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-Neurotically Yours's Diary
by -Neurotically Yours

previous entry: wheeeeeeeee i'm gonna crash

next entry: Brand New Day

Empathy And Sympathy


I seem to have a problem that only grows larger the older I get.  The more I know about people in general and the more experience I gain dealing with them, the more I start to lose a once tightly held control of my misanthropic tendencies.  I find that there is rather a large disparity between how well I empathized with people when I was younger, and how well I do now.  In school, people I didn't know, and frankly probably didn't care one whit about would often seek me out for advice.  To this day I have no idea why they chose me, as I held myself aside from what I considered their "petty squabbles."  I thought at the time that anything that happened in school, aside from the actual school work, was rather petty and free of real lasting consequence, so I didn't care much for it.  Anyway, for one reason or another there seemed to be a fair few people who wanted my opinion on something or other.  And, care about it or not,  I gave a fair shake at trying to help people with their problems.

I don't really bother trying anymore.  I don't know if it's that some people continue to have the same issues they did in middle school, or that all the people around me seem to be very poor at coping with their issues.  I can't fathom what it's like to have an issue that you don't try to deal with, but I constantly run into people giving advice to others about an issue they share, that the first, or advice giving party, has not even attempted to fix in their own life.

A good example for this is my fiance's mother.  There are very few people whose company I less enjoy, and she goes further out of her way every day I see her to make sure that it stays that way.  Most recently my fiance and I were lectured about how horrible her sister is.  To be clear, her sister is my best friends mother and who for years before meeting my now fiance or her mother, was an extra parent and very good to me.  She doesn't hold a thought against anyone.  But since the two had some spat way back too long ago for anyone to remember details, she now gets labeled by her sister as a horrible person who hates her and someone she will never forgive.  She seems to think that, literally, there is a place in the Bible that says you don't have to forgive people if they don't ask you for forgiveness.  Shady, or downright wrong theology aside, that's just not how you treat family.  Especially when that family has already gotten over any ill feelings for your mutual disagreement from forever ago and has held an open door for you to show up, especially on holidays.  But Liz (my fiance's mother) continues to hold the view that she has nowhere to go on holidays and her family hates her too much to invite her anywhere. 

Then after all that she said about not forgiving people unless they ask, she claims to be a very forgiving person. 


Don't make me laugh, you hypocritical bitch.

It's people like this (and I know many more, to my great distaste) that shut down my will to empathize with people, I think.  And with the lack of empathy, there comes an end to sympathy.

For people that I don't know well, I probably don't care about any issues they may have.  Especially if they come up to me without knowing me and start complaining.  But the people who've proven time and again that they aren't good people, I cannot deal with listening to.  Sometimes when people go on at length about problems, I write it off as something they should be able to cope with and tune out.

Irrational fear is something I feel I should be able to sympathize with.  I once nearly drowned and for a long time now have had a fear of deep water.  But I refuse to let it hold me back from swimming and such. 

I just recently broke completely down mentally and had a panic attack that lasted for hours.  It ranged from some very serious issues I was having at the time down to little things I hardly think about that, in my mentally weakened condition, seemed like life altering problems.  When it was over I remember feeling terribly ashamed.  I was stronger than that, wasn't I?  So I resolved not to let it happen again.  There have been a few times since when I felt I was on the edge of another melt down.  But I fought it off.

Long story short, I feel like people should be able to cope with problems.  I see my friends do it every day.  One friend keeps her head admirably high when dealing with recent deaths.  Another just got done giving himself cold turkey rehab for his addiction to sleeping pills.  Some have anxiety problems that they keep in check under high stress.  I have plenty of friends who know how to cope with their problems and deal with their stresses.

But then there are all the people who have the same insecurities and weaknesses and fears...and they won't lift a finger to help themselves or do anything about it.  They quit before they even start.  And this makes me angry.  People shouldn't be that way.

If you got bored and skipped to the end, the gist of it is this.  The more time goes on, the more I assume the worst of anyone I don't know well.  And I feel that just maybe I wouldn't if people didn't so often prove me right about them.

I just need to work on learning empathy and sympathy again, I guess.


Sorry it's been so long since the last update.  The best thing I can say for it is that at least not a lot of people read this, so it can't have been missed too much.


Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People
Bullet In My Hand - Red Light King
Curl of the Burl - Mastodon
Helena Beat - Foster the People
100 Ways to Hate - FFDP
Hate It Here - Wilco
Til I Collapse - Eminem
The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggy - Red Hot Chili Pepppers

previous entry: wheeeeeeeee i'm gonna crash

next entry: Brand New Day

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OMG I LOVE MRS DANIELS MOM! SHE'S THE BEST!!! she's like an extra mom to me too! not at much of an extra mom as she is to you, but how could you not love her! she's the mom who would totally supply us with TP and transportation to TP the principals house or something like that. it's awesome.

also, *hugs* when shit is hitting the fan in life, and big things are happening, little things are much scarier and we tend to panic about them only to later look at what was said/done and think 'oh wow, that was nothing to worry about!' but I'm pretty sure that's a coping mechanism. It gives us something to control when everything else is out of control.

[Ice Vampire|0 likes] [|reply]

Oh gosh, I seriously thought I commented on your last entry. I usually read entries from my phone, then comment from my laptop, but it looks like I overlooked commenting on your last entry.

Anyway, I'm sorry about your breakdown. I've had a few of those, but I'm not sure to what extent. I hope things are going better now.

And I understand how you feel about offering sympathy and empathy. There's a good example: I used to feel that way with my mother and father. My father would be an asshole to my mother, then she would come to me for comfort. I love my mother, but it did get to a point at which I couldn't really comfort her the same way that I used to. It took up too much of my time and my emotion to try to help her, then to see her go back to that crap. Finally, she left him and is so much happier now! So, I guess the continual empathy does pay off, sometimes.

I think, at times, I tend to lean on other people for emotional support too much. I think it's probably a result of how I was raised, but that's I'll stop with that though (or else, you'll get a novella from me). I do appreciate empathy and sympathy, but it can be daunting on the other person.

My best advice is to give as much empathy and sympathy as you can WITHOUT exhausting your time or emotion. And just hope that the person finally reaches a place where they don't need the empathy and sympathy anymore. It worked for me! That seems fair?

[xo heatherStar|0 likes] [|reply]

WESLEY! I missed your face. How have you been all my life?

As for your entry, I completely get you. It's very hard to show empathy toward people like that. I find it very difficult when it comes to people who continually put themselves in the same situation over and over again. I think part of it is because I was in that position, and now look where I am. I'm finally saying F U to the world, and doing what makes ME happy. No one else. Some people are just stuck in that victim-mind where they think they are helpless and can't change their own life. Not your problem.

Anyway - get at me sometime. I still have the same number.

[kel-syStar|0 likes] [|reply]

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