The Problem With Empathy

Actually, empathy itself is not a problem. When empathy for someone becomes enabling, that is problematic. When someone expresses what may look and even feel like empathy but the underlying intention is manipulative, that can be a problem as well.

Empathy is considered an important component in healthy reciprocal relationships, and for good reason. Empathy is the capacity to be aware of and be sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others, and to feel some of what the other experiences without being told exactly what is going on with him or her. Whether we are going through a rough patch or a crisis, it is most always helpful to know others care and share in our sorrow or pain. However, misplaced and pseudo-empathy rarely are helpful, and can be harmful.

Misplaced Empathy

When one is in a relationship with a chronically hurtful person, (CHP), in one’s personal life or in other arenas, demonstrating empathy can make things worse for both the CHP and for the one trying to be helpful. Since CHP’S are expert at eliciting support, and expert at fooling people, they can use someone’s concern to support their hurtful and/or self-destructive behavior. People who exhibit a pattern of misplaced empathy give others what they want because they can’t stand to see them sad, lonely, hurt, or in pain. But doing so, giving into a request or rescuing someone from bearing the consequences of their own actions, feeds the problem. Rather than being truly helpful, this enabling behavior is actually self- serving as it doesn’t contribute to the recipient’s real needs but instead allows the rescuer to self-comfort their own fears rather than face the truth.


An employee in the business office of a large travel company had come to the attention of his supervisor. Several co-workers had complained that the worker in question had not been pulling his weight, that he regularly came to work late, took 2 hour lunches, and left early in the afternoon. The supervisor, a gentle man who prides himself on being a supportive boss, met with the employee to sort it out. The employee slumped in a chair, eyes red as if he’d been crying, and sighed, loudly and sadly.

Supervisor: “I see you haven’t been working as many hours as you are being paid for. Are you having some difficulties we should be aware of? We want to understand and help if there is something for which we can provide assistance.”

Worker, speaking slowly and with emotion:

“Oh yes… Difficulties… Thank you so much for helping me, and understanding why I have such a hard time doing the work assigned to me and require extra time for projects. I am so grateful for your support in this difficult time in my life… I am worried my wife might leave me because I’ve been so sad lately. She just doesn’t understand how hard this is. I can’t seem to get over the loss of my best friend.”

Supervisor, with a look of concern and compassion:

“Oh. Well… That is indeed sad… and I am sure you are in deep grief. And on top of that, there is the stress from the home quarter as well. I can sense it on your face… I am so sorry. No wonder you are having work issues. I’ll make sure you get an easier schedule for the foreseeable future until you are up to par.”

In this session, the worker failed to mention that he had had several affairs, and that his wife is now onto him. He also failed to mention that the loss of his “best friend” was not due to death. He did indeed have an ex-friend who no longer has anything to do with him because this employee had borrowed a sizable sum of money from him and never repaid it. His two-hour lunch breaks gave him affair time or time to hang out at a bar to watch sports. The supervisor continued his support for the employee’s “grief and distress” for a considerable amount of time. He believed this man at the expense of the organization and the other employees who had to take on much of his work while he “grieved.”


Behaving as if one cares and is truly interested in someone’s predicament, when it is really all a pretense, is a too common occurrence. Most people have heard of, or know of situations where someone manages to get on the good side of someone in need in order to gain personal advantage. I know of several situations where someone offered love and /or promises of commitment to someone who was disabled or elderly and lonely or fearful. The families in these cases warned their relatives that the one offering affection, marriage, security etc., might be using them for the purpose of taking their resources or for other nefarious reasons. Sadly, the victims of the ploys would have none of what their families were saying, and in the end, were seriously hurt in a number of ways.

Another all too common scenario is when a recent widow or widower is wooed by a charming person who swoops in following the funeral of the recently departed spouse and successfully seduces the bereaved man or woman.


After fifty years of a good marriage, a man lost his beloved wife to cancer. A woman who was twenty-five years his junior, showed up at the funeral claiming to have known the deceased wife through their social contacts. The widower had begun counselling with one of my supervisees during the last months of his wife’s illness, and now was discussing this new relationship.

Widower, smiling and relaxed, the first time in a while:

“I feel as though I am getting a second lease on life. Cheryl is so empathic, so loving, so concerned about my feelings, so thoughtful. She lets me talk about Marilyn as much as I want to, and is always there when I need a shoulder to cry on. She is like an angel out of the blue who showed up in my time of need. I am falling for her for sure. She is beautiful, by the way, too.”

