There’s a big difference between being sensitive and having empathy. In fact, empathy takes three primary forms that can be cultivated alone or together for empowering results.
So, how do you place yourself on the empathy spectrum? This quick empathy quiz will help you understand how developed this skill is in your life.
What Are the 3 Types of Empathy?
Before we dive into the empathy quiz, we should first cover what empathy is and the various forms it can take.
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of empathy:
1. Cognitive empathy
Cognitive empathy lets you understand people’s feelings better than most. But while you cognitively understand their emotions, you remain emotionally unaffected. This lets you maintain your clarity while still being able to relate to others.
2. Emotional (affective) empathy
On top of understanding what others around you feel, emotional empathy allows you to share those feelings on a personal level. You begin absorbing and sharing the feelings of others.
3. Compassionate empathy
Compassionate empathy is the most extreme form of empathy and can border on the hyper-empathy syndrome. Your emotional state becomes dependent on the well-being of others, and your mood can change so frequently that you often feel overwhelmed by the emotions of others.
How Do You Know If You Feel Empathy?
Most true empaths are well aware of their abilities, as empathy is practiced on a daily basis.
But how about more commonplace instances of empathy?
This short empathy quiz will highlight some of the situations where empathy shines. Answer the following questions to test your empathy:
- How do you behave during an argument? Empathetic people try to look at things from different perspectives. People who lack empathy can’t do this, which often results in unproductive and cyclical arguments.
- How well do you communicate with others? Empathic people are excellent communicators. They offer compassion and understanding without judging the behavior of others.
- How strong are your relationships? Empaths tend to develop very strong connections with people. Those who lack empathy often have shallow relationships.
- How do you manage your emotions? Most empaths are emotionally intelligent. They have no issues regulating their emotions and are great at introspection.
- How much of your emotions are actually yours? Understanding this isn’t hard. Just take a close look at how your mood changes while talking to others about their issues. See how you feel before and after talking to someone.
What Is an Empathy Disorder?
Empathy disorders can swing both ways. It is possible to have either too little or too much empathy.
Having too little empathy is also known as empathy deficit disorder (EDD). Having too much empathy is also called a hyper-empathy syndrome. Both can be destructive, for others and for yourself.
EDD can prevent you from having deep, meaningful relationships, since others sense the apathy and emotional disconnection and usually aren’t keen to open up to such individuals.
On the other hand, people with hyper-empathy syndrome feel too much. As much as this can be beneficial to others, it can have a negative effect on your own emotional state.
The good news is that both of these disorders can be adjusted. It does take hard work and time, but you can learn to manage your empathy in a way that benefits everyone – including yourself!
What is emotional detachment disorder?
Many people mistakenly believe that a lack of empathy is the same as emotional detachment disorder. The truth is that this is only one of the many symptoms of this disorder.
People with emotional detachment disorder suffer from complete emotional withdrawal. They’re unable to connect with others and tend to suppress and conceal their emotions.
This issue is more challenging to deal with than a simple lack of empathy. Still, therapy paired with lifestyle changes can ease many symptoms of emotional detachment disorder and recovery is possible under the guidance of mental health professionals.
Now that you know more about the three most common empathy types, you can find out more about your own level of empathy.
With the questions from the empathy quiz in mind, try to be mindful of how empathetic you are in everyday situations. This trait, if nurtured, can truly transform your life – but only if you know how to control it.