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Author Topic: Can I make empathy go away?  (Read 5758 times)

*midnight~ jinx*

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Can I make empathy go away?
« on: May 22, 2012, 09:25:17 pm »
Empathy sucks and needs to go away.Okay, here's the problem with my empathy. Not only do I under stand peoples opinion, but I have their opinion. If a Muslim:ninja:/christian/ect. tells me I worshiping satan, I believe them. :( Even through I know I'm not. How I get rid of empathy? :ashamed:

WanderingWaters2011

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 10:00:42 pm »
Quote from: *midnight~ jinx*;56023
Empathy sucks and needs to go away.Okay, here's the problem with my empathy. Not only do I under stand peoples opinion, but I have their opinion. If a Muslim:ninja:/christian/ect. tells me I worshiping satan, I believe them. :( Even through I know I'm not. How I get rid of empathy? :ashamed:

 
To me, empathy is the ability to feel other people's emotions as strongly as if they were your own. A very strong empath can sometimes also get certain thoughts if they significantly inspire a certain emotion in another. Some empaths do run the risk of getting lost in other people's emotions, seemingly becoming suddenly unreasonably angry because someone else around them is feeling such, for instance. Even if not caught up in another's emotions, just feeling the wave of it wash over you can sometimes feel repugnantly invasive, almost as if one were threatened with becoming negatively possessed by some malignant entity.

 The mere expressions of opinions by others should not neccesarily take over the psyche of an empath. Even if being influenced by the emotions associated with those opinions, an empath alone should not necessarily temporarily take on those opinions as their own.

  I do not know if you can get rid of empathy but I suppose you could empower a charm to totally block yourself from tapping into that gift, though I certainly would not recommend it. A person of considerable skill could also probably forcibly shut down the gift but that could do more harm than good. You haven't mentioned trying to shield yourself from the unwanted influences of others. That, I think, is where most start when faced with a predicament like yours.

Melamphoros

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 10:02:51 pm »
Quote from: *midnight~ jinx*;56023
Empathy sucks and needs to go away.Okay, here's the problem with my empathy. Not only do I under stand peoples opinion, but I have their opinion. If a Muslim:ninja:/christian/ect. tells me I worshiping satan, I believe them. :( Even through I know I'm not. How I get rid of empathy? :ashamed:

 
You can't.  Empathy is one of those things the human brain is naturally wired for.  Also, I'm not sure if what you described can even be called empathy.


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Annie Roonie

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 11:25:24 pm »
Quote from: *midnight~ jinx*;56023
Empathy sucks and needs to go away.Okay, here's the problem with my empathy. Not only do I under stand peoples opinion, but I have their opinion. If a Muslim:ninja:/christian/ect. tells me I worshiping satan, I believe them. :( Even through I know I'm not. How I get rid of empathy? :ashamed:

 
You say you know you're not doing what they believe, so you don't believe them, you feel their beliefs possibly strongly and that can be difficult to separate in the moment (especially if you are very polite or shy). Understanding how they come to their beliefs doesn't mean that you have to come to those same beliefs though saying so can be very difficult and is not always necessary.

As mentioned in the first reply, shielding and blocking these feelings can be done. I've found some simple tricks that have worked for me that are more mundane than magical.

The first is to carry a notepad and pen. Doodling while talking, at least for me, can cut down on some of the reception. I often tell certain people that I am listening and that my doodling helps me listen. It does, but it also helps me cut out a good amount of the emotional transmissions.

If you realize you are overwhelmed and believing something you know is not true and/or possibly hurtful to you later, then move away from the interaction physically. Take a break. Use the bathroom. Get a cup of tea. Break up the interaction in some way.

Change topics. Problem solving works well for me. If you do not have a mundane problem about which you could set them to work in helping solve, consider if they might. Car troubles, the weather, finding a good restaurant all can allow you a break.