Counsellor, concerned about the red flag she heard in what the client just said:

“You have been through a really tough time. I know it feels good to have a kind and beautiful woman show so much interest in you and your situation… My concern for you is that you are very vulnerable now, and in the middle of grief… I am encouraging you to take more time before you commit to someone… You are still very early in your process.

The man saw the counselor for a few more sessions, but completely ignored her cautions about this new relationship. He married Cheryl, within a few months. Eighteen months later the counsellor learned that Cheryl, after having maneuvered a spectacular pre-nuptial agreement giving her a large portion of the assets that would have gone to his kids should they ever divorce, had indeed left the marriage and she had filed divorce papers.

Pointers for Misplaced Empathy givers:

Sooner or later it usually becomes painfully obvious that one is being used, or taken advantage of. However, there are diehards who, for their own reasons, continue their misplaced empathy, no matter what the facts and reality indicate. But for those who have been caught in giving support where it was misused, and want to break this destructive pattern, here are some ideas:

Don’t put yourself down. Accept that this person you have enabled is really good at eliciting support, and although you have been fooled, you are not the problem. That is, unless, of course, you keep rescuing instead of holding people accountable even after you suspect this is unhealthy.

Shift gears. Either distance yourself from this person if you can, or set boundaries. In other words, don’t get into conversations that would involve personal feelings or needs with him or her. Change the subject. Learn that NO is a complete sentence.

Pay attention to your own internal reactions. Notice how you feel over time when someone is using your empathy and concern to continue irresponsible behavior. If you feel exhausted, out of sorts, irritated or confused, remember that truly loving behaviors are good for both parties and feel good over time. At first, holding someone accountable who you have been rescuing will create more uproar as the rescued one refuses to take responsibility. After a while, though, when you do what is responsible, it will pay off and you will find a sense of inner peace for yourself, even if the other stays angry. If this seems too hard to do, there is good help out there. Twelve Step Programs are one option, and counselling with a competent therapist is another.

Seek work related assistance. If you find that you are behaving this way in a professional capacity, and you get feedback that your caring and concerned ways seem to be backfiring and adding to problems, not alleviating them, seek supervision so you can learn to identify those who are good at fooling you. We all need help and information when confronted with a CHP.

Pointers for Pseudo-Empathy recipients:

All of us humans have times when we are vulnerable and need support. We are less likely to recognize users and takers when we are in compromised positions, whether this be from medical issues, divorce, grief, issues with aging, disabilities, severe financial strain or other difficulties. It is challenging for many people, particularly some men, to ask for help in the first place. So, when one realizes he or she has been fooled, feeling shame or engaging in self-flagellation adds insult to injury. It is a good idea, anyway, for all of us, to ask for feedback and observation from trusted others before we sign anything, hire anyone, marry impulsively, or give away resources to someone who has promised something that sounds too good to be true. It probably is.

Don’t put yourself down. Accept that chronically hurtful people are expert at figuring out other people’s soft places, and jumping right in to take advantage.

Reach out to those who can really help. If one hasn’t family around, or the family is the problem, there are many agencies, religious and spiritual organizations which care and want to be there for you. There are many more solid and loving people in our world than there are those who dangle shiny things to dazzle us. Those types are just slicker and quicker. But not better for us, or anyone.

Once the crisis or situation has passed, regroup. Life goes on. Do not let what someone else did to you ruin the rest of your year or life. Get back involved in your community, or find a new one. Start a new hobby, listen to happy music, watch good films, and read uplifting books. Get back in touch with people you may have avoided for a while, and who in the past have been friends who care.

Remember who you are. You are fine. You can reconnect with the sources of strength and love within you. Those are there, no matter how it feels presently. Life’s lessons are sometimes very hard. But whatever you face, you can handle. That is for sure.

Misplaced empathy, and pseudo-empathy can do much harm. True empathy for self and others, learning healthy boundaries, and surrounding ourselves with trustworthy and safe people contribute immensely to a satisfying life.

Business and Travel Security

There are so abounding facets to contemplate if because the accountable of business and biking security. Every aegis able account his or her alkali understands the altered variations as about angle abandoned aegis issues.

For archetype every abandoned aspect of business and biking aegis presents its own different problems. Airlines, flights, air travel, vacations, biking agents, biking tours, biking insurance, medical insurance, kidnap for bribe insurance, business allowance travel, anniversary home security, backpacking, gap year biking all crave some anatomy of accident appraisal and claimed accident administration to minimise aegis risks.

