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Old 03-14-2018, 09:13 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
2,371 posts, read 1,641,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gouligann View Post
And then throw sociopaths and narcissists into it and most of them could care less. They have no true feelings of any kind, good or bad. Just evil conniving minds.
Well yes, that would be an example on one side of the spectrum.

But there are also people who do genuinely care but aren't overly emotional on the surface. Some people may show support by being very emotional, giving big hugs, crying with the bereaved, etc.

And others may not seem to be outwardly showing emotion, but intrinsically care in their own way. They may offer to cut the lawn while one is grieving as their way of showing they care. Having empathy and being emotional are mutually exclusive traits. Sometimes they do go together but not always.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie, Fla
3,936 posts, read 6,389,537 times
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Im not playing Doctor by any means, never said I was, and I don't move people unless they are up walking.. and then I would make them sit down. But I DO go for help while everyone else is gawking.

I am well aware of what not to do, but I don't just STAND there
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:11 AM
 
27,442 posts, read 44,934,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picklejuice View Post
Empathy is intrinsic.

I agree and disagree.

Interesting study.
I think empathy like many social aspects of behavior--respect for others and for rules, patience, general politeness--need to be taught to children at early age so that they understand the concept of "walking in the other person's shoes"
That is not instinctive---
I have seen too many children at young age who were not taught to consider the feelings of others which makes problems like bullying so much more prevalent

We consciously worked with our children to evoke their sense of empathy and do it (along with his parents) with our 5 yr old grandson...
A child doesn't come equipped with the full-blown skills to be a compassionate person already developed any more than s/he knows how to read or how to differentiate colors by name...but they have the capacity to be taught those abilities...
Children are born with strong selfish sense likely part of innate will to survive and if they are not trained away from that remain self-centered and selfish (IMO)...
A person who is colorblind physically can never see the world the same way as someone with normal color vision can, just as someone who might be classed as a "sociopath" would have stunted emotional connection ability...
Someone who is a racist likely has stunted empathy capacity...
I wonder if THAT aspect of racism has ever been tested?
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:36 AM
 
27,442 posts, read 44,934,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jowel View Post
...
Having empathy and being emotional are mutually exclusive traits. Sometimes they do go together but not always.
I agree with most of your comment but have a qualification--
You make it sound like you either have one or the other---that if you are emotional you lack empathy--
I think maybe you misstated your concept...and meant they are independent traits--not tied to each other.

I think being outwardly emotional, showing emotion or "excessive" emotion doesn't necessarily relate to a true feeling of emathy with some people at all...
it can be used as an attention getter for the emotional person and really be as much a reflection of narcissism or selfishness as empathy...

Feeling empathy for someone's situation doesn't necessarily call for a physical response of emotion or action--
For example--
If I feel empathy for a family who suffers a senseless act of violence--like the families of the Douglas shooting victims, I don't have to cry, go to a church service, join a protest march, write a sympathy letter, or donate money to a GoFund account...
We have seen many, many people who have been impacted by the recent school shooting who have been moved to action and emotional displays of empathy---but those aren't the only people who care...
Moderator cut: off-topic - this is grief and mourning forum

Last edited by harry chickpea; 03-15-2018 at 09:04 AM..
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
40,879 posts, read 32,642,286 times
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I have two daughters who are wired together totally differently. One is very logical and a natural born leader. The other is very subjective and artistic and also not all that logical. They are like oil and water and frankly they simply don't get along.

I am somewhere in the middle, but lean more toward logical and less empathetic. I am just not a very sensitive person. Sorry, but I'm hardwired that way. I am also tough on myself and tend to be surprised (and often taken aback) when empathetic people reach out to me assuming that I'm emotionally devastated or even upset by events. Hey, I'm OK. I mean, depending on the severity of the situation, I may be shaken or sad, but honestly - I'll be OK. And so far (56 years in) that's held true.

When my dad died unexpectedly, leaving me (as POA for my mom) "in charge" of his estate and my mom with dementia in my care (after being his medical POA and having to make the decision to take him off life support), this was after days of having everyone in my family sit there and look at ME and expect me to take charge. This did not change when my dad passed away. And honestly, I mean SOMEONE had to be level headed and take charge. Actually, during our goodbyes to my dad, my oldest daughter stepped up and took charge when some nosy "friends" simply wouldn't leave the room and allow the family to discuss things privately (these were not even close friends of my parents'). She knew I was upset - yes, I do feel emotions - even though I wasn't howling or dissolving with grief, and she strode over to the couple and took one by one elbow and one by the other and gently but firmly just led them right out of the room.

Meanwhile, my very empathetic best friend (who WAS very close to my parents) - instead of reaching out to comfort me, began crying hysterically and I felt compelled to go comfort HER - when it was MY DAD who was dying. GOOD GRIEF.

And my youngest daughter? A year and a half later, we are totally estranged - her decision - because she didn't approve of the logical, methodical way I handled my dad's final illness, his death, decisions about my mom's care, and settling the estate (my mom was the heir to everything so this didn't involve dividing up things among kids and grandkids, other than a few personal items, most of which my dad had already clarified regarding who got what - and in fact this particular daughter of mine ended up with TONS of "things" from my dad's estate when my mom sold the house).

