Our partner

Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder message board, open discussion, and online support group.

Moderators: mark1958, Echinacea, realityhere

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby Hebi » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:15 pm

No, in my opinion, that man was one of the first people to ever treat me with any respect. I mean, everyone else just likes to say more that happened, sometimes they will speak all cryptically, and don’t like to bring things up. My therapists and pdoc do it and my grandmother. They say all this stupid nonsense $#%^ and the last time we tried talking about it, I had a dissociative episode and an out of body experience. It would be earlier childhood, but so many people say so many different things, who knows what to believe? I don’t really care, because I feel unaffected regardless.

The first time they talked to me about some kind of PTSD I was 15 I think? I was in foster care and they did a psychological evaluation and an IQ test. I remember when my case manager told me about the results saying signs I had PTSD, and I told her, “doesn’t that require some traumatic event? What event am I supposedly traumatized by?” And all she said was, “You’ve had a lot of traumatic events in your life.”

Quoth, we need you!
“The best way to escape reality without running, is smiling even though, it is obviously fake.”

Devil’s Little Sister
Hebi
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 474
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:11 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:07 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


ADVERTISEMENT

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby Hebi » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:36 pm

As far as the daydreaming goes... I think it is more likely linked to the fact that I didn’t receive a lot of human or social interaction. I didn’t go to school very often and stopped going altogether in 5th grade. I saw my parents for maybe around an hour a day? My older sister was the only one who really paid me attention. So I think I was socially understimulated.
“The best way to escape reality without running, is smiling even though, it is obviously fake.”

Devil’s Little Sister
Hebi
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 474
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:11 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:07 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby shanzeek » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:18 pm

It seems to me there is a lot of connection between your and Quoth's story here, I think he can definitely help you make sense of things, at least..
shanzeek
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 1423
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:45 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:07 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby Quoth » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:22 pm

I'm having some difficulty collecting my thoughts so I don't know how useful this will be or whether I am really answering the right questions.

I think Quoth responded to something SixOClock wrote in the BPD forum. We had mentioned C-PTSD and Quoth mentioned that C-PTSD can cause a lack of empathy as well. I’ve been told I might have that because of some supposed “trauma” I’ve experienced, so it could be that as well? Or BPD, who knows.
PTSD itself has diminished empathy, C-PTSD that much more so. This is assuming we're talking about actual C-PTSD not just some codependent with an adjustment disorder who fancies another melodramatic label. It's not a 'nice' disorder as opposed to PDs which are typically deemed as 'nasty' disorders.

Terr's description of C-PTSD, which I've posted before, is the best description of the disorder.
The defenses and coping operations used in the [disorders resulting from complex traumatization in] childhood [include] massive denial, repression, dissociation, self-anesthesia, self-hypnosis, identification with the aggressor, and aggression turned towards the self, [and] ... profound character changes. ... Children who experience [complex] traumas often forget. They may forget whole segments of childhood—from birth to age 9 for instance ...” Where one sees the difference between these “forgetful” children and ordinary youngsters is in the multiply traumatized child’s relative indifference to pain, lack of empathy, failure to define or acknowledge feelings and absolute avoidance of psychological intimacy. Repeatedly brutalized, benumbed children employ massive denial.
All of which exist to distance the individual from overwhelming emotions and sensations of trauma.

For myself I will say that I have extreme difficulty accessing my core emotions. I often feel like a compulsive/paranoid shell tightly keeping an emotional hurricane in check. All emotions are suppressed until they boil over which is usually turned inwards in the form of depression. If I try to access my emotions when they don't want to be accessed the activity is both painful and draining, like drowning in despair and grief. There are some situations that induce that sensation too, particularly those where I have to show weakness to or be in the power of others. Affective empathy is one of the few responses that remain but I suspect it is often diminished by my puritanical and unyielding view point, often I don't act sympathetically due to paranoia that such behaviour will be received in a negative way. Everybody is different of course, trauma disorders like their personality counterparts are intensely specific to the individual.

