Perspective Blindness & The Empath

What is an Empath exactly and what is the gift of Empathy? An Empath is a person who has an acute or highly developed sense of empathy. Empathy is the capability to share your feelings and understand another’s emotion and feelings and is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes”.

Lets break that down. An Empath is one with a has a highly developed sense of Empathy. And Empathy is both the ability to share feelings with others while understanding another’s emotions, as well as the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes or see through another person’s eyes.

So an Empath is not just one who feels what others feel and feels things in their own life deeply. They are also someone who can share perspectives with other people, one who can see from another person’s point of view.

Perspective is defined as that which is seen through an opening; a view. And a Point Of View is defined as a position or perspective from which something is considered or evaluated.

Thus an Empath who can not see through another’s perspectives or tends to see them only through the filter of their own emotional experiences, is an Impaired Empath who suffers from Perspective Blindness at times. Perspective Blindness is an inability to change perspectives, for whatever reason, or an unwillingness to do so due to fear based emotions crouched in prejudice (this includes but is not limited to, disgust, anger, shame, guilt, fear, terror, anguish, etc.). In saying prejudice though, this does not limit it to things like race, religion, or sexual preference. It also includes personal biases and pet peeves which one has that could cause you to instantly dislike another person.

Generally these biases exist because they skirt to close to something within the Empath’s life in which they avoid, hide, are afraid to face and/or are ashamed of. That does not exclude what they have been raised to believe, as well, but the main focus in this discussion is personal issues which cause things like Perspective Blindness.

This can be exemplified in the idea of reading a book in first person or in third person, which are both different perspectives. A healthy aware Empath has the ability to switch from one perspective to another, first person being themselves and third being that of other people, to foster understanding between themselves and others and bridge the differences which cause us to be separate entities. But an Impaired Empath who suffers from Perspective Blindness limits the Empathic Process, due to personal prejudices and biases. This can leave them drowning in emotions they do not understand and cause them to lash out. And it can cause a complete halt or even a derailment of offering Empathy to others.

When I say that Empathy must begin with you (self empathy) and then extend outwardly to others, what this means is that one must first deal with their own emotional issues before they can, in any healthy respect, work with others. Otherwise it is simply a means to escape their own issues. And this can show itself in the forms of depression and/or prejudices ~ which have been inflicted upon them, the Empath, in one form or another.

The premise behind this idea is that one who is abused or the victim of some sort of prejudice will do one of two things. The first is withdrawal from the type of people who treated them this way, and eventually, to some degree or another withdrawal from everyone. This can lead to feelings of isolation, depression and, sometimes, suicidal feelings.

The second is withdrawal from those types of people which offend the person, because of past experiences. But this one is crouched in prejudice and tends to take the form of the abuser they were pushing away from to begin with. The mind associates the power the person had over the one being abused with being ’empowered’ and acts it out to give the person a sense of power in themselves. But prejudice compounds on itself, and it can become an even bigger issue as time goes on.

Either way the people being withdrawn from are somehow internalized by the other person, and ignored, given no consideration, or judged solely on bias and found wanting or lacking in some respect. Because this is an issue within the biased or prejudiced person that they will not face and deal with, it becomes an external issue expressed through prejudice or the withdraw of the prejudiced person from the other person or situation. (long winded I know lol)

Prejudice is defined as an opinion or judgment formed without due examination; prejudgment; a leaning toward one side of a question from other considerations than those belonging to it; an unreasonable predilection for, or objection against, anything; especially, an opinion or leaning adverse to anything, without just grounds, or before sufficient knowledge. Another definition is to cause to have prejudice; to prepossess with opinions formed without due knowledge or examination; to bias the mind of, by hasty and incorrect notions; to give an unreasonable bent to, as to one side or the other of a cause; as, to prejudice a critic or a juryman.

This is a discussion almost no one wants to read. This is a discussion that most people, Empath or otherwise, would rather push away than deal with, because it cuts to the heart of our own issues. And that is something we, like this discussion, are more inclined to run from than face , deal with, and really find some understanding in it, much less own up to it.

But its an important one, none the less. Because this is what holds us back in our lives. This is what keeps us from reaching higher than the limits we set upon ourselves. And this is what forces a filter over our own perceptions when we work with others, or avoid working with someone all together because of personal prejudices.

