Lack of empathy/sympathy? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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Lack of empathy/sympathy?


Not sure if this is the right forum to put this but wasn't sure where else..
Long one if you are up to reading!

I am a very logical/analytical thinker and therefore never think or make decisions based on emotion. I think the situation through and try to find an explanation to mostly everything. Because of this i am not a very emotional person (except when i talk about my own problems).

So my mom lost her sister recently after being basically brain dead and stuck in a care home for 6 months and she is completely in a dark place, crying almost everyday, yelling at god as to why this happened etc,(not much of a believer myself btw), and blaming herself for her death (even though it was not her fault at all, she was the only sibling to help my aunt try to recover). She's completely stuck in this dark/negative thinking state & can't seem to get out of it.

Anyway, i am not feeling any empathy/sympathy towards my mom, in fact i get angry and annoyed every-time i hear her cry. My mom is totally opposite of me she's VERY emotional. But all i think about is why is she crying so much, people lose loved ones all the time and shes acting like its the end of the world? She's even thinking about suicide its that bad and i'm just angry about that. People have lost loved ones at ALL ages and she's just questioning god as to why this happened. In my head i'm going it's a part of life, whats so hard to understand about this? No 'god' did this.

Also i'm not very sad at all about my aunts death. Don't get me wrong i am not glad at ALL thats shes gone, I did like my aunt(she was my favorite aunt), she was very fun to be around and always made us laugh. Yet I haven't even cried once about it and i can't get myself to cry about it, the only thing i can say is that it sucks. Now my mom thinks i'm a heartless person because i haven't cried but i know its just my personality and unlike her i understand that everyone is different and that's mostly okay.

Thing is, when watching tv and hearing of a sad story i will feel bad about the person but when it comes to my own family i don't feel much.

I sometimes wonder is there something wrong with my brain that i can't feel emotion like her? Am i some sociopath?


Guess i should have mentioned this is the first close family death.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by TheGuardian View Post
Not sure if this is the right forum to put this but wasn't sure where else..
Long one if you are up to reading!

I am a very logical/analytical thinker and therefore never think or make decisions based on emotion. I think the situation through and try to find an explanation to mostly everything. Because of this i am not a very emotional person (except when i talk about my own problems).

So my mom lost her sister recently after being basically brain dead and stuck in a care home for 6 months and she is completely in a dark place, crying almost everyday, yelling at god as to why this happened etc,(not much of a believer myself btw), and blaming herself for her death (even though it was not her fault at all, she was the only sibling to help my aunt try to recover). She's completely stuck in this dark/negative thinking state & can't seem to get out of it.

Anyway, i am not feeling any empathy/sympathy towards my mom, in fact i get angry and annoyed every-time i hear her cry. My mom is totally opposite of me she's VERY emotional. But all i think about is why is she crying so much, people lose loved ones all the time and shes acting like its the end of the world? She's even thinking about suicide its that bad and i'm just angry about that. People have lost loved ones at ALL ages and she's just questioning god as to why this happened. In my head i'm going it's a part of life, whats so hard to understand about this? No 'god' did this.

Also i'm not very sad at all about my aunts death. Don't get me wrong i am not glad at ALL thats shes gone, I did like my aunt(she was my favorite aunt), she was very fun to be around and always made us laugh. Yet I haven't even cried once about it and i can't get myself to cry about it, the only thing i can say is that it sucks. Now my mom thinks i'm a heartless person because i haven't cried but i know its just my personality and unlike her i understand that everyone is different and that's mostly okay.

Thing is, when watching tv and hearing of a sad story i will feel bad about the person but when it comes to my own family i don't feel much.

I sometimes wonder is there something wrong with my brain that i can't feel emotion like her? Am i some sociopath?


Guess i should have mentioned this is the first close family death.

Well I guess that losing an aunt is not like losing a mother or... a sister. So it may explain that you are not devastated but only sad.

However you may have a little less empathy than the average because you don't seem to understand that losing a sister can be extremely painful. In the first stages of grief, it is not unusual that people get really depressed and cry a lot. Denial, refusal to accept that it happens ("why?") is also common. So even if you don't understand, try to be very gentle and loving with your mother because she needs it.