It's difficult to get round the 'life was cruel to me, I see no reason it shouldn't be the same for you' style thinking. The sense of isolation and alienation doesn't help either. Ultimately I can usually be relied upon to react and assist people in genuine distress even when others will not due to personal risk, the proviso of course being what constitutes genuine distress. I am not really the kind of person you want to seek out if your boyfriend dumps you after you cheated on them or because you are upset that your parents would not buy you the sneakers you wanted. Morality plays a core part in my behaviours, which is partially why I find animals a lot easier than people. An animal is fundamentally incapable of evil and therefore cannot be malicious, the same is true for people with learning difficulties and children. Though it must be said that my pursuit of that which I deem to be right can be extremely ruthless and cruel.

shanzeek wrote:I possess empathy, but I don't think it has anything to do with doing the right thing, doing the right thing is in my case almost always a consious choice, a decision-making process rather than acting on some emotion I pick up.
I have to disagree here. Moral or ethical choices for me are more akin to faith. They are based on something I feel, reason is merely the means by which I explain them. That said I often find other people's ambiguity on the subject, which seems so clear and obvious to me, puzzling.

The first time they talked to me about some kind of PTSD I was 15 I think? I was in foster care and they did a psychological evaluation and an IQ test. I remember when my case manager told me about the results saying signs I had PTSD, and I told her, “doesn’t that require some traumatic event? What event am I supposedly traumatized by?” And all she said was, “You’ve had a lot of traumatic events in your life.”
:lol: this sounds like me. I recognise them as traumatic from a cognitive perspective in the sense that I see how they could be damaging. To me though, it's just '$#%^ that happened'.

shanzeek wrote:I read your topic about maladaptive daydreaming and Quoth was also mentioning it in another topic here (he said it's a defense mechanism trauma survivors often use), so there might be a connection between the two. I think Quoth can tell us more about it, I know very little about the whole thing.
:lol: I'm no expert.

I know it's a behaviour linked to psychological trauma, but it doesn't require the same kind of invasive trauma like ptsd to develop. I know it has a connection to people that have suffered long term bullying as well. Childhood neglect or loneliness could do it too I guess. It has a strong link to cptsd due to cptsd's use of dissociation as a primary defence mechanism.
as if in a broken jug for one backwards moment
water might keep its shape
User avatar
Quoth
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 1282
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:03 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:07 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby Hebi » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:50 pm

I relate to a lot of what you say Quoth. I mean, I can usually find a piece of something to relate to in what others say, but when I read what you write, I’m like, “This guy really gets it.” You’re always so helpful <3

So, I guess rather than saying I think that all pwBPD would lack empathy, I just think it’s commonly accepted to be true, because a lot of pwBPD have purported histories of trauma, and early childhood neglect and trauma seem to be a key link in diminished empathy.

Ok, so moral and ethical choices for me, are completely subjective, so it would make sense that they are made based off of what you personally feel to be right, your personal values and beliefs. But, then there’s also the society’s objective view of what is ethical and I think a lot of people merely adopt the same attitude as their society calls for, as a means of fitting in socially, which is essential to survival. So I can say that I have cognitive empathy and understanding of what my society has collaboratively deemed to be correct and incorrect behavior. I have a cognitive understanding of, “This will make this person feel bad, I know what it feels like to feel bad”

But I do not actually possess the affective empathy, or have quick access to it. When someone’s mom dies, I can not personally relate to any feeling the thought of that invokes. It’s really like, “Ok, so what?” To me. Because I can’t access my own emotions to that subjective experience, I can’t possibly have any emotional empathy in that situation. But, kind of like Quoth said, I do feel something for animals, and my brother who is special needs, and my kid sister who is too young and already doesn’t smile in any pictures herself, because these things are helpless, and they are definitely not evil.

So I guess a psychopath would really be the only one who has a complete lack of affective empathy? But still maybe the ability for cognitive empathy? The rest of us just can’t empathize because we don’t have easy access to what it would require to do so.
“The best way to escape reality without running, is smiling even though, it is obviously fake.”

Devil’s Little Sister
Hebi
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 474
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:11 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:07 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby shanzeek » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:12 pm

Quoth wrote:
shanzeek wrote:I possess empathy, but I don't think it has anything to do with doing the right thing, doing the right thing is in my case almost always a consious choice, a decision-making process rather than acting on some emotion I pick up.
I have to disagree here. Moral or ethical choices for me are more akin to faith. They are based on something I feel, reason is merely the means by which I explain them. That said I often find other people's ambiguity on the subject, which seems so clear and obvious to me, puzzling.


