Empathy. It’s something that the world needs more of. However, there are many in this world who don’t seem empathetic towards anyone. They may have empathy deficit disorder (EDD.) In this post, we will look at empathy, EDD, and how to treat it.
What is Empathy?
You probably know what empathy is. It’s the ability for you to understand someone’s struggle by imagining yourself in their position. For example, if you see a homeless person on the street, you may not think they are lazy, but instead, imagine yourself if you had no money and no one to care about you.
Empathy is a little different than sympathy, which describes feeling bad for someone.
You can divide empathy into three categories.
First, cognitive empathy. This describes your standard definition of empathy, which is “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.” Knowing what another person has experienced can allow you to make a response more compassionate than someone who lacks it.
There’s also affective empathy. This is when you share someone’s feelings and consider yourself one with them. A person who is extremely close to you may be someone you have affective empathy with.
Also, compassionate empathy. It combines both the previous forms of empathy.
Empathy Deficit Disorder
Simply put, this is a disorder where someone lacks empathy for others.
This is someone who cannot see the other side. They cannot be able to look at life through anyone’s perspective but their own. Because of this, they can seem uncaring and can sometimes be a loner due to no one wanting to associate with them.
What Causes It?
Empathy deficit disorder can be caused by both nature and nurture. Some people have mental conditions, including antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, that can make it difficult to empathize.
Besides that, how one was raised can cause EDD too. For example, if one was raised in a household that lacked empathy, it can make someone prone to EDD. Another reason why someone may have EDD is due to other trauma they have experienced in their lives. They may have been betrayed in the past, and being able to look at others’ perspectives is a defense mechanism.
What Are Its Symptoms?
EDD can have several symptoms. Sometimes, it’s quite prevalent. Plenty of people show complete disregard for others and refuse to look at life from another person’s perspective.
They may criticize people without even hearing their side of the story. It can be difficult for someone with EDD to connect with anyone emotionally. It can be difficult for someone with EDD to show any appreciation for other people.
In some cases, a person with EDD may be unable to see how their actions hurt someone, even if it seems apparent.
The line between EDD and someone who is a bit self-absorbed can be a little blurry. This is a disorder that can be a spectrum, with some people showing more empathy than others.
Can the Opposite Happen?
Empathy is something that a person can have too much of as well. Obviously, that is another article for another day, but there are people who can have toxic empathy.
People like this tend to be unable to say no to anything, even if it hurts them. A person who is overly empathetic may be unable to function due to feeling connected with everyone who is worse off than them.
Ideally, a balance is needed. A person should show empathy and compassion, but at the same time, they also need to look out for themselves and practice self-care. While not everyone is balanced just right, life is about striving to achieve that medium.
EDD is not an official disorder. In the DSM-V, a lack of empathy is a symptom of a bigger disorder, such as narcissistic personality disorder.
For people who have narcissistic personalities, it can take quite a bit for them to see the other side. However, for someone who was just raised to be unemphatic, treatment may involve a bit of self-reflection and the ability to look at the other side.
Some people are a lost cause. However, if you are someone who is reading this, there is a good chance that you can be more empathetic.
Therapy may be able to help with that. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can allow you to think twice about judging others. Being exposed to other groups of people can make you more empathetic as well.
Making new friends, building connections, and understanding all perspectives are just some ways to do this.
Seeking help through online resources can benefit you as well. Websites such as Mind Diagnostics can teach you to be more emphatic to others, or help you diagnose a problem you may have mentally.
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