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  1. #31
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    I believe that is true for me. I know it's one of the "stuck" areas between my ISTJ husband and I. When I need validation he reads it as a request for help and sometimes overdoes trying to "fix" it for me.

    I have to stop him from getting into my space and explain that all I need is for my feelings to be heard in order to get in gear.

    And he resists validating my uncomfortable feelings because it makes him feel uncomfortable for me. He wants to jump right into repairing when it's not his responsibility to do so.

    I don't know if that ever ends. Apparently not. But a reminder is usually good enough to help him back off from "fixing." Take a rest, Dude. The dilemma of the "good guy."

    Edit: To be fair I need to acknowledge my part in this. When I was younger it was handy to take advantage of his generosity in this area. And I had to learn that I don't always have to have someone else around to validate me. I needed to learn that my own self-validation would sometimes need to be enough.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  2. #32
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    I think some take offense to atypical answers. Ones that are stark and naked. Without, the covering of social politeness. Yet, it's not rude or personal either. Forum exchanges seem to require more to convey a message.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    Do you believe sympathy is always incorrect, or less preferred over empathy? Would you agree there is a time for both?

    I feel your frustration here in thread and your desire to emphasize growth versus stagnation in self-pity.

    Do share your thoughts; I am interested.
    Thank you for your interest and thank you for asking me to share my thoughts.

    So - sympathy is good, as empathy is good - it's that they are very different.

    Sympathy is natural, almost every person feels sympathy. Mothers and fathers feel sympathy for babies, and babies feel sympathy for mum and dad.

    We learnt, for instance, by imitation - a form of sympathy.

    And just as we learn to speak our language naturally at home, so we learn to sympathise naturally at home.

    So learning to speak our language and learning to sympathise are intuitive.

    But we are compelled by law to go to an institution with specially trained staff to learn to read and write.

    So learning to read and write is counter-intuitive.

    So learning to speak and sympathise is intuitive and learning to read and write is counter-intuitive.

    And as you may have guessed by now, empathy is also counter-intuitive.

    So empathy doesn't come naturally, it must be learnt and practiced like reading and writing. So that we may become empathically literate.

    So empathy and sympathy are equally good, but they are quite different - just like you and me.

  4. #34
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    well...i'm confused. i feel more empathetic than sympathetic towards people most of the time. i often cannot tell the difference between my own pain and someone else's. i'm crazy empathetic.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    I wouldn't say empathy is better though.
    Yes, you are quite right.

    In trying to get across the distinction between sympathy and empathy, I became extreme to the extent that I gave the impression that sympathy is bad.

    But as you know, sympathy is good and natural.

    In fact sympathy is intuitive.

    But, and it is a big but, empathy is counter-intuitive.

    So sympathy and empathy are not the same.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by erinavery View Post
    well...i'm confused. i feel more empathetic than sympathetic towards people most of the time. i often cannot tell the difference between my own pain and someone else's. i'm crazy empathetic.
    Well dear Erin, if you can't tell the difference between your own pain and someone else's, you are being sympathetic.

    And so when you sympathise with someone's pain, there are now two people in pain.

    But if you were to empathise with someone's pain, you would know what they are feeling, and you would let them know that you understood their pain.

    But most of all, you would be in a position to help them.

    Two drowning people can't help one another. But one person safe on the bank, can save a drowning person in the river.

  7. #37
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    It's a distinction I've read before, but, honestly, I can't grasp it. Why is empathy helpful while sympathy is cheap?
    I agree with you. I find it strange that anyone could pervert either one.

    But, although I don't understand this particular thing, I acknowledge that some people are very picky when it comes to the emotions they give and receive.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Well dear Erin, if you can't tell the difference between your own pain and someone else's, you are being sympathetic.

    And so when you sympathise with someone's pain, there are now two people in pain.

    But if you were to empathise with someone's pain, you would know what they are feeling, and you would let them know that you understood their pain.

    But most of all, you would be in a position to help them.

    Two drowning people can't help one another. But one person safe on the bank, can save a drowning person in the river.
    i thought empathy was to feel it with them and not to just understand it...you're confusing me.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    I believe that is true for me. I know it's one of the "stuck" areas between my ISTJ husband and I. When I need validation he reads it as a request for help and sometimes overdoes trying to "fix" it for me.

    I have to stop him from getting into my space and explain that all I need is for my feelings to be heard in order to get in gear.

    And he resists validating my uncomfortable feelings because it makes him feel uncomfortable for me. He wants to jump right into repairing when it's not his responsibility to do so.

    I don't know if that ever ends. Apparently not. But a reminder is usually good enough to help him back off from "fixing." Take a rest, Dude. The dilemma of the "good guy."

    Edit: To be fair I need to acknowledge my part in this. When I was younger it was handy to take advantage of his generosity in this area. And I had to learn that I don't always have to have someone else around to validate me. I needed to learn that my own self-validation would sometimes need to be enough.
    Sure, your husband is sympathising with you.

    Naturally he feels the same as you, and he feels uncomfortable, so he tries to fix his discomfort.

    But of course he is not trying to fix your discomfort, so you resent this.

    If he were to empathise with you, he would be able to validate your feelings without feeing discomfort himself, and without the need to 'fix' you.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by erinavery View Post
    i thought empathy was to feel it with them and not to just understand it...you're confusing me.
    If you were to empathise with me, you would know what I was feeling without feeling it yourself.

    Also you would be able to tell me that you knew what I was feeling.

    So I would no longer be alone with my feelings, and you would be in a position to help me.

    Is this slightly less confusing?

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