This confused me. I am able to feel what's right, the feeling does appear, I just said I try not to act on this feeling but rather on rational decision when handling things as fragile as "good" or "bad", at least when it comes to others. The exception would be all cases of acting in urgency, in impulse to e.g. help/defend someone. Do you at all times believe this feeling, or any feeling that much to be able to make moral judgement on it? I do this because I always (most of time) leave the option of my own judgement being clouded, one cannot go without the other.
shanzeek
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 1423
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:45 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:07 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby Philonoe » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:59 am

If empathy means something like being emotionally present, my empathy depends on the amount of issues i have to deal with - be external or internal.

I tend to enjoy this sort of presence with people.

It makes myself in a way stronger, in a way more vulnerable. Vulnerable to shocking situations where i don't know what to do.

There is an other vulnerability in my case : it's with some family members. They are able to eat it - i mean eat the empathy - as if they ate me. Then i feel exhausted, guilty. It's like my all mind and body are involved in them.
I stop existing.

It happened yesterday with some family member.

I didn't sleep well.
Philonoe
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:32 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:07 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby YukariOro » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:00 pm

Arthur wrote:I noticed something weird recently.

When I'm depressed or going through a hard time, a lot of my empath friends are rather dismissive. And my narcissistic friends tend to be much more understanding, more patient, more helpful. I guess that's because they've been through it themselves.

I don't feel people with PD are evil people in general, in so far as I'm aware a good many of you have greatly suffered and it damaged many of you. My mother suffered through horrific childhood abuse herself.


I'm a non, and also an adult child of now deceased mother who I believe had undiagnosed NPD. I've also been romantically involved with several guys who have strong narcissistic traits. That said, I don't claim to be an empath, because I think people claiming to be an empath are misusing the term to make themselves feel better than others, especially those with PD.

Although I am aware I can feel empathy more readily than my mother or my exes, at times. I have indeed seen my mother and exes show empathy, although usually it's rare and often misdirected.

Speaking as a non, my take on this is that you're confusing others giving you what you want, or not giving you what you want, with empathy. Empathy is about needs, not wants.

Also, personally when I realize someone has strong narcissistic traits, I tend to pull away. I start to realize this is a one sided relationship, one that is often hurting and draining me, and so I pull away. I stop giving when I start to feel like I'm the only one giving, and giving, and giving. If these people aren't being destructive to others, I let them slowly fade away from my life, and generally treat them in a cool and distant, but polite manner. If they are being destructive, I usually confront them, and if that doesn't work, I cut them off and never contact them again.

The key here is to have empathy for others, I must first show empathy towards myself, which means taking care of myself and staying away from peoples who I feel are harmful towards me. This doesn't mean I stop caring or feeling empathy for the person. I don't, I just care and feel empathy from a distance instead, where I can't be hurt any longer.

I hope this helps you with understanding better, why you are experiencing what you are experiencing with nons.

P.S. I wanted to add, you could be feeling more empathy from your PD friends simply due to the fact that you have shared experiences with them. You can relate to them better, and they can relate to you better, than someone like me who is a non. Quite frankly a lot of times I'm totally at a loss to understand how and why someone with PD acts as they do. It makes little to no sense to me. It definitely doesn't feel rational or logical to me in the ways that it probably does to you.
YukariOro
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:13 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:07 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby Philonoe » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:24 am

Philonoe wrote:There is an other vulnerability in my case : it's with some family members. They are able to eat it - i mean eat the empathy - as if they ate me. Then i feel exhausted, guilty. It's like my all mind and body are involved in them.
I stop existing.

It happened yesterday with some family member.

I didn't sleep well.

I had a dream about them

I think that day something happened - it's like guilt took control on me. Or my perception is that they took control on me.
From that day i'm in survival mode.
I can be there, i can talk, there is a little layer of empathy
but inside, there is anxiety
Impossible to feel good about myself

I need to rebuild that space
That space where i can move
Breathe, sleep
Having my sleep for me
Philonoe
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:32 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:07 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Do empaths have empathy when it counts?

Postby Philonoe » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:30 pm

Philonoe wrote:Vulnerable to shocking situations where i don't know what to do.

This just happened to me.

Someone talks me with despair

and reasons for it

i feel despair

what can i do?

offering despair no good.

fake no good

what can i offer.
Philonoe
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 1966
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:32 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:07 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

PreviousNext

Return to Narcissistic Personality Disorder Forum




  • Related articles
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 42 guests