brobbitt

Empathy, Sympathy Or Directive When Supporting You Choose

64 posts in this topic

wow....this thread made me think hard and long. I somehow think that at the moment I feel like the person in that hole and the passer by is no 1. I'm at that stage where I dont want to say hów much I need others to help me, but as soon as I realize it is there I back off and say all is ok. But, I find myself being a mix of no 2 & 3....I always try to be as supportive as possible, but something keeps me from getting to involved. I'm scared of saying the wrong things, or even that my being ''empathetic'' will be seen in a different way as what I meant. (does it make any sense) I actually wish that I never needed to be in that hole, or even had to be the passer by. Why cant we not close that hole and make sure nobody gets trapped in it....things would just be so much easier, or would it? So, anyway, I dont know....

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Hi, unfortunately life is full of such holes, but we dont have to continue to fall down the same one... Whilst here, or in therapy, you are finding a new direction a new route, recognising that the whole is there and hopefully avoiding it...

I have a client who once every three months or so, binge drinks, the binge drinking leads to depression, but once every three months he still feels the need to binge drink and finds himself down that same hole again :O(

There is an old saying in therapy and that is , 'there is no such thing as bad empathy'... so as long as you are trying to empathise, then you wont go far wrong..Empathy means that you dont have to have the answers for others, (so how can you say something wrong) , but rather trust that they have the answers themselves...your answering empathically means that the person trapped in the hole, may see a little clearer and rthen answers their own questions...if they don't, then you have lost nothing by trying and they are no worse off than they already where, they are already at the bottom of the hole and can't go deeper...

Hope that you are well..

Brian

wow....this thread made me think hard and long. I somehow think that at the moment I feel like the person in that hole and the passer by is no 1. I'm at that stage where I dont want to say hów much I need others to help me, but as soon as I realize it is there I back off and say all is ok. But, I find myself being a mix of no 2 & 3....I always try to be as supportive as possible, but something keeps me from getting to involved. I'm scared of saying the wrong things, or even that my being ''empathetic'' will be seen in a different way as what I meant. (does it make any sense) I actually wish that I never needed to be in that hole, or even had to be the passer by. Why cant we not close that hole and make sure nobody gets trapped in it....things would just be so much easier, or would it? So, anyway, I dont know....

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Hi Foxy,

"How about... it's my hole and nobody is meant to notice me in it !! ..."

I Smiled when I read this... but by being here , on this site, you tell everyone that you are definatley in that hole, and therefore the three different types of people will definately pass and see you..more so if they are or have been stuck in similar holes themselves...:o(

Brian

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what when you see that one in the hole and this brings you so down that you totally don't know what to say. And you really can't help, because the hole is so deep and it is depressing to see that again someone is in there? That you see that one in the whole but that makes you so sad that you are not able to be of help and that you can't help makes you even more sad? Because you feel you actually should help, but you feel not strong enough.

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I think that at times like this then you need to look after yourself. That is the right thing to do, you can't be the carer all the time, some times you have to let yourself be the cared for.

Best wishes to you

karen

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Well then the empathy is in just noticing the person is in the hole and letting them know you notice...sometimes the greatest empathy is in this..those who attend therapy will know of the silences, the moments when nothing is said and this is a great example for the quote below...

And if you dont feel strong enough then that is OK for you are only human, it will have to wait until you do feel strong again...

Thank you for the question, it drew a small tear from me, I dont know why, but it did?

Brian

what when you see that one in the hole and this brings you so down that you totally don't know what to say. And you really can't help, because the hole is so deep and it is depressing to see that again someone is in there? That you see that one in the whole but that makes you so sad that you are not able to be of help and that you can't help makes you even more sad? Because you feel you actually should help, but you feel not strong enough.

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yes, but as long as one isn't strong enough the person remains in the hole until one is strong enough or someone else comes for empathy.

It is just this helplessness. sorry to hear it made you shed some tear.

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The tear was about how you affirmed my faith in humanity, that you could feel so low yet still be considerate of others...I thought that lovely...

Thankfully there are many here and so someone invariably comes along to help..

Thanks

Brian

yes, but as long as one isn't strong enough the person remains in the hole until one is strong enough or someone else comes for empathy.

It is just this helplessness. sorry to hear it made you shed some tear.

