Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Psychology of Empathy

Based upon posts I've read and people I've met I'm sort of seeing patterns in the mental make up of people who work with empathy. There are a few different versions I've seen, but for the most part I'm thinking about the sincere empath, who is for the most part acting from a place of appreciation of others rather than rampant ego gratification.

What I just realized today though, was a big part of the reason it can be so difficult to deal with what we define as empathy is because in the desire to be altruistic we have a tendancy to become either codependant, and addicted to being needed, or we set ourselves up to be psychic vampire food, because we're so busy blocking all emotion coming in from outside sources. This leaves us unable to recognise the signs from behind our walls.

So why does a perfectly logical person do this? Because on some level we equate voyeurism with harm, and what deeper mirror than someones emotions can you really look into? To manipulate based upon gained knowledge is seen as being unethical. People for the most part work really hard to not be perceived as unethical. Makes it difficult for people to trust you and all.

Anyways. In our desire not to be perceived as feeding off of the emotion that we perceive(unethical, and vampiric again) we go too far, and end up on the other end of the scale.

Instead of simply not causing harm, we are giving away large amounts of our own energy supporting and validating the emotion of others through acknowledgement. On a large scale to absorb, asess and respond to the emotion of large groups of people this can be REALLY tiring. We're pollinating, but the seeds we spread are our own energy. Giving little gifts of energy each time we linger.

Is it so unethical to draw energy from those that you are validating and experiencing? Especially when it can be the difference between being able to stay in the cycle of interactions with other people, and hiding under your bed covering your ears.

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