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DMark
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31 May 2010, 8:42 am

...The ability to recognize the emotions in others. It doesn't actually mean you actually care.



poppyx
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31 May 2010, 8:51 am

Not true. If you're empathetic, you usually care. However, most empathetic people can shut that down. You still care, though, and sometimes NOT caring is very destructive to an empathetic NT.

Many aspies don't have that problem. Lucky you.

NT here. :roll:



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31 May 2010, 9:22 am

I can sometimes reconise feelings in others but I simply don't care.


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Michael_Stuart
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31 May 2010, 9:27 am

poppyx wrote:
Not true. If you're empathetic, you usually care. However, most empathetic people can shut that down. You still care, though, and sometimes NOT caring is very destructive to an empathetic NT.

Many aspies don't have that problem. Lucky you.

NT here. :roll:


Empathy is only so-so. It's not very important. Sympathy, that's the good human quality.



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31 May 2010, 9:55 am

The problem is, of course, that "empathy" is being used in one sense by the people who make the diagnosis and another sense entirely by the people who need to understand us.

In popular parlance, "empathy" refers to the "I'm sad that you're sad" phenomenon.

In the DSM, "empathy" refers to the "I'm sad that there's a picture of a sad face" phenomenon.

We lack the latter. Some of us also lack the former, as do some NTs. Some of us have the former in abundance, as do some NTs.



Assembly
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31 May 2010, 10:36 am

empathy is... a nice thing to have in your kitchen.



Robdemanc
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31 May 2010, 10:47 am

I think most people don't show their emotions.



matrixluver
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31 May 2010, 11:21 am

to judge in ASD. The first step is recognizing the emotion accurately, the second is caring. Many folks on the Spectrum would and do care when the emotion is made clear to them, but when one cannot recognize the emotional state in the first place, it's very difficult to judge true "empathy."

It's a two way street and many NTs fancy that they are the experts on empathy, yet I teach crowds of them how to understand the way the brain actually functions in ASDs. I'm always quick to point out that if empathy was their strong point, they wouldn't need to be there, would they? Because they misjudge what's going on with their children, spouses, students, etc., because they are judging their loved one's reactions based on what they themselves would be feeling in a situation, which is not appropriate in most cases.



DenvrDave
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31 May 2010, 11:30 am

I agree with Dmark. I also think there is a lot of confusion about what empathy and sympathy are and are not. From dictionary.com:

"Empathy –noun
1. the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
2. the imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself: By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self."

Nothing about caring in there.

"Sympathy–noun
1. harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.
2. the harmony of feeling naturally existing between persons of like tastes or opinion or of congenial dispositions.
3. the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, esp. in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.
4. sympathies,
a. feelings or impulses of compassion.
b. feelings of favor, support, or loyalty: It's hard to tell where your sympathies lie.
5. favorable or approving accord; favor or approval: He viewed the plan with sympathy and publicly backed it.
6. agreement, consonance, or accord."

Nope, nothing about caring in there either. Not that dictionary.com is the definitive authority.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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31 May 2010, 11:50 am

DMark wrote:
...The ability to recognize the emotions in others. It doesn't actually mean you actually care.


Empathy. to most people, means putting yourself in their shoes and understanding the way they feel and why they act the way they act, even if their actions aren't what you would do, personally, or agree with. It's a challenge for me because I tend to be very judgmental when people do something I don't like and I have a hard time empathizing and understanding why they do what they do.

A therapist recommended a book about it, once, but reading what the book said was just too much for me to bear at the time. The book also explained self-empathy and having compassion for yourself so your esteem isn't continuously nose diving. It's important to have an understanding of others as well as yourself to be a healthy functioning member of society.



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31 May 2010, 11:52 am

Empathy is showing that you understand the other person, and that you care about them.


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Lecks
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31 May 2010, 12:25 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
Empathy is showing that you understand the other person <snip>

This ^



Cuterebra
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31 May 2010, 1:10 pm

You know, in the past few months I've read so many different definitions of empathy that now I have no idea what the word means.



liveandletdie
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31 May 2010, 2:47 pm

i feel like many of the "empathetic" people pretend to feel for the other person

something I cannot do well at all =/

or maybe it appears that way because if it were me being empathetic it would be pretend so I assume it is the same for them...



poppyx
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31 May 2010, 6:14 pm

O.k.

Empathy to an NT who is waaaay too empathetic is that you feel the other person's feelings when they do.

It's like if they stubbed their toe, your toe would hurt just as much.

NTs who are very empathetic try to keep other people from hurting because it hurts the empathetic NT.

Aspies care more than NTs, but only if they are invested in the situation. If they are not invested in the situation, you can't count on anyone stopping whatever it is that is painful because without investment, an aspie doesn't care. (And in emotionally heated situations, the kind where true empathy is really important, they tend NOT to care.)

Yes, there are shallow NTs. Loads of them. But if you're not one, the thought of being with an aspie, or of being an aspie for any period of time is incredibly disturbing.

It's like we think you guys aren't blind--but you are. Once that is explained, most NTs, even shallow ones, are sympathetic to aspies. (I don't think we can be empathetic per se--we don't use the same neural pathways. The most an NT can do is help an aspie recognize the aspie's own emotions through some kind of cognitive interpretation--although that does work.)



katzefrau
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31 May 2010, 8:36 pm

Cuterebra wrote:
You know, in the past few months I've read so many different definitions of empathy that now I have no idea what the word means.


er, yeah. the more this is discussed, the more confused i get. same "reading" other people, which i do, but more often than not, wrongly.

and in the end, i just think it matters more whether someone is considerate, which has little to do with being able to decode a facial expression or feel anything.


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