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Forums / Anxiety / Excessively Sympathetic

Topic: Excessively Sympathetic

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. ZacR
    ZacR avatar
    2 posts
    22 August 2021

    Hi.

    I'm trying to read more about and research about a certain tendency I have. It's the tendency to sympathize with what others are experiencing but then multiply it and feel their pain 10x stronger than normal [sympathic responses]. The basis for trying to feel the pain more powerfully is the popular notion that no one cannot truly know another's pain so I just make it bigger and hope I get close. The problem is that this habit interferes with my life and impairs my ability to focus on what I'm doing - work, communication, recreation, other everyday activities - and causes intense emotional pain and can last hours. Still worse I've come to realise that I sympathize with myself and/or others in imaginary/possible future situations (so now imagine sympathizing with not one, but multiple individuals of a day-dream at 10x intensity).

    Seeking professional advice is on my to do list but reading and researching about this is higher on my list. I can't, however, seem to condense the habit into a searchable expression/term. I'm posting here in the hope of know if there are existing simpler names or ways of describing this or if (even better!) you have been fortunate enough to come across an article describing something similar.

  2. Misskitkat
    Misskitkat avatar
    3 posts
    22 August 2021 in reply to ZacR

    So how is it that you sympathize more than others? What is it you do or feel to be like this?

    This is my first time on a forum so if I don't reply I did not see your reply or comments

  3. geoff
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    geoff avatar
    15552 posts
    22 August 2021 in reply to ZacR

    Hello Zac, thanks for posting your comment.

    Sometimes it may be possible that we add somebody else's pain onto how we are feeling, so if you are feeling depressed and another person comes up to you and expresses how they feel, then you take it as if it's been happening to yourself, that's why it's 10 times worse.

    Another option is that you may not be capable of helping this person and feel so much worse for not being able to solve their situation and then take it all on board, on yourself and feel guilty.

    Take care.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    3111 posts
    23 August 2021 in reply to ZacR

    Hi ZacR,

    Welcome to the forums. Yep, this is absolutely something that I can relate to! I agree with Geoff too because while it's a trait admired in many it's not always a helpful one and can be very exhausting. A couple of terms you could search to see if they resonate with you are 'Empath' and 'HSP' (Highly Sensitive Person). The idea of both of these phrases is being really intuitive with others feelings and absorbing them as if they were your own.

    I hope that I'm on the right track with this!

    rt

    1 person found this helpful
  5. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    3111 posts
    23 August 2021 in reply to Misskitkat

    Hi Misskitkat,
    I just wanted to say hello and welcome you to the forums as well.
    Now that you've posted in this thread, it's going to show up on a section called 'My threads' which you can access from the forum home page. Here's the FAQ page that has pictures on how you can find it and come back to it. - In our future platform we are planning to have notifications so that will make things easier!
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/welcome-and-orientation/the-forum-faq-thread-
    Hope this helps and you enjoy being here,
    rt

  6. Isabella_
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    Isabella_ avatar
    152 posts
    23 August 2021 in reply to ZacR

    Hi ZacR,

    I think a more fitting term to describe this is being an empath. Sympathising with someone is being apologetic or sad for someone, but empathising with someone is a lot more than that.. you quite literally walk around in the shoes of other people and start to see/feel the world how they do.

    While I think this is an amazing gift, the consequence is you're much more likely to feel emotional burnout and overwhelm, which sounds a lot like what you're experiencing. It may be worthwhile for you to lookup "excessive empathy" or "compassion fatigue".

    Empathy is a really powerful thing that can benefit a lot of people. For people like yourself and many others, it's very important that you take care of yourself so that it doesn't interfere with your life or burn you out.

    I hope I've helped in some way :)

    1 person found this helpful
  7. ZacR
    ZacR avatar
    2 posts
    23 August 2021

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated. I do indeed like being empathetic but the empathy fatigue you folks mentioned sounds like what I was looking for.

    Have a great day!

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Booklover17
    blueVoices member
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    Booklover17 avatar
    125 posts
    27 August 2021 in reply to ZacR

    Hi ZacR

    I am exactly the same! I too feel other people’s pain and recently I came across Hypersensitivity. Maybe that’s it. I am just glad I have found someone else who may be similar to me. No-one else gets it.

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