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Thread: Extreme empaths

  1. #121
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Puppy View Post
    I feel extremely bound to help the other person.
    I used to feel that way. Over time, I learned to conserve resources and evaluate carefully before I rush in to rescue. That has been healthier for me.

  2. #122
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    I used to feel that way. Over time, I learned to conserve resources and evaluate carefully before I rush in to rescue. That has been healthier for me.
    I either choose not to feel-which is numbing-or I am overwhelmed with guilt and a nagging sense of failure.

  3. #123
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I think it's all right if you choose carefully where you invest your time and energy. Hopefully that's good for you and for the person you're investing in. It's better if you can get some handle on the emotions, even if it's only to recognize them and let them pass when it's appropriate.

    Proteanmix, don't you and your friends have therapists to go to for youselves? If you don't, shouldn't you? Also spend some time intentionally doing something cheering, at least one thing per day, even if it seems useless, even if it's only to see a funny movie or walk through an art museum. The burn lady thing is horrible, for her and for her son. If you feel called to walk through hell like that, you need to at least make sure you look up a little from time to time, but yeah, I can definitely see how repeated exposure to that kind of thing would ruin you for casual company. Some body work really would help, too -- get a full body massage once a month at least, once a week if you can afford it.

  4. #124
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The interesting question now is - why is there this popular misconception?

    And the answer is because you live in a country where the very language has been deracinated.
    Fuck me. You're right.

    Why do I get the feeling, Victor, that you got some perverse pleasure out of that?^
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  5. #125
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    Fuck me. You're right.

    Why do I get the feeling, Victor, that you got some perverse pleasure out of that?^
    Because he's a guy?

  6. #126
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    "Deracinate"

    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    Fuck me. You're right.

    Why do I get the feeling, Victor, that you got some perverse pleasure out of that?^
    My first job was as a bank teller in the Commonwealth Bank. And they told me not to use big words like, "deracinate". But I have always loved big words ever since I was a little boy.

    I feel, "deracinate", is not only evocative but informative - it tells us something we would not otherwise know.

    So whenever I meet a word I don't know, my antennae go up and I want to know what it means. But I know that many are offended by big words and words they don't know, and the last thing they want to know is what it means.

    Unfortunately we perceive by making distinctions. And the more distinctions, the more we see. And the less distinctions, the less we see. And of course each and every word is a distinction.

    So the less words, the less we see.

    We can blind ourselves by being offended by words.

    And as Blackmail tells us, English has more words than any other language. And so we can see more with English.

    Unless we take offence and cut off our nose to spite our face.

  7. #127
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    What is the connection with introversion?
    I know plenty of empathic extroverts.
    I do too. But this physical state mirroring thing seems like a kind of internalization. It's outward --> inward.

  8. #128
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    Bulllllshit.

    I'm empathizing that you feel that that's not true.
    You suck at empathy.

    A mental disorder means the condition is causing continual distress and impairs functioning.
    Yes, the same definition I outlined in my post.

    But a stuntman with low neuron mirroring might not be suffering from their condition, just like an artist with high neuron mirroring might have found a way to thrive.
    Exactly.

    As I said, manifestation counts (in making it a disorder).

    So, a stuntman with low mirror neuron activation does not necessarily have a disorder. Just like an artist with high mirror neuron does not necessarily have a disorder.

    Again, if you read my post, that's not what I said. Lemme try again:

    It makes them predisposed to certain disorders: low mirror neurons (psychopathy, or less severe, anti-social personality disorder) while high mirror neuron activation (extreme empathy - a disorder). This is my point.

    Not all are dysfunctional, is the point. Even if they might be the exception to the rule.
    I'm not understanding the logic with which you're interpreting my post as equating high mirror neuron activation to every case of extreme empathy. Can you show me the evidence for this leap in logic?

    I'm calling extreme empathy a disorder, having high mirror neuron activation is not a disorder. High mirror neuron activation can make one, most likely, statistically significantly predisposed to extreme empathy (a disorder). <- which I said in my earlier post.

    It's not formally recognized as such yet, as I think this phenomenon is just taking firm footing in the scientific (and psychology) field. But, the conditions which was described in the OP, seems very likely to disrupt functioning in daily life and living. The article calls them disorders as well.


    So if they thrive, sometimes even at the conditions credit, is it still a disorder?
    If it significantly interrupts their functioning of daily life and living, like not being able to go through life, without being in agony over pain and suffering they indirectly are exposed to, in life, then, yes, most certainly, it's a disorder (i.e., hindrance).

    Mood is part of personality. And if we jack up the neurotransmitter serotonin, their personality characteristics and behavior is going to change.
    So, if I become angry and stubborn, do I switch to an ESTJ, and if I become happy and feel sweet, do I become an INFP? (caveat: stereotypes have already been hinted at, about types, by your previous post, so I continued ^ - to make a point)

    Serotonin? Will change my mood from being depressed to not depressed or vice versa, maybe. But, how will that affect my personality, as you're talking about it, i.e., Type Theory?

    Please explain how mood is related to what personality means in type theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    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.
    As my previous post outlined, just like extreme empathy has evolutionary benefits, so does antisocial personality disorders.

    This does not mean that they are also not likely to have significant limitations in functioning in our society. Hence, why they're disorders.

    Both are positive in an evolutionary sense of occuring as rare cases (which they do) in human society. Both are negative in terms of clinical psychology and looking at the manifestation of these traits in our average society. Hence, disorder.

