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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby narc_magnet » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:23 pm

jrh592 wrote:I don't understand why everyone is so torn up about the guy not knowing how to use chopsticks LOL. I think its funny.

It's not that he couldn't use them (although that is funny). It's that he was trying to cover up his lack of skill and failing miserably. All he had to do was laugh about it -- which would have been kinda charming.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Shanzik » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:59 pm

narc_magnet wrote:
jrh592 wrote:I don't understand why everyone is so torn up about the guy not knowing how to use chopsticks LOL. I think its funny.

It's not that he couldn't use them (although that is funny). It's that he was trying to cover up his lack of skill and failing miserably. All he had to do was laugh about it -- which would have been kinda charming.


I'm an empath (I think), but I completely agree with this. The fact he's unable to laugh it off but blames it on the sushi instead, says a lot about him. I would try to relax the situation or maybe ask the fork for myself and admit I also suck at using chopsticks :mrgreen: , to avoid him feeling bad, but my thoughts would be similar to yours.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Pangloss » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:20 pm

[quote="Jasmer"]Please describe empathy to me. I'm not sure I feel the same kind of empathy other people feel. Do you feel what other people feel, i.e. do you feel pangs of sadness when friends are sad? How does this work? How strong is this feeling? Do people just go around going through the motions and pretending to feel all these things more deeply than they really feel, or is my range of emotion and empathy really as shallow as I think it is?[/quote


First, I must warn that there is an editing glitch - in the course of writing, one can get logged out and will lose all that has been written when one tries to submit a reply to the thread or a post. I wrote a long heart-felt post but have lost it. Happened many times before but I just forget each time to use a text program to write and then copy and paste to the site. :(

So here's the short version.

Jasmer, happy new year to you and to everyone here who has patiently helped to answer questions that I couldn't get in real life due to an ex-husband who refused to communicate at all with me throughout 15 years of marriage. The Silent Treatment is due to Narcissistic Injury, I now understand.

I don't expect to communicate with him honestly in the future, nor do I wish to. There was a time when I really wanted to, but I guess I couldn't bring myself to beg, fake, give, debase and otherwise "doormat" myself to restore enough Supply in order for him to dictate to me what other forms of Supply I would need to provide and give for the rest of my life in order to live with someone like him.

Thank you for making me SEE, because I couldn't before coming here. However, each person is different, and I can grasp that everyone here falls along a spectrum, some of you further on than others, and congratulations to those of you who feel that you are living better.

I have been away, and it's healthier for me to do so, as I focus more on my real life as I slowly recover from the trauma. However, I do think it's important to reflect back to you what it means to be an Empath, because we do exists and we are real.

My ex-husband twists everything Good about me into something Evil, to the point where I became very confused myself and it tore into the very centre of my Being. He breaks me down, to what end I could never understand until I learn about PDs.

When an Em meets an N….a recent story

There was an acquaintance, M, an unemployed 34-yr-old care-taker/waitress/au pair, whom I met recently. She had a terrible mom, and while I sympathized, I couldn't help sensing a red flag. She is looking for a handsome, educated, professional and rich boyfriend, so while those around her would tease her and joke about it, she actually meant it, so another red flag. On the last occasion, after we went swimming together and were debating about whether we should go for dinner somewhere, I invited her over to my home for dinner. I knew she is broke and at the spur of the moment, I decided to offer her dinner within my own modest means, albeit warning her that my apt wasn't ready for guests and the dinner I could offer was simple salmon, salad and pasta, nothing fancy. She is living with a kindly elderly gentleman who is giving her food and shelter, and I expected she would understand.

I have kept a native carp I "rescued" from the supermarket ice counter in a bucket at home. It was struggling to stay alive amongst the other dead fishes, and I felt pity for it, bought it, ran to the bathroom to fill a little water and brought it home in the hopes that it could be released into the river when Spring. Winter is cold here and I didn't want it to die of shock. Meanwhile, it stays quietly in a bucket, half hibernating, and I feed it a little fish food from time to time when it seems a little active. My son and I filled a bath tub for it once, but it remained stationary, so we figured it is behaving this way because of winter.

M criticized the state of my apartment after stepping into my home. She then proceeded to tell me how she could make it decent, but she didn't actually do anything but sat there and read magazines while I cooked for her. When she saw the carp, she exclaimed angrily that I was really cruel to keep it in a bucket. She insisted that she would rather have died and turn into dinner than live a few weeks in such a bucket if she were the fish. She went on and on and on about what a cruel person I was. I wished then that I hadn't invited her home. Later, she gave me the Silent Treatment and discarded me after she found out over dinner that I couldn't help her get a job and that I resented her accusations of my "cruelty" to the carp.

