I can finally agree I do not show empathy. I’ve always been told but I just tell them (people) I’m not emotional, hence, why I don’t show empathy as they would love me to. But recently, I’ve been paying close attention to myself and I discovered I lack empathy. Am I sick or something?
Is lack of empathy a sick mental state to watch out for?
Empathy is the ability to perceive the feelings of others and to put oneself in another’s shoes. Usually people, even those with personality disorders, can do that. What is really meant is not the ability to simply perceive the feelings of others, but to care about what they are perceiving, or care in some way which is not only in regards to how they themselves are impacted.
For example, consider those with narcissistic personality disorder. These are able to perceive the feelings of others, but won’t bother to do so unless they believe doing so will somehow benefit them, in which case they will. Hence they don’t lack empathy in the technical sense of the phrase, but they do in the sense the phrase is genuinely understood.
To conclude, if “lack of empathy” is taken to mean the lack of concerned empathy, this is not of itself a mental illness, but a very strong symptom of such, especially of the cluster personality disorders, either narcissistic personality disorder or one of the others.
Mental illness is a buzzword to scare people into expensive never ending therapy by professionals that are not always very helpful. What we are talking about are problems of character development, whether it is delusional thinking or depression, anxiety, lack of empathy. These are issues of character and thus are changeable over time, and in many cases require competent therapists. It’s called personal growth as an all encompassing goal.I suppose you could call strokes, dementia, birth issues mental since it affects the brain in ways that are not changeable by personal growth therapy.