I get reminded at every turn of my lack of affective empathy by neurotypicals that think that either they have the “high ground” or have a richer experience in life as a result of the affective empathy that they possess.  I’ve said many times that I feel my experiences are like that of the born blind.  You can describe what I’m missing all that you want, but that will never make it viable for me.  However, just because I have a void where others have matter, that does not mean that I pine for what I am missing.  I would rather live in a state of logic and full control than a state of automatic irrationality and emotional turbulence.  I will never feel via reciprocity that pain that others feel, but I do not waste my energy wishing that I could feel that automatic joy of being around the elated either.

I see only advantage regarding my lack of empathy.  Too many times have I seen others completely lose control when encountered with the unpleasant.  Their automatic, and visceral, reaction paralyzes them to the point that they are warbling, chaotic messes.  Even in less extreme states, the empathic are wasting energy that could be used for other means.  I am my focus.  I cannot fathom being my own enemy when it comes to my focus, my desires, and my goals.  Why on earth would I want to have a day ruined because of an emotional response over something that does not affect me in the least but would remain with me for a spell?  Why would I want to take an emotional painkiller if I have no need?

I understand that I am missing out on the happiness that those have when surrounded by other happiness.  I don’t need such, however.  I make my own happiness.  Rather than being dependent on feeding on the joy of others, I can plow forward with my own plans to achieve joy.  I am responsible for myself and myself alone and that is a wonderful feeling in and of itself.  I feel that such automatic and false happiness is not needed as it is merely a façade of the real thing.  I’d rather be focused on my own success than on such belonging to others.  The alternative is a drug of dependency and a crutch.

When I am reminded of what I am “missing” by empaths, I am quick to scowl.  I am not missing anything that I feel should be missed.  I live in a perpetual state of cold and ruthless logic and that allows me to focus on what is important: my own hopes and dreams.  Crying over the shattered lives of others does me no good.  Celebrating success that is not my own “creates” joy that cannot last.  Such is the nature of affective empathy in my eyes: it is a parasite of potential self-made satisfaction and reflection.



  1. Anonymous says

    I would rather live in a state of logic and full control than a state of automatic irrationality and emotional turbulence.

    I suppose emotions themselves are “irrational” in the way that getting hit by a bus is irrational. For neurotypicals, they are givens, much like aptitude in math or being born into a dysfunctional family. I object to being called “irrational” simply because I am working with a set of givens you don’t have (though perhaps I am misunderstanding you? Is a “state of automatic irrationality” the same as being irrational?). It is rational for me to make decisions that respect my feelings. It is irrational to make decisions that disregard my feelings. You partake of this as well when you “make your own happiness”. If others’ emotions impact my own, the calculation becomes more complex, but that fact doesn’t render me irrational.

    • Anathema says

      For me, having my state change due to the emotional state or distress of another seems irrational. For instance, people (who are in no way directly affected) are depressed and upset by the typhoon that hit the Philippines a week back. That simply does not compute for me. The “automatically irrationality” I was getting at hits on that automatic response of depression and other “negative” emotions that those with affective empathy feel regarding the plight of others. I believe it to be irrational even if it is a required condition of the neurotypical.

      The tradeoff, of course, is that I’ll never have that automatic joy by being surrounded with those that are joyful.

      I do not mean to imply that I am solely governed by logic – just overwhelmingly. My impulsivity, for instance, is irrational. Maybe we are just rational and irrational in different areas, no?

      I do appreciate comments like the above. I can only write from my point of view and I do try to understand the views and perspectives of others.

      • Anonymous says

        One time, in discussion with a friend, I was trying to reason through the impulsive behavior of a psychopath I knew. She cut me off, saying, “You keep trying to understand why he does what he does, but you can’t. He’s crazy.” But psychopaths are not crazy. They’re psychopaths. I think psychopathic behavior seems irrational to neurotypicals because we wouldn’t enjoy engaging in those behaviors. For example, I don’t enjoy sabotaging other people, so the decision to do so might, at first glance, seem irrational to me. An example of this – a man in our town (who seems to fit the description of a psychopath) is spending all of his money to gain custody of kids he doesn’t really care about in order to ruin his ex-wife’s life. This seems “crazy” to me. Clearly, for him, the satisfaction of hurting her outweighs the pleasure of spending his money in other ways.

        So this is a long-winded way of saying I agree with you. I think we seem irrational to one another because we have vastly different needs as people. The differences in our needs come from different emotional (for lack of a better word ) responses to situations.

        Thank you for a great post.

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