End of Story. Now to the members, how would you deconstruct the situation? I understand she was triggered, but how else could I have avoided making her angry? And yes, this Doormat has been quietly withdrawn.


Yes, I'm an Empath, and I feel deeply for plants, animals and people. It is genuine, I feel distress when I witness distress, I cry when others cry, I feel happy when I can make something or someone feel better. I cry when I read sad books or watch movies. I suspect it is a Disorder. I never thought so before my marriage, as my late father and his mother were extremely kind people who gave often to those less fortunate without remembering or expecting reciprocal words or actions. I suspect my son is the same - he would fight other kids who are harming insects or plants.

My marriage was an unhappy one, and I finally gave up after 15 years trying to work at it to make it better. It was always a One-Way, decisions were made by ex-husband, even when I was opposed to them. It led to devastating losses and huge depression till I became suicidal. Something in me finally Died, and I finally found myself able to distance myself emotionally from those who violate my boundaries and who try to hurt me.

I wish that didn't happen, because I used to bask in the positive interactions with others. I felt good giving, helping, supporting those who needed them. Eg I took in pregnant stray cats to deliver and then tried to find them homes. I tutored girls at a shelter from troubled homes. I would be the shoulder for many of my friends who needed one to cry on. I gave my time, care, whatever I could afford, and most of all, I felt genuine feelings without expecting anything in return, not even friendship. Most of these words and deeds are forgotten with time. However, some of them became lifelong friends.

It has now become twisted when everything good I am thinking turns into a question if I'm doing it for "Supply". I married a man who told me I'm an Immoral B*tch, a Hypocrite, a Pretend Do-Gooder, a Fake Samaritan, a Malevolent "Boss" who treated my staff kindly while being a B*tch to those he hired in order to destroy HIS office.

When that "Something" died, I finally learn how to distance myself and I don't feel anymore for those who hurt me. I am now trying to salvage what I can of this old me because my children need it from me, I'm their mother. I found myself becoming angry and bitter at my son, and I have to check myself, I wasn't like this before meeting my ex-husband. I guess this is how a PD can develop, under abuse from another pwPD. I need to recover asap from the trauma, and I still hold out hope that one day, I will find someone who can truly love, support and act kindly towards me.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Pangloss » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:10 pm

[quote="narc_magnet"]Hi Purple 8. Here are 3 scenarios I experienced recently. I'm curious to know how you think you'd feel in these situations. Everyone else is welcome to chime in too - I'd be curious to hear your reactions.

narc_magnet, I saw your replies. Even though you didn't feel much Empathy, you actually gave very reasonable, sensible answers to the person you directed them at. In real life, your body language might betray your lack of empathy, but I wouldn't guess that based on these words you uttered. More likely, I would think that different people have different degrees of "warmth" and you tend towards the more aloof and cool of the spectrum, but I wouldn't see a PD at all.

I would venture to give the answers to your question, but also separated into what the Om (Old me before marriage) would think and what the Cm (Current me, post-trauma) would think.

1) An employee who has been reporting to you for the past year is significantly underperforming versus both expectations for the role and others in his peer group. You've given him consistent feedback and coaching throughout the year, to no avail. You believe he is not a good fit for the role and you put him on a formal performance improvement plan -- which could end in his termination if he is unable to achieve the goals spelled out in the plan. A few days later he comes to you to share that his wife has left him and that he's going though a tough patch -- and asks that you 'take it easy on him'.

You think:

Om - Oh dear, this man is going through one of the most terrible period in his life. What can I do to help him, but also ensure that he delivers in whatever limited ways he can?

Nm - Oh dear, this man is going through one of the most terrible period in his life. He ought to get this sorted out but I mustn't get myself involved. He should go to HR, and I need to somehow get him to deliver.

You feel:

Om- Sad, and will try to do whatever I can to help until I'm sure that he isn't sinking. Does he have children? What will happen to them? Should I see what I can do for his children who are without a mother?

Nm - I'll offer some limited gesture of kindness but I'm going to watch out that I am not being a busybody and that I don't get hurt.

You say:

I'm so sorry that this has happened. Do you want to talk about this with someone? What do you need in the meantime?

However, I still need to ensure that this project gets delivered. How about we break it into these parts and you fulfill them at this schedule? Working might help to take your mind off your situation, but let's try to find you some help at the same time.


2) Your close friend has finally separated from her emotionally abusive husband (or wife) after 10 years of tears and self-doubt. She calls to tell you that her soon-to-be-ex came to her crying, apologizing for his behavior, and asking to reconcile. She was impacted by his display of emotion and is now feeling conflicted. She wants to know what you think.

You think:

Om - My poor friend, she has gone through so much. Is her husband finally coming round to turn over a new leaf? Will that bring about a permanent change and he can finally become a good husband to her?