Time will heal her pain so be patient. Above all, don't show that her behavior upset you, it would be very inappropriate. And understand that the fact people die all the time and that everyone eventually die don't make any less painful the loss of a loved one. That is the human condition.

Of course I don't know your life, maybe you has as much empathy as most people but the nature of your relationship with your mother explains your current feelings. I don't know.

Even if you don't cry, it doesn't make you a sociopath. People deal differently with grief and show their sadness in different ways. Also, as I said, it's not the same to lose an aunt and a sister.

Anyway, you are who you are, you don't control the way you feel, so don't feel bad. Maybe it's a good thing you can see death without being too affected. But just give time to your mother and be nice to her. Maybe you should read a little about grief on some psychology websites, there are a lot of stuffs that can help you to understand it more.


Last thing, you re social anxious right ? It means that you are particularly affected by the presence of other people; it triggers a strong emotion: fear (anxiety). A shy sociopath, that must be quite uncommon. Social anxious people are, at least in some regard, oversensitive.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cassoulet94 View Post
Well I guess that losing an aunt is not like losing a mother or... a sister. So it may explain that you are not devastated but only sad.

However you may have a little less empathy than the average because you don't seem to understand that losing a sister can be extremely painful. In the first stages of griefs, it is not unusual that people get really depressed and cry a lot. Denial, refusal to accept that it happens ("why?") is also common. So even if you don't understand, try to be very gentle and loving with your mother because she need.

Time will heal her pain so be patient. Above all, don't show that her behavior upset you, it would be very inappropriate. And understand that the fact people die all the time and that everyone eventually die don't make any painful the loss of a loved one. That is the human condition.

Of course I don't know your life, maybe you has as much empathy as most people but the nature of your relationship with your mother explains your current feelings. I don't know.

Even if you don't cry, it doesn't make you a sociopath. People deal differently with grief and show their sadness in different ways. Also, as I said, it's not the same to lose an aunt and a sister.

Anyway, you are who you are, you don't control the way you feel, so don't feel bad. Maybe it's a good thing you can see death without being to affected. But just give time to your mother and be nice to her.
I thought maybe it was because i wasn't so close to her, i know if i lost one of my closer family members (parents/gparents) i would cry.

Life hasn't been very good to my mom, she's been through a very hard/long divorce (my dad cheated on her and it devastated her), she's had 2 knee replacements and ended up with f'd up knees that don't work right (she's unable to exercise like she used to) and she has depression which certainly doesn't help this situation. The time that she went through the long (4-5 year divorce) i was in highschool and had to deal with seeing her cry mostly everyday and be very sad and angry and i think that affected me and made me kind of numb. I feel like i am going through that again now so perhaps that is why i am so angry about her extreme sadness.

It also bugs me because she is thinking very negatively and having very false thoughts, she thinks she killed her sister because they decided to let her go (even though the doctor said there was a very minor chance of recovery and my aunt wouldn't be able to live a normal life again) I guess this is a part of the grieving stage, i just don't understand why she has such inaccurate thoughts and she's convincing herself that they are true. I am not sure how to help her , i tell her it was not her fault and she did everything she could to help but she just refuses to listen to me.

I just wish she would get outside and do something to get her mind off of it and find a counselor but she continues to lay in bed all day..

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 11:15 AM
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Yeah that's what I said. I don't think I would cry for my aunt even if I like her.

Just by doing a 2 min search on google I find this website about grief. And they talk about the guilt. It is also something that is not uncommon. "After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done."

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/gr...f-and-loss.htm

So you see, there is nothing abnormal here. You said it was recent, right ? Just be supportive and give her some time. Sometimes some people may need help to get over a loss, because they don't manage to get out of the depressed state. But it's when the person is still depressed months after the loss. So of course watch her but don't worry too much right now.

Of course I am no expert, this is just my opinion.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 11:21 AM
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No, you definitely aren't a sociopath.

The thing is everyone is different, they have different brains and experience varying levels of emotion. I (like you) and probably on the lower side of things re emotion.

