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Question
Posted by: Gillian | 2010/10/04

Confused

When ever my teenage daughte''s heart is broken or she is just sad, I seem to feel it with her. If she is happy I feel happy. It''s not a case of feeling sad for her I actually feel her pain. Why do I feel this way? She is my oldest child. Am I going to go through this with all my children?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

DO you really find this excessive empathy ( maybe based on excessive identification with her ) actually a useful response for a PARENT ? You don't HAVE to go through this with her or your other children. When she feels sad, your sadness is of no value for her - it could make her feel worse ( and could also, most unhelpfully, make her reluctant to tell you about how she feels ) and it certainly puts you in a much worse position to comfort her and help her to feel better. And in an emergency, you could be too bust "feeling her pain" to be as helpful as she needed.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/10/04

DO you really find this excessive empathy ( maybe based on excessive identification with her ) actually a useful response for a PARENT ? You don't HAVE to go through this with her or your other children. When she feels sad, your sadness is of no value for her - it could make her feel worse ( and could also, most unhelpfully, make her reluctant to tell you about how she feels ) and it certainly puts you in a much worse position to comfort her and help her to feel better. And in an emergency, you could be too bust "feeling her pain" to be as helpful as she needed.

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