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  1. #31
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Sorry long post again.

    Quote Originally Posted by jenocyde View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to sit down and read through my whole post!
    You're welcome and thanks to you too to take the time to answer.

    I think we are not speaking of the same thing. I don't need to understand every detail of why you are feeling sad in order to comfort you - I just need to understand that from your point of view, this makes you sad. Because I am empathetic, I can recognize that sadness and then I have the appropriate response of care/concern. I don't have to share in your sadness - that would be sympathy.
    Ok, it might still be that I don't understand what's the difference between them. It's very hard for me to understand that empahty could be without feeling the feeling what the other person is feeling. And that's sympathy you all say.

    I've been often accused of faking emotions and I once never have (except that one time I got pulled over for speeding, but that's a different story). I don't express them the same way, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel them.
    Ok, I might be wrong in saying that some other person is faking. It's just that all the pieces don't match the puzzle and that is why some people leave me cold even if they look they are sad. I just don't get the intuitive emotional reaction for some reason. It might be that they are truly sad and my perception is totally wrong. I admit that.

    If it makes it easier for you to understand it like that. I see it as the next step in a chain. You must learn the notes in order to play chords. Many learn the notes but never become skilled musicians. Both processes are learned, however.
    I'll have to think about the sympathy without truly understading others situatio (empathy) thing. I'll get back to this issue later, I hope.

    Everything is a possibility, I won't deny that. But when people project their feelings, it makes me nauseous. If you've read my previous threads, you'll know that nothing irritates me more than being told by someone else how I feel. (please note, I am not irritated with you now, at all!) My reason is simple. I know what it is to feel. Believe me, I do. But some people believe that because I don't react the same way that they would, that I am devoid of feeling. We all are sensitive to different things. Some are sensitive to harsh language - I am not.
    Ok, I see. I'm not trying to say here that you fake your emotions. I never say to a person that I know what they feel better than they (except maybe my husband at times, poor him, lol). I might think that it doesn't feel right but I never say anything. So, everybody is free to feel what they want in my opinoin. Their feelings might not feel right to me, but that's more likely to be my problem, not theirs.

    For example, I got quite a few notes expressing sympathy for the way someone spoke to me in a thread. They were shocked and offended on my behalf. Believe me, I was not offended. I know this because I know what being offended feels like and this was not it. I felt inspired, competitive, challenged and a bit of amusement. It doesn't matter how much I have explained that, some choose to simply not believe me. They believe that I am denying what I really feel - and that's what offends me, the self-righteousness.
    People (including myself) think many times that other people think/feel/react like themselves even if people usually don't. That is why MBTI can be good in recongizing that there are different ways of handling things/feeling/thinking etc.

    Also, the fact that I can't always verbalize the terms doesn't mean that I don't feel it. There are definitely times when people have helped me label my emotions, but I feel them regardless of whether I name them or not. It's just easier for me to call the feeling "good", "bad", or "uncomfortable".
    It good, bad, uncomfortable is good enough for you then it should be good enough to everybody else too.

    In my own personal life, I've been tormented by family and friends who believe that, as a woman, I have failed them in my "lack" of emotional responsiveness. It has taken me a long time to realize that I am not broken and that it is ok to be me. My family did not do this to hurt me, but they simply did not understand me and made no effort to. I can assure you that I am being true to myself, and I have a great need to do so. My honesty is forthright, and I believe that anyone who holds back because they want to spare someone else's feelings is not being true to themselves. Do you see how these perceptions can be dangerous if I were a parent to a more harmonious minded, sensitive child?
    I can empathize you, because what you describe there is something my xNTP sister has experienced as a child of two strong Fi's and as a sibling to another strong Fi. It's been difficult for her and she is still thinking it through.

    It's very very very important for a child to be accepted as they are, not as somebody wants them to be. That is one of my strongest "rules" for myself as a mother. Accepting my children as they are.

    I don't always feel the need to show every emotion that I feel, but I am very empathetic. Sympathy is harder for me, but in reality, it's hard for most people. If it were easy, no one would ever leave the house due to how much suffering surrounds us on a daily basis.
    I'm starting to understand the empahty a little bit better after this thread and to see how strong T's can have that.

    That's because you are judging according to your values and you believe that others are like you. Victor is correct in his assessment. A torturer must know that a certain action will cause a certain emotional or physical sensation. S/he must also know that this sensation will be unpleasant. S/he does not have to feel that unpleasant sensation in order to know it exists. This is empathy and it is learned. It is learned, along with sympathy. Sympathy is what would stop someone from torturing. Neither process is inherent, they must be learned.
    You are right, I'm judging according to my values. That is why I said I think it's a disgusting thought even if the torturing thing might be right. But I always do that, judge according to my values, that is because Fi is my second strongest function, sometimes it even feels that it is the strongest because it's the introverted function of mine, so kind of closest to my "heart".