I think the thing for you to keep in mind here is that her brain is different to yours. It works in a different way so understand that what may be simple for you to deal with without much emotion, for her she is just getting a tonne of emotion and grief which means she simply isn't functioning in the same way you are. She is obviously depressed (and grieving) and when someone gets depressed it isn't a matter of her choosing to have negative thoughts, they are literally being generated for her by her brain, she doesn't have the option to not have them. Think of depression as a biological change in the way her brain is operating, and you can see why she simply won't be able to alter her thinking by choice.

It is important you don't get angry with her, or at least don't show anger towards her. She isn't choosing to feel the way she feels and she won't be able to simply alter her thoughts. True, she should probably seek help and support but you can't force her to do so. All you can do is be as supportive towards her as you can be and don't blame her (because that will feed into her depression). Try to be a voice of rationality for her without being angry towards her.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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I'm hiding my anger about it i know it wouldn't help her at all. I'm just worried since she's told me she's been suicidal for the past few days, i tell her to see a counselor but she believes they won't help since she's been to them before. She just needs to do something with her life before the darkness eats her away and staying at home all time surely is not helping.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2016, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGuardian View Post
Not sure if this is the right forum to put this but wasn't sure where else..
Long one if you are up to reading!

I am a very logical/analytical thinker and therefore never think or make decisions based on emotion. I think the situation through and try to find an explanation to mostly everything. Because of this i am not a very emotional person (except when i talk about my own problems).

So my mom lost her sister recently after being basically brain dead and stuck in a care home for 6 months and she is completely in a dark place, crying almost everyday, yelling at god as to why this happened etc,(not much of a believer myself btw), and blaming herself for her death (even though it was not her fault at all, she was the only sibling to help my aunt try to recover). She's completely stuck in this dark/negative thinking state & can't seem to get out of it.

Anyway, i am not feeling any empathy/sympathy towards my mom, in fact i get angry and annoyed every-time i hear her cry. My mom is totally opposite of me she's VERY emotional. But all i think about is why is she crying so much, people lose loved ones all the time and shes acting like its the end of the world? She's even thinking about suicide its that bad and i'm just angry about that. People have lost loved ones at ALL ages and she's just questioning god as to why this happened. In my head i'm going it's a part of life, whats so hard to understand about this? No 'god' did this.

Also i'm not very sad at all about my aunts death. Don't get me wrong i am not glad at ALL thats shes gone, I did like my aunt(she was my favorite aunt), she was very fun to be around and always made us laugh. Yet I haven't even cried once about it and i can't get myself to cry about it, the only thing i can say is that it sucks. Now my mom thinks i'm a heartless person because i haven't cried but i know its just my personality and unlike her i understand that everyone is different and that's mostly okay.

Thing is, when watching tv and hearing of a sad story i will feel bad about the person but when it comes to my own family i don't feel much.

I sometimes wonder is there something wrong with my brain that i can't feel emotion like her? Am i some sociopath?


Guess i should have mentioned this is the first close family death.

You cannot understand or read an emotion that you have never felt
. Even when you see it. That is why I could not see that people where looking at me in conciete. I never thought oh this person is just an insect. I cannot comprehend or mimic envy ( the dark form of jealousy) because ive never felt it. I cant feel empathy for someone feeling envy, because i dont feel it. Nothing is felt in its place.

Instead of trying to feel act as you know you should. Her emotions are different to yours. Her connections, her love for her sister are there even if you cant see it.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2016, 06:16 AM
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I think you probably lack the ability to perspective take rather than empathy per se. Perspective taking often begets empathy which is why if the former is compromised so is the latter.

I have similar problems in that if someone describes their situation to me, I still find it hard to understand what they're going through unless I've been through something similar myself. Yet if I see them being visibly distressed and upset, it usually affects me a lot and I can become really emotional (emotional contagion).
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 02:05 AM
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Maybe you could describe it as being numb. I am unphased by most things, and other times I'm totally faking it.

I wouldn't say you are sociopath, you would exhibit more symptoms than just diminished empathy.

People with depression and/or anxiety can be numb in that foggy gray area and be agitated and annoyed and iiritable.




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