Nm - My poor friend, she has gone through so much. I don't know her husband well, but I'll refer her to some literature for her to make up her mind. Most likely, people are not going to change, even if they try. I'll ask her to think twice before taking him back, but I mustn't over-step her boundaries.

You feel: Compassion for my friend and will always support her, whatever she decides to do, and whatever the outcome.

You say: On one hand, I'm glad that your husband has expressed some remorse. Otoh, do you think this signals permanent change or will it go back to the same old abusive pattern? How much more are you able to take from this man?

3) Your out on a first date. He (or she) picked the restaurant -- Japanese. When his food comes, he struggles to manage the chopsticks and sushi is falling apart all over his plate. It's pretty obvious he doesn't know how to use chopsticks. Rather than laugh it off and ask the waiter for a fork, he gets visibly flustered and blames the sushi for falling apart too easily.

You think:

Om - He's struggling with chopsticks, how cute. However, he seems stressed out by a little thing.

Nm - Red flag. He shouldn't get so angry over a little thing.

You feel:
Om - Nervous, slightly amused, a little uncomfortable.
Nm - Quite uncomfortable, red flags!

You say: (Laughs a little) It isn't easy to use chopsticks, it takes practise. Would you like to have a fork? Don't feel embarrassed, it's not unusual.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Shanzik » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:02 pm

Pangloss wrote:
You say: (Laughs a little) It isn't easy to use chopsticks, it takes practise. Would you like to have a fork? Don't feel embarrassed, it's not unusual.


I think this would make him feel even more irritated, his weakness being exposed and verbalized. Instead of saying anything, I'd show him I'm no better and started messing up the sushi as well. :mrgreen:
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby narc_magnet » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:48 pm

Pangloss wrote:I have kept a native carp I "rescued" from the supermarket ice counter in a bucket at home.

I had to read this sentence 4 times. I thought I was reading it wrong :shock:

If anyone needs a definition of empathy, this ^^ might be it.

You reminded me, Pangloss, when I was about 3 or 4 years old my dad took my older brother and I fishing. One of us actually caught a little fish. As my dad tried to remove the hook from its mouth, I started screaming because I didn't want him to hurt the fish.

So I had empathy at some point!
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby jrh592 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:03 pm

As my dad tried to remove the hook from its mouth, I started screaming because I didn't want him to hurt the fish.

When I was 4 years old my dad gave me a bee bee gun. First day I took it out and shot a frog. Poor thing exploded when the bee bee hit it. I cried for hours. I cried for the frog and his little baby frogs and his frog family. I don't know what happened since then. Personally I think empathy was beat out of me by life. It use to be there but there is no trace of it left. Maybe deep inside but I cant find it.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Shanzik » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:05 pm

narc_magnet wrote:
Pangloss wrote:I have kept a native carp I "rescued" from the supermarket ice counter in a bucket at home.

I had to read this sentence 4 times. I thought I was reading it wrong :shock:

If anyone needs a definition of empathy, this ^^ might be it.


This reaction made me laugh. :lol: Taking a half-dead fish home is a bit unusual, I suppose. I felt horrible one or two times I was sent to a fish market, as a kid, because the fish was alive and they'd kill it in front of you or just put it in a bag while it was still alive. O.o It was a really f*cked up experience.

-- Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:09 pm --

jrh592 wrote:
As my dad tried to remove the hook from its mouth, I started screaming because I didn't want him to hurt the fish.

When I was 4 years old my dad gave me a bee bee gun. First day I took it out and shot a frog. Poor thing exploded when the bee bee hit it. I cried for hours. I cried for the frog and his little baby frogs and his frog family. I don't know what happened since then. Personally I think empathy was beat out of me by life. It use to be there but there is no trace of it left. Maybe deep inside but I cant find it.


With me, it was the opposite. I was actually killing bugs and grasshoppers at one point, not because I wanted to hurt them but because I was curious to see what would happen if I put them in water, I was maybe 2 or 3. Then I developed empathy and started thinking about ants' grandparents and children that would hopelessly wait for them and I stopped and became hypersensitive.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Après L Orage » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:58 am

I loved your second post, Pangloss. It illustrates well the difference between pity/emotional contagion and empathy.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby HR_p » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:23 am

Pangloss, when you take more than a few minutes to type out a response, the system will time you out sometimes.

So take all the time you want, but before you hit [Submit], do a [Ctrl] [c] copy on your text.

Start with the end period of your last sentence.
Do it slowly the first time. [Shift] <- over (shade) the entire text, then [Ctrl] c

Then hit [Submit]. If all is erased, then you have your text saved. Go back to the thread, hit reply and then [Ctrl] v

That will paste your saved text into the blank box.
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