Empathy vs sympathy

When I’m standing in the middle of a crowded room, I watch people. I can’t help it. I look at their faces, I observe their body language, and I invent backstories for them based upon numerous factors. All of this, or at least most of it, occurs subconsciously and involuntarily, with only a few fleeting moments allotted to each person, because there’s just too many of them to keep up with.

People who are highly empathetic, like myself, often seem to believe they have some sort of crude telepathic powers. They believe they can “sense” emotion. They romanticize it.

I’m not entirely convinced that this is the case. I can’t prove that it’s not, but I am, by default, skeptical of such things.

The most rational explanation I can come up with for this phenomenon is that I have a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to minutiae that most people generally ignore.

And yet I do feel like I can sense waves of pain and tension emanating from people . I can almost taste it.

I hate suffering, and I always have. I hate to witness it, I hate to hear it, I hate to hear about it, and I feel both empathy and sympathy for those who are experiencing it. Much of the time, anyway.

Sometimes, however, even while mentally placing myself in the shoes of another and feeling the feelings that he or she is feeling, I don’t care. I just want their emotions to shut the fuck up, and I don’t care how that is accomplished as long as it happens. I don’t want to feel what they’re feeling; it’s too much. That’s the point at which empathy and sympathy part ways.

That’s the kind of mood I’ve been in for the past couple of weeks. I’m full of hatred for the people around me. I can’t stand people right now. The empathy is there, but it only serves to make me hate them more. There’s very little sympathy. The two things, in my opinion, are not synonymous with one another.

I just saw a guy walking around yammering into his Bluetooth earpiece like a fucking douche, blind to his surroundings. I’m sure he thinks he’s very important, and that the words he is speaking are of great significance. But he feels like a fucking idiot and I hate him.

I hate people who talk too fucking loud for no reason. I’m sick of people taking up too much space in a public place because they don’t understand that the world is not theirs, nor does it revolve around them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I find people who lack a sense of empathy revolting on some level, at times. I want them to go away. I don’t feel sorry for them. There is no sympathy for them. Just hatred.

When I’m in a lighter mood, I simply pity them. I know they can’t help being pieces of shit. I know they were born to be spoonfed their views and opinions, as they are utterly lacking in emotional intelligence.

Right about now, though, I’m on some fuck the world shit. And that’s ok. It’s a defense mechanism. It’s hard to be empathetic; it can’t be turned off. But sympathy and compassion can, and I don’t have much of either to spare right now so I’m not even going to bother, unless we’re talking about people I actually know and care about or have taken an interest in. Everyone else, just keep your emotions out of my fucking face. I don’t care. I’m tuning out for now. I don’t have the strength to process it right now, I’m going to hole up in my bedroom and hide from the world as soon as I get off work.

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