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strange. just thought it rather doesn't affirm faith in humanity at all. because of the separateness. or what if one just would go away and not want to help, because it is just too much? when one hasn't any empathy at all? Because all the feelings are dead?

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It struck me that you wanted to help, but found you couldn't...the faith comes from knowing that you wanted to?

I'm in the feelings business and whilst I believe fully that they can be hidden from us (usually to keep us safe), I have great faith that they can never be taken away completely..

Brian

strange. just thought it rather doesn't affirm faith in humanity at all. because of the separateness. or what if one just would go away and not want to help, because it is just too much? when one hasn't any empathy at all? Because all the feelings are dead?

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I understand - that knowing the person in the hole needs help is the start for everything else.

how can you be so sure that those feelings cannot be taken away?

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I can be sure because our feelings are our life spark, the thing that makes us human and different than any other species on the planet... even if you feel numb of feelings at this very moment, the numbness is in itself a feeling, the emptiness is a feeling, they are feelings that mask the ones hidden deep within...

I understand - that knowing the person in the hole needs help is the start for everything else.

how can you be so sure that those feelings cannot be taken away?

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thanks brobbitt.

Maybe I need to remind me of this - that feelings don't get lost.

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You all make some interesting points here. The person in the hole has to want your help first. This is what I have learnt. You can reach out your hand as much as you want, but they have to grab it. They have to tell you they are in the hole in the first place otherwise you will never know they are there

This is my thoughts.

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Yes, empathy is mostly a response that reflects the situation of the other. One can still look into the hole and empathise with the situation of the person in there though...for this is only human. I guess just by being here we kinda know that people are in the hole...

Brian

You all make some interesting points here. The person in the hole has to want your help first. This is what I have learnt. You can reach out your hand as much as you want, but they have to grab it. They have to tell you they are in the hole in the first place otherwise you will never know they are there

This is my thoughts.

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I'm thinking that in a survivors life all 3 can be helpful in guiding you to the point you need to be.

As for me personally being the type "I Can Do It Myself", the empathetic person would be the most helpful. I do not like sympathy so that wouldn't help. Have dealt with directive type people and they only made me "shut down" for some reason?

Definately a thought provoking thread!

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From my own experience, regarding the hole, some people do not realise they are in the hole in the first place. It is difficult for some who have spent so long in denial about the problem to even recognise the extent of the hole they are in. When they realise the deepness of the hole, it can be frighening and so push others away from helping.

The hole is made deeper, because at times they reach out to others, and then get pushed away in different forms, violently, or silently. Sometimes continuously. Though they keep trying and trying, at times it just becomes like a bottomless pit where the next person that helps them will hurt them anyway - why reach for the hand in the first place if that is the hand that is going to let them fall???

Myself, I have tried to reach for the hand many many times. At times I have received all three responses in different formats. So I keep wondering just when is there going to be someone to help me. I don't know. I think I just need a lot of help because the pit becomes too deep and has gotten a lot lot lot lot deeper this week - so deep I cannot even see the bottom and the bottom truly scares me. The bottom is a nightmare.

My thoughts - probably not the question but how I am honestly feeling today.

Edited by whitedove

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"From my own experience, regarding the hole, some people do not realise they are in the hole in the first place. It is difficult for some who have spent so long in denial about the problem to even recognise the extent of the hole they are in. When they realise the deepness of the hole, it can be frighening and so push others away from helping."

How very human :o( For all the hole can be a horrible place to be in, and for all of the pain that results from being within it, sometimes it can feel like a place of safety protecting the inhabitant from the outside world

:o( on this basis why wouldn't one push others away from helping....

"The hole is made deeper, because at times they reach out to others, and then get pushed away in different forms, violently, or silently. Sometimes continuously. Though they keep trying and trying, at times it just becomes like a bottomless pit where the next person that helps them will hurt them anyway - why reach for the hand in the first place if that is the hand that is going to let them fall???"

Its about making the right choices then, trusting that the hand offered is a safe and experienced one and being ready, feeling strong enough, and wanting to take the hand when it is offered... Only the person in the hole can determine if they are ready, anything else is rescueing...

"Myself, I have tried to reach for the hand many many times. At times I have received all three responses in different formats. So I keep wondering just when is there going to be someone to help me."

