Thread: Empathy test
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:59 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: US
Posts: 2,153
Default Questions answered!

I found this test helped me begin to figure out some things I had about people's behavior that I just couldn't understand before.

Many women, on this board and elsewhere, say that they usually or always put the needs and feelings of others before their own. They put the pain or hurt or need of others ahead of their own feelings, pain, needs, and so on.

This has never made sense to me. I understand putting first the welfare of a child, or the immediate needs of others in a crisis or an emergency. And I understand the need for compromise between adults on getting needs understood and met. But I've never been able to really comprehend why many women (and it's mostly women in my experience who do this) would do this so consistently and at such a high cost (at least from my perspective) to themselves. I've never understood why knowing, communicating about and getting one's needs met was seen by many woman as behaving selfishly.

However, the test helped me realize, first, that I was lucky enough to have parents who adored me AND who helped me create strong boundaries of self. This may seem obvious but I know some people, again usually women, who struggle with boundaries of self - knowing where one begins and ends, what is oneself and what is someone else.

Second, I'm fairly low on empathy for a woman. I'm empathetic but it often starts intellectually, rather than a bone deep knowing what someone else is feeling. I've learned this, rather than just know it the way many of my friends, including Beloved, seem to.

Finally, if I was highly empathetic, then I would feel others pain as my own. And I would certainly do what I had to ease or erase that pain, to ease my pain as well as to help someone else. I've never understood that about people who are very empathetic before. It's been really helpful to me!
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