Originally Posted by Minxxa
Hubs and I had an argument (minor) the other night because he doesn't think it is possible to really "understand' someone's feelings unless you've experienced the very exact same thing. :-/ I had to explain to him that I got it that HE can't do that, but many people can. Just because he doesn't experience it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But he really really doesn't understand that ability at all. Even his GF agreed with him that he doesn't have empathy. What he does have is the ability to accept people for who they are, listen to what they're saying, and to adjust to what they need. But you have to tell him straight up what that is.
People learn to block various kinds of empathy for different reasons. The kinds of empathy that your hubs blocks may be something whose emotional effects you have learned to manage but he hasn't. Likewise, he may be able to empathize with some other kind of experience that you would resist. Personally, I have found that some women have trouble empathizing with the fatherly feelings of male authority figures. I think this is because they have devoted so much energy to liberating themselves from the feelings of oppression they get from dealing with such men that they develop a resistance to understanding such men's positions and what they're feeling when they are pursuing paternalistic goals. The same woman could easily identify with a mother's struggle with her children or with a partner but when it comes to understanding/empathizing with a paternalistic man, she'll shoot into opposition or just glaze over. Please note, I am not generalizing but just talking about something I've noticed in a few people.