The empathy problem

It's not that I don't have empathy. I have a lot of it. Expressing it though is another matter. I struggle to find the right words to say.

Comments

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    @firemonkey said:
    It's not that I don't have empathy. I have a lot of it. Expressing it though is another matter. I struggle to find the right words to say.

    Perhaps your natural autistic manner of communicating is just fine as it is?

    Maybe saying that 'I dont have the right words to communicate it, but I feel for you" could be enough around the people who matter and know that you are speaking from the heart.

    I think empathy can be communicated by being there to listen and by gently encouraging the person to continue spesking about their difficulties.

  • My stepdaughter and the eldest granddaughter are having a roller coaster experience re COVID. Sunday my stepdaughter had a short walk. Today she's low on energy , and has been in bed all day. In the end I ended up sending a 'Get well soon' gif which my granddaughter liked.

  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen

    Me aswell. More important is the intention behind the words.

  • Teach51Teach51 Citizen
    edited February 2021

    @firemonkey said:
    My stepdaughter and the eldest granddaughter are having a roller coaster experience re COVID. Sunday my stepdaughter had a short walk. Today she's low on energy , and has been in bed all day. In the end I ended up sending a 'Get well soon' gif which my granddaughter liked.

    I hope that your loved ones recover soon. Well done with the gif.😊

    My aspie friend/ lover can respond to a dramatic, heart wrenching text by telling me I forgot a comma or full stop. The fact that I know he is oozing with compassion, kindness and soft feelings saves his cute a$$ time after time. I have learned to minimize verbal embellishments and convolutions which is my usual mode and keep it simple and text in templates.
    Example of such texting:

    Me: BLAH happened
    I feel.....
    This led to. this action...
    I feel.... (I am emotional I admit)

    This happened yesterday and I could sense his relief that he didn't have to wade through an infinite maze of impressions, inuendos and descriptions to pull out an appropriate response that won't completely miss what I needed to hear.
    We did well in our written communication yesterday which is very precious because it has taken us nearly five years to reach a level of communication where we can "feel" each other beyond the words which are often an obstacle. Now face to face we seem to do much better. My lover/friend seems to have a finely tuned system where he picks up information that I am unable to , especially regarding music and words, a sort of genius in super processing of feelings and creativity that I can't adequately put into words, and he just leaves me in complete awe. There was a time I suspected he was a narcissist because our communication was so flawed and I have a harsh personal history but he refused to give up on us, for which I am very grateful.
    Most people I know are strong on compassion and less on empathy. If we haven't experienced something first hand it's difficult to put ourselves in someone elses shoes.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    edited February 2021

    @firemonkey said:
    My stepdaughter and the eldest granddaughter are having a roller coaster experience re COVID. Sunday my stepdaughter had a short walk. Today she's low on energy , and has been in bed all day. In the end I ended up sending a 'Get well soon' gif which my granddaughter liked.

    Glad she liked it, yes a picture message with a few words can communicate so many things. Links to videos of funny kitten and puppy compilations always lift my spirits, a favorite song or photos that captured lovely memories.
    A text asking how they are and that you are thinking of them, there are many ways to communicate that you care 🙂

  • My stepdaughter liked the picture message as well. I'm a very infrequent user of gifs. Some people have a natural ability to express things through gifs. I don't.

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    I have had people refer to me as a sociopath/narcissist because I don't respond to upsetting things in ways they expect. My lack of outward expression puts people off unless they know what to look for regarding my body language, and the fact I'm not good with giving condolences and verbally expressing my upset with certain things makes people think I don't care about them or their issues. I have learned a few scripted responses and other things so people don't get upset at me, but it's exhausting trying to comfort people because it never feels like it's enough.

  • Yes, keeping it simple and caring. I don't get many kittens and songs from men I must admit though.> @Hylian said:

    I have had people refer to me as a sociopath/narcissist because I don't respond to upsetting things in ways they expect. My lack of outward expression puts people off unless they know what to look for regarding my body language, and the fact I'm not good with giving condolences and verbally expressing my upset with certain things makes people think I don't care about them or their issues. I have learned a few scripted responses and other things so people don't get upset at me, but it's exhausting trying to comfort people because it never feels like it's enough.

    I wonder if saying to people something like: "I really feel for you now but sometimes my feelings and verbal expression are not synchronized enough to express how I feel" might work. Do you go blank?
    When I am yelled at I go mute, that's my CPTSD response.

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    @Teach51 said:

    @Hylian said:
    I have had people refer to me as a sociopath/narcissist because I don't respond to upsetting things in ways they expect. My lack of outward expression puts people off unless they know what to look for regarding my body language, and the fact I'm not good with giving condolences and verbally expressing my upset with certain things makes people think I don't care about them or their issues. I have learned a few scripted responses and other things so people don't get upset at me, but it's exhausting trying to comfort people because it never feels like it's enough.

    I wonder if saying to people something like: "I really feel for you now but sometimes my feelings and verbal expression are not synchronized enough to express how I feel" might work. Do you go blank?
    When I am yelled at I go mute, that's my CPTSD response.

    I often go blank because I just don't know how to respond to things. I have tried to explain to people that I have issues expressing emotions, and some people are understanding but others are not. Since I've started using some scripted responses people get upset at me less though.

  • That's good. I really believe if we are sufficiently motivated and feel safe we can circumvent all kinds of communication chasms.

  • I have taught myself to respond in a number of ways to show empathy in certain situations. However, the empathy that I feel is more an intellectual construct than an automatic emotional response. Sometimes it takes me a few moments to get this together. Depending on the circumstances I may well have an emotional response later when I have had time to process things and then feel a degree of empathy more akin to the accepted form.

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