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  1. #1
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    Default Empathy and information (and information overload)

    I regard empathy as a source for more information--for good or for bad, quite often for good. After all, considering myself and other people is.. well, factoring in more than just my considerations.

    Without conscious consideration, I find myself with one foot planted in my own concerns and another planted in others' (and, really, the former hadn't developed until recently) and taking on others' causes as my own. It is quite often as if their priorities are inseparable from mine, as if I think from both of our perspectives at once or, in many cases, as if I think solely from theirs.

    On the downside, sometimes it seems that empathy can cause information overload. More information is good, but sometimes we must truncate our thoughts and information collection processes and just act or draw conclusions. It feels as though I'd have a much less holistic view if it weren't for this additional information, but at the same time, it seems that life would be much simpler if I weren't focused on collecting it.

    A while back, I was undergoing a bit of anxiety after a change in.. erm.. regimen. Some of my thoughts were about myself and whether I'd escape my situation. But the majority of my thoughts and the bulk of my mental energy was actually centered around how I could possibly be there for other people (especially certain other people) if I couldn't care for myself--which further drove the anxiety. Sometimes, these thoughts extend to anxiety about the state of the world in general. If I were more concerned about myself, those other-centric thoughts wouldn't even enter my brain in the first place, and I'd have much less to be anxious about.

    Anyone out there experienced anything similar--or otherwise resonate with what I'm talking about with the connection between information and empathy?


    (Replace 'empathy' with 'innate concern for others' or 'the thing that you know that bologna is talking about' if need be; I really don't want to quibble over words.)

  2. #2
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    Naomi Quenk writes a book called 'Was that really me?" and its about how your inferior functions take charge when you're stressed out.

    The inferior function of an ENFP is Introverted Sensing which uses known information to draw conclusions. It can't do what intuition does and 'think' about things you haven't seen. So generally you can only come up with bad results. Particularly when you're not very good at it. ENFP's aren't very good at it.

    There is a story in the book about a woman who is losing her job so she thinks she has to put all of her animals to sleep.

    Empathy is good and being aware of other people is good. You can't be 'to aware' of other people. You can 'not represent' yourself enough. Anyways. The point of the attacks is so that you'll develop the inferior function you're probably not using anyways.

    You will be ok in the long run.

  3. #3
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    Heh, empaths have to deal with this a lot.

    Be careful what you call "information". When people are empathizing, they are usually looking at someone's life through THEIR OWN perspectives with their own distastes and preferences. Hmm, #3 explains it well here: http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-reason...nd-each-other/

    Uhh, sorry I don't have an advice...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsune413 View Post
    Naomi Quenk writes a book called 'Was that really me?" and its about how your inferior functions take charge when you're stressed out.

    The inferior function of an ENFP is Introverted Sensing which uses known information to draw conclusions. It can't do what intuition does and 'think' about things you haven't seen. So generally you can only come up with bad results. Particularly when you're not very good at it. ENFP's aren't very good at it.

    There is a story in the book about a woman who is losing her job so she thinks she has to put all of her animals to sleep.

    Empathy is good and being aware of other people is good. You can't be 'to aware' of other people. You can 'not represent' yourself enough. Anyways. The point of the attacks is so that you'll develop the inferior function you're probably not using anyways.

    You will be ok in the long run.
    Interesting perspective. I'm quite often guilty of the bolded.

    I'm a huge fan of personal development myself. The way out of the whole 'mess of anxiety caused by too much information' is to cultivate the wisdom that tells us what our end goals ought to be, then act according to them. Different goals have different sorts of mindsets and skills that must be used, so developing those is also a necessary step. We can regard this process as individuation, strengthening the tertiary/inferior/shadow functions, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoadPaveMent View Post
    Heh, empaths have to deal with this a lot.

    Be careful what you call "information". When people are empathizing, they are usually looking at someone's life through THEIR OWN perspectives with their own distastes and preferences. Hmm, #3 explains it well here: http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-reason...nd-each-other/

    Uhh, sorry I don't have an advice...
    Oh, no doubt. For the insights offered by our 'empathy' to be accurate, a general understanding of human nature (psychology, sociology, etc.) helps, as does a more specific and detailed understanding of the other person. We all feel and do things for different reasons, and recognizing how our own lens distorts the information we take in is tantamount to true insight. We must escape the trap that others behave in the same way that we do for the same reasons that we would.

    Part of dealing with any information we take in is to decide whether or not it's accurate or relevant. A balance must be reached between throwing out too much information (deeming it 'inaccurate') for the sake of quick, decisive, but potentially wrongheaded action, versus taking in too much information and suffering 'analysis paralysis'.

    I'm a huge fan of many of Cracked's articles, by the way. They're digestible and often funny, interesting, and even insightful.

    #2 in that article is also a good one--we tend to place people in categories (e.g. man/woman, thinker/feeler, black/white) and then think about the categories rather than about the person. It just takes a hell of a lot less mental energy to think about the categories themselves, and we're all about mental shortcuts. Categories might have tendencies and probabilities of certain behaviors associated with them, but we mistake those for an absolute mapping of category to behavior because.. well, it's a lot less mental work.

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    My husband is an ENFP and he gets into very exacting situations where everyone needs a piece of him, everyone needs him to champion whatever it is that they need him for. He has a hard time saying No and it makes the problem worse because there's only so much one person can do. When he's swamped like that he gets anxious. I usually help by playing bad cop, reminding him that "Family comes first" and I he's got a personal passion for a couple of his activities, so I remind him that that is what he loves. Then I pretty much tell him the other people are just going to have to suck it up and handle their things on their own. That's the only way I've found I can help him at all.
    It's a little strange, because it makes me feel like I'm very insensitive and I have difficulty being "bad cop", but it gives him the perfect get out clause cause the old lady doesn't approve. Every one understands...

  6. #6
    Senior Member Sparrow's Avatar
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    I tend to catch other peoples feelings too...its tough, especially when it makes you all super emo! I am learning to step away when its too much.
    Fe | Ni | Se | Ti ... 3w4 ... Lawful Neutral ... Johari -Nohari

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverie View Post
    It's a little strange, because it makes me feel like I'm very insensitive and I have difficulty being "bad cop", but it gives him the perfect get out clause cause the old lady doesn't approve.
    Its good that you do that. Overwhelmed ENFP's crash pretty hard. Its a huge trigger for them to drop into depression. You are being sensitive to the person you have the greater commitment to and most likely keeping him able to continue to provide help by measuring it.

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