State of emotional undergoing?
Before you venture into this post, I will warn you this is kind of a “mind dump” and in the “middle of processing” kind of read. I needed to get some of this out though because it was causing me to loop. They were not negative loops, but it is one of those times where my brain has been trying to make rapid connections.
That being said I hope I am making sense as I share some of this.
I discovered some enthralling information. I am not sure if others have read any of this, but it is new to me and I am intrigued. (I will get to it in a moment.) The last few days I have been stirring around in my head some emotions that I am not sure what to do with. I am angry. I do not know how to be angry. I am also happy at the same time. This anger that I am trying to work through is stemmed from what I see as hateful, manipulative, deceptive, and coated in sugar which makes me even more upset. I can handle a person being a jerk — I cannot handle a jerk pretending like they are sweet and innocent. I especially, get upset when they are in positions of influence, or family members. I want to tell the people who are being tricked that this person is a “Phony!” Lol! I also want to save them from being deceived because when the deception is revealed it can be so devastating and damaging emotionally and physically.
However, I cannot tell them.
Many do not want to know and they will fight to the death to stand by the person they deem as wonderful and grand. It is hard to keep my mouth shut and watch it happen. If I thought my words would do any good I would speak up, and share what I know or what is in my heart, but so far my track record has ended with me being the bad guy. Even after it is proven to be true…what can you do? There is more than one situation I am referring to at the moment, and I cannot talk about it without it coming out all wrong so I will not. I will share my findings about empathy though. I believe that this is a form of me expressing my empathy. I am not sure what to do with the emotions that I am feeling if I continue to hold them in I may explode.
I do not want this to happen so I am trying something new.
Instead of my usual path of verbal destruction that tends to lack “empathetic” words I am directing myself in a different route. I decided to focus on emotions and empathy. I found Project of Rhetoric of Inquiry Poroi I have linked to the archives. This is through The University of Iowa. What caught my eye was this Volume 4, Issue 1 (2005) Assorted Articles plus Two Poroi Symposia on Emotions. I started reading this one first Empathy, Psychology, and Aesthetics: Reflections on a Repair Concept David Depew© It starts off with the etymology of the word Empathy. I know that many of the words we use today have lost their true meanings or they have morphed into other translations.
I find that very sad indeed.
The loss of the richness of word meaning is a painful thought to me. I do enjoy discovering the truest form of translations though. There is so much packed into this article that I don’t even know where to start. I am reading through several different ones and they are bringing some clarity to me, but I am not sure my connections will make sense to others yet…processing. AND I will add that the articles seem to be thought provoking and need time to dissect and process — if you are into that sort of thing.
In this particle article I will share some excerpts to maybe catch your interest.
“Empathy translates the late-nineteenth-century German coinage of Einfühlung.1 Like empathy after it, Einfühlung arose in a part of empirical psychology that is no longer much cultivated, namely the psychology of aesthetic response. This may seem odd. But the fact that the German empirical psychologists of the late nineteenth century, who virtually founded the field, would have accorded much importance to the empirical, psychological side of aesthetics is actually not strange at all.”
“The prefix em and its equivalent en mean in. For empatheia, this seems to mean being into one’s own pathic state of experience, of undergoing. This is passion in the original, and New Testament, sense. More weakly, it is the l960s counter-cultural sense of “being into” something. In any case, it does not mean entering into the emotions of others, or more generally putting oneself in the position of another, as the current concept does. Accordingly the stipulative identification of Einfühlung with empatheia by Lipps might suggest that he did not know Greek well. But his Greek was, in this instance at least, fine. For he meant just what the late Greek term meant – an especially intense state of feeling – with the added inference that we experience feeling states this intense as belonging to an external object that occasions them.”
“What about the English term empathy? It came into the language through the influence of German empirical psychology in Great Britain and the United States. (All early American psychologists, including William James, were educated in Germany.) Thus E. B. Tichener, a German-trained psychologist writing in English, defined empathy as “the process of humanizing objects, of feeling ourselves or reading ourselves into them.” He remarked, “I see gravity, modesty, courtesy, stateliness [in someone], but also feel them. I suppose that’s a simple case of empathy, if we may coin the term as a rendering of Einfühlung.”7 That was in l909.”
I found this entire article interesting, later in the article he shares about empathy and sympathy.