Perspective blindness blunts the use of Empathy by blurring the lines of connection we have with everyone. It causes Empathy to stagnate. And it leaves Apathy room to grow. Its very easy for an Empath to go from sharing Empathy to sharing Apathy, when they stop caring or limit who they care about. So really think about it.

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~ by Misuchi Sakurai on September 6, 2009.

2 Responses to “Perspective Blindness & The Empath”

  1. Wow, what a powerful article. So true. I struggle with people I deem as incompetent; people who live in a constant state of insecurity and anxiety, without really working to change it. I can’t stand when that feeling is brought around me. I often try to give guidance and inspiration to change their situations, but the longer it continues, the more resentful I become. I am only 37,but I have walked out of 3 marriages and many other relationships and friendships because of this, I have even distanced myself from most of my family, because of this. I get angry, and I can feel I am becoming toxic, and instead of hurting others worse with my resentment.. I walk away. I tell myself I do it out of love, and I really do believe that it is more loving to allow them to live and grow in their own time, then with my incessant need to make them see the truth, the root cause, and make changes they may not be able to make, yet. I find myself distant, from many of those I care about, quite often. Too much interaction, when there is no change in their lives, or their perspective and their actions, and most importantly their feelings, and I become dark again. I have studied codependency much, and while I can see a parallel there, it never really seems to quite fit the bill. I truly love these people, and I am truly terrified to push them to be something beyond their limits that they never wanted to be, but when I see the pain they have, the darkness they think they have to hide, and the way they cycle in and out of self hate and half hearted attempts, dominated by fear it hurts. And you’re right, I do understand that feeling. I had, lets say an interesting and unusual childhood, where I was powerless to help those around me. I wish I could learn to be effective, but it took me many years to understand that the pain and the suffering those closest to me have and how many people they have turned from and hurt, even me… was not my doing, and I could not have prevented it, even if I tried, and believe me I tried. I grew up with monsters, true sociopaths, they were my only safety as a child, they were my family, my brother, my sister, my aunts and uncles, even my father, I spent so much of my life, loving and standing up for them, forgiving them and championing them, but to no regard. Their crimes toward others, only got worse more brutal, more violent, even murder. I am an empath who can identify, and understand that darkness, but I have never been able to stop it from hurting people.
    I have been raped, and blamed myself, still do secretly, not sure if I did have control over my reactions..when I was as drunk as I was, or if I somehow asked for it..by mirroring the feeling that was presented to me.
    My deepest wish is to find someone, I don’t have to run from, someone I can keep close, as my confidant, as my champion, as my sounding board, when I need to release, everything that I don’t understand or know where or what it originates from. Someone who will understand my struggle, and tell me its ok. But sadly, I never seem to get that, not because others haven’t tried, but because I cannot handle or forgive them for their weaknesses. I knew how blindly my sister in law loved my brother, and I knew how truly dark and void of feeling he was, I begged her to leave him, but she wouldn’t. She backed away, and I let her, because I was scared, and upset she wouldn’t listen. She died a violent and horribly painful death at his hands. She was filled with that anxiety and that pain, and was unable to break free of it, even when I pleaded with her. This is just one example, one of the more extreme I have lived through, but true to the point. She didn’t listen, they never seem to really listen.
    I am prejudice, I am biased, and I suffer greatly for it. How do I truly let that go, so that the next person who needs me, can get the best me, the most out of me, that they need for their journey??

    • It is rare that I write back these days. But you are beautiful in what you have to say and how you say it….whether you think yourself prejudiced or not. Please believe me that upon reading what you wrote it was a breath of fresh air and a brilliant perspective to see from…..because of its rarity. Prejudiced….biased….and suffering….you are right where you need to be to love the deepest and feel the most toward those around you. But letting go for an empath is a journey few are truly willing to make because it is a journey all of its own and it is one that calls for deep humility….setting aside of expectations, hopes, and dreams…..to sift through the layers of perception in the here and now…of what is and appreciate it for what it is. It sounds so prosaic….as I wax poetic but that is the simplest way to put it. Find your peace in the life.

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