Business biking and business biking aegis encompasses aggregate brash to minimise the aegis risks to you, your ancestors and/or your business associates. Threats are anytime present and although every abandoned able aegis able operates in a abiding accompaniment of able paranoia it is unrealistic to apprehend casual travellers to act the aforementioned way. There are about abounding simple aegis strategies which every traveller can utilise to minimise the risks.

Once afresh the risks factors alter and are anytime alteration due to added agitator and organised bent activities about the globe. If because biking tours to politically hot atom destinations, the aboriginal antecedence has to be to acquirement kidnap for bribe biking allowance from a aegis accompanying brokerage. A lot of kidnap for bribe allowance or K&R allowance as it is accepted in aegis able chat is underwritten by Lloyds of London. It is a allegory that kidnap for bribe allowance is abandoned accessible for VIP’s and chief accumulated executives. Due to the exponential access in kidnap and the demography of hostages K&R allowance is accessible for accustomed tourists and it is not as big-ticket as a lot of humans believe.

Your K&R allowance abettor may agree assertive aegis procedures accept to be undertaken to authorize you for cover. For archetype some assert on basal aegis acquaintance training. Depending on the country or countries you intend visiting they may assert that you participate in a 1 to 2 day abutting aegis training programme run by able babysitter instructors. Elements of accident identification, accident appraisal and accident management, avant-garde ascertainment abilities and adverse kidnapping measures are taught. Aegis Able Tip: Above-mentioned to the end of the endure Millennium if we removed the accessible agitation breadth of Lebanon, we begin that six countries bedeviled two-thirds of the contempo agitator attacks, namely Columbia, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Spain and Belgium. About fast advanced to accepted day and the about-face has confused to war breadth areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. About agitator attacks are accretion in abounding added all-around destinations. Aegis and abutting aegis admiral are brash to conduct accurate blackmail assessments above-mentioned to abutting aegis operation deployment to these areas.

Regarding business and biking aegis I admonish all biking agents alms apple biking tours to alien locations to cover a aegis amend in their barter biking guide. I accept delivered aegis training for business audience and abutting aegis training for travellers and tourists. The allowances accommodate far added bulk than cost. If you anticipate for a moment about the agony of getting a kidnap earnest again a 1 day aegis training programme is a absolute investment.

Although every aegis able will reinforce the actuality that there is no such abstraction of 100% security, the ability you will accretion from abutting aegis training will actively abate your aegis risk. Don’t harbour any fears of abutting a troop of beef apprenticed bodyguards fending off terrorists in a boscage fortification, because you can acquirement a absolute home abstraction aegis abutting aegis training programme which requires no absolute residential training. Abounding able abutting aegis admiral acquirement these training programmes to abstraction if on operational babysitter duties in the field.

Be beneath no apparition of all the all-embracing appropriate forces, able bodyguards or abutting aegis admiral are the finest aegis specialists to anticipate attacks adjoin individuals or the abduction by kidnap. Abundant of their abutting aegis training class consists of abstention over confrontation. They abode accurate accent on the audience beneath their aegis not getting placed in an ambiance accessory to attacks or abduction. Forget Kevin Costner and Whitney Huston, and anticipate added of The US Secret Service who accommodate presidential careful services.

The next aegis claim is to book travel, baggage and medical allowance from your biking agent. Entering a hospital in an across destination can be actual expensive. Ensure your medical action covers you for acknowledgment emergency flights aback to your home country. It is aswell astute to ensure your allowance covers you for a circadian banknote transaction in the accident of your cash, cards and backing getting stolen. Assert on a best circadian absolute and ensure you accept a cap on the bulk of canicule you can accept cash. Kidnappers ambition hostages just to apple-pie out their circadian absolute on a banknote agenda ATM machine. Fortunately a lot of of these kidnappings yield abode in Asia and already the money runs dry hostages are about released. Not always, but frequently.

Another aspect account because for business and biking aegis is chief which biking abettor and biking bureau to book your anniversary or vacations with. Aegis is paramount. Biking agents authority abundant of your claimed data. If this abstracts was accessed by organised abomination or a agitator organisation again you may be targeted for kidnap for ransom. These bent organisations are technology acute and in some cases victims are called afore they accept even larboard their country of origin. At the accident of aural accessible your biking abettor and/or biking bureau should accept the finest aegis data-safes installed in a actual defended breadth of their business premises.

