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Thread: Extreme empaths

  1. #61
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    I have kicked around becoming some sort of counselor or child advocate--working with children because I care so much about them and feel that their early development can make or break them, bascially. But I just can't do it, and i know that. I am too sensitive to be able to place myself in those settings for very long. I couldn't hear about a 3 yr old sustaining sexual molestation or my stomach would literally hurt (it almost hurts just thinking about it); so I love them and I would want to do anything to help them, yet the irony is I couldn't or else it would kill me over time; stress me out until I was a basket case myself. I think that kind of work IS best done with someone who is empathic, yet has something in them that can separate out their own physical responses. You are right. Many nurses are SFJs. It's probably kind of like firefighters and their problems with PTSD; in careers where your empathy is on call all the time, you just need breaks or to really replenish yourself when you are in those hard professions, or maybe even counseling from time to time.
    I have three friends who are social workers. I've asked them, why do you do this and they just say this is what they've wanted to do. They might as well be paid beans and peanuts, their work is so heavy, so much emotional energy must come out of them...I just think to myself who does this unless there is a strong calling to do it? None of them are older than 32, the youngest is 26 and just within three years their whole beings have changed. I can feel the difference within me just by contact with them and through my own experiences. These didn't come from a movie with manufactured feelings and responses! Like I said, I'm not squeamish, I'm not sensitive in that way...so what is it? What am I feeling? (that is rhetorical) I can't jump on the bandwagon and say I run out of movies when blood and guts are flowing like wine or babies are falling from the sky, so then what?

    Then there's the situation that you just explained for yourself, that the heart is there but it's too overwhelming. This what tiltyred took issue with me about and in re-reading her post she described something a little more than what some others have described.
    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.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
    Social Penetration Theory 2
    Social Penetration Theory 3

  2. #62
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Pretty sure I feel more empathy than most...which is why I thought I was an F for so long.

    But yeah, not really an MBTI thing in my opinion. I probably have more mirror neurons (or more links from mirror neurons to frontal lobe shit) than most people.

    My ENTP brother used to have this problem when he knew people had to pee. If they were in a car or something, he would get even more uncomfortable than they were when there was no bathroom around. He would experience extreme relief once they went.

    I have a suspicion that this is actually largely nurture-based, as both of us had to develop a very watchful eye towards emotional reactions in childhood as a coping skill.

  3. #63
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I have three friends who are social workers. I've asked them, why do you do this and they just say this is what they've wanted to do. They might as well be paid beans and peanuts, their work is so heavy, so much emotional energy must come out of them...I just think to myself who does this unless there is a strong calling to do it? None of them are older than 32, the youngest is 26 and just within three years their whole beings have changed. I can feel the difference within me just by contact with them and through my own experiences. These didn't come from a movie with manufactured feelings and responses! Like I said, I'm not squeamish, I'm not sensitive in that way...so what is it? What am I feeling? (that is rhetorical) I can't jump on the bandwagon and say I run out of movies when blood and guts are flowing like wine or babies are falling from the sky, so then what?

    Then there's the situation that you just explained for yourself, that the heart is there but it's too overwhelming. This what tiltyred took issue with me about and in re-reading her post she described something a little more than what some others have described.
    ^^This is an important post. I don't see a connection between empathy and "goodness". Just as I wouldn't assume someone who absorbs emotions quickly is well-intentioned, I also wouldn't assume someone who never feels in response to a situation as uncaring.

    Actually caring and loving is based on a choice and while an emotionally driven empathetic response can serve as a motivator, it can just as easily be a de-motivator.

    I think some people can have an intense empathy and still act, although there could be an underlying conflict. There are differing levels of emotional tolerance just as there are different levels of pain tolerance.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I have three friends who are social workers. I've asked them, why do you do this and they just say this is what they've wanted to do. They might as well be paid beans and peanuts, their work is so heavy, so much emotional energy must come out of them...I just think to myself who does this unless there is a strong calling to do it? None of them are older than 32, the youngest is 26 and just within three years their whole beings have changed. I can feel the difference within me just by contact with them and through my own experiences. These didn't come from a movie with manufactured feelings and responses! Like I said, I'm not squeamish, I'm not sensitive in that way...so what is it? What am I feeling? (that is rhetorical) I can't jump on the bandwagon and say I run out of movies when blood and guts are flowing like wine or babies are falling from the sky, so then what?

