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  1. #31
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    Things I've experienced myself that I feel others would need to have gone through to understand:
    - Divorce
    - Emotional abuse
    - Chronic pain condition/physical disability
    - Infertility/ivf
    - Feeling like you're not cut out to be a parent. After the baby arrives.
    - 6 months (and counting) of sleep deprivation
    - A job that is unrelenting and has no boundaries time-wise
    - seeing the unimaginable beauty of sub-Saharan Africa, my DHs beloved home and where my spirit lives

    Things I haven't experienced and can't even imagine what it would be like to go through:
    - terminal illness
    - losing a child/partner/parent
    - unemployment
    - racism
    - homophobia
    - having a child with special needs
    - miscarriage and stillbirth
    - poverty

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  3. #32
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    Migraines and headaches.
    Living with Asperger's Syndrome.

  4. #33
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    Being a mum and career focused and actually wanting to work. People can't believe that I love my job and am also a good mother!

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  6. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeeeesecake View Post
    I agree with Pp who said migraines.

    I didnt go though gender dissappointment, but I feel as though I understand someone who has, because I knew before kids that I would have really struggled if I didnt get to have a girl. I would have been devastated. So even though I never experienced it, I feel as though I can try to put myself in the shoes of someone who can.

    I think I am a pretty empathetic person, but I feel like some things are easier to understand than others. @siansmum, I have two asthmatic children who have had some serious attacks, & I read your story on here & think of you often. I could never understand or imagine what it was like to lose your beautiful little girl xx 💗
    Thank you Cheeeeescake. Keep those precious children of yours safe💕

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  8. #35
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    I don't know. I don't think there's really anything, because everyone's experiences are different. I certainly don't think that having experienced something makes you automatically more empathetic to others around you who have been in the same situation. Eg- my BFF who doesn't have kids, doesn't spend any time around kids and never wants her own is by far the person who 'gets' my life. There are plenty of people who have had kids who are far less understanding bc they don't share my exact experience and just aren't terribly empathetic. You could use the same argument for just about anything. A single mum with an amicable relationship and 50/50 care with the ex vs a bio dad who has never been in the picture. One woman who has miscarried who wasn't terribly affected by it vs one who was very much so. Someone who kicked an addiction fairly easily vs someone who has never managed to do so. Everyone's experiences are different and everyone's reactions and feelings are different.
    I don't know, I don't like the mentality of 'you could never understand' being thrown out just because someone doesn't have personal experience. Surely how empathetic that person is is more important?

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  10. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by FearlessLeader View Post
    I don't know. I don't think there's really anything, because everyone's experiences are different. I certainly don't think that having experienced something makes you automatically more empathetic to others around you who have been in the same situation. Eg- my BFF who doesn't have kids, doesn't spend any time around kids and never wants her own is by far the person who 'gets' my life. There are plenty of people who have had kids who are far less understanding bc they don't share my exact experience and just aren't terribly empathetic. You could use the same argument for just about anything. A single mum with an amicable relationship and 50/50 care with the ex vs a bio dad who has never been in the picture. One woman who has miscarried who wasn't terribly affected by it vs one who was very much so. Someone who kicked an addiction fairly easily vs someone who has never managed to do so. Everyone's experiences are different and everyone's reactions and feelings are different.
    I don't know, I don't like the mentality of 'you could never understand' being thrown out just because someone doesn't have personal experience. Surely how empathetic that person is is more important?
    Thank you. I've been trying to put down my thoughts on this all afternoon but you've summed in it up perfectly. As a further example I've found other female partners in law firms to be some of the harshest people up and coming female lawyers ever have to deal with.

    Experience doesn't always lead to empathy.

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    I get what you mean FL and Sonja but I thought the OP was about understanding rather than empathy? I mean I can have empathy coming out of my bottom but still no true understanding for many of what other hubbers have mentioned.
    I know that every person and their experience is different but for example, if I know someone has been on dialysis or had a transplant or a prem bub or lived in the bush, I have some understanding (I also have empathy but I have understanding as well).
    Probably not making sense!

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  14. #38
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    Empathy means an ability to understand. So they are really the same thing (in my opinion anyway)

    I understand what you are getting at. I've lost a sibling to suicide and a lot of people show empathy. But if I meet someone who has had the same experience well, it's less exhausting as I don't have to explain anything. They just get it.

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    Default What do you need to experience to truly understand?

    @FearlessLeader you summed up what I was feeling but I couldn't find the words to write.

    I've been through a lot and sometimes I think it makes me harder and colder towards things because of what I've been through. I can appreciate what people are going through but I can't necessarily empathise, my perspective towards things have been changed forever. It doesn't mean I don't care but to protect myself I can't always say and do what people want me to do in certain situations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonja View Post
    Empathy means an ability to understand. So they are really the same thing (in my opinion anyway)

    I understand what you are getting at. I've lost a sibling to suicide and a lot of people show empathy. But if I meet someone who has had the same experience well, it's less exhausting as I don't have to explain anything. They just get it.
    Yeah, I guess the idea of empathy/understanding/getting it is very blurred and very subjective.
    I think that for me I can have empathy for Syrian refugees (for example) but I could never get what they've gone through.
    I think that was the point of the OP but I don't know - I'm fatigued!
    Last edited by misskittyfantastico; 16-01-2016 at 22:46.

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