung, beaten to death, beheaded with knives, machettes and chainsaws.

When i told people about it they thought I was sick in the head for watching it...... however to me it is just fascinating learning about death and how people in other countries live. I didnt feel empathy for them.... most of the time I didnt feel anything........ It was just "entertainment"

Its funny though that i can watch those sort of videos...... that most people couldnt stand to watch....... yet I cry at 9/11 and I cry when I watch movies.....tears of sadness and tears of happiness.

I dont think your a psychopath..... and I imagine you hearing that from your husband would of hurt a million times more than if somebody on here/in the street would of said it.

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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22-07-2012, 06:52 PM
RE: Learning empathy?
(22-07-2012 02:58 PM)Leela Wrote:  Dom, you may have a point there. Btw I have actually been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, so it does fit, yes. As I said I have worked hard to let emotions back in, but missing lots of emotions makes it very difficult to emphasize.
If you don't mind, would you pm me that message board?


I'll try to find it again, I came across it years ago when researching what might be the matter with my seriously flawed brother. That is your answer then, the border line. You know, we all have a little border line in us, I bet you can send random people to read about it and they will identify with this or that part. And I bet there will be parts you don't identify with, so don't let it define you. Only you define you.

Angie makes a lot of sense too, I always felt sympathy for people who were grieving, but I never understood it all and it wasn't empathy I felt. Now that I am going through it myself I understand very well and I feel intense empathy with others going through it.

Empathy cuts through all the differences between people down to the core of the emotions we all share when applicable.

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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22-07-2012, 08:21 PM
RE: Learning empathy?
(22-07-2012 06:27 PM)bemore Wrote:  I think we can easily become hardened to watching things on the internet..... it is after all only a screen and we can turn it off and return to normal life anytime we choose. I used to frequent a certain website that had the most horrific videos of people dying on it..... I have watched people get shot, hung, beaten to death, beheaded with knives, machettes and chainsaws.

When i told people about it they thought I was sick in the head for watching it...... however to me it is just fascinating learning about death and how people in other countries live. I didnt feel empathy for them.... most of the time I didnt feel anything........ It was just "entertainment"

Its funny though that i can watch those sort of videos...... that most people couldnt stand to watch....... yet I cry at 9/11 and I cry when I watch movies.....tears of sadness and tears of happiness.

I too can watch sick stuff without a problem (as long as it's not real, too distant or no real harm) but I'm also able to cry like a baby over other things.

But I don't think you have to have lived through a situation to empathise with someone. I wasn't sexually abused, yet I get wet eyes hearing my friend's story and wouldn't I control myself by starting to (over-)analyze the things heard, I would be the one in need of care at the end Sadcryface
But I'm not the type to say "I don't want to hear X" because I like hearing the things others have on their minds a lot.

I guess a big part of it is to understand their mindset. It allows me to choose between mine and theirs. With most people I'd say I have a good intuition about how someone thinks and feels and I'm able to read and feel their pain and emotions.
If it's too much to handle for my psyche I switch back to my own (see above: overanalyzing - kinda like building a wall).
I don't know how I would react without my calm life acting as a safe haven.

I don't know whether this can be learned, I guess only to a degree, but does it matter? I think most people have their fair share of pain in their lives and a lot of empathy doesn't necessarily make you a better person than you already are. I'd say you don't have to understand every individual hardship to feel the need to help or to take a stand for a better world. How much empathy one has is imo, like atheism, just another piece of one's personality.
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23-07-2012, 03:07 AM
RE: Learning empathy?
(22-07-2012 04:17 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I don't think you give yourself enough, credit, Leela. From our interactions through the board, I've found you to be very empathetic to what others are going through. It surprises me whenever you make comments about being unfeeling, because I find you to be very kind and encouraging and concerned about the welfare of others. Give yourself a hug and stop beating yourself up. Smile <3
Well, yes. But if you see, it is the stuff about depression or suicide that gets to me, and that is because I have been there. I am still alive and I know that depression can be overcome, so I offer help.
(22-07-2012 06:27 PM)bemore Wrote:  I dont think your a psychopath..... and I imagine you hearing that from your husband would of hurt a million times more than if somebody on here/in the street would of said it.
It didn't hurt. He didn't say it to hurt at all. He was basically wtf-ing about me not being able to understand why others can't listen to these things or watch them. He actually patiently explained to me why that is so.

And at a certain level of cruelty I get sweaty and angry and I will turn it off. But I think this level is at a point, right now, that others don't understand. I have watched a documentary about kid soldiers once, by the end of it I was done, near crying, sweaty, felt physically sick from all the cruelty I saw there. But that took 2 hrs of documentary and a range of videos on the topic that I watched immediately before that. ... Kids are a "hot topic" for me. I don't like them enough to really care about every single one of them or even about those in the supermarket unless they scream around for no reason. But I care enough to see when someone is in a defenseless position, and this was what got to me in the end, on this particular topic.

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