    When a child is 1.5 years old, he will pull your hair not knowing that it can hurt you. This is simply because he is not aware that you are a separate entity. Once he is taught that you are separate, then he must be taught that you feel things. Then he is taught to identify and express those feelings with verbal and vocal cues. Then he mimics those cues. (Actually, mimicking comes earlier, but the awareness of it happens around this time). No one is born with this knowledge. Some learn it faster than others, but life is like that. Some struggle with math, some just "get it".
    Yes, sometimes it comes more naturally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    Hm. I'm still a little fuzzy on the distinction between the two.

    So would somebody who gets upset, but never shows it to the original person be considered as sympathetic? Nevermind answered my own question. Suppose the big problem is where does the whole 'Feel bad' part fall under - empathy or sympathy? - Sympathy obviously has it but can it's origins be in empathy?

    Is it not possible for empathy to be intellectual understanding or emotional understanding? Often it's remarked that empathy is just intellectual understanding, but I don't see reason that a person can't experience the actual emotions that another is going through if they wish to subject themselves to it.
    I'm still struggling with the same thing. As I understood about this thread, empathy is more understading + some level of somekind of emotional response, sympathy is purely an emotional response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    It's odd thinking that somebody can experience concern without wanting to reach out to another individual. Thanks for the clarification however - it seems to run similar to what I believe but when I read discussions here it doesn't seem correct either.
    Yes, I think I have the same problem than you. I cannot separate empathy from sympathy (or the other way around) very well.. I have so strong both of them and I see them as "one" so it is very hard for me to understand the difference and to understand how someboyd can be empathic without the emotional repsonse....

    Quote Originally Posted by happy puppy View Post
    I think Kai may have a good point. For Fi, for me, cant speak for others, if I allow myself to be open to another's perceived pain, I cannot help but have a reflected, physiological response to that pain. My perception could be wildly inaccurate, totally off base, completely misinterrpreted but it very real for me all the same.

    I really "feel" pain and then am motivated to help that person to make my own reflected discomfort go away.

    I can choose not to feel anything, and function with what bits of analytical reasoning I have but then I am left not feeling happy or sad, just empty and hollow. Then I can sort of make a half hearted attempt at sympathy, but the real deal is all or none.

    Perhaps for certain types of Fs it is very difficult to seperate sympathy from empathy, not because it is not a good idea and a valuable skill, but just becuase we can't. So what is very normal and healthy for a T is actually not healthy for an F in the same scenario???
    This might be the Fi in it's "purest" way in the empathy-sympathy discussion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post

    So I still have a longing to be understood emotionally. I have a longing for empathy.
    I have found out that I long for sympathy much more than I long for empathy. Or rather, I prefer sympathy over empathy.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by alcea rosea View Post
    I cannot separate empathy from sympathy (or the other way around) very well.. I have so strong both of them and I see them as "one" so it is very hard for me to understand the difference and to understand how someboyd can be empathic without the emotional repsonse....

    I have found out that I long for sympathy much more than I long for empathy. Or rather, I prefer sympathy over empathy.
    Of course you can be empathetic and sympathic at the same time.

    And you can be empathetic without being sympathetic. And you can be sympathetic without being empathetic.

    Fortunately I think we can reach an agreement - you prefer sympathy and I prefer empathy - so you can have all the sympathy while I have all the empathy.

    Does that sound fair to you?

  3. #33
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Of course you can be empathetic and sympathic at the same time.

    And you can be empathetic without being sympathetic. And you can be sympathetic without being empathetic.

    Fortunately I think we can reach an agreement - you prefer sympathy and I prefer empathy - so you can have all the sympathy while I have all the empathy.

    Does that sound fair to you?
    Could the diff here be an INFP vs ENFP one? I am mostly with Alcea on how these two feel and work for me...

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by happy puppy View Post
    Could the diff here be an INFP vs ENFP one? I am mostly with Alcea on how these two feel and work for me...
    How they work and feel for you is how they work and feel for you.

    However for the rest of us they have an objective meaning.

    And they have had an objective meaning for many thousands of years.

    For sympathy comes from the Ancient Greek and means to feel the same as, while empathy also comes from the Ancient Greek and means to feel with.

    We perceive by making distinctions and sympathy has been distinguished from empathy for thousands of years.

    And if we fail to make a distinction, to that extent, we fail to see.

    You are of course free to make your own distinctions but it is unlikely they will be shared by the rest of us.

    So it seems your distinctions have no connection with reality.

    Of course imagination and reality are equally important. And it is important we distinguish between them. And it is important to connect them together.

