View Full Version : lack of empathy


sighduck
10-15-11, 04:10 AM
I tend to struggle with showing empathy... a friend of mine once described me as "numb", just wondering how many others here has the same issue

martingal95
10-16-11, 12:52 PM
this issue of empathy is confusing to me im newly diagnosed and have been reading up on adhd some places you read we lack other places tell you we are highly empathic

i dont really know about this sometimes i have zero empathy then other times im highly empathic i think it depends on the situation

like someone i know got ran over hit and run everyone wanted to talk about it i didnt care at all and keep changing subject etc

another guy i know is in love with a girl whos with his brother everybody feels sorry for him i dont care the guy should move on deal with it

i hate when someone dies cause then i need to pretend i care when i dont when someone says to me my dad last night i think why tell me what do you want me to do about it i dont have an opinion i dont feel sorry for them

even when my own father died the funeral made me uncomfortable everyone was crying i didnt feel anything but awkwardness maybe it was because we werent really close i only seen him a few times a month but i was the same when my grandfather died and i spent alot time at his house

but when im in a relationship i can never finish it cause i dont want the girl to be upset i dont want them to be all alone miserable i dont want them to feel bad

when i read the paper and see a young soldiers coffin coming home from irag the crowds gathering to say farewell i feel a burst of emotion sadness tears the same with sept 11 familys reading there messages on the aniversarry i feel a great sadness

i watch a sad movie say the green mile its brings tears to my eyes

its really confusing for me personally sometimes i can seem cold hearted then other times i can be really sensitive

Tristan Jay
10-16-11, 01:38 PM
I've experienced this myself, and seen a fair amount of it in my family, too. It's a bit of a puzzler. Why would I get all blurry eyed watching Apollo 13, yet be dispassionate about emotionally charged events that should be more personally effecting. I have a great amount of empathy, yet I don't think it manifests the way most people think it should, and it does trouble me sometimes.

My Mom only mentioned it out of a sense of outrage about the way my brother was like her mom (my grandma), she was left feeling like they both cared about everybody else in the world, but didn't care about their own family. I keep it in my mind, as a reminder about how people react to this tendency. I think I manage marginally better than my brother, but ultimately I still end up reacting the same way emotionally.

I remember at a funeral for my Grandfather, I felt strong emotion, but I fought viciously inside my mind to "keep a stiff upper lip" so to speak. I felt very uncomfortable about Mom's grief while she said a few words, troubled by her vulnerability. :(

I can only speak for myself, but I don't feel comfortable about expressing emotions. Perhaps I don't trust people to see my emotional vulnerability when it comes to more personal matters; even so, I don't want to watch Apollo 13 in the company of others, in case I get all sentimental. :o Maybe I was laughed at by the kids at school who made fun of me when I finally broke down into tears; I think that might have happened on one occasion, but I can't remember, so I'm not sure. :confused:

martingal95
10-16-11, 02:05 PM
yeah im the same i dont like to let people in i feel i have to act alot from social pressure you know display emotion when theres really none there apart from feeling awkward then it times i have to hide it when its deemed not socially appropiate i would never cry infront of others i tend to hide my true thoughts and feelings to fit in so im not seen as a weirdo the only time i feel im not really acting is when im at home with close family even then i wont open up to them 100%

i display different personas with different people

pooka
10-16-11, 02:35 PM
I'm completely the opposite...highly empathetic. I can't watch movies with a lot of violence because it really upsets me. I somehow manage to attract a lot of needy friends who rely on me for a sympathetic ear. Interesting what a diverse group of people ADDers are.

sarek
10-16-11, 03:48 PM
I feel my empathy levels are normally quite high. But at other times I can be inexplicably insensitive again. I don't know what the reasons for this are, most likely its because I am personally involved in the first kind of situation.

Perhaps the 'monkeysphere' works even stronger for me than for other people.

Unmanagable
10-16-11, 04:43 PM
I find I am extremely empathic. Sometimes to a fault. I tend to take on other peoples' problems and neglect my own.

julesjampot
10-16-11, 06:09 PM
I find I am extremely empathic. Sometimes to a fault. I tend to take on other peoples' problems and neglect my own.
me and you could be Twins my friend !

AshT
10-16-11, 06:15 PM
this issue of empathy is confusing to me im newly diagnosed and have been reading up on adhd some places you read we lack other places tell you we are highly empathic

i dont really know about this sometimes i have zero empathy then other times im highly empathic i think it depends on the situation

like someone i know got ran over hit and run everyone wanted to talk about it i didnt care at all and keep changing subject etc

another guy i know is in love with a girl whos with his brother everybody feels sorry for him i dont care the guy should move on deal with it

i hate when someone dies cause then i need to pretend i care when i dont when someone says to me my dad last night i think why tell me what do you want me to do about it i dont have an opinion i dont feel sorry for them

even when my own father died the funeral made me uncomfortable everyone was crying i didnt feel anything but awkwardness maybe it was because we werent really close i only seen him a few times a month but i was the same when my grandfather died and i spent alot time at his house

but when im in a relationship i can never finish it cause i dont want the girl to be upset i dont want them to be all alone miserable i dont want them to feel bad

when i read the paper and see a young soldiers coffin coming home from irag the crowds gathering to say farewell i feel a burst of emotion sadness tears the same with sept 11 familys reading there messages on the aniversarry i feel a great sadness

i watch a sad movie say the green mile its brings tears to my eyes

its really confusing for me personally sometimes i can seem cold hearted then other times i can be really sensitive

I have an increased ability to feel what other's feel. I can really put myself in their situation and understand them.

