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Guest ChinaDoll

What is empathy? The BPD vs NPD Dilemma

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Guest ChinaDoll

Until I can go see a real professional, I am stuck with this question.

Do I have BPD, NPD, or none of the above?

Recently, I read this article about empathy and BPD.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201309/do-people-borderline-disorder-have-empathy

It got me thinking whether I have empathy or not. Because of this, I took the Emotional Intelligence quiz provided on the same site and got a 74. Despite the test saying I actually passed, it was just barely. So now, I'm worried.

What is empathy? How do you learn it? If I somehow failed to learn it in childhood, how do I learn it as an adult? (Oh gawd. That's embarrassing!)

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Maybe the label itself is not so important, but rather how to best care for yourself?

Words can be difficult to define. Different people may have somewhat different descriptions of what the concept of empathy means to them. What does it mean to you?

How to cultivate empathetic feelings? I know it helps me to try to understand how things are for another person. It helps me to know that each person has their own story, their own personal experiences, their own struggles, as well as strengths. Awareness of such differences could be a place to begin. I would also think that listening with an understanding heart could be helpful.

Wishing you well, ChinaDoll.

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Guest ChinaDoll

What empathy means to me? I think it is the capacity of someone to be able to put themselves in others shoes and to be able to act with respect to other people's feelings.

I am so caught up with the whirlwind of emotions inside of me that most of the time I may have been failing to understand others. I do hope I understand the difference between empathy and sympathy.

Thank you, Beth. I think I will have to consciously retrain my brain to associate more with others. I'm not sure if that's the right term. I wonder if this is some form of dissociation. I hope I'm wrong.

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I like what Beth wrote :).

BTW; it remind me that I took a test of compassion here (under questionnaires):

https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu

...and I was also a bit ashamed that my number was so low. But well... when I compare myself to some people (for instance, Beth ;) ), I'm not surprised. The questions show, in my opinion, a very, very high level of compassion and... I think they are not entirely "correct" because they don't take circumstances into consideration. And our "emotional response" varies a lot with circumstances.

I have to go now, but... in any case, I don't know what more to say. Perhaps just that... self-diagnosing is often wrong (->also my own experience ;)). Don't focus on diagnoses and don't assume you have such or such until a skillful professional diagnoses you (although they also often disagree among themselves, so...). Diagnosis isn't that important - healing your own, unique wounds and learning better coping skills is what matters.

Take care!

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I am so caught up with the whirlwind of emotions inside of me that most of the time I may have been failing to understand others.

It's challenging being human sometimes. I know if I am triggered by something, this has happened to me in the past and I always felt so awful about it afterward. We are all human and imperfect. Our interactions with others can be a great place to learn, though, too. I think it says a lot about you that you are thinking about how to be empathetic.

Take gentle care.

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Guest ChinaDoll

LaLa, I really appreciate that you can give me all of these articles and things to help me. I must say, its a breath of fresh air to be able to think about these things more scientifically (?) or factually or whatever the appropriate word may be. :) It helps a lot. Thank you!

Beth, always fast in replying and your replies always calm me down. I don't know if I'm being a handful right now or whatever but I appreciate so much that you're there. Your replies reassure me that I am not alone and I find so much comfort in that. Thank you.

Slow and steady progress. Everyday I try to be more aware of what I say and do. I also try to not berate myself for my insufficiencies. I tell myself that I should be as patient towards myself as I am to the kids I tutor. Its not easy to overcome years of habit but I hope I get there soon.

Expressing myself here is a great help. Not only because I get support from you guys but it gives me time to think about things in a more positive perspective. I'm glad I found this place. :)

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:)

"P.S.":

http://apt.rcpsych.o...t/15/3/199.full

Paul Gilbert: Introducing compassion-focused therapy, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (2009) 15: 199-208

Shame and self-criticism are transdiagnostic problems. People who experience them may struggle to feel relieved, reassured or safe. Research suggests that a specialised affect regulation system (or systems) underpins feelings of reassurance, safeness and well-being. It is believed to have evolved with attachment systems and, in particular, the ability to register and respond with calming and a sense of well-being to being cared for. In compassion-focused therapy it is hypothesised that this affect regulation system is poorly accessible in people with high shame and self-criticism, in whom the ‘threat’ affect regulation system dominates orientation to their inner and outer worlds. Compassion-focused therapy is an integrated and multimodal approach that draws from evolutionary, social, developmental and Buddhist psychology, and neuroscience. One of its key concerns is to use compassionate mind training to help people develop and work with experiences of inner warmth, safeness and soothing, via compassion and self-compassion.

