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Thread: Compassion

  1. Eye
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    #1

    Confused Compassion

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    I'm trying to wrap my head around this.

    My husband and I had a "discussion" last night about the FILs wife. I told him that I need her to know that her behavior is unacceptable to us. He disagrees with me saying anything. I just don't get it. But he explained to me that this woman has no compassion at all. She doesn't understand true love and compassion. She was raised by parents who gave their kids no compassion and now none of them have any either. As well as her own kids. They are a little better than the wife, but not too much more. Lets just say they are a very weird family. Weird in the sense that I've never met a group of people or family that is so self-absorbed and non-caring.

    He is correct saying this. I met her mother before she passed away and we have had Thanksgiving with her brothers and sisters for years now. They are all a lot alike.

    Do you think that there is a switch in people that is just never turned on? Is compassion a learned behavior or something in the brain that someone either has or doesn't.

    Do you think the fact that she has no compassion makes it ok the way she treats people? I really can't comprehend this. I told him, ok fine, I get it, but how many times do you let her do it/get away with it? When is enough, enough? I know what the bible says about turning the other cheek.

    Thoughts?
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    #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Eye View Post
    Do you think that there is a switch in people that is just never turned on? Is compassion a learned behavior or something in the brain that someone either has or doesn't.

    Do you think the fact that she has no compassion makes it ok the way she treats people? I really can't comprehend this. I told him, ok fine, I get it, but how many times do you let her do it/get away with it? When is enough, enough? I know what the bible says about turning the other cheek.

    Thoughts?
    I believe compassion is both natural and learned. I believe we're born to be compassionate, but other factors such as environment can play a major factor in how compassionate one remains. If compassionate behavior is not encouraged, that could explain why your FIL's wife behaves the way she does.

    I don't believe that excuses her behavior since she is an adult and she should know right from wrong. Lack of compassion for others shouldn't be a crutch for her to behave poorly.

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    #3
    At some point in life, we all have to move past our parents' mistakes and learn to be reasonable human beings. I think compassion is both natural and learned, but not only from a person's parents. Obviously, there are circumstances and living situations that affect people's minds more than others, and we don't know anyone's situations or motivations but our own, but the world we live in- awful as it may sometimes seem- does afford many opportunities to witness, learn and express human compassion.
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    #4
    I believe that most people are born compassionate and some aren't. It's what intrigues me about psychopaths, serial killers, etc. The majority of the time they don't know how to be compassionate. That part of their brain shows little to no activity. I want to say that it can be taught to an extent, but I'm not sure. I've personally never known anyone that didn't show compassion. Also, I agree with other posters who said that she shouldn't use it as an excuse to treat people the way she does. If her behavior is directly affecting you or your family I would most definitely say something (in the nicest way possible). Your husband reminds me of mine. He hates confrontation and would much rather keep things to himself than stir anything up, even when it needs to be.

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    #5
    I think compassion is just a part of personality and it varies with each unique individual, and people can become more or less compassionate depending on where their interests lie and the experiences that they have. Some of it is learned, but not just through parents. I don't really see that as an excuse for her behavior.
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    #6
    I agree.
    Compassion is both learned and natural. Lack of it is not an excuse to shitty ass behavior. Knowing someone lacks compassion can help in how you handle situations or deal with them, such as your sMIL. Knowing she has little compassion and seemingly no empathy you can work towards understanding her behavior and actions. Doesn't excuse her behavior, but you cannot change her behavior. So, learning how to deal or be around a non-compassionate person can help. The end result may be to just ignore.

    Sadly, I have been around many non-compassion and non-empathetic people. Its draining and stressful. When its family it makes it more complicated.

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    #7
    Whether people are born with compassion or whether it's learned is still among some of the great debates in psychology. I think we're all born with compassion but our environment (how we're raised) plays heavily into how we use compassion in life. But I don't think it's something you can teach an adult necessarily. She would have to learn it herself. However, having compassion for others doesn't have a lot to do with how people treat others, IMO. Compassionless people should still know how to behave as a descent human being.
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    #8
    How compassionate a person is, as with almost everything, is influenced by one's own genetics (nature) and the environment they are raised in (nurture). There are SO many different factors that can contribute to how compassionate a person may or may not be....how compassionate the parents were, how compassionate other role models in their life were, whether they were taught explicitly what compassion is and why it is a valuable trait to have, etc. etc...And of course how the person personally interprets these lessons and role models. I think it's really a case-by-case basis on this sort of thing...no one factor that influences everybody the same exact way.

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