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Author Topic: VIDEO | The Difference between Empathy and Sympathy ~ Brené Brown Ph.D.  (Read 687 times)
Algae
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« on: November 25, 2014, 07:00:18 PM »

Heres a really good short video showing the differences between "empathy" and "sympathy".

Brené Brown is a best-selling author, speaker and research professor. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.


Date: Dec-2013Minutes: 2:53

Empathy - Brené Brown

About the Author
Brené Brown, PhD is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past thirteen years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.

Brown is the author of three #1 New York Times Bestsellers: Rising Strong, Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection. Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 25 million viewers.

Brown completed her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at the University of Texas at Austin in 1995, followed by a Master of Social Work (MSW) in 1996 and Ph.D. from the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston in 2002
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 03:01:35 PM »

Empathy never starts with the words, "At least... .", according to Kate Thieda MS, LPCA. When your loved one shares a painful experience, do you try to lighten the moment? When your loved one says they are upset with you, have you found yourself justifying your words or actions, only to have your partner become more upset? Despite your best intentions, you may be suffering from a lack of empathy.

Our brains are wired to run from pain—including emotional pain—whether it is ours or someone else's. Brown points out in this video that empathy rarely starts with answers or defenses, and oftentimes, the best response is, "I don't know what to say, but I am really glad you told me." Fixing your loved one's problem is not often what is needed, nor is it necessarily your job or even within your ability to do so. Sharing a listening, caring ear is something most people can do. When we feel heard, cared about, and understood, we also feel loved, accepted, and as if we belong.

According to Brown "To be able to see the world as others see it—This requires putting your own "stuff" aside to see the situation through your loved one's eyes. To be nonjudgmental—Judgement of another person's situation discounts the experience and is an attempt to protect ourselves from the pain of the situation. To understand another person’s feelings—We have to be in touch with our own feelings in order to understand someone else's. Again, this requires putting your own "stuff" aside to focus on your loved one. To communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings—Rather than saying, "At least you... ." or "It could be worse... ." try, "I've been there, and that really hurts," or (to quote an example from Brown) "It sounds like you are in a hard place now. Tell me more about it.”

Brown explains that empathy is a skill that strengthens with practice and encourages people to both give and receive it often. By receiving empathy, not only do we understand how good it feels to be heard and accepted, we also come to better understand the strength and courage it takes to be vulnerable and share that need for empathy in the first place.
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BuildingFromScratch
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2014, 08:20:38 AM »

I found this very funny, cute and entertaining. Along with informative, thanks for sharing!
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lm911
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2014, 03:41:22 PM »

BPD was lacking empathy, not symphaty, right?
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2014, 04:12:12 PM »

BPD was lacking empathy, not symphaty, right?

It is not necessarily a lack of empathy but limited empathy. It is also situational. When someone or anyone really is in a compromised emotional state they tend to be focused on them selves and the ability to epathaze with others will be compromised.  Also a pwBPD is emotionally stunted so the complexity of emotions and diversity of emotions will be limited.

Beyond this is the way pwBPD projects their shame and dissasociates from it which is why many of us experienced a certain kind of sadistic ruthlessness or just being all of a sudden dropped. This ties back into their emotionally compromised state though.
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2014, 04:35:31 PM »

Narcissists are said to lack empathy, with BPD it's more... .chaotic.
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2014, 05:59:59 PM »

BPD was lacking empathy, not symphaty, right?

It is not necessarily a lack of empathy but limited empathy. It is also situational. When someone or anyone really is in a compromised emotional state they tend to be focused on them selves and the ability to epathaze with others will be compromised.  Also a pwBPD is emotionally stunted so the complexity of emotions and diversity of emotions will be limited.

Beyond this is the way pwBPD projects their shame and dissasociates from it which is why many of us experienced a certain kind of sadistic ruthlessness or just being all of a sudden dropped. This ties back into their emotionally compromised state though.

I agree with what you're saying here. Just wanted to add to it. I think your observation of acknowledging their limited ability to feel empathy is dead on. But you also mention how they are focused on themselves and it's situational.

