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Thread: Extreme empaths

  1. #91
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    .


    Of those 15 definitions, NONE/ZERO make reference to physical sensation as a major component of empathy. The only reference to physical sensations is what I bolded above and that's an if/then scenario.

    The OP referers to people who have extreme physical reactions as extreme empaths and that's a neurological disorder. What I am taking issue with is people are conflating physical reactions as the defining feature of empathy.

    But doesn't your quote from wiki state that physical reactions are part, or can be part, of empathy? Or at least allow room for that> Your 15 descriptors of empathy in and of itself shows the latitude given for the definition of empathy. And they even state in those definitions that feeling the emotions of another is empathy.

    So, for many, myself included and apparently other infxs on here (and perhaps others too--not necessarily tying this with type yet), who have the very really experience of having physical expression of intense emotions, it would equate that if I'm experiencing the emotions of others (your empathy definition), that I'm personally having a physical manifestation of that. Which is why I define extreme empathy, for my own experience, as having physical manifestation of the state of another.

    Please keep in mind I am attaching no meaning to this concept. Not saying it's good or bad necessarily. Just trying to get the definition straight at this point.

    Since empathy involves understanding the emotional states of other people, the way it is characterized is derivative of the way emotions themselves are characterized. If, for example, emotions are taken to be centrally characterized by bodily feelings, then grasping the bodily feelings of another will be central to empathy. On the other hand, if emotions are more centrally characterized by a combination of beliefs and desires, then grasping these beliefs and desires will be more essential to empathy. The ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated imaginative process. However the basic capacity to recognize emotions is probably innate and may be achieved unconsciously. Yet it can be trained, and achieved with various degrees of intensity or accuracy.

    The human capacity to recognize the bodily feelings of another is related to one's imitative capacities, and seems to be grounded in the innate capacity to associate the bodily movements and facial expressions one sees in another with the proprioceptive feelings of producing those corresponding movements or expressions oneself. Humans also seem to make the same immediate connection between the tone of voice and other vocal expressions and inner feeling. See neurological basis below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    A thought occured to me, regarding these mirror neurons. I believe that this disorder of extreme empathy lies on the spectrum of psychopathy (less severe being: antisocial personality disorder). Too much/too little activation of said neurons, thus, at opposite ends.

    Evolutionary speaking, there's a reason for empathy in humans (evolutionary psychology). Too much empathy, and/or, too little, got passed on, as rare but occuring traits, because each did/does have their benefits.

    Most healthy individuals should make up the central tendency of this normal distribution, with extreme empaths and psychopaths lying on either ends.
    Perhaps, perhaps not. Playing devil's advocate here; please excuse my fuzzy T, but looking to evolutionary psychology, wouldn't it make sense that instead of a 'disorder' that it might be argued that 'extreme empathy' is a protective mechanism? If anything, extreme empathy might likely keep one from fraternizing with very much that is odd, because to be around much that is odd or abnormal is to feel extremely uncomfortable. Extremely odd or abnormal situations that one would avoid due to extreme empathy are situations that are charged with antisocial behavior, or are resultant from it, for the most part. If I'm avoiding antisocial behavior, I'm probably going to be safer, no? Hence, empathy in this context could be construed as an evolved trait of survival, instead of a disorder. Perhaps not in the median range, for sure, but perhaps moving toward this?

    Stretching now: If we were all more empathic, would we have some sort of influence on antisocial behavior in a negatively correlated way> Might discourage antisocial behaviors which would lead to more harmonious environments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Of those 15 definitions, NONE/ZERO make reference to physical sensation as a major component of empathy.

    The OP referers to people who have extreme physical reactions as extreme empaths and that's a neurological disorder. What I am taking issue with is people are conflating physical reactions as the defining feature of empathy.
    Yes, empathy is knowing what someone is feeling without feeling it yourself.

    While sympathy is feeling what the other is feeling.

  3. #93
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Yes, empathy is knowing what someone is feeling without feeling it yourself.

    While sympathy is feeling what the other is feeling.

    you got that backwards^
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  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    you got that backwards^
    They keep telling me this dear Aphrodite, but they have it awry.

  5. #95
    a scream in a vortex nanook's Avatar
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    wikipedia

    Sympathy is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. Also known as empathic concern, it is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Although empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably, a subtle variation in ordinary usage can be detected. To empathize is to respond to another's perceived emotional state by experiencing feelings of a similar sort.[1] Sympathy not only includes empathizing, but also entails having a positive regard or a non- fleeting concern for the other person.[2]
    seriously, in ordinary use only the boldfaced part is true. you sympathize if you coincidentally feel the same way that someone else feels about something. football is great. but it requires the capacity to imagine that the other is feeling the same way you would feel. which is very basic empathy, in my book. like the joy he gets from it and the disappointment he would feel if someone stole his ticket. just being aware of the fact would make you allies in hooligan-ship, but it would not constitute sympathy.


    you can view it in a stage model. egotism is centric. its about how you feel. thats stage one. sympathy (or basic empathy, as i called it in the previous paragraph) is a expansion of your center, so that it includes your family, tribe or other people who "feel" like you (ethno-centric). that's stage two. empathy is non-centric. "unitarian". that's stage three. in principle, it can be applied to any feeling in the world. the capacity to synthesize any feeling requires some transcendence of your own current feelings.
    in that sense, you do feel the synthetic feeling, but you do not feel it yourself, depending on how self is defined. (is it the little self that is transcended, or is "self" that which does the transcending and which own/has the little self with it's emotions. the words are used in both ways)

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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    you got that backwards^
    The distinction between empathy and sympathy is important because empathy is uniquely helpful.