Maybe actively seeking out that help would make a difference? You may have already done this though and I understand that...

I don't know. I think I just need a lot of help because the pit becomes too deep and has gotten a lot lot lot lot deeper this week - so deep I cannot even see the bottom and the bottom truly scares me. The bottom is a nightmare."

How utterly terrible for you, as I read I felt completely emerged in this dark and scarey place !!

"My thoughts - probably not the question but how I am honestly feeling today."

And in this you are true to your feelings, you do them justice and are true to yourself...it may not feel like it, but there is a great deal of heling in this..

Brian

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I can be sure because our feelings are our life spark, the thing that makes us human and different than any other species on the planet... even if you feel numb of feelings at this very moment, the numbness is in itself a feeling, the emptiness is a feeling, they are feelings that mask the ones hidden deep within...

thanks for that, i think i sometimes forget that numbness and emptiness is in itself a feeling and that they mask the deeper feelings.... i kind of get so absorbed in my immediate feelings that i can't see deeper and i don't know what they mean to me.

Dawn

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Hi Dawn,

Hope your well today....

And its ok to feel these things right now, its ok to be yourself in the moment (more than OK),because the numbness sort of and to the most part (I hope) safe, until you are ready to move forward and progress further....

Brian

thanks for that, i think i sometimes forget that numbness and emptiness is in itself a feeling and that they mask the deeper feelings.... i kind of get so absorbed in my immediate feelings that i can't see deeper and i don't know what they mean to me.

Dawn

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Hi,

It is impressive that everyone here truely cares for others. I have learned so much and it has changed my life. Understanding the process of healing is tough. There are times when we think, draw upon guidence and try to help others heal. There are times when our hearts guide us and we know. It is amazing.

Thanks everyone for caring for others as you care for yourself,

George

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Hi George,

Yes, the thing that has struck me most about this thread is that regardless of what type of helping is needed, that there is always someone there to supply it..to notice, to care, to respond...a beautiful gift given and received daily by the members..'awe inspiring' is the only way I can describe that..

Brian

quote name='George' date='Jul 2 2006, 02:31 PM' post='138419']

Hi,

It is impressive that everyone here truely cares for others. I have learned so much and it has changed my life. Understanding the process of healing is tough. There are times when we think, draw upon guidence and try to help others heal. There are times when our hearts guide us and we know. It is amazing.

Thanks everyone for caring for others as you care for yourself,

George

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Thanks B Robbit.

I was having a truly truly hard day the other day and unfortunately the hole was looking rather deep and scary at that time.

It is looking better now, I just have to learn patience - and I am learning it......ever so slowly

((((hugs))))

whitedove

Edited by whitedove

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Hi Whote Dove,

Sorry for taking so long to respond..

Yes, one day at a time is the only way..focus on the journey and expect some pitfalls on the way (hopefully then they wont surprise you to much when they come).. So glad things looked better when you wrote below :o)

Good luck with the journey..

Brian

Thanks B Robbit.

I was having a truly truly hard day the other day and unfortunately the hole was looking rather deep and scary at that time.

It is looking better now, I just have to learn patience - and I am learning it......ever so slowly

((((hugs))))

whitedove

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I think one day at a time is the most anyone can do. And the best thing anyone can do -- survivor or secondary. I had a tear, too.

I think for me what is hardest -- I am trying to be the # 3, the empathic person -- is when the person is in a hole so deep and terrifying that she strikes out -- and wounds me -- or all she can see around her are dark things from a past memory, and she can't tell the difference between them & me, for a little while. It must be terrifying to be a survivor, to not always be able to tell the difference between past and present.

You reach your hand into the pit -- but sometimes she doesn't know if the hand is there to help or to hurt her.

I have to realize that it's not me she's defending herself against. That can be hard.

Dan

Hi Whote Dove,

Sorry for taking so long to respond..

Yes, one day at a time is the only way..focus on the journey and expect some pitfalls on the way (hopefully then they wont surprise you to much when they come).. So glad things looked better when you wrote below :o)

Good luck with the journey..

Brian

Thanks B Robbit.

I was having a truly truly hard day the other day and unfortunately the hole was looking rather deep and scary at that time.

It is looking better now, I just have to learn patience - and I am learning it......ever so slowly

((((hugs))))

whitedove

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