Online Empathy

I mentioned this before, but I lack empathy. In order for me to feel empathy, I need to form a real personal connection. It helps when I can look into the other person’s eyes, see their pupils, Google them, see who their spouse is, watch an interview of them on YouTube, and see how they interact with other people in real life. I like being able to tell when people are lying and telling the truth – being able to see what their tells are. It helps when I know not only who someone is, but who their spouse is and how they relate to their spouse, as this tells me more about who they are as a person. Without a human connection, I have VERY little empathy. An atomic bomb on Manhattan would make me snivel, and then I would get a sandwich. Or at least that’s how I imagine I would react.

The problem with websites like https://stackoverflow.com/ is that there isn’t really a way for me to personally connect with other people. I can’t see their facial expressions, Google them, or scroll through their photos. It’s not like Facebook or YouTube. I’m a total dick online, and I don’t even realize it because I don’t have the empathy with total strangers necessary to feel bad. I honestly don’t even realize that I’m doing it.

Also, I think a lot of people don’t realize that I have an incurable mental health problem. Medications are ineffective, so I resort to non-medication based methods. Most of the time I kind of cover it, hide it, or correct for my it, but not all the time. Pretending not to be “crazy” takes a lot of effort. If you are in a jail cell, you can be literally crazy and there is nothing that anybody can do and there are no repercussions, but out in society there is an expectation of normalcy or conformance, and there are social repercussions. Getting myself to be “normal” (or “not crazy”) frequently requires intentional, deliberate effort on my part, and I have to choose to make that effort.

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