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Spede
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25 Oct 2019, 5:28 pm

Can autistic individuals feel empathy?



Joe90
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25 Oct 2019, 5:47 pm

Yes they do.


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25 Oct 2019, 6:16 pm

Yes.



2ukenkerl
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25 Oct 2019, 7:03 pm

Spede wrote:
Can autistic individuals feel empathy?


I feel it TOO MUCH! I'm not officially diagnosed, but there are enough similarities, and the DSM IV and all, that I don't have much doubt.



strings
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25 Oct 2019, 8:30 pm

It is important to distinguish between Affective Empathy and Cognitive Empathy. Very roughly,

Affective Empathy is the ability to respond with an appropriate emotion to another person's mental state.

Cognitive Empathy is the ability to understand another person's mental state.

It is often said that people with ASD may be lacking in cognitive empathy, while nevertheless having a strong affective empathy.

Neither type of empathy should be confused with sympathy. Roughly,

Sympathy involves sharing the feelings of another person, whereas empathy involves understanding (cognitive) or responding "appropriately" (affective), without necessarily sharing the feelings with the person.



Borromeo
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25 Oct 2019, 8:41 pm

Too much empathy--but I don't feel sympathy. Oh well, sympathy is used so frequently for evil that I feel the same about it as my father did about a captured WWII German rifle--it functioned, we think, and was an excellent Mauser 98, but we got rid of it for next to nothing to a gun shop because we couldn't think about it without the context of the evil empire with which it was used.

Cognitive & Affective are both pretty strong for me but sympathy...no.


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Joe90
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25 Oct 2019, 9:07 pm

Quote:
Cognitive Empathy is the ability to understand another person's mental state.


Then how come things like anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, etc, get so misunderstood by a lot of NTs that don't suffer any of these conditions?
Also it seems to be a common trait among people to not understand each other's phobias if one doesn't suffer that phobia.


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Velociraptor
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25 Oct 2019, 9:16 pm

Joe90 wrote:
Quote:
Cognitive Empathy is the ability to understand another person's mental state.


Then how come things like anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, etc, get so misunderstood by a lot of NTs that don't suffer any of these conditions?
Also it seems to be a common trait among people to not understand each other's phobias if one doesn't suffer that phobia.


I remember talking about this to my mother when I was complaining about some people thinking we don't care about people or have empathy. She then questioned the empathy of NTs since they often can't even extend it to each other, let alone those with conditions which make them an 'other'.

Also like many others on the thread have mentioned I have too much empathy but mainly for negative emotions, even if I have not experienced the exact one myself. It can be overwhelming/draining.



SharonB
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25 Oct 2019, 9:19 pm

strings wrote:
Sympathy involves sharing the feelings of another person, whereas empathy involves understanding (cognitive) or responding "appropriately" (affective), without necessarily sharing the feelings with the person.


So what are these when I am seemingly more upset then the folks directly undergoing the circumstances?

#1 My uncle died and as I approached my aunt at the wake I was overwhelmed with emotion for her, for him, for me and gave her a hug, didn't know what to say so asked "may I sit by you a moment?" which was my way of showing support (oddly of course).

#2 My best friend broke a bone and I was overwhelmed by that and was super awkward in expressing my concern and she was like "it's fine, I have help and am doing well!" I wanted to yell "it's not fine!" But I guess it was for her... in that moment.

Is sympathy sharing the feelings of the moment or a previous/future moment? B/c I feel worse than they do in the moment, but probably what they felt/will feel at a different time. I responded but awkwardly, does that qualify as "appropriate" affective empathy? I know a person is upset when they lose a loved one or have an injury, so don't I have "understanding" cognitive empathy?

That said, I get so scared when my husband or kids are hurt that I can seem quite cruel. I'm trying to comfort them instead of screaming "what is it? what it is?" and scaring them half to death, or doing the opposite (unresponsive) b/c I just want it to go away. They are scared too by the way, so -again- it seems like I am having the magnified feelings that I am trying to shutdown.