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SeaMonkey
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26 Jun 2010, 5:35 pm

I think I lack what neurotypical people call empathy. When I see bad things happen to other people it bothers me but I usually resolve the issue in my mind by thinking about all the possible solutions to their problem and for this reason I don't feel bad about it. If I don't resolve the issue in my mind I feel bad. This isn't reciprocal emotion at all because the other person might be deeply troubled by something and feeling bad about it but I'll be happy and feel good about it because I know its just a temporary problem which they are gonna solve. I often hear neurotypical people talking about "feeling sad with someone else or feeling happy with them" solely because they perceive the emotional state of the other person. I've heard them say this is what makes us human. That would exclude and probably a lot of people on the autism spectrum from the category of human lol. I can't sense the emotional states of other people for s**t but I think the method people rely on is fairly superficial because nobody can detect my emotional state and I think thats solely because I have a limited range of facial expressions. I have a fairly limited range of emotions too but it wasn't always like this, I was the polar opposite as a kid and I think I subconsciously numbed myself to emotions because the more I learned about the world the more I was overloaded by negative emotions. An interesting observation is that when I take psychedelics like mushrooms not only does my emotional range come back but I can read people way better.

What about all of you, do you have this emotional reciprocity they call empathy and whats your range of emotions like?



Willard
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26 Jun 2010, 5:45 pm

SeaMonkey wrote:
I think I lack what neurotypical people call empathy. When I see bad things happen to other people it bothers me but I usually resolve the issue in my mind by thinking about all the possible solutions to their problem and for this reason I don't feel bad about it.



Seeing someone else suffering and not really getting too broken up about it = lack of Sympathy.

Having a close friend or loved one experiencing an emotional crisis and not really noticing or getting too concerned because you're wrapped up in your own interests, or just don't know what you ought to do that would help = lack of Empathy.



I can feel sympathy, especially when I see someone having a bad experience that is the same or greatly resembles a bad experience of my own, because I know how that feels.

I am however, horribly guilty of both not noticing when others are upset because I'm distracted by my own thoughts, as well as (when I do notice) feeling awkward and helpless as to what I should do, or how I should react, or how anything I could do would help. I'm usually clueless.



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26 Jun 2010, 5:55 pm

SeaMonkey wrote:
I think I lack what neurotypical people call empathy. When I see bad things happen to other people it bothers me but I usually resolve the issue in my mind by thinking about all the possible solutions to their problem and for this reason I don't feel bad about it. If I don't resolve the issue in my mind I feel bad. This isn't reciprocal emotion at all because the other person might be deeply troubled by something and feeling bad about it but I'll be happy and feel good about it because I know its just a temporary problem which they are gonna solve. I often hear neurotypical people talking about "feeling sad with someone else or feeling happy with them" solely because they perceive the emotional state of the other person.


Maybe you should be a counselor. When I come to someone with a problem I typically want a solution. If I were seeking professional help, I don't see the point in paying someone to empathize with me.

I certainly do have the capacity to feel bad for someone, but mostly I'm driven by a logical assessment of how I would feel in that situation, and how their situation may be impacting their ability to function so I can treat them accordingly or offer them solutions.



SeaMonkey
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26 Jun 2010, 6:25 pm

Willard wrote:
Seeing someone else suffering and not really getting too broken up about it = lack of Sympathy.

Having a close friend or loved one experiencing an emotional crisis and not really noticing or getting too concerned because you're wrapped up in your own interests, or just don't know what you ought to do that would help = lack of Empathy.

Yep I lack both empathy and sympathy. Ironically I'm altruistic though so this isn't much of a problem. I get a lot of joy out of using my mental abilities to solve problems afflicting people.


Willard wrote:
I am however, horribly guilty of both not noticing when others are upset because I'm distracted by my own thoughts, as well as (when I do notice) feeling awkward and helpless as to what I should do, or how I should react, or how anything I could do would help. I'm usually clueless.

I know exactly what you mean I have this problem too. The worst is when people don't want to explicitly say theres something bothering them and expect you to pick up on their allusions or non verbal cues or whatever. Even when I see that someone is feeling bad I can't help them. I've seen on TV and even in real life when someone sees that another person is feeling bad they pat them on their shoulder and let them know they understand they are feeling bad and this is supposed to somehow make the person feel better. That ones a mystery to me, someone else sharing my pain with me would make me feel even worse because that would mean I'm causing problems for that person too.


Chronos wrote:
Maybe you should be a counselor. When I come to someone with a problem I typically want a solution. If I were seeking professional help, I don't see the point in paying someone to empathize with me.

I dunno about counselling people but I've been looking into NLP a lot over the past year and I like the idea of being able to help people rid themselves of their self imposed limitations. Often when you give people a solution they hear the words but the message does not go in because they have negative ideas which block it out. Kinda like mental viruses. NLP is the study of how to cause concepts and ideas to be formed by other peoples minds.



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27 Jun 2010, 10:30 am

I lack both sympathy and empathy to a certain extent. Sometimes I can get it if I take time to go over the situation in my head. But it rarely ever comes to me naturally right away.



auntblabby
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27 Jun 2010, 1:40 pm

i have the engine of sympathy/empathy, but lack the transmission. so while my sympa-empathetic engine is in full cry, my transmission is just gnashing and grunching and grinding and overheating, so i end up having to get out and push, awkwardly and slowly and very ineffectively.



