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  1. #21
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    My trouble is I sympathize too much too easily... and therefore find it impossible really to judge anyone... which you'd think was a good thing, but it gets me into trouble sometimes, cos really people say that's a good quality until it's applied to them - when you refuse to take sides when they wanted you to take their side. Not disagreeing with anyone makes you assumed to disagree with everyone.

    Though I sympathize easily, cos I find it easy to imagine myself in someone else's shoes, knowing what's the best thing to do, that's a bit trickier...
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  2. #22
    12 and a half weeks BerberElla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    My trouble is I sympathize too much too easily... and therefore find it impossible really to judge anyone... which you'd think was a good thing, but it gets me into trouble sometimes, cos really people say that's a good quality until it's applied to them - when you refuse to take sides when they wanted you to take their side. Not disagreeing with anyone makes you assumed to disagree with everyone.

    Though I sympathize easily, cos I find it easy to imagine myself in someone else's shoes, knowing what's the best thing to do, that's a bit trickier...
    That is such a good point, I hate being stuck in the middle. I have been accused by friends and family of not being on their side because I have tried to explain the other persons position to them, mostly in my role as the peacemaker.

    If that happens though, I stop feeling sympathy for the person making those accusations to me, since their immaturity makes them unworthy of it.
    Echo - "So are you trying to say she is Evil"

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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BerberElla View Post
    That is such a good point, I hate being stuck in the middle. I have been accused by friends and family of not being on their side because I have tried to explain the other persons position to them, mostly in my role as the peacemaker.

    If that happens though, I stop feeling sympathy for the person making those accusations to me, since their immaturity makes them unworthy of it.
    Ah, that's where we differ then, cos I tend to think the opposite - that their immaturity explains their irrational behaviour - I don't feel like immaturity is something people do on purpose, or that it's something you can judge someone as a bad person for. People grow up and mature at different paces depending on their life experiences, so to me, realizing they're immature is just a cue to adapt my approach to them. I figure, cutting them off won't teach them a lesson if they're too immature to perceive the reason why it's happened - in their mind it will only 'prove' that I'm against them and that they're in the right. So I figure all the more reason to stick with it and try instead to break through the mental barriers.

    I'm too bloody forgiving lol My signature roughly means "people get themselves into the shit - too good = too stupid", and I'm talking about myself! lol
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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  4. #24
    12 and a half weeks BerberElla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Ah, that's where we differ then, cos I tend to think the opposite - that their immaturity explains their irrational behaviour - I don't feel like immaturity is something people do on purpose, or that it's something you can judge someone as a bad person for. People grow up and mature at different paces depending on their life experiences, so to me, realizing they're immature is just a cue to adapt my approach to them.

    I'm too bloody forgiving lol My signature roughly means "people get themselves into the shit - too good = too stupid", and I'm talking about myself! lol

    Good point, I will try harder to see it that way too the next time it happens.

    Usually it takes me a few days before I begin to understand the person who reacted badly to my being fair, in the instant that it happens though, I think my distaste is stamped clearly across my face.
    Echo - "So are you trying to say she is Evil"

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  5. #25
    Senior Member WickedQueen's Avatar
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    Sympathy is a very hard thing to do for me. I have to faking it all the time because... well... I don't have any sympathy to anyone, at all. While the society give the ethical-pressure for me to faking it.

    I don't like to see or hear people crying or whining, no matter what causes that. I don't like visiting ill people at the hospital. I don't like comforting sad people. I don't even know what to say to make those people feel better.

    I remember when my bestfriend broke up with her boyfriend about 2 years ago. She cried and whining and repeat the same old sad story... and all that melancholy things only made me feelt like I'm about to puke. So I just looked at her, pretending that I'm listening to her, but actually I was thinking about another matter and I don't give any f****** care of her misery.


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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    I was wondering about this because sometimes I see people 'rationing' how much they sympathise based on things like how deserving the other person is, that kind of thing. Whereas for me it is pretty much automatic to step into the shoes of other people and try and see how they feel, even to my own detriment. I do have my blindspots though, where giving sympathy to a person does take effort, I'm just wondering if some people have much bigger blind spots.