This doesn't mean that I feel sorry for them however, or 'sympathise'. Infact I think it makes my ability to sympathise worse.

For example say Parent A and Child B are having an argument and Child B pleads their case to me in a very convincing manner and are very upset.

'Normal' people may feel sorry for them. I don't really, because I can see both their view and the parents view extremely well, i class it really as 'Well, that's life really', 'It's just what has happened'....I don't really know how to explain it properly. But being able to see everyone's point of view stops me taking sides and stops me sympathising.

I also can come across very cold.

This doesn't mean I can't sympathise - It just takes very specific circumstances for me too do so. But i find sometimes as I can be quite over-sensitive (aka, i read about a 5 year old's story dying of cancer) - I shut myself off even more because it's very painful to put myself in the situation of a parent loosing their child, I can literally feel their pain and it's horrific.

I shut myself out from that and these kinds of things... and after a while it became pretty hard to 'un-shut' myself.

I really battled with myself 2 years ago until a few months ago with feeling 'a lack of empathy' and feeling a bit like a psychopath, it really did dominate my life not being able to feel properly and feeling like my soul was in a cage. My Dad had ADHD and also had sympathetic showing issues so after I was diagnosed instead of 'feeling bad and not knowing what was wrong with me', I began to explore a lot more. I've noticed those with ADHD who are good at manipulation are very good at shutting their sympathies out. It doesn't mean they don't have sympathy, but they need to shut it out in order to control other's and not feel sorry for what they do.

Equally, i don't tend to feel as sorry for things I cannot change or rectify. I also do not feel sorry for people who have the power to change their own circumstances or just move on from them. Relationships are a prime example, I also seem less sympathetic towards death. My friends Mother's son commited suicide and I was helping them with a few things - and yet I couldn't feel very sorry for them...but perhaps I was stopping myself feeling sorry for them - Sympathy causes me pain and me feeling sympathy won't change anything, it's out of my control.

I think ADHD has a lot more control over their emotions, perhaps because we run so much on emotions, we learn to control them a lot more.

Anyway, hope the above didn't offend anyone or anyone to take it in the wrong way! Please do ask if there's something here that has caused confusion so i can try and explain better :).

AshT
10-16-11, 06:34 PM
I find I am extremely empathic. Sometimes to a fault. I tend to take on other peoples' problems and neglect my own.
Perhaps there's a mix-up between Sympathy and Empathy in the topic?

I can definitely over empathise. I will deal with anyone's problems above my own, even people I don't know very well at all. I'll do anything to help them. My friends know me for it and I get called 'a mug' quite a bit for going too far out of my way to help. But my increased ability to empathise really helps me help other people, I can offer really good advice because i see the big picture so easily and don't pass judgement.

But my 'Sympathy' is limited/different. But then, if i were to sympathise too much, how would i be able to help someone? I'd be too emotionally involved and it would cause me to see everything from their side of view, rather than the big picture and empathising with everyone involved.

sighduck
10-17-11, 10:57 AM
i use the word empathise here meaning " feeling some-one elses emotions" effectively what im trying to say is that i am not effected by emotional contagion

Possum
10-17-11, 12:32 PM
I think that I have a lot of empathy for people, but at the same time I can be (inwardly) very critical of others. I believe that this is because I'm very critical of myself. Also, its much easier for me to feel empathy for people I read about or see on TV than people I know in real life. Which is weird.

I'm uncomfortable with my emotions, I guess, and deal with them best when I can distance myself from them. But this doesn't mean that I don't care. If that makes any sense.

Deldree
10-23-11, 12:25 AM
This is a good thread, I have often wondered this about myself. I think for me it just depends on where my head is at...if my husband needs understanding and sympathy and I'm intensely focused on something else I find it incredibly difficult to set aside my current thoughts and empathize with him. However if I'm watching an emotional movie and the dramatic feeling continues to build and build then it's much easier. I guess I don't like switching emotions easily when I am highly distracted or absorbed. But I too can often take on others problems as if there are my own, I've learned to be careful when that tendency hits though, I have to pace myself.

chelsea_t
10-27-11, 11:07 PM
One thing, don't be afraid to express your emotions. It really matters. When your friend has a problem, be there not just physically but emotionally as well. You don't have to say a lot, just tell her that you'll always be there. Listen to her and not hear her, it's totally different. It will make her feel better.

~boots~
10-28-11, 09:25 AM
empathy? ....
lacking....

sighduck
10-28-11, 10:13 AM
One thing, don't be afraid to express your emotions. It really matters. When your friend has a problem, be there not just physically but emotionally as well. You don't have to say a lot, just tell her that you'll always be there. Listen to her and not hear her, it's totally different. It will make her feel better.

the problem here isn't not wanting to share emotions... it's just not feeling anything...