I just wanted to give an example for everyone to kind of link it all together because my ex did this frequently. She has a son from her marriage. When we would be out in a social setting, like a bowling alley and the people next to us have a son, perhaps the same age or near the same age as her son, she would get to talking with the parents of that person. I would witness these conversations. Often times the bond of parenthood would have the other people opening up to whatever is going on in their lives, etc. She would show empathy in these situations, and talk about them often times long after we would leave. Everything though was in terms of her own son, less about the actual child involved. Every conversation would ultimately go back to her, and her child, and whatever was going on in her life. She would essentially "relate" to these people, but it was more of in an egocentric way that would ultimately result in the focus shifting back to her.

These were the only times she was able to do this. Ten minutes later, she would be mad about me not being able to get off work because of some spontaneous idea she had, despite the fact I told her I needed a heads up countless times and how it reflected poorly on me if I had to demand off on such short notice. She did not have that problem at her job, so she could not relate. So the empathy is situational, and egocentric because in order for it to occur it must be an exact situational circumstance that reflects her own life and ultimately the conversation will steer away from the person hurting, and focus back on her.

I think the video, the entire purpose was to connect with someone by being there for them, whether you understand what they are going through or not, as characterized by saying "I don't know what to say, I'm sorry you're going through this and I'm glad you told me" She was unable to do this, spontaneously. The empathy was reserved for specified events that mirrored her own life, and almost in a way to open up the floor for her to talk about herself, less about soothing or being there for someone in need.

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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2014, 06:50:55 PM »

BPD was lacking empathy, not symphaty, right?

It is not necessarily a lack of empathy but limited empathy. It is also situational. When someone or anyone really is in a compromised emotional state they tend to be focused on them selves and the ability to epathaze with others will be compromised.  Also a pwBPD is emotionally stunted so the complexity of emotions and diversity of emotions will be limited.

Beyond this is the way pwBPD projects their shame and dissasociates from it which is why many of us experienced a certain kind of sadistic ruthlessness or just being all of a sudden dropped. This ties back into their emotionally compromised state though.

I agree with what you're saying here. Just wanted to add to it. I think your observation of acknowledging their limited ability to feel empathy is dead on. But you also mention how they are focused on themselves and it's situational.

I just wanted to give an example for everyone to kind of link it all together because my ex did this frequently. She has a son from her marriage. When we would be out in a social setting, like a bowling alley and the people next to us have a son, perhaps the same age or near the same age as her son, she would get to talking with the parents of that person. I would witness these conversations. Often times the bond of parenthood would have the other people opening up to whatever is going on in their lives, etc. She would show empathy in these situations, and talk about them often times long after we would leave. Everything though was in terms of her own son, less about the actual child involved. Every conversation would ultimately go back to her, and her child, and whatever was going on in her life. She would essentially "relate" to these people, but it was more of in an egocentric way that would ultimately result in the focus shifting back to her.

These were the only times she was able to do this. Ten minutes later, she would be mad about me not being able to get off work because of some spontaneous idea she had, despite the fact I told her I needed a heads up countless times and how it reflected poorly on me if I had to demand off on such short notice. She did not have that problem at her job, so she could not relate. So the empathy is situational, and egocentric because in order for it to occur it must be an exact situational circumstance that reflects her own life and ultimately the conversation will steer away from the person hurting, and focus back on her.

I think the video, the entire purpose was to connect with someone by being there for them, whether you understand what they are going through or not, as characterized by saying "I don't know what to say, I'm sorry you're going through this and I'm glad you told me" She was unable to do this, spontaneously. The empathy was reserved for specified events that mirrored her own life, and almost in a way to open up the floor for her to talk about herself, less about soothing or being there for someone in need.

That's a really good example.

I wanted to tie that into an example from when I was being seduced then idealized. I was at the time injured and depressed. My ex was like an angel. At this time she showed me empathy to such an extreme she somehow managed to injure herself in a similiar manor. While she did milk the injury it was real. She was extremely kind and compassionate it was like a form of extreme empathy. To empathize with my situation so much to push herself to create a similiar circumstance in her life. The degree of empathy she displayed in this stage was trully unparalleled to anything I have ever encountered before or since. It was in an arena she could relate to which is suffering.

My ex was a quiet borderline. I am not sure if that matters but I think it does to some extant. I know a girl that has borderline Narcissistic and histrionic comorbidities. The degree to which she could empathize is much much more compromised than my ex. So it really comes down to the individuals involved in the interaction.
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DreamFlyer99
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2015, 12:08:39 AM »

I love the Brene Brown stuff!
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