    Then there's the situation that you just explained for yourself, that the heart is there but it's too overwhelming. This what tiltyred took issue with me about and in re-reading her post she described something a little more than what some others have described.
    I'm not sure if I'm quoting the right post. I'm on my phone and it's confusing but totally relate to wanting to do social work but knowing you couldn't do it..I came to the same conclusion..I also entertained psychology at one point but yeah too empathetic to actually be able to help in that way everyday. I would not be able to think of anything else...there would be no separating work and private personal life...there has to be some positive way to help that wouldn't destroy you in the process. Haven't figured out what exactly yet.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady X View Post
    I'm not sure if I'm quoting the right post. I'm on my phone and it's confusing but totally relate to wanting to do social work but knowing you couldn't do it..I came to the same conclusion..I also entertained psychology at one point but yeah too empathetic to actually be able to help in that way everyday. I would not be able to think of anything else...there would be no separating work and private personal life...there has to be some positive way to help that wouldn't destroy you in the process. Haven't figured out what exactly yet.
    Teach....

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    Quote Originally Posted by No Exit View Post
    Teach....
    Thanks..I do photography right now and I love it.I get to have positive interactions with people in that way but yeah I think I should find other lil ways to reach out to people..volunterring or helping in some way that's not in direct everyday contact.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I have three friends who are social workers. I've asked them, why do you do this and they just say this is what they've wanted to do. They might as well be paid beans and peanuts, their work is so heavy, so much emotional energy must come out of them...I just think to myself who does this unless there is a strong calling to do it? None of them are older than 32, the youngest is 26 and just within three years their whole beings have changed. I can feel the difference within me just by contact with them and through my own experiences. These didn't come from a movie with manufactured feelings and responses! Like I said, I'm not squeamish, I'm not sensitive in that way...so what is it? What am I feeling? (that is rhetorical) I can't jump on the bandwagon and say I run out of movies when blood and guts are flowing like wine or babies are falling from the sky, so then what? .
    How so?

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    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I can watch pretty intense movies and feel OK, blood and guts don't bother me, I'm not particularly squeamish. But if I am those things, do I become empathetic? If I can look at something unflinchingly, does that mean I'm unmoved? Is empathy directly related to how big of a basket case you become in high stress/emotional situations or if you maintain functionality are you not particularly empathetic? Because that's what some people are offering up as proof as their empathy: that they can't be in the presence of something disturbing or they go into meltdown.

    Empathy is just as much about positive emotion as negative...are people just as inclined to feel the happiness and joy of others or is it specifically negative and painful emotion?
    I would consider myself highly empathic. This is bad actually. I absorb subtle signs from other people-especially stress or unhappiness. Then-the nasty part-They seem to amplify and I become very stressed myself. My brain seems to translate this "stress" into "pain"-thus I feel compelled to resolve the root problem.

    Inflicting Pain on others is horrible for me. I never cry (typically), but seeing other people cry freaks me out. I feel compelled to help them. I cant say I really get "values". I understand principles. But I cant hurt other people. If I do, I then seem to mirror their "perceived" pain-which I cant properly calibrate against-thus Ne just turns the dial all the way up to maximum. This sounds really stupid, but I dont seem to have a good deliniation for slight vs extreme hurt-they all equalize thus any hurt I inflict against another is really, really bad and totally fucks with my head.

    Positive emo-yes I can very much feel that and it makes me blissful. I love to see other people happy and succeed. It is simplistic, but motivates most everything I do at work-can I make decisions that make everything better for the group? Haha, I end up with a math equation in my head for every choice-how can I make this choice in order to maximize happiness and contentment for the group-which typically is in line with the best business choice. I will by default sacrifice my own happiness to increase the happiness of another person-which then makes me happier. (WTF?)

