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#438312 - 06/15/13 10:03 PM Actual Empathy Vs. Defensive Empathy
GoldStone Offline


Registered: 05/28/13
Posts: 220
Loc: Far East
Does anyone have anything to say on this topic?

As broken children we learned to serve the needs of others as a way of staying invisible and assuring value. It was empathy based on survival mechanism.

There is empathy where you actually go out of you way for others, because you feel full, not empty.

I'm only just now coming to that stage of my life and am shocked at how little I have really given anyone from my heart.

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#438344 - 06/16/13 04:32 AM Re: Actual Empathy Vs. Defensive Empathy [Re: GoldStone]
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 614
Loc: where the shadows lie
i know what you mean about empathy based on survival. My job as a kid was to take care of my family's emotions: my father's OCD, my mother's bipolar, my brother's autism. If any of them were upset, it was me that had done something wrong. So I got pretty good at reading emotional signs.

I was told "the more you give, the more you get." I was told that if I felt lonely and neglected, it was because I wasn't being caring enough.

It's why I have problems with Sain Francis of Assisi's prayer. Not that I actually disagree with it as something for a healthy mature person to consider. But a child desperate for affection and approval, being told that the way to get is to ignore your own needs and ambitions is very dangerous.

But I've had to fight the self-blame that tries to tell me I never really cared about my family. It was both. I was neglected and used and fit myself into the only role that seemed to be useful. And I am very angry about it. But did also give of my heart. I emptied my heart to them and to many others through the years. Pearls before swine, really, for so many didn't deserve the gifts I gave them. Of course it is different for everyone. For me it was so painful because it really did come from the heart. I wanted to help others. And what I got in return was the lesson that the more you give willingly, the more people want.
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#438495 - 06/17/13 08:32 PM Re: Actual Empathy Vs. Defensive Empathy [Re: GoldStone]
GoldStone Offline


Registered: 05/28/13
Posts: 220
Loc: Far East
Its my pattern to suspect that helpful people are not actually altruistic.

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#438501 - 06/17/13 09:56 PM Re: Actual Empathy Vs. Defensive Empathy [Re: GoldStone]
genedebs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 288
Loc: MO
Dear GoldStone and Jacob,

First and simply said, is you are right. Less than 5 out of six people have belief systems, and act on them. So to suspect that most people are not altruists is certainly a good thing.

To give (or become) the person your family needs to make the pieces work is a terrible burden for children. And when I did take on those burdens from 4 to 15, I thought I was excersizing my choices. What I have learned, for the first time, at 55 or 60 is I had so few alternatives, that I didn't really have a choice just equally bad options.

Being my mother's confidant, negotiating for expressions of my father's love to my mother, being abused by my older brother both physically and sexually (he was sick - suffered from gran mal siezures- we had to make allowances for him. Even having my mother decide that she remained in a the domestic violence for from 1946 to 1999 because of what I said when she was 39 (I was 9).

I think I know what you are talking about. We give all we have, and it is never enough. Consider Rabbi Hillel instead of St. Francis.

If I am not for myself, who will be?

If I am for myself alone, what am I?

If not now, When?

May you go with God (Or if you don't believe in God, go with plants - they give you oxygen. Maybe not for altruistic reasons, that is just what they do.)

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#438525 - 06/18/13 02:35 AM Re: Actual Empathy Vs. Defensive Empathy [Re: GoldStone]
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 614
Loc: where the shadows lie
Thank you genedebs. Hillel's words are good ones.
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