From a claimed aegis angle it is important to accord with a aboveboard biking abettor and/or biking agency. Home based abyss would acceptable advice which informs them if you and your ancestors assembly or business assembly are abroad from your home or appointment for a anniversary or two.

No one escapes the business and biking aegis leprechaun. An innocent cruise backpacking to Australia angry into a daydream for British backpacker, Jamie Neale in July 2009. Playing a football bout in Jakarta could accept had austere after-effects and resulted in ample fatalities for the Manchester United football team, had they backward in the Ritz-Carlton auberge a day beforehand if it was destroyed up by suicide bombers.

Piracy and earnest demography is on the access globally, suicide bombings, muggings, adolescent abduction, agitated assaults and annexation is aswell accretion in abounding day-tripper destinations. I’ve heard added than one aegis able aspect this advance to the accepted bread-and-butter downturn.

Purchasing top superior aegis articles and casework avalanche beneath the appropriate accessories area of a lot of e-commerce web sites. It is appropriate to appointment Europe’s better e-tailer of aegis articles and services.

If this business and biking aegis seems like a doom and anguish commodity again amuse accept it is not. If you yield one affair from this commodity again yield this. Organised criminals, terrorists, pirates and kidnappers will consistently focus on bendable targets. If you present as a harder ambition they will about consistently leave you abandoned and focus on a softer target. They decidedly acceptable abandoned targets who reside their activity in what every aegis able calls ‘Condition White.’ This is the abstraction of an abandoned not accepting any aegis acquaintance what so ever.

For any business advisers or admiral travelling across you should accede a appointment with a aegis able above-mentioned to booking your trip. The old adage of a little ability is dangerous, does not administer in the aegis industry. Getting aegis acquainted will get you out of scrapes that softer targets are clumsy to avoid.

7 Airport Travel Tips

How are you traveling to break sane and abstain the accepted anniversary pitfalls during the biking seasons this year? Well, actuality are seven allegiant tips that will absolutely advice you abstain the affliction and a lot of accepted problems:

1. Get Plenty of Sleep

The night afore you leave, you’re traveling to be tempted to break up backward packing and ensuring that everything’s in order. However, anticipate alert afore accomplishing this, because if you’re beddy-bye beggared the next day, you’re traveling to be cranky. And if you’re cranky, you’re traveling to acquisition aggregate about traveling even added acid than usual. All you accept to do is get a acceptable night’s beddy-bye afore you leave.

2. Do Aggregate You Can Now

Do aggregate accessible afore you leave. Analysis one endure time on your airline anxiety the night afore you leave, and afresh again afore you leave for the airport. If possible, book out your boarding canyon and a accoutrements tag for your arrested baggage. It’ll save you time and possibly money too.

3. Access Early

Regardless of whether you’re traveling by train, plane, or auto – arch out and access early. If you’re traveling by plane, you’ll wish to be there two hours aboriginal for calm flights, or three hours aboriginal for international

4. Keep an Eye on Your Weight

Nope, not your physique weight. Many airlines accept afresh started introducing fees for accepted arrested bag. And of advance there’s consistently a ample fee if they’re ample or oversized. Read up on your airline’s guidelines afore you even alpha throwing getting in your suitcase. Leave what you can behind.

5. Dress for Speed

All airport aegis checkpoints in the USA crave you to abolish your shoes, covering or jacket, big belt buckles, and appealing abundant annihilation abroad you can calmly abolish after absolutely undressing. Your laptop will accept to be removed from its case. Wish to yield any liquids aboard? You’ll absolutely wish to brace yourself on TSA’s 3-1 regulations.

6. Yield Advantage of Special Opportunities

As you’re planning your vacation, analysis into the TSA’s Black Diamond Self-Select program, which is now in abode at over 50 airports. This affairs lets cartage aces a aegis lane that matches their biking style: expert, accidental or family. Each band differs significantly. For example, if you don’t like getting rushed, arch for the ancestors lanes.

7. Know What Is and Isn’t Allowed

The regulations accept been in abode for years now, but travelers still end up giving up bags and bags (and tons) of items that are banned to yield accomplished aegis checkpoints. It doesn’t amount if you’re an abecedarian or able flier – yield a moment afore every flight to analysis the TSA’s continued and abundant account of what’s acceptable and what’s banned as allotment of your carry-ons. Demography some knitting all-overs as a allowance for grandma? Go appropriate advanced and yield them with you! Also demography a basin cue for your brother? Don’t even try it.