    However this seems to translate into how ENFP leaders function-they will push other people up for recognition and not seek it for themselves. I have three ENFP superiors who keep doing this to me-and then I in turn point them to two other people who I would like to be acknowledged instead.

    Blood and gore-no problem as typically I can block the internal response, understanding I can help relieve the pain of the other. There were times at the stable where I worked where that meant putting animals to sleep. This was typically done with a sense of relief. The animal is no longer in pain. I have lots of examples but they would be troubling to share. The ability to resolve the issue is what stops the empathic response from being overwhelming. Horror movies-gross, I dont watch them typically, but they arent real and dont bother me.

    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    I have kicked around becoming some sort of counselor or child advocate--working with children because I care so much about them and feel that their early development can make or break them, bascially. But I just can't do it, and i know that. I am too sensitive to be able to place myself in those settings for very long. I couldn't hear about a 3 yr old sustaining sexual molestation or my stomach would literally hurt (it almost hurts just thinking about it); so I love them and I would want to do anything to help them, yet the irony is I couldn't or else it would kill me over time; stress me out until I was a basket case myself. I think that kind of work IS best done with someone who is empathic, yet has something in them that can separate out their own physical responses.
    I could actually do these types of jobs. It's not that I would be especially comforting to the actual child honestly. However it would become a mission in which I would seek to maximize benefit to as many people as I could. I would feel the pain-but be able to offer resolution in terms of a practical plan, thus the pain would not be overwhelming.
    I need to find a job that allows me to more directly help other people in mass.

    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    This is an important post. I don't see a connection between empathy and "goodness". Just as I wouldn't assume someone who absorbs emotions quickly is well-intentioned, I also wouldn't assume someone who never feels in response to a situation as uncaring. [/B]
    +1 The response is visceral. What you do with that response can be good or bad.

  9. #69
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    None of them are older than 32, the youngest is 26 and just within three years their whole beings have changed. I can feel the difference within me just by contact with them and through my own experiences. These didn't come from a movie with manufactured feelings and responses! Like I said, I'm not squeamish, I'm not sensitive in that way...so what is it? What am I feeling? (that is rhetorical)
    Are you picking up on diffs in vocal tone, posture, and facial expression? The TiFe folks are hypersensitive to these changes in the short term. Or perhaps you are observing long term changes in behavior that could be attributed to a "hardening" of sorts? I honestly dont understand how Fe tracks behavior long term.

    Perhaps they are developing a shell that protects them from the pain? In an ENFP, I'd suggest this would be accelerated development of Te as a protective measure which would result in a more serious overall tone, but I dont know how other types would unfold in a jungian sense.

    wait-through your own personal experiences?-As in their behavior in the past or your own experiences of pain which would prompt a similar response in yourself?

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I am empathic in that I can involuntarily absorb and react to the feelings of others unless I consciously block it. It's kind of just a human thing, though, isn't it? We are born not really conceiving of ourselves as individuals and we instinctively react to and mimic other humans from infancy.

    Personally, I can watch violent movies and TV shows without being bothered. I am squeamish about extreme blood and guts, but that is no virtue.

    I can't handle horror movies, especially ones that are of an occult nature, probably because I was raised to believe in demons, etc and I still believe in them. Also, psychopathic humans are way, way scary.

    I am as apt to cry with joy when something good happens as I am to cry with sorrow when something bad happens.

    I avoid watching the news because I can't stand to watch people suffer and my being upset doesn't really help the people who are suffering in any practical way. That doesn't make me good or bad, it just makes me a weenie.

    When one of my kids gets hurt or sick I can easily fall apart and be completely useless because I'm a weenie. Sometimes I'm able to block out the transfer, but in so doing, I become cold and impatient. I deeply admire those who can be both useful and genuinely compassionate in the face of suffering. I can do it to some degree with emotional things, but with physical things I'm a lost cause.

    This is not something I'm proud of. I'm more ashamed of it than anything because love is something you do, not just having warm fuzzy feelings and it ought to be able to overcome my personal fear of vicarious suffering, but I am weak. I fear I will fail my loved ones someday out of self-preservation because I'm a coward.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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