I Have Almost Zero Empathy So How Do I Relate To People?


I have almost zero empathy so how do I relate to people?
I believe I have BPD based on what I’ve researched. However, I have not been diagnosed as I believe I have learned to control it in some way, since I was very little.
To tell you about the real me, I have very little empathy for anyone. I have always been judging people I meet & around me, but I think this is well hidden since I am always well liked and thought of as witty & funny. To me, people are mostly puzzles
What kind of judgments do I make? Mainly analysis of their behaviour or appearance. Eg a fat person, I don’t really want to be around with for long as I think they spend a lot of their time with things that concern food (whether where to get it, how to prepare it, or the aftermath of having too much of it. Tiresome). Or if someone tells me about their problem, no time for a bit of reflective listening to soothe their emotions at least. I’m straight to the point of offering a solution thinking all the while of, ‘The solution is so obvious! There, now leave me alone.’  But since I think I come across as sympathetic, people still keep coming to me with their issues! As I’ve said, I’ve had a long experience of keeping my BPD (concentrated on sociopathy, I think) hidden from others.
However, this control has come at a cost, of distancing myself emotionally from others. Or is there anything there to begin with :-) ?
This is an issue for me now, as I am trying to establish a business. As any successful business person knows, a lot of that success comes from being able to see the market’s need/want. But how can anyone see this problem or absence of solution? Or would the better question be, how does anyone develop empathy?
Putting myself in their shoes doesn’t work. When I try that, if I can see the solution right away, I just do it, no fuss. If I don’t immediately see the solution, I leave it until an opportunity to solve it presents itself.
Maybe I didn’t explain myself well enough for a reader to see how much I want to solve this issue (as I’ve said, I have a problem with empathy ). However, if you think I need to elaborate on something for you to be to maybe point me to a direction to find a solution, let me know and I will try to reply quickly.
Thanks for reading
emphathyless emphathyless
46-50, F
3 Responses May 11, 2012

Hi guys, <br />
Thanks for your input.<br />
Asperger's people are supposed to have trouble with communication and social situations. While I usually don't like social situations, I am articulate and can make people feel comfortable, during the times when I care enough to do that. <br />
I am very good at reading a person's emotional state through cues like body language, tonality, choice of words, facial ex<x>pression, etc. I don't really think I'm a sociopath, as I do experience remorse. Otherwise, it would be quite easy to manipulate people, don't you think? I usually use this knowledge when I want people to leave me alone. <br />
But I don't like hurting people, specially those I deem weaker than me (eg those who have very low self esteem).<br />
Anyhow, sociopathy is out and Asperger's doesn't seem to fit neither. I hope some more insight can be given to me. <br />
Andywatches, when I was in a relationship, my partner used to think that my hearing was going since I seemed to be unaffected by the yelling. Then I got tested for this. To our surprise, my hearing was in normal range. That's when the relationship started going downhill.

Can relate with a lot of what you're describing. Wouldn't characterize it as sociopath behavior though since sociopaths just don't care about connecting with people. If you care, and you just can't figure out how to make the connection, that's an issue but it's not exactly being a sociopath. I have friends I worry about saying the wrong things to constantly because I have only the vaguest grasp of how they feel and how saying certain things influences their moods, but I do genuinely want to make them feel better / not feel worse. That can come from being a little Borderline, or maybe it's because of a lack of experience in social contexts, which I also ran into.<br />
<br />
Still, eafinct raises a good point. You might sit somewhere on the high functioning autism scale, including Asperger's, and you should follow that line of investigation just to be sure.

Thanks for sharing so honestly - however, this does not sound like BPD to me as BPD'ers are normally described as hyper-sensitive to other people's emotions. Instead, I would suggest that you may have a very mild version of some autism-spectrum disorder like Asberger's. Your desc<x>ription of your response to people's problems (see and offer the obvious solution) sounds like the sort of thing an engineer might do - thinking about problems in an analytical way instead of in an empathic way. It's also -- interestingly enough -- a typically male reaction (versus a typical female reaction). You might want to read up on austism spectrum disorders and discuss with your therapist. You seem to have a lot of self-knowledge and willingness to look at yourself ob<x>jectively so this can be easily dealt with as long as you understand yourself and others.