Types of empathy: How do you deal? | INFJ Forum

Types of empathy: How do you deal?

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Gaze, Jun 12, 2010.

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  1. Gaze

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    Types of empathy. Can you relate to any of these and how do you deal?

     
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    #1 Gaze, Jun 12, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2010
  2. Norwich

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    I can definitely relate to "perspective taking." Have always been able to do this and I think it's served me well for the most part. The only time it has gotten me in trouble is when listening to someone vent. When they want me to empathize with them and I've mistakenly verbalized how who ever they are venting about may feel, it doesn't always go over well. So in general I try to avoid those situations. I'm not sure which type of empathy it would be, but some type makes it nearly impossible for me to watch reality TV. I just get very embarrassed for the people on the screen.
     
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  3. OP
    Gaze

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    That sounds like empathic concern.

     
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    #3 Gaze, Jun 12, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2010
  4. Norwich

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    Wow, I have never drawn a distinction between the two.
     
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    #4 Norwich, Jun 12, 2010
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  5. OP
    Gaze

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  6. IndigoSensor

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    I am an extremely empathetic person, and in a lot of ways I don't like it. While it is extremely useful for understanding the world around me, it costs a lot of energy at the same time. When my energy does run out, then this empathy turns on it's head and I will only see what "should" be seen and that is completely unfair. I keep that strongly in check, but when I am very worn it can slip.

    From reading this I end up entering all of these empathetic modes at one point or another. However the most prevelent form for me is definitely Cognitive Empathy. It's actually an innate process for me that I will end up doing automatically. Again, it's extremely useful. When the other person has strong emotions I will enter into True Empathy, and I do not like that. However it is something I can't help. It's partly because I do not want to express these feelings that I feel and it is unnerving to me. While I know it is not a weakness at all, I can't help but feel like it is. True Empathy wares me out very very quickly. Largely because I keep it all inside.
     
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  7. sassafras

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    My empathy crosses through a mental filter. I don't feel the other person's emotions so much as I understand them. I kinda, sorta put myself in their shoes, but not necessarily in a emotional manner. I look at it like, well, this is what I would do or how I think they should handle it and I start brainstorming the ways in which I can help them alleviate the problem and lift the haze so they can get proper clarity on the situation. I never take in emotions passively. I turn them over in my head about a thousand times (often to the point that I'm no longer experiencing clear feelings, but rather memories of feelings... if that makes sense) and I try to get to the root of the issue. I do care about what happens to people and I'm interested, but I'm somehow connected and disconnected to them at the same time.

    It's strange.
     
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  8. IndigoSensor

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    Not strange to me as I pretty much do this exact thing as well, you just explained it much better then I did. It's a wonderful thing but it also causes me pain because this mental filter is huge and is also a wall in effect, to which in a lot of cases when I should feel something, I just don't. Of course, as of some point last year my brain got sick of it and will make me have these weird somataform feelings when it gets fed up with the filter or the filter wants to take a nap. At least, it allows me to have "true empathy" feelings. While I am not a fan of it, I assume it will be useful in the long run. I just have to get over needing to supress it.
     
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  9. sassafras

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    Definitely can relate to the "wall" you mentioned here, Indy. At one point, I think I was a lot more emotionally tuned like you describe (true empathy), but my own struggles with anxiety and depression kind of blunted that affect. Once I crawled out of that pit, it was like my entire emotional system had been remodeled. I'm rarely let myself experience my own emotions on a purely visceral level; I can't imagine letting myself take on the raw emotions of others. I'm more cerebral in my approach to almost everything now, but at the same time, I know I am more sensitive than the average person.. or maybe that's just my ego talking.

    Either way, I think my type of empathy can be best attributed to either "Theory of Mind" or a blend of the last two Perspective Takings. Of all of them, I'm very much sensitive to how environment plays a part in shaping our experiences, emotional and otherwise. Theory of Mind applies to my ability to sort of take apart experiences and look at them in parts to gain a better understanding of the situation; what this individual's beliefs, ideas, habits, etc. contribute to their experience and knowing this, how I can help them best.
     
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    #9 sassafras, Oct 18, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  10. OP
    Gaze

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    +1

    This is how i'd like to be. Emotional contagion is taking it's toll. So is emotional concern and empathy. It makes it too easy to be sympathetic which leads to giving in rather than standing my ground. But i'm glad i found these descriptions of empathy because i've been blaming myself entirely for the effects these emotions have on me as if i had complete control, when it's really just a result of a natural tendency towards sensitivity + empathy. I've been feeling guilty about this for a long time and it's relief to know it's not something specific to me or a product of who i am :D. I think that is why i tend to need time away from people more often than most especially after a long day at work.
     
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    #10 Gaze, Oct 18, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  11. Nixie

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    I think I operate from cognitive empathy a majority of the time. I can usually figure out motivations rather quickly and realize that my Ti operates to analyze the situation and draw conclusions.