    The work of children is play. And the purpose of play is to learn the distinction between imagination and reality.

    And if we fail to complete this life's task, we are left in a world of narcissistic mirrors.

    We don't know where imagination and reality begin and end.

    We might even start to think that INFP and ENFP explain the meaning of sympathy and empathy.

    And this is simply childhood imagination without any reality testing.

    In a child it is charming, and in an adult it is absurd.

  5. #35
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Fortunately I think we can reach an agreement - you prefer sympathy and I prefer empathy - so you can have all the sympathy while I have all the empathy.

    Does that sound fair to you?
    Yes, thank you.
    As we are different kind of people with different kind of preferences.

  6. #36
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    You are of course free to make your own distinctions but it is unlikely they will be shared by the rest of us.
    Victor - your opinion isn't necessarily the opinion of the rest of the people. Everybody has their own subjective truth. One's truth is no worse than the other pesons truth.

    So it seems your distinctions have no connection with reality.
    It is as much connected to the reality as any other human perception of how things are. The separation of sympathy and empathy is merely an artificial one. Somebody decided that there are 2 of these. Say the Greek did it. Well - it isn't necessarily the correct one and disctinction to 2 separate ones might not be enough. It might be that we actually have 15 different things instead of just 2: empathy and sympahty.

    Do you understand what I'm trying to say here?

    What we know now, scientifically and not scientifically, is just subjective knowledge which is tied to this time, this world and commonly agreed preception of things. It doens't mean that it is right or even close to the correct one. And I'm not sure even if there is a correct or right thing in anything. There are just perceptions...

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by alcea rosea View Post
    Everybody has their own subjective truth. One's truth is no worse than the other pesons truth.
    Things are either true or false. They can't be true for you and false for me.

    If, "Everybody has their own subjective truth. One's truth is no worse than the other pesons truth", then science would be impossible. And even communication would be impossible.

    However if you are saying that we are all of equal value. Of course I would agree with that.

    Indeed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is based on the idea of equality.

    And the idea of equality is based on the idea of objective truth.

  8. #38
    Aspie Idealist TaylorS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    I'd never have expected that. Would you consider yourself rather empathetic in that case? It's clear that you are empathy orientated however.
    Yes. It seems like I'm always the one castigating others (especially other guys) to see things from the other person's point of view, to feel what they feel, even if one doesn't agree with the other person. As a left-winger I often find myself in a definite state of emotional distress when a fellow liberal calls a decent person who happens to be a social conservative on some issues an "evil monstrous bigot" and vowels to keep people like him "out of his life".
    Autistic INFP


  9. #39
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    How they work and feel for you is how they work and feel for you.

    So it seems your distinctions have no connection with reality.

    The work of children is play. And the purpose of play is to learn the distinction between imagination and reality.


    We don't know where imagination and reality begin and end.

    We might even start to think that INFP and ENFP explain the meaning of sympathy and empathy.

    And this is simply childhood imagination without any reality testing.

    In a child it is charming, and in an adult it is absurd.
    well... I never stop playing, strongly feel reality lost touch with me like fifteen years ago (dude call me back reality, I know we only had one night together but seriously), and am proud to be utterly absurd, cause it keeps me chipper.

    Quote Originally Posted by alcea rosea View Post
    Victor - your opinion isn't necessarily the opinion of the rest of the people. Everybody has their own subjective truth. One's truth is no worse than the other pesons truth.
    .
    I think what AR and I may see is that we have a very hard time not experiencing both at the same time. Being able to seperate the two things is hard for us, wheareas for other types this may not be true- for jeno for instance.

    My thought-based on a highly statistical n=2 of me and AR-is maybe this a consequence of the order of the functions. Ne-Fi vs others, say Fi-Ne???

    So maybe Ne is like a giant funnel for information, vacuum sized vortex sucking in everything arouund it and dumping all that crap down to Fi. At that point it is very difficult to segregate what goes in what pile-the red socks in the red pile, the black socks in the black pile, empathy in the I see your pain pile, and sympathy in the I feel your pain pile. Maybe for us, the Ne dominant perception of another's pain, automatically gets reflected and becomes our own pain-we dont get to take a breather between those two steps perhaps and segregate quite the way the rest of you guys do?

    I can block it and funnel everything straight on down to Te for judging and then I don't feel sympthy and only a weak version of empathy, but I am left feeling hollow and empty if I do that too long. I forget how to feel if I live in that space too much.

    As for childhood imagination-everything starts there, gets pushed, molded, pounded and beaten through my Te models and the result is either rejected of kept. However data collection must begin somewhere.

    your posts are like beautiful poetry

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by happy puppy View Post
    your posts are like beautiful poetry
    How can I resist you?

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