The definition of empathy is “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
Sounds simple right?
For the majority of the population, empathy comes quite naturally. It’s something we learn when we are young as we grow and become immersed in the world.
However, there is a condition called Empathy Deficit Disorder in which someone has a complete lack of empathy and doesn’t “feel” in the same way that we do.
EDD (Empathy Deficit Disorder) can exist solely on its own because a person simply does not feel or possess empathy.
However, it is very commonly associated with narcissists because they possess similar traits.
According to Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., a business psychologist, and the Director of the Center for Progressive Development in Washington, D.C.
“Empathy Deficit Disorder is a pervasive but overlooked condition. In fact, our increasingly polarized social and political culture of the past few years reveals that EDD is more severe than ever. It has profound consequences for the mental health of both individuals and society.”
What are the top signs of EDD?
Here are the top indicators that experts have studied and say you need to look out for if you have someone in your life that you suspect could be experiencing EDD.
Their beliefs are superior to ANYONE’S.
In most cases, if you don’t agree with them, they will treat you like you’re ignorant, stupid, or just naive to the way that the world works. They don’t understand why you don’t share their opinion and in most cases don’t even want to listen to your point of view. They will defend their ideas and beliefs with such vigor that you’ll find yourself often agreeing with them just to end the conversation.
They are quick to criticize the actions of a person.
Instead of taking a step back and wondering what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes, they will often belittle them. They lack the ability to empathize with someone else’s situation and emotions and don’t try as most people would. Overall, painful circumstances or emotions are often seen as a weakness or a burden.
They always put the blame back onto the other person.
It doesn’t matter if they were doing something wrong. Somehow, by the end of the conversation, YOU will be apologizing and wondering what the hell just happened even if they were clearly to blame. If things aren’t going well in their lives, it has nothing to do with their actions, and refuses to accept any kind of responsibility. They lack the insight to recognize their contribution to the issue that they are experiencing because nothing is their fault.
Conversations usually revolve around them.
They’re always talking about themselves. Even though they may allow other people in the group to talk, they’ll usually make the conversation about themselves by the end of it. This makes it very difficult to maintain a romantic relationship with someone with a low EQ as they often won’t ask how their partner is feeling or put their needs first.
They struggle to cope with any emotions.
Let’s say someone close to you dies. The normal response would be to offer sympathy and comfort as the loss of a loved one is never easy. Someone lacking empathy won’t know how to convey these emotions and could respond with logic. For example, they don’t know why you would be upset your Grandma died, after all, she was 102. Most people can recognize what is logic, but can also understand that there is pain and sorrow involved. Someone with EDD also tends to hide their own emotions which results in emotional outbursts which seem extreme and can be completely out of the blue.
Can people with EDD change or grow?
Although it’s not easy to change, people can work on self-development and self-introspection to improve their emotional intelligence. As with any of us, it is usually possible to make a change and grow if we are willing to put in the hard work and effort.
However, if this is in combination with Narcissism it will take a great deal of work to change because there has to be self-awareness of the issue as well as the DESIRE to change.
If you’re in a relationship with someone that possesses the traits mentioned above, take a step back and see how their behavior is affecting you.
It may be much more than you think, and if they aren’t willing to change or seek help, it won’t be an easy or healthy road for you.