My empathetic, emotionally driven daughter to this day thinks I am some unfeeling, uncaring monster. Funny how her empathy never has extended to what I was dealing with. It was and still is a dirty job but someone had to take charge, and no one else was willing or able to do so. I mean, my oldest brother was willing to do so, but he's battling cancer so he's been sidelined fighting for his own life.

The only people who have supported me emotionally and logistically (and yes, even "tough" people need support from their loved ones during difficult times) are my husband, my oldest brother, my oldest daughter and eventually my best friend (after her own emotional meltdown). Everyone else in my immediate family - younger brother, younger daughter, both my sons - were long on judgment and very, very short on actual help as I struggled to figure out how to settle a large and complex estate, deal with my mom who descended into debilitating dementia, and my own needs as well. All these people are what I would term "emotional rather than logical" when it comes to thought processes and decisions.

Give me a logical, tough person to work with any day. I don't need coddling - I need common sense. And that's what I give too, in an emotional situation. It's really my default, and just like empathy, it's necessary and often helpful as well.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:31 AM
 
27,442 posts, read 44,934,740 times
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I didn't want to quote your post but I understand exactly where you are coming from

I was a basket case when my dad died because of how I found out about it and other aspects of his situation--but I didn't fall apart at the funeral...

I cry all the time at the movies--including some scenes that others don't find very emotion-provoking for them at all--and even reading some books I find myself tearing up...

But I also think I respond fairly logically in situations that others don't...

When my son was under a year old, we were driving to visit family--
That was 40 yrs ago and we had his car seat (so he faced us) on the front bench seat--between us--
Had a big Chevy Impala at the time and certainly no guidelines to put car seats in the rear...
Our son started choking on some formula and needed to come out of the car seat...
My husband was driving and became extremely agitated...and he was driving!
But he basically ripped one of the straps (how hard was that!) trying to get the baby out...
My thinking was it takes loss of air for 3 minutes for brain damage so I have plenty of time to get him up...
The boy was fine, once he could cough upright over my shoulder--no damage done except to the car seat...

I have noticed that now I am older (close to 70) I do tend to overreact to simple situations and "stew" on things that wouldn't have bothered me or I would have dealt with more directly when I was younger...but I am still more problem-solver than emotional reaction...just find it more difficult to make that solution decision...trying to avoid mistake...
Don't know if that is because my husband is retired and we spend so much more time together and often have divergeant responses to situations/problems that wouldn't have occurred because he would have been at work really...or if I am just feeling effects of changes in my body chemistry...
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:09 AM
 
9,834 posts, read 5,715,842 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by writerwife View Post
My dad is like that. He feels it deeply but cannot/will not emote and just simply doesn't know how to help out even tho he'd like to.
That has nothing to do with empathy. Those lacking it feel nothing and do not understand why they should feel anything.

I know of at least one person who admitted they felt nothing on 9/11, because it didn't happen to them.
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:12 AM
 
5,046 posts, read 597,010 times
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This might be completely wrong and off-base, but sometimes I think that people learn to not feel so much emotion (especially grief and love) as a defense mechanism.

To illustrate by just using my own experience as an example, when I was a child, I was extremely "sensitive" -- I always took the side of the underdog, the death of any person or even pet would hit me very hard, and I would tear up at any "heart-tugging" television show. However, over the years and MANY heartbreaks that were actually traumatic to me, I have learned to harden myself against feeling very much now at all, to the point that I probably strike many people as being "cold".

And although this might not relate to the feelings of empathy -- I can still sympathize and empathize with many people -- I am just saying that I suspect that how one responds emotionally can change over time.

I also want to point out that if one has never felt a particular emotion, how can one empathize with someone else feeling that emotion?
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Old 03-15-2018, 10:17 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
5,097 posts, read 2,913,065 times
Reputation: 9413
I think I have a somewhat reduced capacity for expressing gratitude and feeling empathy but the fact that I recognize that trait in myself tells me that I am not wholly without that capacity. I know what it is but seem to look beyond it to some practical response like a problem-solving task. I have to remind myself to show gratitude and even attended a class recently on experiencing gratitude. Empathy is much the same and I fear that it is sort of mechanical or robotic when I try to express it.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
40,879 posts, read 32,642,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
I think I have a somewhat reduced capacity for expressing gratitude and feeling empathy but the fact that I recognize that trait in myself tells me that I am not wholly without that capacity. I know what it is but seem to look beyond it to some practical response like a problem-solving task. I have to remind myself to show gratitude and even attended a class recently on experiencing gratitude. Empathy is much the same and I fear that it is sort of mechanical or robotic when I try to express it.
This makes sense to me.

I have to remind myself often when dealing with people in a crisis, to speak more slowly, move more quietly, etc. because I tend to be brusque. I cannot BEAR to be in neutral mode - I am definitely a problem solver sort of person and have been told before when people open up to me that sometimes they just want to talk about how they feel - they aren't always looking for a solution. But personally I don't like what I perceive as "wallowing in negative feelings" so I'm always "looking for a solution" for myself and others. I always have to remind myself that sometimes I just need to listen and maybe gently touch their arm or just nod and say "I understand how you might feel that way" or something like that.
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