Why I'm easily triggered by this lack of empathy BS

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Joined: 5 Mar 2018
Gender: Male
Posts: 806
Location: uk

05 May 2021, 11:53 am

Fenn wrote:
I read an article by a person diagnosed as Narcissist (an actual diagnosis, not just someone saying it as an insult or put down or a personal uneducated opinion). He wrote that he could have empathy with people if he thought it would benefit him but he had no empathy for other people.

Sometimes my wife tells me what she did or something that happened to her. If I put myself in her situation I would feel very differently than she would. If I tell her this it really annoys her or even hurts. She says she feels alone. I could say that I feel what she feels but I really don't - in some cases I would feel precisely the opposite of what she feels in the same situation. The thing I had to come to is the idea of how I would feel in that situation IF I WERE HER. That is different than how I would feel in that situation IF I WERE ME. That is the real trick about being considerate. I have learned to say "If I were you I would feel exactly the same way you feel about that". Which, by definition, is always a true statement. In this way she feels validated and safe and understood. This works out much better for both of us. This is very different than agreeing or fixing or analyzing. It is about honoring her and who she is.

This is especially difficult in a conflict situation where "my way" may mean me getting my needs met, but her not getting her needs met and "her way" may mean her getting her needs met and me not getting my needs met. If I value the relationship than her getting her needs met is valuable to me because it builds up the relationship which is valuable to both of us - this can help to resolve the conflict. Sometimes I need to try to talk about my needs which can be risky - but there is no intimacy without risk of vulnerability.

Good examples thanks

Another obvious one hearing the racist N word as a white person, but considering how someone black would feel at it being used would obviously be different feelings of offense.