I think I got those from brain hemisphere research but cannot be sure as I am exhausted and need to go to sleep shortly. You can look into that though. There's plenty out there. Engaging brain functions differently can help or hinder what you choose in yourself and others.

There is also a verbal trick that works with some decent effectiveness IME. Once the transmitter has paused, saying something like "I understand how you feel" and then resisting the urge to go further tends to put up the conversational stop sign. It usually creates a pause at least and during that pause you can change topics, take a break, open your book or some other thing unique to you.

I think these can work if you have empathic ability or not.

Tana

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 03:25:57 am »
Quote from: Melamphoros;56025
You can't.  Empathy is one of those things the human brain is naturally wired for.  Also, I'm not sure if what you described can even be called empathy.


I'm with Mel here.

First: Empathy is an important part of being human.
There is always a big woo-hoo made about empathy in new-age or esoteric circles, but being empathic is what makes the difference between a normal human being and a psychopath.

Second: That is not a problem of empathy. You might want to take a closer look, where the real issue comes from. Maybe the parents never allowed you to have your own opinion, or important other people in your life made it clear that if you are not of their opinion you are bad. So that taking on whatever stand somebody else has got, became a survival strategy.

Or maybe you don't have opinions of your own about a lot of things, so you adjust to what's being said. I don't know, but I know for sure, empathy doesn't brainwash you into being a robot filled with other folks opinions.
\'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation.
That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long.
All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.\'
Terry Pratchett \'Lords and Ladies\'

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Elani Temperance

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 03:31:58 am »
Quote from: *midnight~ jinx*;56023
Empathy sucks and needs to go away.Okay, here's the problem with my empathy. Not only do I under stand peoples opinion, but I have their opinion. If a Muslim:ninja:/christian/ect. tells me I worshiping satan, I believe them. :( Even through I know I'm not. How I get rid of empathy? :ashamed:

 
Ha! Oh, as an empath/'highly sensitive person' (HSP), I completely understand your problem. It's like being brainwashed every time another person steps in the room and it's bloody exhausting. My two cents to follow and if you don't recognize yourself in these words, no problem at all :)

I have learned to deal with it by shielding, as other have said, and by training my will. What I did (and still do but after a good ten years of effort, it's become something I don't need to be conscious of anymore) is to create a tether, from my ideals, thoughts and opinions to my own inner self. And yes, I understand this sounds highly vague. I'll try to make it clearer by presenting an analogy.

Picture your own self, your identity, in a balloon over sea. The sea represents your emotions. When someone comes within 'scanning distance' or your empathy, they become wind in our analogy. They set the sea in motion and blow your little balloon away with ease. Now, below the sea is the earth. It's a foundation that can be shifted a little by your own emotions but not by the emotions of others as they only touch the surface of your emotional world, the sea. Now imagine a tether running down from the balloon to this bedrock. As a result, the wind can only shift your balloon a bit. It gets rocked about but it's not going anywhere.

This tether is self knowledge and shielding. Take a day, a week, a month to write down what makes you, you. What are you good at, what are you bad at? Which events in your life have shaped you? What is your first memory? What are the ideals you hold fast to in life? What lines would you never cross? What lines would you cross if push came to shove? The Egyptian concept of Ren (a part of a person's soul, literally taken to be their name) is exactly this. Your name is made up of who you are, your experiences, your hopes, dreams and greatest fears, etc. When you have this, this piece of paper or document on your computer (although I'd greatly advice to print it or put it on a smart phone so you can access it any time you need it), you have something physical to hold on to that tethers you to yourself should you feel people pushing your balloon away.

