ARTICLE: Fear of Empathy — Communication Dojo – Newt Bailey

Picture this… You’re talking with someone, things are tense, the other person starts saying things about you that you don’t agree with, perhaps things that bring up pain, defensiveness, or anger.

Perhaps you’ve attended the Communication Dojo, or learned about empathy and other communication skills elsewhere, so theoretically you know that really hearing the other person right now, listening to them with empathy for what they’re experiencing, would probably improve the situation.

But…there’s a stronger momentum in you to interrupt, to fight back, to shout “That’s not true!”

Part of what’s happening here is that YOU want to be heard, before you can hear the other person, but there’s often something else happening.

I refer to this as “fear of empathy,”
in this case “fear of giving empathy
to the other person.”