As I read through this, I wondered how many unrealistic expectations are put on people — especially autistics to achieve an amount of romanticized definitions of sympathy, empathy, and love. I find it interesting as well that many times I can humanize objects much more than I can people. This is not because I lack empathy for people I still feel what they are feeling, but I do not know how to express it. I am unsure as to how to help them feel better, or help the situation. The emotions can be so overwhelming for me that I have to shutdown. There is the consideration that I do not understand many of my own emotions at times, to feel someone else in distress, pain, or anger can be confusing. Are they my emotions and if so where did they come from? Are they the other person’s emotions? If so why am I feeling them so strongly? Once I discern what and who I am feeling I then have to process why I am feeling it.
After all of that, I am then pulling up any information that relates to the situation.
I am looking for the best way to help the person or situation. If I have not experienced anything like it I may shutdown. If I have experienced something like it or if it is similar I will do what I feel. However, if the similar situation was traumatizing that could send me into overload emotionally. I will relive my experience and theirs at the same time. How does one even process that? It is intense and overwhelming. In several cases however, for me to go through this has been incredibly healing because it forced me to feel and deal with emotions I did not understand, or tried to ignore out of confusion.
Many times it seems like I relate more to my computer than a lot of people.
A book can make me feel more loved through its words than those in my life. It is my projection. I am projecting empathy to myself through objects because they do not confuse me. Even though I “feel into” people the responses I have received from them has caused me to retract and hide my empathy. The other factor that can get mixed into the stress is my social confusion of the situation. If it doesn’t make sense to me it can make it difficult to figure out how to show empathy.
My overwhelming emotions toward what others are feeling cause me to shut down.
It feels safer to express love or empathy to my iPad than a person — my iPad will not reject me, or misread how I am expressing myself. I can give tons of affection to my cat and feel empathy towards him because he does not demand anything in return. Demand is the key word here — it feels like I am demanded to express myself in specific ways that is accepted by a societal code. This code that isn’t really clear to me. My cat does not expect me to express my love or compassion toward him in a specific way… at all times.
I am naturally, intensely empathetic.
Many people do not know it though because I shut down. Has anyone ever asked me what empathy is to me? Has anyone ever asked an autistic child or adult what it means to them? I am referring to the masses. (I know there are those out there who have.) I am sure they have, but why are there so many studies on how we “lack” or do not lack empathy when the real question is why are so many people expecting the exact same response for such a broad word. It’s a word that clearly has multiple meanings and definitions these days — along with having the similar influence of projection such as the word love. I can love intensely, but many people would not understand my great affections toward things, or people. I care deeply, but many people do not understand how I show how much I care. My heart hurts for people emphatically when I feel like they are hurting, but my expression may only come out through a poem.
Empathy can feel lacking when it is not reciprocated in the same way.
I show empathy by staying quiet sometimes, others interpret that as me not caring. I think the empathetic thing we can do is remember that others need to feel comforted, or heard in different ways. We also need to remember that we all show empathy in different ways. I think it is unrealistic to expect people to show empathy the way you show empathy. I have learned this the hard way. I have felt many times people were being cruel to me when they were actually trying to show me empathy and vice versa. Possibly remembering that our own projections can influence how we express empathy could bring better understanding. It could help all of us to step back and ask the question: “Is this how I would like to be shown empathy or is this how they need empathy expressed to them?”
Still I believe there has to be compromise from both parties.
One should not be expected to know how to do this without proper communication by each person. I am afraid I will not remember all of this. I will fail I know I will, but I can remember to ask people how they would like to be comforted. Sometimes I just know, but it really depends on the person and how open they are. The problem that I have encountered in the past has been people getting offended at me when I asked what they needed.
They were upset at me because I did not automatically know.
They got upset with me because I did know what to do when they were sad, angry, depressed, annoyed, or even expressing love as well as the many other emotions that fill humanity. I think it is very cruel to be upset with me for not knowing how to help, or comfort a person. How am I supposed to know what they need if they do not tell me? Although I can do the same thing at times, because I think other people would feel the same way as I do in a similar situation. The issue here is that those expecting me to know how they feel have the knowledge that people think differently. They supposedly have the constant comprehension of theory of mind…but I do not. I have to work very hard to remind myself that others are not thinking what I am thinking. It seems to me that shows a lot of empathy. Maybe? I am going to be chewing on this stuff for a while. Processing…
Here are the other articles that I found interesting.
Empathy and Analogy © Allison Barnes and Paul Thagard (I have not read all of this yet.)