View Full Version : Hyperempathy


humandefault
05-06-10, 07:45 PM
Many times before I've been struck by the fact that there are quite a few similarities between autism/Asperger's and ADD/ADHD. Now, I'm pretty much dumbfounded! Simon Baron-Cohen (noted autism researcher and cousin of Sascha Baron-Cohen [aka: Borat]) has apparently been studying what is known as hyperempathy and a related syndrome: mirror-touch synesthesia. The first, hyperempathy, is when I (for example) read about someone 800 miles away losing their daughter in a horrible car accident I literally FEEL their pain. I mean, when I read about stuff like this, or hear about horrible things happening in the world, I literally can be incredibly depressed for weeks even though, logically, it has NOthing to do with me. Mirror-touch synesthesia is when I (for example) see someone else get touched or in pain and I literally PHYSICALLY feel their pain.
Apparently, this has been linked to autism. However, I'm almost 100% sure I'm not autistic and I do both things (more the hyperempathy than the mirror-touch synesthesia although I am a synesthete in reference to color, sound, and sight).
I was wondering if anyone else this problem, maybe we could comisserate (pun intended, mostly) or if anyone has heard of this and has any idea how to deal with it?
Aw, the myriad mysteries of the brain...

EshkaronsEngine
05-06-10, 07:48 PM
Yeah when I see someone get hurt say in the leg I clinch my own leg. I have such a case of this mirror stuff your talking about that many times when someone leaves my presence I channel their spirit or something and start feeling like I'm them and I have to shake it off.

peachy76
05-07-10, 09:28 AM
I believe it .. this was a huge problem when working in counseling .. way to much emotion and couldn't stop myself from being empathetic while most counselors just rub off what's to hard to deal with emotionally.

Just can't do that work anymore.

Lunacie
05-07-10, 10:11 AM
I'm a very empathic person, always have been, just didn't know what it was until about a dozen years ago. I've read stuff about autism (my granddaughter is on the spectrum) that makes me think that they much more likely to have hyper-empathy than no empathy at all, which was the previous thinking. I think they're so bombarded by other peoples feelings that they have trouble understand what they themselves are feeling. And all those conflicting feelings bombarding one would be a very likely cause of the typical autistic shutting out of the rest of the world that is seen in the low-functioning autists.

I know my ADHD granddaughter was picking up on others feelings a couple of years ago when she was in the fourth grade. We had a talk about what that feels like and how to let go of the feelings if they're coming from outside of us. She's been doing better, but she can still feel it, especially when her hormones are spiking.

I suspect that my autistic granddaughter may be doing the same thing. Sometimes she's fine getting ready for school, but arrives at school and does nothing but cry for the next few hours. At least this year she isn't hiding under her desk when it's all washing over her. We all notice that we feel different when the people around us are sad versus when they're happy. It's just felt to an even greater degree by someone with hyper-empathy.

EshkaronsEngine
05-07-10, 10:17 AM
Just wondering if someone could tell me where in the brain this empathy and hyperempathy is located. My guess is the limbic system

fracturedstory
05-07-10, 09:16 PM
I feel hyper empathic. When something happens to someone on the news; injured, killed or attacked I feel for that person even if I don't know them. More so if it's animals.
There should be hyper emotions too because I can get so emotional I'm paralyzed by them, though outwardly I just remain still and silent. When people are too emotional I want to get away from them. They're as painful as bright lights or background noise to me.

k31kozumi
06-01-10, 02:08 AM
I feel hyper empathic. When something happens to someone on the news; injured, killed or attacked I feel for that person even if I don't know them. More so if it's animals.
There should be hyper emotions too because I can get so emotional I'm paralyzed by them, though outwardly I just remain still and silent. When people are too emotional I want to get away from them. They're as painful as bright lights or background noise to me.

i react to animals and people too. in person and on tv.

tv commercials about homeless animals affect me so much i have to change the channel.

during the olympics i have actually cried watching someone compete bc i think of all the years of hard work to get there. it's too much emotion for me.

i didnt know i picked up others emotions until i was in my early 30's and a friend pointed it out to me. i know i can't be around overly emotinal situations.

i am DX adhd only but i have been reading all i can on ASD because i have so many traits that are similar.

i am so confused about it but i keep forgetting to ask my doctor about it.

marie-johanne
06-03-10, 03:08 PM
Many times before I've been struck by the fact that there are quite a few similarities between autism/Asperger's and ADD/ADHD. Now, I'm pretty much dumbfounded! Simon Baron-Cohen (noted autism researcher and cousin of Sascha Baron-Cohen [aka: Borat]) has apparently been studying what is known as hyperempathy and a related syndrome: mirror-touch synesthesia. The first, hyperempathy, is when I (for example) read about someone 800 miles away losing their daughter in a horrible car accident I literally FEEL their pain. I mean, when I read about stuff like this, or hear about horrible things happening in the world, I literally can be incredibly depressed for weeks even though, logically, it has NOthing to do with me. Mirror-touch synesthesia is when I (for example) see someone else get touched or in pain and I literally PHYSICALLY feel their pain.
Apparently, this has been linked to autism. However, I'm almost 100% sure I'm not autistic and I do both things (more the hyperempathy than the mirror-touch synesthesia although I am a synesthete in reference to color, sound, and sight).
I was wondering if anyone else this problem, maybe we could comisserate (pun intended, mostly) or if anyone has heard of this and has any idea how to deal with it?
Aw, the myriad mysteries of the brain...

:) I prefer to look at it as empathy not being a symptom or by-product of a condition....but as being a gift from the Divine.

I am like this. Always has been. And Drew (16 yo) used to hug the crying babies in the nursery when their parents would drop them off (he was 3 at the time). He would almost wrap himself around them until they stopped.

sans_serif
06-11-10, 09:12 PM
I am hyperempathetic as well. I don't have any autism spectrum disorders, but my brother, boyfriend, and two of my closest friends have Asperger's Syndrome. I get along with these people so well one of my friends suggested I was an empath (which is like a psychic but with emotions instead of thoughts). Or it could be that I just really understand these people, maybe it's a gift.

EshkaronsEngine
06-15-10, 05:13 PM
I love this damn word. Hyperempathy is what I want all the ****ing time. Don't tell me your problem. I will tell you and to boot I will laugh and cry with you.