    A thought exercise: imagine if every one of us were extreme empaths, and, one person suffered some kind of pain, then, in such an extreme case, this would then leave that society completely useless and in a catatonic, paralyzed state of pain, as everyone will be in agony, by one isolated incident happening to one individual in pain. It's thus a debilitating state of being.

    And, I've read the anecdotal stories on this thread, I really don't think anyone comes close to the extreme empathy that's being talked about in the OP, which again, is a disorder.

  9. #129
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    A thought exercise: imagine if every one of us were extreme empaths, and, one person suffered some kind of pain, at the extreme, this would then leave that society completely useless and in a catatonic, paralyzed state of pain, as everyone will be in agony, by one isolated incident happening to one individual in pain. It's thus a debilitating state of being.

    And, I've read the anecdotal stories on this thread, I really don't think anyone comes close to the extreme empathy that's being talked about in the OP, which again, is a disorder.
    Heh, I came to this thread to post about how extreme empathy wouldn't be ideal in any sufficiently intense caregiving circumstance, for just the reason you mentioned.

    I suffered from some involuntary emotional empathy when I was kid, which I don't particularly recommend as fun. I've mentioned my subjective reactions in another thread (where it induced some understandable eye-rolling). My sympathy/empathy-induced emotional state would sometimes cause physical effects (headaches or mild nausea), but that was definitely just a side-effect of my triggered emotional state. There was definitely never any direct physical sensation involved.

    I have some traumatic memories of going with my dad to visit a nursing home when I was about 8 years old (to give communion for some church members there). Some of the people at the nursing home seemed so desperately miserable that I started crying about halfway through. It was sufficiently traumatic that I refused to go back (to the consternation of my father... fortunately he had 3 other sons to draft). I felt intensely guilty about it, but I felt like I could no more force myself to go back than I could hold my hand over a flame after being badly burned. In that sense, empathy or sympathy didn't lead to a caring response, but instead led to avoidance.

    As an adult, I don't have the issue to anywhere near the same degree, but definitely was problematic as a kid. I've also found that empathy/sympathy (however you define it) isn't always helpful during a disagreement. Sometimes one can feel emotionally torn between one's own position, and the position of the other party. Plus, expressing sympathy for the pain you just caused someone is confusing at best and can interfere with the other person working through his or her anger.

  10. #130
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    OK

    Three aspects of empathy:

    empathic concern: longstanding compassionate emotions
    empathic accuracy: cognitive ability to accurately infer what the other person is thinking or feeling (not just feel it or think you feel it)
    perceived empathy: the target of empathy's ability to understand whether or not the empathizer conveys their empathy in a way that shows they are empathizing

    I got this information from Giving Birth to Empathy: The Effects of Similar Experience on Empathic Accuracy, Empathic Concern, and Perceived Empathy, Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2010; 36; 398

    Additionally I found this interesting article about empathy and the Five Factor Model

    Compared to the norms for adult females on the NEO-FFI, female hospice palliative care volunteers scored significantly higher on the traits of agreeableness, extraversion, and openness and significantly lower on the trait of neuroticism. On the empathy measure, female hospice palliative care volunteers scored significantly higher on the empathic concern and perspective taking subscales compared to the female norms, and significantly lower on the personal distress and fantasy subscales. The results of this study may have implications for the recruitment and retention of hospice palliative care volunteers.
    From Personality Characteristics of Hospice Palliative Care Volunteers: The "Big Five" and Empathy, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Mar 2010;

    It's interesting to note that the Fantasy subscale of the Openness factor is the one that most strong relates (I don't know if it's correlates but there is a connection) to what people in the MBTI world conceive of as intuition. So for anyone who asserts that intuitives, specifically NFs, would be more empathetic than SFs, according to this study that is not true.

    One more article I read:

    Several definitions have been proffered, but all exhibit similar undertones. For example, Markakis et al2,10 define empathy as the act of correctly acknowledging the emotional state of another without experiencing that state oneself, whereas others have defined empathy as putting oneself cognitively into another personís psychological perspective;11 the ability to understand another personís inner experiences and feelings and a capability to view the outside world from the other person's perspective12,13; and the capacity to enter into or join the experiences and feelings of another person. 13,14 But the Oxford Medical Dictionary provides a simple and easily understood definition: the ability to understand the thoughts and emotions of another person,10 or in other words, imagining how it feels to be in another personís situation.2
    From American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine Volume 25 Number 4 August/September 2008 (this one is especially interesting)

    Evidently with so much confusion over defining what empathy is, of course we aren't going to come to any type of conclusion either, but it's good to be having the discussion. Perhaps it will come down to literally measuring these mirror neurons and seeing who has more and who has less.

    If people want to make this about type what if, for example, you have a INFP and ESTJ with equal amounts of mirror neurons? Then what? Maybe the INFP and ESTJ both have empathic accuracy, but the INFP is better able to convey their empathic concern and the target understands this as perceived empathy. It didn't mean the ESTJ doesn't have it, it just means they didn't communicate it. What if the ESTJ chooses to express that empathic accuracy by becoming an health care administrator and the INFP by becoming a therapist? People choose their modes of expression in a way that's more suitable to their particular strengths. That's something I've had to rethink even within the course of this thread.

    I don't think trying to make this fit into MBTI is the proper way to go about understanding empathy. It's too much embedded into that response to chalk up to type and functions.
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
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