posted on Oct, 18 2011 @ 03:37 PM
A possible link between Tourettes and empathy is an interesting angle I've never heard before. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this!
There may be more to it, in the case of Tourettes, because the emotions one is experiencing (be they self originating or originating from another) are
processed and expressed differently from one person to another. A person may feel the same level of stimulation, and not express it with any ticks,
movements, verbalizations at all. Some may express it verbally or physically, in ways which are more or less socially acceptable or considered
I am highly empathic myself, and it seems possible that could be linked to being a Highly Sensitive Person, first coined by Jung, I believe, then more
recently found to be a genetic trait which exists in 15 to 20% of the population (in humans AND in animals!). It is linked to a particular way the
nervous system works in such people, that makes them more reactive to outside stimuli physiologically (and even having skin that is more porous than
those without this trait).
This is why they are "highly sensitive", and I have come to think that it might be not anything of a magical nature, like some sort of undiscovered
"energy" that comes off of us, but rather sensual input that is often underneath the radar of our conscious awareness. Like sounds have wavelengths
that effect us, but we can't consciously hear them, or smells affect our body without being aware we are smelling them?
I can be standing in a checkout line in the store and suddenly start feeling the inner effects of anger, for example and yet have nothing in the world
I am angry about! If I do that self analyzation and find no source, I can turn around and find the person behind me with a steaming angry face on and
guess- I picked it up from them. They have something else going on.
But they didn't say anything and I hadn't seen them..... so how could I have picked that up?
It was in working with horses that the possible solution to that occured to me. Horses are extremely sensitive too. (probably as most animals are, but
my particular experience has been more in depth with them). They change their behavior and reactions in reflection of those they are near. I found
that you cannot fake that you are calm when you are not, or pretend to be happy, confident, or clearminded when you are not. The horse knows and will
act it out for you and react to it, despite your attempts to behavior differently.
The reason is that their bodies react to the subtle signals of changes in physiology or biology. The smell of adrenaline floats in the air when your
body produces it and their body produces adrenaline in response immediately. This developed because they are prey animals and this way their body can
ready itself to flee or fight when an unseen predator is crouching nearby stimulated by the intent to chase and kill.
It's a useful survival mechanism!
In the example of my grocery store anger contagion, my body may have picked up the smell of specific hormones, or the vibration of a faster heartbeat
or sound of blood pressure, and adapted accordingly. Mirror neurons may be coming into play....before I have even registered consciously any signs of
the emotions in the other (and even perhaps, before THEY were conscious of what was happening in their body!)
My "hobby" then became learning to master this ability (curse, trait, gift, whatever value you wish to put upon it).
I have my own whole hypothesis and exercises I have worked out for myself on this. But keeping yourself aware of your own play into this intermingling
of emotions is important too- remember that some emotions do source with you, stimulated and produced by your perceptions and thoughts, and that
others may be influenced by them as well.
-I just add this because there is always the risk, with the awareness of this ability, to then always assume all your emotions are coming from someone
or somewhere else. That just ends up in projecting heavily, because not all that you feel is someone elses.
What it came down to for me was, "emotions are not yours or mine- they just are." The constant search to figure out who is responsible for these
emotions is useless and a waste of energy. Even if they came from someone else, they are yours now to deal with. They may choose to project and feel
"exorcised" of them as they get the cathartic view of you expressing them instead of they, but how you express them makes all the difference for
you, and them.