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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default Dealing with others' problems/dealing with your own

    Yesterday I dropped everything to go spend much of the day with a friend who'd had a sudden and tragic bereavement. We cried together, made each other tea, talked, she spoke with other friends and family of the person who'd died, etc.

    It's a really sad situation and I felt awful for her. She's gone through a lot in her life and this is just another very bad thing, so I really feel pain for her. It wasn't just a friend, it was an ex-boyfriend who wasn't 100% "ex" and she was still completely in love with him.

    I started thinking, though - I sometimes feel like it's much easier for me to handle other people's problems than my own. I'm generalising/speculating here, but I would guess that for instance NTs and SPs find their own problems easier to deal with than those of others. They're more likely to apply detachment/logic/moving on to their own problems, whereas strong painful emotions of others might be too frightening or intimidating.

    But for me...I try to use empathy to reach out to others and help with their problems, even if I don't know quite what to say or do, and it usually seems to help. I become quite competent when helping others and I think I even detach a bit so I feel their pain but I'm not overwhelmed by it. But my own problems? They just seem to stay painful for so long, with a never-ending loop of thoughts and emotions running through my head, and it feels like some things stay unresolved forever. Like I'm too close to my own problems to free myself from those destructive thought/feeling patterns. I'll try to apply logic to my own problems, but often the emotions or hurt are too overwhelming and the still small voice of logic is drowned by all the screaming howling emotion.

    I don't know, I'm just speculating. Maybe this is more of an individual thing than type-related.

    EDIT: Seriously, I feel like I would make a very good therapist...who would then have to go for therapy herself... Is that common?
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    Senior Member GirlFromMars's Avatar
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    Seriously, I feel like I would make a very good therapist...who would then have to go for therapy herself...
    Oh God, yeah, I'm with you there. I have been to therapy myself, but know I'd make a good one. I'm good with other people's problems (in the listening/nuturing/giving gentle advice sense) But when it comes to my own problems, I'm not so hot. But a lot of people do say it's easier to give others advice, than to follow it ourselves.
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  3. #3
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GirlFromMars View Post
    But a lot of people do say it's easier to give others advice, than to follow it ourselves.
    Yeah, maybe that's all it is it's not even just that though...it's the whole "dealing with emotional fallout" thing... From my perspective, it's almost like some people minimize the emotional fallout from their own problems, or deal with it very effectively, but they don't even want to go there with other people's. I "go there" fairly effectively for other people, but when I "go there" with my own problems, I sometimes just feel like I get more messed up!!

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  4. #4
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    First thought: others' problems are easier to deal with because we're farther removed from them, no matter how empathetic we are. We're careful when we deal with others' problems, sure, but we're not as prone to getting caught up in any resultant anxiety that prevents us from dealing with them.

    I'm seeing a psychologist and I often act as one.. and I don't think there's a contradiction there.

  5. #5
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post
    First thought: others' problems are easier to deal with because we're farther removed from them, no matter how empathetic we are. We're careful when we deal with others' problems, sure, but we're not as prone to getting caught up in any resultant anxiety that prevents us from dealing with them.
    Pretty much.

    After all, when all is said and done, the empathizer is not the one who has to go home to an empty house and experience a large permanent hole in his or her life.

    There is no escape from the loss, only a reprieve.

    The empathizer can empathize but in the end can move on to the next thing.
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  6. #6
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Pretty much.

    After all, when all is said and done, the empathizer is not the one who has to go home to an empty house and experience a large permanent hole in his or her life.

    There is no escape from the loss, only a reprieve.

    The empathizer can empathize but in the end can move on to the next thing.
    All true...but wouldn't you agree that there are some who seem better at dealing with their own emotional pain/problems than those of others? That they just run away from situations where they'd have to empathize with someone else? That's more what I was getting at (and whether it was type-related or not, etc). Perhaps those people also run away from their own emotional pain...not sure.
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    Badoom~ Skyward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    All true...but wouldn't you agree that there are some who seem better at dealing with their own emotional pain/problems than those of others? That they just run away from situations where they'd have to empathize with someone else? That's more what I was getting at (and whether it was type-related or not, etc). Perhaps those people also run away from their own emotional pain...not sure.
    Some people may not even know there is a problem, or they just escape it by distracting themselves with something (which seems an Extrovert tactic sometimes).

    I think to those that understand there's a problem and want to fix it, their own problems are harder than other people's for the reason Jennifer mentioned. We can't just leave our own problems because they are with us all the time. A friend's problem is still close, sure, but far enough away that we aren't fearing for our own integrity.
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  8. #8
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    All true...but wouldn't you agree that there are some who seem better at dealing with their own emotional pain/problems than those of others? That they just run away from situations where they'd have to empathize with someone else? That's more what I was getting at (and whether it was type-related or not, etc). Perhaps those people also run away from their own emotional pain...not sure.
    I totally agree with this, I know two people who are just incredibly balanced individuals and can cope extreamly well with any of their own problems, even huge personal ones. They think very rationaly, objectively and calmly....weigh everything up, understand it, deal with it and move on
    One is my other half and he's intj the other has been the best friend ever but i'm not sure of her type...deff not an intj though (too selfless)

  9. #9
    12 and a half weeks BerberElla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GemPOPGem View Post
    I totally agree with this, I know two people who are just incredibly balanced individuals and can cope extreamly well with any of their own problems, even huge personal ones. They think very rationaly, objectively and calmly....weigh everything up, understand it, deal with it and move on
    One is my other half and he's intj the other has been the best friend ever but i'm not sure of her type...deff not an intj though (too selfless)
    It's awesome to watch isn't it? I have so much admiration towards this ability, as being an NF I am much better at other people's problems too.

    The fantastic advice I give, the lack of judgement when they make their choices, the supportive patience, all things I can never afford myself on any given day.
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  10. #10
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BerberElla View Post
    It's awesome to watch isn't it? I have so much admiration towards this ability, as being an NF I am much better at other people's problems too.

    The fantastic advice I give, the lack of judgement when they make their choices, the supportive patience, all things I can never afford myself on any given day.
    Tell me about it, when dealing with my own problems i get lost in emotion, have zero clarity and many conflicting views, so hard to step outside of it.

    I have this friend who who rationalizes every part of the problem and comes up with a just solution thats always kind to me... it IS astounding

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