It's important that you become aware of the place in your body where the emotions and ideas of others are stored. This sounds odd but study yourself when you feel yourself being influenced. My little reservoir of other people's emotions and thoughts is located in my chest, a fraction to the left of my chest bone, just below my clavicle and when it fills up, it feels as if there are tiny little beetles crawling around in there. Realizing I had this reservoir saved me a lot of embarrassment because before I realized there was a set limit to the amount I could absorb without becoming a cranky, blubbering mess, I was often reduced to one. Especially in school or at parties. Now I feel the reservoir filling up and I do something that empties it out. For me it's often withdrawing for a while or meditating. Reading and studying help and taking a good long walk does as well. If I only have a couple of minutes, I go to the bathroom and cry. Crying is an instant reliever of someone else's influence, in my experience. Just make sure you are aware that you aren't crying because you're miserable but because they are. When you have a grasp of this distinction, your life will become so, so much easier.

As for shielding; I have found two methods that work for me. One is to put a bubble (or actual shield) of energy between me and the other person, consciously cutting myself off from their emotions and ideas. The other is to draw their emotions and ideas through me. With the first method you mentally tell the other person 'No, I do not need your influence on me, go away!' and with the other you say 'I understand and accept who you are and what you feel... but it is not how I feel and who I am so I make a conscious effort to let it go'. If this works for you and in which situations is something only you can figure out.

In the beginning, you will be exhausted from the amount of mental energy you need to put in to keep others at bay and become aware of your own feelings. It won't take long for you to train your will to the point where you only need a trigger to activate your shields and before long, you will be able to do it subconsciously. Put in the work and stick with it. Your life will be so much easier for you.

I wish you strength :)
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Tana

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 06:37:28 am »
Quote from: LittleWitchMagazine;56069
Ha! Oh, as an empath/'highly sensitive person' (HSP), I completely understand your problem. It's like being brainwashed every time another person steps in the room and it's bloody exhausting.


Again, empathy is the basic human ability to relate to the way another person feels.
Thus keeping us from being psychopathic assholes causing pain just for the fun of it.

Empathy is what makes me able to relate to the pain of another in a case of loss, even if I haven't experienced such a loss myself.

Empathy is what makes the older sibling give the own teddy bear to the crying baby sibling.

Empathy is a normal human ability we all have, unless we are deeply disturbed persons.

New Age/esoteric assigns things to empathy that fall into the range of psychic perception. (Tho' there is a bit overlap, like in cases of feeling the tension in a room and such.)

If someone feels brainwashed, by the sheer presence of other individuals with a different opinion, the case is not empathy, since it is not about political views, but about feelings. It is more likely for a strong empath to take on the feelings other people radiate. Like becoming aggressive, depressed and so on.

The problem with taking on other people's opinons is another one. I am no expert on psychology, but I can think of a few things, that cause this. Never having learned to explain the own opinion, being a weak rhetor, seeking harmony, avoiding disapproval, trying to fit in - there are a ton of reasons, but imo empathy is not amongst them.
\'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation.
That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long.
All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.\'
Terry Pratchett \'Lords and Ladies\'

Confuzzled and proud. :p

Tana

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2012, 06:54:06 am »
Quote from: Tana;56102
Empathy is a normal human ability we all have, unless we are deeply disturbed persons.

Just thought of this a bit later, because I was too focused on the matter of feelings/opinions.

I was not including problems to relate to other humans that occur within certain medical conditions in my post. That is just another whole world and I am no expert, so it didn't crossed my mind that lack of relation to others is not just in mass-murdering psychopaths the case while posting.

You know, one term a dozen topics.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 06:55:21 am by Tana »
\'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation.
That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long.
All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.\'
Terry Pratchett \'Lords and Ladies\'

Confuzzled and proud. :p

Melamphoros

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2012, 07:05:27 am »
Quote from: Tana;56102
Again, empathy is the basic human ability to relate to the way another person feels.
Thus keeping us from being psychopathic assholes causing pain just for the fun of it.

Empathy is what makes me able to relate to the pain of another in a case of loss, even if I haven't experienced such a loss myself.

Empathy is what makes the older sibling give the own teddy bear to the crying baby sibling.

Empathy is a normal human ability we all have, unless we are deeply disturbed persons.

New Age/esoteric assigns things to empathy that fall into the range of psychic perception. (Tho' there is a bit overlap, like in cases of feeling the tension in a room and such.)