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27 Jun 2010, 1:49 pm

I ended up loosing a close friend recently because of an issue of my lack of empathy. After I did acknoledge their problem, all I did was (as you mentioned) try and figure out the rational solution without even realizing that they were upset.

This has happened to me many times before. I just dont' notice what's happening to those close to me. And when I do, I don't react correctly (or so it seems). And then, knowing that I miss things, I'll ask if 'something's wrong' a lot when there is no issue at all...which seems to frusturate people almost more. I just don't notice the cues that somethings wrong or when I do can't interpret what they're feeling.



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27 Jun 2010, 2:18 pm

I have the tendency to ignore feelings and emotions and I am being logical instead. I am not good at giving emotional support.

I can see people are upset but I don't always understand why they got so upset and I tell them how to solve it so they feel better. If I didn't have empathy/sympathy, I wouldn't be doing this.

However if someone's feelings are irrational, I ignore them after my support doesn't work or after I try and get them to be rational based on what I said.



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27 Jun 2010, 4:03 pm

I sure feel symphaty a lot but have no idea if I feel emphaty. I guess that means I don't :roll:


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NearlyaHuman
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27 Jun 2010, 9:30 pm

Empathy is a neurological process of automatic emotional communication related to mirror neurons.
Autistic spectrum people have been studied and they have a reduction in mirror neurons in some cases, or in others, the mirror neurons fire, but there is a DELAY,
meaning the information is not sent to your limbic system (emotional core). This is automatic, and instant.
So this is like: The train is running but it's missing some containers.
And: The train is running, but the track doesn't lead to the station. Who knows where it goes? LOL

Autistic people also have trouble identifying their own emotions, which means they won't be good at "feeling" others as well, if they don't know what that feeling means.
I do believe autistic people have empathy, it's just that the wiring causes the normal signals to go bonkers.


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Computerwizkid
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27 Jun 2010, 10:00 pm

i dunno if i have empathy or not i don't know what some one is feeling till it is to late and they are upset and really showing it i.e. yelling,crying,etc.... then i end up feeling bad my self for having done something wrong to cause it

and i have been told i have no emotional control as far as i know i don't see where they are getting that.

maby i do get emotional wrongly about things some times i don't really know


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27 Jun 2010, 11:46 pm

I don't know what my problem is but I cannot comfort people when they are sad. I just stand there and ask "Do you want a tissue?" When I was younger my friends and relatives had to force me to hug them.

As far as empathy goes I feel sadder when I see hurt animals than hurt humans. Then again I have always been drawn to catastrophic human events like the sinking of the Titanic, The Holocaust and the bombing of Hiroshima. Why? I really don't know.



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28 Jun 2010, 1:06 am

SeaMonkey,

I know what you're saying. I automatically want to fix what's wrong in someone's situation. I don't know how to just say "I'm so sorry" and do nothing else but "feel bad for them." That doesn't seem to accomplish very much.

I can feel empathy to a certain extent if I put myself in the person's situation (I've had to learn how to do that, over time) but I have to at least try and DO something like give advice (as some of you may have noticed from my overly verbose postings :roll: ).

Oddly enough, at times I think I can "sense" what someone is feeling before they say anything. 8O I have to be really close to the person emotionally for that to happen, though.


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Brandon-J
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28 Jun 2010, 2:52 am

I feel that I lack both empathy and smypathy. Also I lack all types of feelings and my interest level is lower than it should be.


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28 Jun 2010, 2:56 am

I feel empathy, for people who feel empathy, towards me. Other than that, it isn't there. My family wonders why I don't have empathy for them. It's because they've never showed any empathy, towards me and my nature and interests.


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28 Jun 2010, 1:06 pm

I understand the distinction between sympathy and empathy in theory....but I do not understand how it actually works in reality. Sympathy or compassion would be feeling bad for a person who is in a bad situation. Empathy is imagining how a person feels and feeling with the person, putting you in the other person’s shoes. What I don't understand is how a person can feel sympathy (feel bad for a person) without imagining what they are going through ,and to a certain extent putting yourself in that persons shoes.

If you feel "bad" for someone who, for example, lost a loved one, it is because you imagine that it would be awful to lose a loved one and you know you would be sad, lonely, afraid etc.

When it comes to a situation that you cannot even begin to imagine, I don't think you can truly feel bad for a person, (whether you are normal or autistic). For example, if you are a student who is barely passing your courses, and has never had good grades, and someone else is upset because they only got 85%, you will not really feel bad for them. If you know you are supposed to put on a sympathetic facial expression or tone of voice, you can appear sympathetic, but you are not REALLY feeling for the person.

Also, someone on this forum was saying that they didn't think they were empathetic because, if a friend was in a bad situation they would logically evaluate person’s options in a particular situation, and if this person could solve the problem easily, they would not feel bad for the person. However, if that poster would logically evaluate his(her) own options, if he were in the same situation, and only get upset if there was not a clear solution to the problem, then isn't he(she) being empathetic? This person is imagining themselves in their friend’s shoes and responding as they would if they were in a similar situation.

Sorry, I know that went off topic a little. I just don't quite understand what it means, in terms of daily life, to lack the capacity for empathy but be capable of sympathy/compassion.