    For empathy enables me to establish rapport and be helpful without falling into the same emotional problem.

    Sympathy is natural for we all have mirror neurons while empathy must be learnt.

    This is compounded by the fact that we all want to think we are empathic when we are not. We are simply sympathetic.

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  8. #98
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The distinction between empathy and sympathy is important because empathy is uniquely helpful.

    For empathy enables me to establish rapport and be helpful without falling into the same emotional problem.

    Sympathy is natural for we all have mirror neurons while empathy must be learnt.

    This is compounded by the fact that we all want to think we are empathic when we are not. We are simply sympathetic.
    Admit it Victor, you got the universally accepted dictionary definitions mixed up.

    But if anyone can convincingly cover up this err with flowery language, it's you.

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    Admit it Victor, you got the universally accepted dictionary definitions mixed up.

    But if anyone can convincingly cover up this err with flowery language, it's you.
    I've got the definitions right mate. And they have been right for three thousand years since the Ancient Greeks invented them.

    You are repeating a popular misconception.

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Well, the majority of people I know who refuse to watch horror movies are Fe users. Saying stuff like that I can just turn around and refute it with my own experience and then what?



    I understand, but people make comments like this and then it becomes a dominant perception which is perpetuated and incorrect.

    And like Victor stated in his post, being empathetic is a social trophy. Look at how most people are saying they're empathetic...via going to movies. I feel like people who are put in real situations the have a need for sustained empathy, sympathy, and compassion, i.e. nurses, social workers, teachers, mental health care professionals live horrific situations day in and day out. It's not a movie they can just get up and leave after a few hours of entertainment and have their empathy pack recharged until the next Saw comes out.

    I find equating "empathy" with sitting in a movie theater and getting creeped out by simulated gore offensive. It was meant to creep you out, the whole reason and staging of the scenes were done for that purpose, so the empathizing is contrived really, like reading a Hallmark card or cooing at the sight of puppies. To me it totally trivializes people who have to draw on empathy in situations that matter and the coping mechanisms and strategies they must use to keep from being completely burned out.

    According to the article, extreme empathy is a neurological disorder. Are people claiming this or something else?
    Its more popular to talk the talk of being empathetic because progressive liberalism is in fashion (Conservatives can have their own compassion, but I think everyone knows what I mean). How many of these people ACTUALLY would take the time to go do something empathetic with their own time and money, is a different story.

    Secondly, horror films emotionally disturb me. I literally feel bad for the main character. I feel distressed that "someone has to go through this! How could the world be this bad!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    People who actually have to be in those situations cannot be but so empathic, or they could not get their work done. It helps that they cannot feel every little twitch of their patients. I am useless in those situations because I faint when I see blood, for example. And most people find my reactions to movies and real life situations over sensitive and abnormal. So yes, I'd say extreme empathy is a neurological disorder.

    I can't help feeling a bit set up when someone asks a question and I offer anecdotal or personal experience for what it's worth, and it's turned around as if to say I'm bragging, or that experience I offer is trivialized all to hell.
    A lot of the doctors, premeds etc I would say talk a lot about being empathetic (because it sounds better than being in it for the stable career). However, to really go to that job day n day out probably takes some "numbing". If you really got distressed about the people dying and being sick, it would be tough, I imagine.

    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    Well, I have a few opinions about this.

    1) Horror films are fiction. The world news makes me feel much more pain than slasher flicks. I'm much more disturbed by realistic dramas than horror, and I think that people who freak out over horror movies are just extremely imaginative, not empathetic. I think empathy is actually aware of REAL feelings.

    2) Same thing with fainting at the sight of blood. That isn't empathetic - it's a visceral aversion to blood. Empathy would involve helping the bleeding person, I would assume.

    3) That being said, I'm extremely sensitive to real life violence, reports of animal violence, and can cry when other people are crying, or get angry when other people are being picked on or abused. I feel a need to defend others sometimes.

    I don't know if this makes me an "extreme empath" but I am sensitive.
    I think this might be the first time ever I can say that I agree with everything an ENFP and Marm wrote! I cant watch the news (its too horribly emotionally blackmailing and makes me feel bad). Blood does not bother me at all. Seeing physical violence or injury greatly disturbs me.


    I think Fi's might posses a lot of empathy based on the popular values at this era of time (i know i know...Fi doesnt listen to popular ). But unless a Fi person really thinks its unconscionable to be un-empathetic i see no reason for them to be.

    Fe/Si people will probably display empathy because its either their role, or its the norm. Fe/Ni people probably excel at placing their conscience in another persons perspective. However, I dont think Fe by itself is strictly empathetic...

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