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Posted by mtgsource (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 3, 09 at 23:09

Hello all! I have been married for 5 years now and everything is going much better. But, before for the first 2 years me and my wife had some rocky roads to traverse. Things between us were trivialized when the big picture was lost in the shuffle and the fray. I have done plenty of reading about marriages and the counseling of such and through these me and my spouse have learned alot. Especially for Sympathy and empathy between and for each other. So much has been learned for the topic that I have decided to write about it and our experiences. I was wondering if any of you out there might have an idea for a theory statement of sympathy and empathy and how they are similar/different? I have my own ideas and my wife the her own but we realize that there are more sources needed to view a much broader picture!

Thanks to all and be merry,


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Empathy/Sympathy

Due respect, but....if you're hanging out on split-hair differences between a couple of words translated from ancient tongues in order to promulgate whatever your thesis may be, I don't think I'm interested in your perspective of anything in particular. The origin of both words is Greek. Also from the Greek comes "navel" in contemplating your own...which is what I think you're doing. Used book store shelves are crammed with this stuff. If you think you've got something to add to the vast literature extant at this late date, I suggest you're either deluded or incredibly gifted.

RE: Empathy/Sympathy

you want to write a book? and you want our help? with what? if you are going to write about your own life, you better be famous because nobody would want to read it otherwise. If it is a fictional story based on your experiences then I don't know how we can help with fiction? if you wnat to write a self-help book on a topic of marriage, you better be a psycholigist, psychiatrist, marriage counselor with expereince etc otherwise your book will not hold any value.

saying that... you have rights to write whatever you want, plenty of people write stuff and publish wiht their own money but it never gets sold.

I knew someone who wrote poetry and kept publishing books paying out of his pocket, nobody ever bought any. he gave them away for free. it was bad, very bad, terribly bad. I felt embrassed for him. His every poem was either about his cat or him wanting to commit suicide (because 15 years ago this woman left him) and now all he has is his cat. and it was a poem after poem and at least 3 books full of that. Poor guy. I don't know why remembered him...But I guess he had rights to write all that.

i am an artist, sometimes I sell sometimes i can't, sometimes I get my art into major competetions and sometimes don't get into any. some pople like my art some don't. If i need help i ask in art forums, go to my fellow artists or read art books. I don't tell anonymous people on the internet that i want paint somehting but want people to tell me difference between oil and acrylic.

I don't think we can help you.

maybe taking writer's workshop could help better than asking us here.

RE: Empathy/Sympathy

"I have decided to write about it and our experiences"

Maybe he just wants to write here, on the forum.

It is a tricky topic, the difference between the two words, I think it would be prudent to have a discussion about it.

N'est pas ?


RE: Empathy/Sympathy

Sympathy is feeling compassion for someones circumstances,sorrow or sadness.

Empathy is knowing and understanding another needs and feelings.

You can offer sympathy but empathy allows you to give true support and understanding of a given situation.

If you are hurt by something I haven't personally experienced or felt about the same way I can sympathize but I really can't empathize.

If you are hurt by something I have also experienced having done or said to me than I am in a better position to have empathy. But only if I would react emotionally in a similar manner to you.

Since some people are much more emotional than others it is sometimes difficult to empathize even though one might have sympathy for their stress at the situation.

Some people simply lack the ability to empathize at all. Many bi-polar and people suffering from other mental health personality disorders for example are very sympathetic and caring of others but simply lack the ability to empathize.

RE: Empathy/Sympathy

Sympathy is expressing a concern

Empathy is being able to relate to someone else and feel for them
-- (You don't always have to have experienced the same thing but generally just need to be able to put yourself in someone's place -- some people are really good at this) "A good listener" is really often someone who can empathize well.

Pretty big difference...

I agree with wildchild, some people with some mental disorders are unable to empathize at all... Narcissistics are one for example -- then again they aren't usually overly sympathetic either.

People have differing degrees of being able to empathize. Hate to generalize (no, not really, but it bothers some here), but women are generally better at it. Men tend to underanalyze emotions and women, over analyze them. Some people have to come close to experiencing something to be able to relate and many don't -- there are all different degrees. Can you relate to a person who lost a child if you've never had a child, if you've never lost a child, on and on... some can, some can't. Some can only provide sympathy, most can empathize at least on certain levels, because everyone has experienced some kind of loss even if it wasn't of a child. Sometimes it's just really about stepping outside yourself and putting enough effort into it and caring enough to care about someone else. I also wouldn't doubt that sometimes intellectual ability can factor into it. Highly analytical people are probably more prone to empathize and 'so called' complete idiots often can't empathize even with things they've experince first hand.

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