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MDD123
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29 Nov 2013, 1:23 am

I was talking to someone a few weeks ago who said she was an empath. According to her, she is in tune with the emotional state of others. I googled it, but the leads either talk about empathy, or define the term pretty much the way she defined it. Has anyone else met an empath? This really sounds like an over active imagination to me.


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CyclopsSummers
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29 Nov 2013, 3:55 am

How so? Someone saying that they're 'in tune with the emotional state of others' doesn't seem to be too wild to me. I have met people before who, while perhaps not necessarily über-empathic, were eerily good at picking up on my state of mind or that of others around them. Of course, I may have actually met super-empathic people in the past and not have known it, since I'm terrible at guessing at other people's emotions myself.

It's not like Counsellor Troi on Star Trek or anything far out like that, but empathy is a real-life thing.


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aaronzx
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29 Nov 2013, 4:05 am

Sounds to me like someone who has an exceptional understanding of empathy through communication. I don't see why this isn't possible considering autism generally results in an inability to process empathy (but we still feel it!) cognitively. So being an empath would just be the opposite, where the person's brain is wired to process this information more efficiently.

Just my thoughts.

If they exist, I am sure my mother would be one.



MDD123
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29 Nov 2013, 1:39 pm

It just sounds a lot like superpowers to me, yea troi from Star Trek is a pretty good comparison. I get how tone and body language can be interpreted to an emotional state, but actually knowing vs an educated guess is where I'm a skeptic.


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29 Nov 2013, 1:44 pm

It's New-Age psychobabble.

She wants to feel important, so she magnifies her natural ability (which everyone has to a greater or lesser degree) to perceive another person's mood, and then proclaims to an aspie that she is an "Empath".

It would be as if I had demonstrated trigonometric principles to a third-grader, and proclaimed myself to that child that I am a genius at maths.

In other worlds, much ado about nothing ... except conceit ...



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29 Nov 2013, 3:39 pm

Some people are exceedingly good at reading peoples faces and general body language. It is a natural talent. As spectrum people we know these things can be learned, and as with any magic trick, knowing how it is done lessens the mystery of it. No one told this person that she has a talent for people reading, describing it like being good at math or sports. The only place people talk about it are in spiritual or neopagan communities which can be...err...special. So yes she is guilty of conceit, but I don't think looking down on her is helpful. She'll feel persecuted and will cling to her beliefs ever more tightly. Every one wants to feel important some how.
As an spectrum person you are in a unique position to help broaden some one else's horizons. She's presumably NT and so thinks that body language just happens. If you can describe your experience of learning body language and how even NT people can learn to communicate better by studying them, you may be able to help coax her head out of her own colon. You aren't obligated to do this, of course. But knowing you are talented rather and magical can make a difference in how people go about their lives.


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MDD123
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29 Nov 2013, 4:38 pm

You don't have to go to a 3rd grader to look like a math genius, there are plenty of students in my college who think balancing an equation is an ability beyond them.

I'm not sure what to tell her about the ability to detect emotional states, fMRI equipment has barely allowed neuroscientists to study brain function in controlled settings. Not sure Id want to study the articles to explain it, especially since she can be aggressive towards people who don't agree with her (I heard lots of ex stories).

5 years ago, I thought this type of thing was harmless fun, now I'm starting to realize there's an implication that they hold more value as human beings than people without their talents.


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Dear_one
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03 Dec 2013, 12:12 am

I have no trouble believing in true empaths, unreliable empaths, and in self-deluding fake empaths. I don't believe in Unicorns or Zombies.



skcuf
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04 Dec 2013, 4:00 pm

Dear_one wrote:
I have no trouble believing in true empaths, unreliable empaths, and in self-deluding fake empaths. I don't believe in Unicorns or Zombies.


Is it so hard to believe that a horse like creature could have grown a single antler out of its forhead?

Or that a bacteria or virus could take over a host, kill it, and begin to send electrical signals throughout the body to reanimate it and cause it to move again?



Dear_one
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04 Dec 2013, 5:25 pm

The only single antlers are the rhinosceros horn, which is hair, and the Narwhal tusk, which is primarily an antenna. There is a family of fungi which hijack the nervous systems of ants, but they don't go through a stage of death. And yes, there have been human zombies under the drug control of bokors, but again, they never truly died.