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Ask an Empath

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Ask an Empath

Postby Purple 8 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:15 am

Hey, empath here. Any questions you might have, feel free to ask and I'll see what I can do.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Jasmer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:39 am

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?
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Ligeia » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:31 am

Jasmer wrote: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?

I second this.
Dx: NPD w/ BPD traits
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby narc_magnet » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:13 pm

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.

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:_________________
You feel:__________________
You say:___________________

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:_________________
You feel:__________________
You say:___________________

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:__________________
You feel:___________________
You say:____________________
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby jrh592 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:40 pm

If ask someone you were doing business how they are and they tell you not so good and they are getting tested for cancer, how would you feel? Would you feel anything? Would it be annoying? Would you feel pain for them?

I am curious because I recently had this happen to me.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Mamba » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:48 pm

When someone is distant and uncaring toward you, why do you still care? What is it that you hope to achieve when staying in a relationship that is making you unhappy?

I began to think that empathy is inherently passive, and watching my narcissistic exes go after what they want aggressively seemed like more of a winning strategy. Do you believe that empathy has helped you in your life, or do you blame it for all of your misfortunes, like I do?
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby whichway » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:41 pm

narc_magnet wrote: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: I think this situation sucks. On the one hand I've given this guy more than enough chances to fit the job. And I already feel like he's not a good fit (as per your description). On the other hand I know how #######5 it is to be left by someone and what an emotional roller coaster that can be. I think making a choice on what to do next will be difficult.

You feel: I feel conflicted. Knot in my stomach sort of feeling. Maybe a furrowed brow. I feel frustrated over giving this person so many chances. I feel sad for him and what he's experiencing. I feel a little anguish about the position I'm in.

You say: "I'm sorry to hear that things are going rough for you. I have to stick with this plan to meet the objectives of the company. Do you have any resources (friends, family...) to help you get through this?" ...and then if time allows have that conversation about how to help him (without compromising the performance plan).

(I should make a note that this is already a little annoying for me to do because think & feel are intertwined for me and it feels weird to separate them. It feels unnatural to me to do that.)

narc_magnet wrote: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: I think ###$ him. 10 years of abuse isn't erased with an apology.

You feel: I feel bad for her. She's likely still in a place of healing from abuse and now her emotions are being toyed with. I also feel bad for the stb ex-husband but he needs to get his $#%^ together and stop abusing people. I may get a little angry towards him in the moment.

You say: You separated for a reason. Give things time to see how you feel. This sounds like a continuation of his abuse. I understand how upsetting this is and I'm sorry that your emotions continue to be played with. Start to focus more on yourself. Spend time learning to trust in your decision. Life isn't going anywhere without you. If he's meant to be in your life time will eventually tell. For now this is the time to get to know yourself better. If you need someone to talk with I'm here.

narc_magnet wrote: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: I won't be having a second date with him.

You feel: Uncomfortable. His irritation isn't something he can contain so now it's spilling over into me and I'm feeling like I have to somehow manage the situation. I don't like that feeling so I get a little irritated.

You say: (First I laugh in a compassionate way.) Why don't you ask for a fork? I'm sure it won't be a problem.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby narc_magnet » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:53 pm

Your responses are interesting for me to read, whichway. I chose these scenarios purposefully, because in each case it was suggested to me that my response lacked empathy. I'm going to hold off on what my actual responses were and see if Purple 8, or anyone else, adds some additional perspective.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby jrh592 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:10 pm

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'.


Since the entire year has been an underperformance I don't trust him. I know people can make excuses and catching the feels isn't an excuse for that level of underperformance. I do feel a bit conflicted. Should I let him go and possibly terminate a normally good employee just going through a rough time? I could waste a lot of money hiring and training a replacement. I feel in a bind. Its a lose lose situation for me. Ughh this is annoying and he is coming to me with his problems. I tell him... you need to snap out of it man. I give him some tough love encouragement. I know its rough with the wife leaving but we have a job to do. Time to beat this. She didn't deserve you. You can do better. Go out, find some new ladies and be back on top in no time. Now you can be free of the ball and chain. Im going to be watching closely and I need to see some improvement in the next few weeks or Im going to have to let you go. Lets see what you can do.

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.


I would feel anger because it would bring back memories from my own past.

Oh hell no. Screw that guy. Put a restraining order on him. I know you think you want him but your really just afraid to be alone. You could be trauma bonded. You need to start dating again and get out there and find someone better or be happy alone.

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.


I would laugh at her but not in a mean way. I think its kinda cute. Tease her and teach her to use chopsticks. This is a good opportunity to get close and hold her hand. Id sit on her side of the table and try to teach her. I would feel like I am going to show her something and she is going to love it. I feel pretty happy about that.
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Re: Ask an Empath

Postby Kappalicious1 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:07 pm

Jasmer wrote:Please describe empathy to me.


I like to describe having empathy towards someone like this: don't do to him/her what you wouldn't like to be done to yourself. It's the most rational way of expressing it I can think of.
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