Empathy – What Type Are You?

Does this sound like anyone you know?

Being “out of touch” with other people’s feelings and touchy (i.e. irritable) when they are out of touch with yours is a recipe for a difficult if not a disastrous relationship.

Like anger, empathy is in the eye and ear and gut of the beholder.  Empathy makes the heart grow fonder and at the very least will make you less ticked off at someone, because neurologically, you can’t be truly empathic and angry at the same moment.  That is because empathy is a sensory function and anger is a motor function.  Of course if you’d prefer to remain angry, then empathy may not be for you and you may fall into Empathopenia Malicious Type or Empathopenia Partially Malicious Type.

Empathopenia – noun – the state of diminished empathy.

Empathopenia – Malicious Type – as exhibited by Psychopathic Personalities in which empathy is absent except for knowing how to getting where people are coming from and use it against them.  Such people often appear to take delight in controlling, scaring and even terrorizing others.  Interestingly these people do not rage as much as they cunningly plot another person’s destruction.  In this case there appears to be delight taken in the actual harming of others, also referred to as being sadistic. This can be experienced by others as chilling .

Empathopenia – Partially Malicious Type – as exhibited by Narcissistic Personalities where there is an ability to be empathic regarding another person’s feelings, but there doesn’t appear to be a desire to do so unless it adds to the narcissist’s own aggrandizement or self-serving, self-centered and self-absorbed needs.  This can also apply to the narcissistic sides of people with other personality disorders such as histrionic and borderline personalities when others do not conform to their emotional and psychological needs. When someone thwarts them, all of these people are capable of exhibiting an unrelenting and penetrating anger sometimes referred to as narcissistic rage. This can be experienced by others as frightening.

Empathopenia – Non Malicious Type – as exhibited by people with Axis I psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia,bipolar disorder, autism and some autistic spectrum disorders.  Such people are not insensitive to other’s feelings, they are just not sensitive to others. That is because they are figuratively and literally psychologically preoccupied by their psychiatric condition and don’t have the wherewithal to emotionally attune to others. That they often frustrate others bewilders them because they have no intent to do so.  This can be experienced by others as frustrating and exasperating.

Empathopenic – noun – a person that has diminished empathy. ex. “By showing so little empathy for others, he was showing the world that he was an empathopenic.”

Empathopenic – adj – the description of a person who has diminished empathy. ex. “By showing so little empathy for others, he proved to be an empathopenic person.”

* Empathopenic people often have trouble following the Golden Rule

Authors’ Books and Kindle – Click for Amazon Reviews

© Copyright 2014 Mark Goulston, M.D., All rights Reserved.
Previous articleCohabitation Is Taboo For Women Seeking Sexual Exclusivity
Next articleNarcissistic Personality Disorder: Spotting The Signs
Mark Goulston, M.D. is a business advisor, consultant, speaker, trainer and coach trained as a clinical psychiatrist who honed his skills as an FBI/police hostage negotiation trainer who increases people’s ability to get through to anyone. He is Co- Founder of Heartfelt Leadership whose Mission is: Daring to Care and Go Positive Now and is the Resident Big Brother at Business Women Rising and serves on the Board of Advisers of American Women Veterans and Dr. Oz’ foundation, Health Corps. He is the author of international best selling book, “Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (AMACOM, $24.95) which has reached #1 at amazon kindle in six business categories, #1 in China and Germany , #1 in audible audiobooks and has been translated into fourteen languages. Dr. Goulston and his book was also a PBS special entitled “Just Listen with Dr. Mark Goulston.” His next book, REAL INFLUENCE: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In, co-authored with Dr. John Ullment will be the lead book for the American Management Association in January, 2013 and will focus on influencing people in a post-selling world. Dr. Goulston’s development of those skills started with his education: a B.A. from UC Berkeley, an M.D. from Boston University, post graduate residency in psychiatry at UCLA. He went on to be a professor at UCLA’s internationally renowned Neuropsychiatric Institute for more than twenty years, become a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and was named one of America’s Top Psychiatrists for 2004-2005 and again in 2009 and 2011 by Washington, D.C. based Consumers’ Research Council of America. A partial list of companies, organizations and universities he has trained, spoken to, provided executive coaching to or consulted with include: GE, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Xerox, Deutsche Bank, Hyatt, Accenture, Astra Zenica, British Airways, Sodexo, ESPN, Kodak, Federal Express, YPO, YPOWPO India, Association for Corporate Growth, FBI, Los Angeles District Attorney, White & Case, Seyfarth Shaw, UCLA Anderson School of Management, USC, Pepperdine University. He is or has been a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and is the best selling author of four prior books including the international best seller, Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (Perigee, $13.95) Get Out of Your Own Way at Work…and Help Others Do the Same (Perigee, $14.95), is a contributor to Harvard Business, blogs for the Huffington Post, Business Insider writes the Tribune media syndicated column, Solve Anything with Dr. Mark, column on leadership for FAST COMPANY, Directors Monthly. He is frequently called upon to share his expertise with regard to contemporary business, national and world news by television, radio and print media including: Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, Los Angeles Times, ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox/CNN/BBC News, Oprah, Today. Dr. Goulston lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.