On Empathy and World-Wide/National Tragedies

I think (relating to recent conversations about Ferguson, the be-headings, and generally all the crappy stuff going on in the world right now and how some anons reacted a day or so ago, I want to offer this as the reason I think so many of us are taking these things so differently: some with apathy, some with zealous fervor. I think as an INFP, the Fi is obviously the dominating factor. But Fi doesn’t mean you automatically care about everything. For some this is true, but it’s a filter that asks of everything “Do I care? What does this new information mean to me emotionally?” And for some it will be everything others it will mean nothing.
I agree we should air on the side of caring too much rather than too little, but INFPs are easily self-burdened, then may feel that this is unfair a thing to do themselves so they try a more apathetic approach. I know in my life I bounce back and forth a bit too much trying to invest my emotions in things I know I can be more helpful in (especially in school/work settings, not getting overly invested in people who I know I can’t help, who won’t help themselves so I can focus on people who will let me help them, who will respond in a relationship that kind of thing). 
Hopefully no one takes this in an offensive way, I’m in no way trying to say it’s right for people to ignore tragedy/cruel injustice as we are seeing in Ferguson and other places, but I think a problem we encounter as INFPs is caring too much and trying to combat that overload by caring too little.

Anonymous said: Can I just point out to that last user that I'm autistic and I don't have a single problem with empathy. My friends say I'm the most empathetic person they know!

muttluver said: No, YOU do a disservice to other people when you dismiss this as something they can control. Autistic people have "problems" with empathy. Narcisistic people--which, by the way, is a DISORDER, not a character flaw, look it up-- are characterized by a lack of empathy. Psychopathy is also a disorder--a chemical imbalance in the brain--and they have a lack of empathy. Uncontrolled, it's bad, but by crapping on this person does nothing good whatsoever. ANSWER. THIS. PUBLICALLY.

I know what autism and NPD are. More than one of my close friends have been autistic. If you’ve followed this blog for more than a second you would know that if I’m calling someone out for being shitty, I would never do so if I knew they had an empathy disorder. But until I know they do, I’ll assume they don’t. And when someone leaves a message in my inbox about how much they don’t give a backflipping shit about innocent people being shot and systematically beheaded, I’m going to err on the side of calling out that insensitivity instead of simply assuming every negative sentiment is the result of a chemical imbalance. I understand if you don’t think that’s the right response, but unless I receive a message from anon stating that he/she does in fact struggle with an empathy disorder, I stand by my original opinion that remaining ***purposely and voluntarily*** uninformed, uninvolved, and detached from the injustices happening to the other people on our planet is harmful and unethical. 

If you’d like to continue discussing this, I’m more than happy to have a private conversation and you’re more than welcome to post screenshots on your blog. But because of the nature of my own blog, I won’t be posting any more asks that aren’t directly INFP-related.

Originally answered privately. Posting at muttluver’s request. 

Originally answered privately. Posting at muttluver’s request. 

Anonymous said: Not the other anon, but I just want to say that, though I care about what's going on in the world, I'm tired of people thinking they can fix stuff that's out of their control. Honestly we can't affect much change at all if someone is doing something bad hundreds or thousands of miles away. All we can do is live our lives and try to make our immediate area a little better every day. Some people can travel and do good everywhere. For me, it's acting within my means and influence where I live.

Yes yes yes, act within your means and influence where you live. But don’t underestimate the power of awareness. Just because you can’t directly stop someone from dying in Iraq doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware or angry. I think there’s something to be said for being enraged by atrocities against humanity, even if you can’t directly affect them. Again, personal opinion here, and I’m not trying to be didactic (this is all really good dialogue!!!), but to be overwhelmed by everything happening almost reminds me that I’m alive and part of the human race. It’s good to feel. Bad feelings aren’t negative. Empathy is part of being human. 

Edit: This isn’t to imply that a lack of empathy = less human (re: autism + NPD)

Anonymous said: INFP here and honestly, I could care less about humans dying here, there and everywhere.



Would you like a cookie for being shitty? 

Also INFP here, and, at the risk of starting something I’ll never finish, I can see what anon is saying. Not every INFP was made equal. Not all of us are care about what’s going on in the world. That’s all anon is trying to say. 

That’s totally fine. It’s exhausting to be concerned and moved by every issue in the news recently. But I also do not understand how you could NOT be concerned about the insanity in Ferguson right now, or the genocide in Iraq (2 beheadings every hour for the past 336 hours). These things are human rights issues. They affect literally everyone, regardless of whether or not you’re concerned.

And yes, this may be my own personal option, and I recognize that and don’t claim to speak for INFPs/the followers of this blog, but I do believe that if you’re not concerned at least to some degree or not trying to be part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. How could you not "care about what’s going on in the world?" You’re IN the world. Err on the side of caring more, not less. It’s really not INFP-related, but Christ, be a little aware of what’s happening around you. 

Edit: let the record show that there are individuals that do struggle with empathy disorders and are thus unable to identify with the feelings and needs of others. This post is not addressed to these people, and I’m operating under the assumption that Anon doesn’t have autism/NPD. 

Anonymous said: INFP here and honestly, I could care less about humans dying here, there and everywhere.

Would you like a cookie for being shitty? 

Anonymous said: is it just me or are other infps on tumblr going into a total slump because of the whole gaza/robin williams/ferguson shit storm that's going on?

Yep. I mean it’s obviously not just INFPs, I think everyone’s been hit really hard this week by all this devastating shit.

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