 
Or, to summarize:  THERE IS NOTHING SPECIAL OR UNIQUE ABOUT EMPATHY.


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Tana

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 07:06:07 am »
Quote from: Melamphoros;56104
Or, to summarize:  THERE IS NOTHING SPECIAL OR UNIQUE ABOUT EMPATHY.

 
In a nutshell: yup.
\'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation.
That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long.
All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.\'
Terry Pratchett \'Lords and Ladies\'

Confuzzled and proud. :p

Nachtigall

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2012, 07:21:39 am »
Quote from: Tana;56102

If someone feels brainwashed, by the sheer presence of other individuals with a different opinion, the case is not empathy, since it is not about political views, but about feelings. It is more likely for a strong empath to take on the feelings other people radiate. Like becoming aggressive, depressed and so on.


I suppose, the "empath" doesn't feel exactly brainwashed in the presence of other people - intellectually, they are still able to hold to their own opinions - but the feeling of others tend to overwhelm them (in case of OP: fear or disapproval of a person, that tells them they are going to Hell). Thus, it is a problem of personal boundaries, "psychic" or psychological.
 
In my experience, shielding practice (usually in form of visualizing a border, separating your Self from outside influences) does help with this.

Tana

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 07:25:08 am »
Quote from: Nachtigall;56106
I suppose, the "empath" doesn't feel exactly brainwashed in the presence of other people - intellectually, they are still able to hold to their own opinions - but the feeling of others tend to overwhelm them (in case of OP: fear or disapproval of a person, that tells them they are going to Hell). Thus, it is a problem of personal boundaries, "psychic" or psychological.
 
In my experience, shielding practice (usually in form of visualizing a border, separating your Self from outside influences) does help with this.


Agreed.

You can - if you are a very sensible empath - feel overwhelmed by the emotions. And in this case shielding helps. Setting boundaries helps with the other problems, too.

It is always good to know where the self ends and the 'other one' starts, or vice versa.
\'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation.
That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long.
All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.\'
Terry Pratchett \'Lords and Ladies\'

Confuzzled and proud. :p

RandallS

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2012, 08:24:10 am »
Quote from: *midnight~ jinx*;56023
Empathy sucks and needs to go away.Okay, here's the problem with my empathy. Not only do I under stand peoples opinion, but I have their opinion. If a Muslim:ninja:/christian/ect. tells me I worshiping satan, I believe them. :( Even through I know I'm not. How I get rid of empathy? :ashamed:

Unfortunately, "empathy" has two meanings and people are talking about both in this thread. I'm assuming the empathy you are referring to is notr the normal human ability to put yourself in another's shoes but the "psychic" ability of empathy which is leaving you unsure of which emotions are yours and which are those of others. For the latter, learning to shield your mind is probably the only think that can help -- once you learn to shield successfully you will only be overwhelmed by the emotions of others if you lower your shields.
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savveir

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2012, 08:32:30 am »
Quote from: Tana;56107
Agreed.

You can - if you are a very sensible empath - feel overwhelmed by the emotions. And in this case shielding helps. Setting boundaries helps with the other problems, too.

It is always good to know where the self ends and the 'other one' starts, or vice versa.

 
I think you said it better than I could.
Something I feel worth mentioning though is that empathy is also an important part of any society or social group.
"I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it."
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Elani Temperance

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Re: Can I make empathy go away?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2012, 08:52:01 am »
Quote from: Tana;56102
Empathy is a normal human ability we all have, unless we are deeply disturbed persons. Etc...

 
Then perhaps the term 'empathy' is badly chosen in this context. Substitute it for whatever term you feel is most appropriate. I'm sure the OP won't mind. I tried to adress the experience, one I know very well, and hopefully offer some advice. If it's the term used you're so hung up about then substitute it. It doesn't make the experience any less real to me (and the OP, I wager), or challenging in every day life.
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