Empathy vs. Blame – Family & Relationship Issues

Research shows that, to the extent to which we believe that someone is responsible for their problems, there is lots of blame and little empathy. The reverse is also true.

So, for example, if we believe that addiction is a choice that then, there is little sympathy for that individual. In other words, the addict is to blame for his dilemma.

This is an important discussion because the ability to have compassion and to empathize with others is the basis of love, marriage and parenthood. Empathy allows parents to care about their children and want to provide a safe and nurturing environment for them to grow up in. Empathy motivates us to care for the sick and elderly and to look in on neighbors if they are having a crisis. It enables us to comfort and care for a crying baby.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD