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Emotional Detachment?

JamesR

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I don't feel any sorrow or sympathy for anyone. The Colorado movie theater shooting? Doesn't emotionally affect me at all whatsoever. 9/11? Really doesn't bother me at all, to the extent that it even bothers me when I hear people still going on about how tragic it was. Haiti and Japan floods and earthquakes? They don't really make me feel sad or anything. In fact, if one of my closest friends or family members were to die right now, I probably wouldn't really feel anything about; just go on like normal. Is this bad? That is not to say that I see their suffering as okay or don't care about any of these people; I still do realize that these events are tragic and I would work and fight so that these people recover. But, despite all that, it has no emotional affect on me; I just try to help them because I understand that it is morally right. Is this bad?
 

yeshuaisiam

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JamesR said:
I don't feel any sorrow or sympathy for anyone. The Colorado movie theater shooting? Doesn't emotionally affect me at all whatsoever. 9/11? Really doesn't bother me at all, to the extent that it even bothers me when I hear people still going on about how tragic it was. Haiti and Japan floods and earthquakes? They don't really make me feel sad or anything. In fact, if one of my closest friends or family members were to die right now, I probably wouldn't really feel anything about; just go on like normal. Is this bad? That is not to say that I see their suffering as okay or don't care about any of these people; I still do realize that these events are tragic and I would work and fight so that these people recover. But, despite all that, it has no emotional affect on me; I just try to help them because I understand that it is morally right. Is this bad?
Yes this is bad.  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the shortest verse in the bible "wept" for his friend Lazarus, and for all those whom he loved sadness. 

Is there anything in your life desensitizing you by any chance to the feeling of empathy or the care & feeling for others?  Some would say excessive violent movies can cause this, pornography usage can cause this, excessive violent video games can cause this.  Even an upbringing where you were not shown empathy could cause this....

But in any case, you should really try to feel love and compassion for others.  Think of how it would feel for your mother & father to be shot up in that theater, and the news came to you...  Or if one of your siblings (if you have any?) were to be shot and killed by a man going crazy. 

It helps to put yourself in other people's shoes.
 

Asteriktos

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I used to feel the same way. Fwiw, it got better with time, though it took a couple deaths of loved ones. I don't really know any answer to changing it other than waiting, and trying to keep doing what you're doing, and wait for things to drop in place.
 

JamesR

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yeshuaisiam said:
...Is there anything in your life desensitizing you by any chance to the feeling of empathy or the care & feeling for others?
Well the first thing that comes to mind is my mother. I've noticed that whenever I feel sad or try to go to her for advice or comfort she usually just says that I'm being selfish or that I always feel sorry for myself. This sorta leads me to keep everything a secret and just hide my emotions from the world.

...Think of how it would feel for your mother & father to be shot up in that theater, and the news came to you...  Or if one of your siblings (if you have any?) were to be shot and killed by a man going crazy.   
That's the problem. I don't think it would affect me emotionally at all. Sure I'd feel bad for them and I do love them, but for the most part I imagine I would feel just fine and go on like normal.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Might you have a slight case of Aspergers?

I've heard people with Aspergers, function absolutely normal, however, often lack empathy.

Do you have close friends?  Do you find it easy to talk with people or hard?
 

orthonorm

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Or JamesR you have obtained the miracle of leaving the moralistic ideological landscape of the pathetic middle class and have entered the world of radical revolutionary ethics.

Or what everyone said above along with many other explanations, including bizarre teachings by odd Orthodox about sadness being a sinful passion.

I hope it is the former.
 

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orthonorm said:
Or JamesR you have obtained the miracle curse of leaving the moralistic ideological landscape of the pathetic middle class and have entered the amoral narcissistic world of radical revolutionary ethics.

Or what everyone said above along with many other explanations, including bizarre teachings by odd Orthodox about sadness being a sinful passion.

I hope it is the former.
Fixed it for you.  ;D
 

JamesR

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orthonorm said:
Or JamesR you have obtained the miracle of leaving the moralistic ideological landscape of the pathetic middle class and have entered the world of radical revolutionary ethics.
Could be...you lecture about the evils of capitalism really had an affect on me and made me an even stronger Marxist. Did you read that essay I sent you?
 

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Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

JamesR said:
I don't feel any sorrow or sympathy for anyone. The Colorado movie theater shooting? Doesn't emotionally affect me at all whatsoever. 9/11? Really doesn't bother me at all, to the extent that it even bothers me when I hear people still going on about how tragic it was. Haiti and Japan floods and earthquakes? They don't really make me feel sad or anything. In fact, if one of my closest friends or family members were to die right now, I probably wouldn't really feel anything about; just go on like normal. Is this bad? That is not to say that I see their suffering as okay or don't care about any of these people; I still do realize that these events are tragic and I would work and fight so that these people recover. But, despite all that, it has no emotional affect on me; I just try to help them because I understand that it is morally right. Is this bad?
You are just young and indestructible right now, trust this, grief and even fear will hit you like a wall one day out of nowhere and you will suddenly empathize with every reactionary old person you ever knew  :-X

stay blessed,
habte selassie
 

Achronos

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JamesR said:
orthonorm said:
Or JamesR you have obtained the miracle of leaving the moralistic ideological landscape of the pathetic middle class and have entered the world of radical revolutionary ethics.
Could be...you lecture about the evils of capitalism really had an affect on me and made me an even stronger Marxist. Did you read that essay I sent you?
Oh good grief. Communism doesn't work, and it hasn't worked as it has been proven over the centuries.

Communism is not the answer to the ills of Captialism.

Impressionable youth and all that.

EDIT: I predict in a few years you will be a militant atheist. Something I've had in my head for awhile now.
 

Hiwot

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my dear James,  ;D

There is a difference between not being able to feel empathy because you simply can not, and the conditioned response of repressing emotion so deep that one is convinced that one is not even feeling it. I love reading what you write, your questions and very intelligent comments, but most of all I love how you care about those around you, how honest you are in your love for your mother and father, it permeates your conversation in here. you are a warm hearted very sensitive( in a good evolved man way  ;) ) to the needs and feelings of others. now like you said, you might have been conditioned into suppressing your emotions by those whose opinion matters to you. that only proves that you are a sensitive emotionally engaged young man, not a cold insensitive one as you might have thought of yourself. what has been stunted from growing and being expressed can be allowed to thrive once more once you realize as you do that there is a conditioning that made allowing yourself to recognize that you feel emotions difficult for you.

on the other hand, there is a practical detachment that one must have in certain emotionally wrenching situations, such as what a first responder such as  EMT must have in the face of horrifying human tragedies and pain. that detachment is also learnt, to be able to practically help those in need and also survive the trauma of dealing with those sides of human tragedy without losing ones mind. without letting evil enter you with its hopelessness, so they must learn to be stoic in the face of unbelievable suffering. because your mind can only take so much of the sadness, or emotional strain. they must shield themselves up to a point, without totally becoming like a robot, rather without becoming too involved with the grief.

the James I see in your brutally honest posts,is a very emotionally intelligent person, emotional intelligence that will continue to mature as you increase in years. so do not be too hard on yourself.the fact you realize that there is a certain detachment in you itself indicates the level of maturity you are achieving given your age and the focus of the average teenage psyche.  :angel:


with love in Christ,
Hiwot.
 

dzheremi

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I try not to pull this card out in "public" if I can help it, but I lost my mother to cancer when I was about two years younger than you are, James. Trust me when I tell you that you will feel sorrow eventually. It has very little to do with how you feel about events in Japan or Colorado or other things that it is understandable to feel at least some distance from (since they are in fact distant from you, in a geographic sense; see the proximal variations on the Milgram Experiment, 1974, for more on this). I agree with Habte. This is a symptom of being young and indestructible, but of course you are not indestructible (you no doubt know this intellectually already; you're a smart guy). Also, all this "doesn't affect me" business...that'll change, too, thanks be to God. No man is an island, and certainly no young man is an island. The Fathers teach us that our lives are with our brothers. If you're not feeling it yet, pray that you have a long enough life that you will gain this perspective. Not everybody does. Just wait until someone very close to you who is your own age dies. That's really sad. If  you're still standing after that, wow...my hat's off to you.
 

LizaSymonenko

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James,

Have you ever mentioned this to a doctor?

Maybe, you just need to talk to someone.  Find out what's at the root of this.

I wish you well.
 

IoanC

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What about stuff happening to you? Would you feel emotion then? If, yes, then you'd have a problem with selfishness, I guess. Personally, my own pain has affected me, and it's easier to feel sorrow when others are not doing well because I know what they're going through, but it really should come naturally (with God's help), we should genuinely feel happiness or sorrow; otherwise, it's a spiritual illness that the fallen world has.
 

Shanghaiski

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JamesR said:
I don't feel any sorrow or sympathy for anyone. The Colorado movie theater shooting? Doesn't emotionally affect me at all whatsoever. 9/11? Really doesn't bother me at all, to the extent that it even bothers me when I hear people still going on about how tragic it was. Haiti and Japan floods and earthquakes? They don't really make me feel sad or anything. In fact, if one of my closest friends or family members were to die right now, I probably wouldn't really feel anything about; just go on like normal. Is this bad? That is not to say that I see their suffering as okay or don't care about any of these people; I still do realize that these events are tragic and I would work and fight so that these people recover. But, despite all that, it has no emotional affect on me; I just try to help them because I understand that it is morally right. Is this bad?
From what I've read, the Fathers don't see emotional response as something desired. Emotion has a carnality to it. If you experienced an emotional response while watching the news, you'd be depressed and weeping for days.

The compassion of a merciful heart appears, to me, to be different in substance and more refined and relating to action.

As for the death of close ones, everyone grieves in his own way. It may not feel real at first and then, later, when you want to speak to the person and cannot, there is a greater sense of loss.

Our modern culture is fixated on emotion, it seems. I don't think it's a very healthy fixation sometimes.
 

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JamesR said:
I don't feel any sorrow or sympathy for anyone. The Colorado movie theater shooting? Doesn't emotionally affect me at all whatsoever. 9/11? Really doesn't bother me at all, to the extent that it even bothers me when I hear people still going on about how tragic it was. Haiti and Japan floods and earthquakes? They don't really make me feel sad or anything. In fact, if one of my closest friends or family members were to die right now, I probably wouldn't really feel anything about; just go on like normal. Is this bad? That is not to say that I see their suffering as okay or don't care about any of these people; I still do realize that these events are tragic and I would work and fight so that these people recover. But, despite all that, it has no emotional affect on me; I just try to help them because I understand that it is morally right. Is this bad?
I'm about the same way as far as the emotional detachment goes.
 

yeshuaisiam

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Anybody feeling this way should go spend a couple of weeks at a monastery.  See if you feel homesick.  I wonder if some are too spoiled by distraction.
 

Carefree T

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I've felt the same as the OP my whole life, and pondered the same question(s) once I converted.

About the shooting specifically, I feel terribly sorry for the victims and pray for they and their families, but there isn't an emotional aspect. My girlfriend explains to me that she had a strong and grave reaction to the Columbine shootings, even though she knew nobody involved in it, and had some sort of "flashback" to those desperate emotions and tearful, sobbing empathy for those involved. She is not even Christian at this point, and she had a deep and heartfelt response to a tragedy she had absolutely no connection to that I've never had, and I've had the same questions as the OP about this kind of problem, and I do consider it a problem. Like many of the posters in this thread, I blame prolific violence in entertainment and pornography (both in public entertainment and otherwise), but I worry a lot about it. I find myself extremely objective in a negative sense about events like these. I feel no particular emotional response about the terrorist attacks in 2001, no particular emotional response about the Columbine High School shootings, no particular emotional response about the Aurora theater shooting (both of these happened near me)...empathy of course, in that I feel terrible for the people and families involved, but it isn't an emotional reaction. It's rational - of course everyone remotely involved will be devastated, but I just feel a rational connection in that I pray for them and "feel bad" for them in the polite sense, but not anything like my girlfriend who feels a deep and direct connection with those people and actually weeps about them. Why don't I feel that? I want to just weep for the victims, but it wouldn't be genuine. I've had enough "Christians" berate me already for calling for the "alleged shooter"s salvation from the death penalty (I feel it would artificially sever his chance to repent and violate the "Judgement is God's alone" thing, let alone all the quotes of Christ about forgiving others and judging not - I don't know what factors of our fallen world contributed to his decision, but they must have been deep and I forgive him personally and can not place judgement on whatever factors those may have been; God may see differently than I, (as is His right to). But I haven't had any emotional response to these kinds of things.
 
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