I had a session with Dr E. He wanted to discuss the notion of empathy.
“How does discussing empathy make you feel?” he asked.
“Let’s talk about how it makes you feel eh doctor?” I replied promptly and flashed him a winning smile. He looked up at me and gave me a wan smile.
“Very good,” he answered.
“I thought so,” I replied and stretched. He waited as he deployed one of his characteristic pauses. The floor was mine.
“Some people suggest that people like me lack empathy,” I began, ” I do not accept that. I have plenty of empathy. Consider this ; I am highly skilled at understanding what people feel and think. How else am I able to achieve my own aims? If I do not know how they will react to certain behaviours they are of no use to me. By understanding how they feel then I can say the right thing, make correct gesture and thus I gain. I need to know how they will respond to what I do.”
“I see. But are you genuinely trying to understand how that person is feeling or are you just utilising it as a device to extract what you want from them?”
I sighed. I honestly think Dr E is so busy trying to come up with the next question he does not hear my answers.
“That’s just what I said. My skill at ascertaining and guiding what people feel is excellent. My exceptional awareness to the feelings of others is the catalyst for my delight in inflicting emotional agony. I do not need to lash out with my fists when my honed sensitivity allows me to cause the maximum damage without lifting a finger. You know how I love to conserve my energy. If I do not know what people are feeling, how can I manipulate them? I am full of empathy, I truly am, but it is directed only for my benefit and use. There is none left for anybody else.”
I let my words hang in the air. Another win for me I believe.