Is it odd I don't like it when people give me sympathy?

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catpiecakebutter
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21 Feb 2024, 2:52 pm

It's no one's fault but I don't really like sympathy when I tell someone an problem I have. I feel I don't deserve sympathy and I would rather have a solution to a problem than a listening ear, which is why a counsellor would not be good for me. Do any of you feel the same way?



Eyeselation
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21 Feb 2024, 10:46 pm

Sympathy-“feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune.”

No it’s not odd depending on the circumstances. Sympathy, when it’s overdrawn, or insincere, or unsolicited tends to make me feel worse not better. And I would rather be disliked than pitied for who I am.
If someone says “ I’m sorry to hear that” and moves on then that’s ok.

I don’t mind if someone sympathizes with me; which is something completely different.
Sympathy-
“ understanding between people; common feeling. Camaraderie”



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22 Feb 2024, 12:33 am

Yes I feel the same. And no, I don't find it unusual.

And I tried to dissect why is this. And why others would rather have that.

And I find it's a nuisance processing of the human mind's need for connection and the human's egotistic need to be more independent as a way to make others perceive of them of higher value.

Again a fricking nuisance.

It can range from pride and arrogance to the idea of deserving to guilt and shame.
The two always ties like love, apathy and hate does.


I myself would rather want to do something than drag the whole thing over.
I can cry and cry and cry about it and nothing will happen.

And if I "accept" simply because "someone is there"?
Again it's a fricking nuisance of a processing -- sometimes it works like acknowledging a problem first step work, and sometimes it's an enabler or turned excuse, and sometimes it leads to stagnation of quietly suffering.


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Fraser_S
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22 Feb 2024, 4:29 am

Very common in autism. When a neurotypical feels negative emotions about something, they expect to be validated on an emotional level by their family, friends and peers. Which is why they typically get annoyed or frustrated when we offer them a more logistical solution as they feel we're not meeting their emotional needs in the moment.

But when autistic people feel negative emotions about something, because of the way in which our own brains are wired, we expect to be offered logistical solutions. Which is why we typically get annoyed or frustrated when neurotypicals attempt to comfort us on an emotional level, rather than offering up practical, logical solutions to our problems.

This all ties into the 'double empathy problem' which makes us appear to lack empathy from the perspective of the neurotypical and the neurotypical lack empathy from our own perspective.



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22 Feb 2024, 5:00 am

Fraser_S wrote:
But when autistic people feel negative emotions about something, because of the way in which our own brains are wired, we expect to be offered logistical solutions.


When someone tells me their problems, I tend to assume they want sympathy or solutions. It isn't necessarily true; sometimes they just want someone to listen.


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Fraser_S
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22 Feb 2024, 5:09 am

JamesW wrote:
When someone tells me their problems, I tend to assume they want sympathy or solutions. It isn't necessarily true; sometimes they just want someone to listen.


Well it's good that you recognise that. Empathy isn't always about taking action, a lot of the time it's simply about being there with them and allowing them to offload the emotional stress weighing them down.



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22 Feb 2024, 6:33 am

This the opposite of what one is told a woman typically wants. Although if you ask here, you'll probably be told that many women here want exactly that, and one shouldn't stereotype autistic women that way.

Autistic people of any gender may sometimes like being held when they're feeling down, unless they have an aversion to physical contact.


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22 Feb 2024, 2:26 pm

Oddness is in the eye of the beholder, I think. I wish everybody would just accept that neither sympathy, listening, nor practical solutions are particularly right or wrong, and that it all depends on the individual.

Personally I usually want practical advice, though I've received a lot of advice that doesn't seem very good. The adviser doesn't always listen to the problem very well and then they miss the point and make an inaccurate guess. OTOH I can feel rather hostile to new suggestions, and I have to fight that feeling and make sure I consider advice fairly.

But I also appreciate some brief gestures of comfort such as simply listening or a hand on my shoulder, especially when it's more of a bad experience than a problem that can be solved via a strategy. Sometimes it's better to quietly do things that might help rather than spelling it all out in words.



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22 Feb 2024, 8:58 pm

I'd rather be held when I'm upset than be given unwanted advice.


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22 Feb 2024, 9:06 pm

catpiecakebutter wrote:
It's no one's fault but I don't really like sympathy when I tell someone an problem I have. I feel I don't deserve sympathy and I would rather have a solution to a problem than a listening ear, which is why a counsellor would not be good for me. Do any of you feel the same way?


I feel the same way, but would say it's at least partially the result of internalizing the idea that I'm undeserving of emotional support and skeptical of the motives if it were to be given.


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22 Feb 2024, 10:51 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
I'd rather be held when I'm upset than be given unwanted advice.

Me too. Advice is often off the mark, and sometimes makes you feel like the bad way you are feeling is your fault, because someone is saying there's a solution that I have not availed myself of.

But as far as the notion of not liking sympathy, I think there are different kinds of sympathy. When someone responds to your problems by making a sad face, implying "Poor you that you have to deal with this problem," that's not very pleasant. But if they genuinely offer their thoughtfulness and kindness, I appreciate that.



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23 Feb 2024, 6:46 am

I see sympathy is disabling and disempowering, empathy is a bit more useful...


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Eyeselation
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24 Feb 2024, 8:24 am

Will tolerate sympathy if I have to but— do not touch me. Not any part of me. Not my hair. Not my back, shoulder, face or anywhere. and keep your arms and hands to yourself. And no one has seen me cry for over 50 years. Nobody. Didn’t cry at the most traumatic birth of my son.
That’s why I despise funerals. All that crying and touching. And sympathy.



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24 Feb 2024, 8:41 am

sympathy and empathy are not the same thing. a counselor has no business handing out sympathy, it is inappropriate, but could you be misreading the intent ?

There are those out there who try to send a message that you are being heard and that they understand you.

Hope you can find a therapist/counselor who "gets" you and that you can work with. If you don't have success the first time, please keep trying, I had to leave 3 of them to finally land with somebody who could reach me and teach me.

The difference in my life "before and after" has saved my life and sanity.
It is something worth fighting for (keep on trying, you are worth it!)


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24 Feb 2024, 8:50 am

Quote:
But when autistic people feel negative emotions about something, because of the way in which our own brains are wired, we expect to be offered logistical solutions.


I think this is difference is more than just "double-empathy" and wiring, it is also a political issue. We live in a corrupt world where the fastest way to get what you want is to cheat, then meet any and every complaint with some form of deferral, deterrant, ad-hominem attack or deflection. NTs pick up on this early and can be deploying these tactics. Think of all the call-services, Government responses to climate issues, etc that simply offer you some emotional BS without solving the problem. Look at these winner-take-all tech companies that just buy their way into everything destroy the competition, then forget about the consumer. Plenty of NT people would also appreciate a practical solution in these circumstances. In some instances the autistic response can be appreciated and valued.

I also do not like sympathy because :
- most of the time it is insincere and manipulative, makes me feel controlled.
- sometimes I am not saying something bad at all, and it has been interpreted as bad. Why can't we talk about dark things like death? It is part of the human experience.



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25 Feb 2024, 4:50 am

catpiecakebutter wrote:
It's no one's fault but I don't really like sympathy when I tell someone an problem I have. I feel I don't deserve sympathy and I would rather have a solution to a problem than a listening ear, which is why a counselor would not be good for me. Do any of you feel the same way?
I firmly believe that finding and acting on a solution to a problem will largely eliminate the need for a "Listening Ear".  Practically speaking, though, some people seem to dismiss or completely ignore any solutions to their problems, likely because the attention and sympathy trigger greater satisfaction than solving their problems ever would.


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