Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Eliza

Empathy

Recommended Posts

Eliza

I watched a Ted Talk recently, hosted by an Aspie on the topic of empathy. In addition to that, I've read a number of articles where the idea of 'a lack of empathy among autistics' is changing.

For me, empathy is one of those things that has always confounded me. If anything, I feel too strongly.

After a little research here is what I learned:

There are three types of empathy: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate.

People with autism tend to lack cognitive empathy. One of the first things our brains ask is, "Why do they feel this way?" However, tying their words with our emotions and own past experience, for me anyway, can often bring physical pain, like being stabbed in the chest with a knife. I tend also to be able to show great compassion, even to people I don't know (like a young woman crying in public,for example) because it twists up something inside me...it's very physically painful.

I think because of this I guard my heart to keep from experiencing those feelings. It's often easier to just not care.

What about you? How do you experience empathy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Little Guy
36 minutes ago, Eliza said:

If anything, I feel too strongly.

Ditto.

35 minutes ago, Eliza said:

It's often easier to just not care.

I can't not care. To me caring is the highest calling of a being on this planet.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Eli

I think I've ended up at the same conclusion. When I was a child, the empathy was more intense, almost to the point of being debilitating. I know exactly what you mean by actual physical pain. I also agree that caring, or more accurately in my line of thinking, compassion, is the highest calling of a being. So it's always been like walking a tight rope, trying to not shut down your feelings completely, which I believe is mutilation, and not letting yourself be controlled by emotion. Between those two things, my husband chose to shut down his feelings, for the most part. As it happens, he is better at functioning socially than I am, especially in formal settings, or when things need to be done. However, having retained mine, I have more healthy relationships as a whole.

When I met him, I was headed in that direction, and when he realized that, he wouldn't let me. He likes to say that I have "a light", and that he wants to protect it. I've never been entirely clear on what that means to him, but I think it means he sees me as having retained both hope and compassion for both myself and others. Trying to keep that light without being consumed by it is really difficult. Not to get into too much of a spiritual arena, I will say that for me personally, Buddhism has assisted a lot, because much of Buddhist teaching is about compassion without attachment, which is very truly a practice that must be practiced every day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lifeis
On ‎29‎/‎11‎/‎2016 at 8:34 PM, Little Guy said:

Ditto.

 

i feel the same way, i just think aspies find it hard to show empathy especially to people we don't know/trust.

 

 

On ‎29‎/‎11‎/‎2016 at 8:34 PM, Little Guy said:

 

To me caring is the highest calling of a being on this planet.

 

you sir have my respect. I've often thought the same and yet many people don't put this into practice, I can tell however by how you phrase this that you understand its importance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Snow Flower

I personally tend to find that I struggle picking up on social cues. Sometimes I'll do or say things that may seem strange or insensitive to someone else without realizing it, or I'll just fail to act in the kind of situation that calls for a certain kind of action. However, if I ever think I've caused someone offense or discomfort in any way, I beat myself up over it relentlessly. If I see someone upset, it hurts me. I've never been good at comforting people who are upset or outwardly showing my own feelings, particularly because I'm not the best at articulating on an oral level. At least with people I'm not close to. So yeah. Like a few people who have replied so far, I would say I'm extremely emotional and I care about every little darn thing. In fact, I tend to obsess at times. It can be both a curse and a blessing, I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sanctuary

I think Snow Flower is spot on with this - that people with AS often have problems communicating empathy to other people rather than actually feeling it inside. For example a genuine compliment or positive comment might be offered but it seems to lack warmth or sincerity and a person with AS gets unfairly judged as a result. People with AS certainly do care and and - as Snow Flower said - be really worried that they may have upset people or that they haven't reacted quite in the way other people expect. This can be a reason for avoiding social interaction but that can lead to negative judgements as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Eliza
8 hours ago, Snow Flower said:

I personally tend to find that I struggle picking up on social cues. Sometimes I'll do or say things that may seem strange or insensitive to someone else without realizing it, or I'll just fail to act in the kind of situation that calls for a certain kind of action. However, if I ever think I've caused someone offense or discomfort in any way, I beat myself up over it relentlessly. If I see someone upset, it hurts me. I've never been good at comforting people who are upset or outwardly showing my own feelings, particularly because I'm not the best at articulating on an oral level. At least with people I'm not close to. So yeah. Like a few people who have replied so far, I would say I'm extremely emotional and I care about every little darn thing. In fact, I tend to obsess at times. It can be both a curse and a blessing, I guess.

 

Oh my gosh, you worded that so perfectly! Yes, that over sensitive quality--beating myself up sh*t. I can so relate to your post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sanctuary

On a related topic I try to avoid reading or watching news stories about dreadful crimes, cruelty or suffering. Maybe some people might see this as a sign of not caring about those things but it's actually finding them too upsetting and empathising with the victims. I also find it very difficult to watch scenes of graphic violence in films, even though they're only fictional. Sometimes it's impossible to avoid coming across these stories or scenes in a film and the images occasionally flash up in my head and it's very unpleasant. Others on here (and I'm sure many who aren't on the spectrum) may have similar feelings regarding violence and suffering. I find it difficult to understand how many people can read avidly about horrific crimes and events or who enjoy watching gruesome films but I suppose most of them feel they want to learn more while in the case of a film they would say it's only fiction. We can all respond to sad or shocking events in different ways but they can all show an ability to empathise with other people's pain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Little Guy
On 12/2/2016 at 10:09 PM, lifeis said:

you sir have my respect

Thank you.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nesf

I think that a lot of the social difficulties come from the fact that we experience and process emotions in a different way to most people. I've been told that I don't pick up on people's moods, and that I'm detached and aloof. When I'm with a group of friends, often they are all talking together as a group, all responding to each other and interacting with each other emotionally as well as verbally, using non-verbal body language. They seem to pick up on and even feel each other's emotions and automatically respond. When I'm in that situation, I don't get any of this. I don't have access to it. I don't seem to be able to pick up on the subtle body language and social cues, so I don't respond in the expected way. I feel like I'm behind a kind of screen, in a bubble detached and isolated, everything just passes me and I'm alone. I don't always feel what people feel, or have the same automated emotional responses, and I think that is why people may think that I have no empathy and that I don't care. But it's not that I don't care or don't have empathy, it's more that I'm not so in tune with emotions in the same way that they are - I experience them and process or deal with them in a different way. I've always found it extremely hard to deal with emotions, both my own and those of other people and avoid talking about emotional issues. I can easily become overwhelmed by emotions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.