The healing properties of compassion have been written about for centuries. The Dalai Lama often stresses that if you want others to be happy – focus on compassion; if you want to be happy yourself – focus on compassion (Dalai Lama 1995, 2001). Although all clinicians agree that compassion is central to the doctor–patient and therapist–client relationship, recently the components of compassion have been looked at through the lens of Western psychological science and research (Gilbert 2000, 2005a, 2009; Davidson 2002; Neff 2003 a, b ). Compassion can be thought of as a skill that one can train in, with increasing evidence that focusing on and practising compassion can influence neurophysiological and immune systems (Davidson 2003; Lutz 2008). Compassion-focused therapy refers to the underpinning theory and process of applying a compassion model to psychotherapy. Compassionate mind training refers to specific activities designed to develop compassionate attributes and skills, particularly those that influence affect regulation. Compassion-focused therapy adopts the philosophy that our understanding of psychological and neurophysiological processes is developing at such a rapid pace that we are now moving beyond ‘schools of psychotherapy’ towards a more integrated, biopsychosocial science of psychotherapy (Gilbert 2009).

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ChinaDoll, it's very thoughtful of you to recognize our responses to you. It means so much to feel heard, thank you.

Slow and steady progress. Everyday I try to be more aware of what I say and do. I also try to not berate myself for my insufficiencies. I tell myself that I should be as patient towards myself as I am to the kids I tutor. Its not easy to overcome years of habit but I hope I get there soon.

:) This sounds like a healing path.

Expressing myself here is a great help. Not only because I get support from you guys but it gives me time to think about things in a more positive perspective. I'm glad I found this place. :)

I'm glad you are here with us, ChinaDoll. :-) I hope we can help you along the path to feeling better. We are here to listen and support you.

Take care and best wishes.

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Guest ChinaDoll

And I definitely want to be on the path to recovery. I'm determined to take my life back from the snares of "my evil shadow self". XP I figured I'm simply too young to give up already.

Today was a good day. That doesn't mean it was anxiety free but at least it didn't feel like I was dragging my body through the muck. What sucks really are the times when you are suddenly triggered by something out of the blue. For example, I was having a conversation with a relative and she was simply reminiscing about something. It was all perfectly innocent but it reminded me about something I did and the next thing I know, I was shouting a litany of expletives in my head; I was burning with so much shame I was wishing I could die.

Sounds like some normal situation, right? Its not because its always me being ashamed of things I did in the past that I've recently deemed foolish. I berate myself for being such a spoiled brat and I never even realized I acted that way. For me back then, I was just being me. Only now do I realize what a fool I was.

Everybody hates the spoiled haughty rich kid character in movies. To wake up one day to find out that all along, you were that bratty bitch that everybody thinks lowly about... *cringe* *dying inside*

And now I shall leave that thought at that because now I can remind myself to give myself a break.

Anyway, going back to the story, it was a challenge to keep myself composed in front of my relatives. I plastered a smile on my face despite the fact that I was punching my leg underneath the table. My mind was chaos!

*shakes head at self*

Someday, I hope I can get rid of this for the sake of my self respect.

Its a long and arduous road but I want to recover.

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Maybe it's possible to find acceptance with all parts of yourself?

Interactions are always a learning experience, I think. We all make mistakes, but if we can be aware of our responses, we can learn what they are telling us and then possibly change our behaviors, if necessary. It's difficult for sure and can take some time. I hope you can be gentle with yourself. I do hear your frustration. Possibly your younger self was doing her best to manage back then?

I get triggered too, sometimes. It's painful and challenging to cope with. :( It helps me to try and step back and take a few deep breaths, just to get some space from the emotion. I think the key is trying to stay with ourselves during this time without coming apart or abandoning ourselves. Easier said than done, but I do think things can improve when there is awareness.

Wishing you serenity today, ChinaDoll.

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