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Twilightprincess
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06 May 2019, 11:46 am

Teach51 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Sometimes I think I know what others are feeling, but I often get it wrong.

As a kid, I would get panic attacks when an ambulance would go by because I’d envision some sort of horrible scenario and extreme suffering when, for all I knew, someone was mistaking a case of bad indigestion for a heart attack.

When people believe that they are empaths, I think it tends to come down to having empathy, imagination, and, at times, zeroing in on specific social clues - almost automatically. We can read a given situation, perhaps, without realizing the cognition behind the conclusion we seem to have come to intuitively.

I do get stressed when others are stressed and upset when others are, but I think that has something to do with having dealt with scary/upsetting situations involving stress when I was a kid. It can make me panicky and activate a fight or flight response.



"Without realizing the cognition behind the conclusion that we seem to have come to intuitively"

That's a valid point Twilightprincess.


I can give you a good example by relating an experience that happened to me.

My dad was teasing my little cousin about her hair (she’s a redhead), and I thought I could feel her distress and came to the accurate conclusion (I found out weeks later) that she was losing her hair, so I told my dad later that day not to tease her about it.

Reflecting on this later, I realized that I just picked up on several clues that no one else noticed. She never liked being teased, but she seemed more upset than usual. I saw her blink away tears from behind her glasses.

She also had started wearing an inch thick headband everyday that she was never in the habit of wearing before. (It covered her bald spot caused by alopecia so no one could notice her hair loss.)

She was also prone to various health conditions that made it difficult for her body to absorb the vitamins and minerals it needed.

These sorts of things were floating around in my mind with some discomfort which brought me to a conclusion that I thought was intuitive at first.

Being very introverted, I pick up on little details (or clues) that other people miss. No one else noticed that my cousin was so upset by the teasing even though there were several people present.



Teach51
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06 May 2019, 12:54 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
Teach51 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Sometimes I think I know what others are feeling, but I often get it wrong.

As a kid, I would get panic attacks when an ambulance would go by because I’d envision some sort of horrible scenario and extreme suffering when, for all I knew, someone was mistaking a case of bad indigestion for a heart attack.

When people believe that they are empaths, I think it tends to come down to having empathy, imagination, and, at times, zeroing in on specific social clues - almost automatically. We can read a given situation, perhaps, without realizing the cognition behind the conclusion we seem to have come to intuitively.

I do get stressed when others are stressed and upset when others are, but I think that has something to do with having dealt with scary/upsetting situations involving stress when I was a kid. It can make me panicky and activate a fight or flight response.



"Without realizing the cognition behind the conclusion that we seem to have come to intuitively"

That's a valid point Twilightprincess.


I can give you a good example by relating an experience that happened to me.

My dad was teasing my little cousin about her hair (she’s a redhead), and I thought I could feel her distress and came to the accurate conclusion (I found out weeks later) that she was losing her hair, so I told my dad later that day not to tease her about it.

Reflecting on this later, I realized that I just picked up on several clues that no one else noticed. She never liked being teased, but she seemed more upset than usual. I saw her blink away tears from behind her glasses.

She also had started wearing an inch thick headband everyday that she was never in the habit of wearing before. (It covered her bald spot caused by alopecia so no one could notice her hair loss.)

She was also prone to various health conditions that made it difficult for her body to absorb the vitamins and minerals it needed.

These sorts of things were floating around in my mind with some discomfort which brought me to a conclusion that I thought was intuitive at first.

Being very introverted, I pick up on little details (or clues) that other people miss. No one else noticed that my cousin was so upset by the teasing even though there were several people present.



Yes, I am also an observer. You are sensitive to others, that's a gift in itself. I pick up more than the average person by observation, I am an artist and pick up a great deal visually.
Sorry about your cousin, it was kind of you to tell your dad and spare her feelings. I'm also a redhead with slight alopecia, so I am really identifying here.
:P


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Nelbel
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13 May 2019, 10:08 am

Makes perfect sense. Sensing/feeling someone is angry does not make any assumptions as to why they are angry. When a stimulus is present that could be thought of as the reason then it is sometimes the conclusion but not necessarily correct.



Quintzal
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28 May 2019, 8:22 pm

I've been struggling with a similar experience for awhile as well. I came across the following thread of research being done around Intense World Syndrome versus hyper-empathy syndrome which I'm still digging through. Some of the referenced articles may be of interest to you.

An article about Autism and Empathy: https://www.steadyhealth.com/articles/a ... ch-empathy

The research being referenced: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2518049/

One referenced page regarding coping with intense empathy: https://www.steadyhealth.com/articles/h ... y-syndrome

Excerpt from the Intense World Theory piece:

"We [...] propose that the autistic person may perceive [their] surroundings not only as overwhelming[ly] intense due to hyper-reactivity of primary sensory areas, but also as aversive and highly stressful due to a hyper-reactive amygdala, which also makes quick and powerful fear associations with usually neutral stimuli. The autistic person may well try to cope with the intense and aversive world by avoidance. Thus, impaired social interactions and withdrawal may not be the result of a lack of compassion, incapability to put oneself into someone else's position or lack of emotionality, but quite to the contrary a result of an intensely if not painfully aversively perceived environment." [8]

Excerpt from the article:

"Does That Mean That People With Asperger's May Have 'Hyper Empathy Syndrome'?

No, insofar as only one case of hyper empathy syndrome has really been documented in the medical literature — the fascinating case of a woman who had part of her amygdala (a part of the brain that processes emotions) removed in an attempt to relieve her epilepsy. The woman could subsequently not just recognize other people's emotions with almost frightening accuracy and "feel with" other people, but also physically experienced the effects of other people's emotions. [9]

"Hyper empathy syndrome might have been diagnosable as "Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified" in the previous version of the DSM, and the current DSM-5 just may cover it as "Personality Disorder Trait Specified" [10], but one of the diagnostic criteria is that the symptoms must not be explainable by other factors. If hyper empathy is an inherent part of your autism, that means you can forget about that particular diagnosis.

"Leaving official diagnostic criteria behind, it is, however, absolutely possible to suffer from hyper empathy — something some people refer to as being an "empath" — if you're an aspie. You may intensely experience other people's emotions and be overwhelmed by the "vibes" they give off to the point it causes genuine suffering. You may even experience panic attacks as a result. You may also, on the other hand, experience extreme and positive connectedness with humanity as a whole. Learning about how to control negative and positive emotions when you have hyper empathy syndrome may help you some, though."