Why is empathy so difficult for people to learn?

Published on September 11, 2018

Empathy allows the angry individual to see the limits of one's control over others and objects (such as computer games) and introduces the concept of cooperation as a viable strategy to improve feelings of control. In other words, the value in empathy is creating an egocentric to worldview shift that is self-reinforcing because the member can experience how this type of thinking and response can get their egocentric needs met and at the same time be pro-social.

Conversely, angry people may think that they listen but they may not listen with real understanding. That is why angry people are not able to empathize. Their prefrontal cortex (PFC) volume has reduced. They are unable to feel for people or inability to walk in somebody shoes as they are overwhelmed by their own uncontrolled anger emotions. They are not able to think or evaluate the anger situations accurately. Their appraisal on the anger-provoking situation is often affected by their own negative automatic thoughts (thinking errors) or Beck (1995) called it cognitive distortions. As a result, when a person is angry, they may feel hatred, unsafe, fear, threaten, defensive, injustice, insulted etc.

In brief, angry people are seeing the world from an egocentric perspective and others more as objects that need to be controlled. For example, "road rage." Angry people are feeling out of control of something and only if others would do what one wishes, or wants, then everything would be okay and there would be no reason to be angry.                           

~ by Dr Alice Lee, PhD                           




Category(s):Anger Management

Written by:

Dr Alice Lee, PhD

Dr Alice Lee (PhD) a professionally trained counsellor. She is also a Certified Anger Management Treatment Professional conferred by the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP), has many years of rich experience in the educational and counselling field, specializing in individual, couple/group counselling, intervention for anger management and social phobia based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach.

She started Life Station Professional Counselling where she provides individual, couple and group counselling services. Life Station brings hope to individuals, couples and families who need help and emotional support. The understanding of You Are Not Alone, Genuineness, Openness, Sincerity, Empathy is the focus in all the sessions. Your needs are my main concern. Each counselling session is highly confidential. Dr Alice believes that all her clients deserve the highest level of service, and she is committed to walking through the journey with you. Besides, she had conducted various training workshops and talks related to educational, personal development, anger management, stress management, parenting teens, time management, effective learning strategies, and premarital issues.

Dr Alice Lee, PhD belongs to Life Station Professional Counselling in Singapore

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