    Edit: I may be a bit off on my understanding of empathy vs sympathy, empathy is experiencing the feelings of others yourself and sympathy is understanding (or attempting to understand) the feelings of others but not necessarily feeling them yourself, is that right?
    Sympathy is natural.

    Mothers sympathise with their babies and their babies sympathise with them.

    Sympathy is beautiful.

    And sympathy is natural.

    While empathy can only be learnt in a formal setting, like learning to read and write at school.

    So empathy is no more natural than literacy.

    No one is born able to read and write, while we are all born able to sympathise - our very existence depends upon it.

    And just as no one is born able to read and write, no one is born able to empathise.

    So sympathy is natural while empathy is as unnatural as reading and writing.

    How odd we are all compelled by law to go to school to learn to read and write, but not one of us has been compelled to learn to empathise.

    So it is no wonder that each one of us is literate, but very few of us indeed are empathic.

    So perhaps it is not so surprising that we elide the difference between sympathy and empathy.

    After all, who wants to admit they are illiterate or unempathic?

  7. #27
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post
    Empathy, on the other hand, I just cannot do. When someone else's pain oozes onto or into me I feel like I've been set aflame after gasoline has been poured over my head. I just want to stop, drop and roll...or run far, far away.
    We all do
    Empathy is a blessing and a curse. You can truly soar on someone's good feelings, but it can also feel like you're being flayed alive, and your natural instinct is to run from that.

    The truly skilled are able to use empathy to get a precise idea of what the other person is going through, and are then able to move past the pain using sympathy: if the pain is already this bad for you...it must be even worse for the person who's actually experiencing. And although removing yourself from that person could end your pain, it doesn't end theirs, which is the real objective.

    So yes, sympathy can definitely require a lot of effort, and worse.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    We all do
    Empathy is a blessing and a curse. You can truly soar on someone's good feelings, but it can also feel like you're being flayed alive, and your natural instinct is to run from that.

    The truly skilled are able to use empathy to get a precise idea of what the other person is going through, and are then able to move past the pain using sympathy: if the pain is already this bad for you...it must be even worse for the person who's actually experiencing. And although removing yourself from that person could end your pain, it doesn't end theirs, which is the real objective.

    So yes, sympathy can definitely require a lot of effort, and worse.
    This is completely confusing sympathy with empathy.

    Sympathy is natural, while empathy is unnatural but uniquely helpful.

    However the price you pay for confusing empathy with sympathy is that you will never even think to formally learn to empathise.

  9. #29
    12 and a half weeks BerberElla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    This is completely confusing sympathy with empathy.

    Sympathy is natural, while empathy is unnatural but uniquely helpful.

    However the price you pay for confusing empathy with sympathy is that you will never even think to formally learn to empathise.
    How is empathy unnatural? isn't it very natural for certain types?
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by BerberElla View Post
    How is empathy unnatural? isn't it very natural for certain types?
    Sympathy means to feel the same as, while empathy means to know what the other is feeling, without feeling the same yourself.

    As they say, feeling are contagious, and mothers immediately feel the feelings of their babies, and babies feel the feeling of their mothers. This is called maternal bonding and almost all mothers and babies do this naturally without any training.

    So to do the opposite - to know what the other is feeling, but without feeling it yourself is unnatural. It is counter-intuitive.

    For instance learning to speak your language at home at your mother's knee is intuitive and natural. But to learn to read and write you are compelled by law to leave your home and mother and go to an institution with specially trained staff.

    So learning to speak your language at home is intuitive, and being compelled to learn to read and write in an institution is counter-intuitive.

    In exactly the same way, sympathy is intuitive while empathy is counter-intuitive.

    The problem is that almost no one is compelled to learn empathy except some in the helping professions, so very few people have had any experience of empathy.

    And never having experienced empathy, they confuse it with something they know and understand, namely, sympathy.

    And of course there is vanity involved, as no one wants to consider themselves as unempathic.

    In fact in the New Age movement we have very sympathetic people calling themselves, "empaths".

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