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Empathy is a quality that we recognize as positive. When you’re empathetic, you care about the feelings of others. If you’re experiencing a difficult time, it feels amazing when a friend or family member is empathetic toward you. They demonstrate that they care about your feelings and want to be there for you, which makes you feel supported. On the other hand, if somebody does not appear to care about your feelings once you express them, that can be extremely hurtful. A person who is lacking in compassion, or empathy, could have a severe condition. That individual may suffer from empathy deficit disorder. Here’s what that means and how it impacts relationships.
Empathy Deficit Disorder can hurt others
A person with empathy deficit disorder focuses on themselves rather than the people around them. Imagine that this individual’s friend tells them that their loved one passed away. The person with empathy deficit disorder is so self-centered that they don’t know how to console their friend. They have a lack of compassion or empathy, and they display it by perhaps changing the subject or talking about themselves. People with this condition are lacking in the ability to be present and caring for their loved ones. That can be frustrating and hurtful to the people in the person’s life. People want to be around others who demonstrate care and concern. If you lack empathy, it can push people away or alienate them. If you don’t care about your friends and family and you’re not shy to show it, they won’t want to be around you.
A lack of empathy can result in pushing people away
An individual who lacks empathy is not a desirable person to be around. Once they demonstrate that they do not care about their partner’s feelings, the relationship becomes strained to the point where they push their partner away. It’s a lousy feeling to be around someone who doesn’t care about your feelings and actively makes them known. Though they might not want to push their loved ones away, that is what they are doing by not demonstrating empathy or care. It’s crucial to change these patterns if you want to maintain healthy relationships with others. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re hurting the people you love because you don’t appear to care about them. If you’re pushing people away because they don’t feel loved, all is not lost. There’s something you can do about it.
Can you learn empathy?
Some people are born empaths, while others struggle with understanding the emotions of others. That’s why some people go into human services or social workers, while others pursue careers that don’t require an empathetic nature. Not everyone is a deeply compassionate person. Some people are more caring than others. But, just because you’re not a born-empath doesn’t mean you cannot learn how to be more caring toward the people you care about in your life. If you are having difficulty expressing empathy, you can learn how to do it. It’s something that you can talk about with a licensed therapist.
Lack of empathy could be the sign of something more serious
In some cases, a lack of empathy could be the sign of something more serious. For example, individuals with antisocial personality disorder lack empathy. People with ASPD can be highly manipulative and (at times) dangerous. Symptoms of ASPD include:
- Antisocial behavior, or isolating from society
- Lack of empathy
- Disregard for laws
- Manipulative behaviors
- Frequent boredom
- If you suspect that you have some of the symptoms of ASPD, it’s crucial to seek the help of a mental health professional.
Talking about empathy in therapy
You can learn more about how empathy is important in life and how we can benefit relationships. Just because you’re not inherently empathetic doesn’t mean that you can’t grow as a person. Human beings are learning for their entire lives. And if you want to learn how to be more compassionate, a therapist is the right person to speak to you about that issue. You can read more about empathy deficit disorder here. If you’re somebody that is empathetic and doesn’t understand why individuals struggle with this condition is essential to do your research. Maybe you have a partner who is struggling with empathy deficit disorder. You could learn what they’re dealing with and how to help them.
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