    Cognitive Empathy is having a consciousness of the need to imaginatively put oneself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them, which requires the consciousness of our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions of long-standing thought or belief. This trait correlates with the ability to reconstruct accurately the viewpoints and reasoning of others and to reason from premises, assumptions, and ideas other than our own. This trait also correlates with the willingness to remember occasions when we were wrong in the past despite an intense conviction that we were right, and with the ability to imagine our being similarly deceived in a case-at-hand.

    When True Empathy kicks in, I cannot stand to be around people, especially crowds. I liken it to having my inner shields compromised becaue I realize that the emotions I am feeling aren't really my own. The only thing that helps is quiet and solitude. I am quite comfortable operating beneath cognitive empathy and generally am always using this ablity when dealing with others.
     
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  12. NiennaLadyOfTears

    NiennaLadyOfTears Goth Hobbit Lass
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    For me, I feel the other person's concerns to the point of getting physically ill. For instance, if someone I know has a headache, I will know it, and I'll be able to identify who had the headache even if I only knew the person online, and my headache will be in the exact same area as theirs, at the exact same time.. It doesn't work in a forum setting but if it's someone I talk to frequently, say on MSN, then it works.

    I also lucid dream and have an uncanny ability for astral projection, even though I have never studied it or taken any substance to achieve it. I can at will concentrate to "visit" a friend of mine and hold a brief conversation with that person, and the next day the person would call me and tell me that they had an uncanny dream about me and what happened and it was usually exactly what I had done. This is one of the ways I was able to remain connected to my husband when we were in a 4 and a half year long distance relationship. I would "be" there with him and apparently whatever I thought I was doing with him at the time is what he felt from me.

    Also I have not studied reiki, but have an ability for that as well. I only know the name because I described what I can do to someone and they told me the name.

    A lot of people I know say I must be demon possessed to have these "powers", but I have never opened myself to the actual study of them. They've been with me since I was a young child. I just honed what was a natural gift.
     
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    Gaze

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  14. Kgal

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    Depending upon the person and situation - I utilize both of these definitions:

    Emotional Empathy occurs when you feel physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious. This kind of Empathy makes someone well-attuned to another person’s inner emotional world.

    Cognitive Empathy is having a consciousness of the need to imaginatively put oneself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them, which requires the consciousness of our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions of long-standing thought or belief.

    Often the emotional empathy happens before I become fully aware that I'm in it - and I have to take steps to slow it down - or loosen it's hold upon me. I do this by taking deep breaths to center myself. That's when the cognitive empathy process flows. For me - it helps me get a handle on the emotional empathy resonating within me. It also seems that I need the emotional empathy so as to progress into the cognitive empathy. I can't do one without the other. This is how I can "meet people where they're at" - and - get to the heart of the matter. I'll admit - though - that sometimes it's very hard to do again and again.

    This idea of empathic concern gives me better understanding of what I experience with people when they are struggling with a really tough life situation. I never thought of it that way.

    Over my lifetime I have needed to get away and be alone, preferably with nature, in order to release others emotions that I have absorbed. Could be why I've sought places to live that have acres where I can have pets and trees that I love.

    My counselor and his cohort have both told me I'm a natural counselor. I believe my "natural" ability is due to the level of empathy I can call up from within me when I'm in the presence of people. And I do not always have the 'energy' (??) to do this with anyone and everyone.

    No - that's not it either.... It's not that I call up my energy to be empathic... it's more like I 'tune' myself with them and This takes energy from me.

    I wonder if it's because some people just aren't in touch with their emotional sides and it requires greater effort for me to 'tune' to them?
     
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  15. Trifoilum

    Trifoilum find wisdom, build hope.

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    I often use Cognitive Empathy, but I think I've had some Emotional Empathy every now and then.

    My cognitive empathy is easier to use but more tiring, while I often have Emotional Empathy to recover my own psyche, as in blocking my actual thoughts and immerse myself with the (good) feelings around. If the mood is bad..well. :|
     
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  16. Nixie

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    I begin to think the only way to deal with empathy when I am unbalanced in any of its forms is by hiding...
    The empathy brings a certain strangling sensation when I am not well balanced.

    I try very hard to stay balanced because the emotional tides of others can sweep you away faster if you aren't firmly anchored yourself.
     
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  17. jimtaylor

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  18. OP
    Gaze

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    This! I'm going through this again, and it's tiring. I avoid crowds or large groups because of this. Time away, or engaging in something escapist is usually the only way to deal with this. And yes, it does feel as if your boundaries are being compromised. You're not sure where your thoughts or feelings begin and everyone else's ends. It feels as if it's all merged in one. That's why time away is important or else it's easy to go cra-cra, :D
     
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  19. Nixie

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    I think I should point out that although I feel empathy, it doesn't mean that I totally operate 100% great with people. If anything, I enjoy being a janging bell and really work at being an annoying fucking bitch when the mood hits me and the empathy gives me that extra nudge to truly be a beyoch when I'm being someway. I mean, it isn't all, "yea man, I GET IT, totally" *sobs and hugs all around* Sometimes it's like..yea, I fucked with so and so
     
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