I think think there are subtle difference between empathy and understanding. Definitely there is no substitute to going through a similar experience. That doesn't mean that such a person will give you comfort or understanding.
no one who goes through anything is going to have exactly the same experience, so even having 'the same' experience as someone else isn't going to be exactly 'the same'. I don't know that tallying up experience is particularly helpful or useful, if that makes sense?
No two Syrian refugees will have the same experience. There are certainly some that will feel they are more deserving of resettlement than others (rightly or wrongly so)
I know Vietnamese refugees who came here by boat who think we should stop the boats. I know plenty of comfortable white Australians who have more empathy for boat people than people who have personally arrived here by boat themselves.
I know on this forum there are sections for people who are like minded or going through specific challenges/ages and that's valid and useful - of course no two people will have the same personal experience with the same thing but I know for me, there is a link - not between all, but between some. That one person saying "I know how you feel" sometimes just gets you through.
I totally agree with what you are saying FL. As an example... I have a friend who has lost 2 sons in the space of 12 months to suicide. I empathise with her, but I can not understand what she and her family have gone through, whereas another mother who has been through it can to a certain extent. Does that makes sense?
Eta- I think one can have empathy but not really have an understanding, but on the flip side one can have an understanding but have little to no empathy.
Last edited by SheWarrior; 16-01-2016 at 23:00.
Going to bed! 😘😊
Last edited by misskittyfantastico; 16-01-2016 at 22:52.
That's what I think can be different and not necessarily related to the experience. I think there's definitely room for both, and I don't think it's a good idea to negate either. There's space for the person who had lived that to help you through, and also space for the person who has known you intimately for many years and empathizes with you to help you through. Both are equally important.
I think there is a huge difference between empathy and truly understanding. Empathy and broad understanding sure I can see that. But truly deeply understanding the day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute battle in so much more.
I think it just part of life that we can't truly understand somethings unless you been through it. Even when you been through a similar circumstance you can't completely understand. Yes you have a better understanding than your average Joe but it's not the same. There is a reason why we when we go through something horrible we seek out support groups of people that have gone through very similar circumstances.
No matter how much empathy I have for my brother and sister in law, I will never know what it is like to be told that your full term baby no longer has a heart beat and that you will have to deliver your dead baby. Sorry to be blunt.
The thing that got my sister in law through was pregnancy loss Australia meetings where other people have been through the same thing. Just like misskitty said. It helps. And now my sister in law volunteers for them to help others in the same situation. She's got another baby now and is happy. It helps others just seeing her knowing that eventually they will be out of that dark place.
ETA - during this time and as time went on, my sister in law said I was the only one who kept on texting every week or so and by 6 months after, everybody else had forgotten her. She really appreciated me just texting and asking how she was, but I still will never know what it was like for her to hold her baby and just wish that he would cry. I will never know what it's like to leave hospital with all the physical scars of birth (she had to have surgery after) and no baby. Ever. And I certainly wouldn't know what the mental pain felt like.
Last edited by BigRedV; 17-01-2016 at 05:46.
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