A valuable mental process that allows us, among other things, to limit the emotional contagions we receive from others . It’s about being aware and fully participating in the emotional realities of others, but without getting out of our shoes. Only then can we provide more valid help and avoid those emotional floods that often block us.
Something that often goes unnoticed is the contagion power that emotions have . This is something we all know; However, we often go unnoticed.
The world of cinema uses it, as does neuromarketing when designing advertising campaigns, those in which they manage to awaken in us a specific feeling capable of boosting purchasing behavior.
The political sphere also uses them in their speeches, instrumentalizing fear to capture votes in one direction or another . Emotions not only flood us at times, but they affect us to the point of modulating behavior.
We experience it in certain relationships based on dependence and manipulation; We also feel it when we spend time with people who are going through difficult times.
The human being has an exceptional faculty: the ability to empathize . Thanks to her we understand others, we identify with them and can provide help, support or comfort. Now, that affective connection must be balanced and adjusted. Ecpathy has that purpose: to serve as intentional control towards the feelings of others.
Ecpathy as a strategy to build healthy relationships
This concept is relatively new. It is important to note that the term ecpathy was introduced by the professor in Psychiatry José Luis González de Rivera in 2005 .
In the scientific journal Psiquis where he published his work, he highlighted, for example, the influence of certain people when projecting their emotions in others with a clearly instrumental and harmful purpose.
This is something that is frequently seen in the most harmful relationships, as well as in the psychopathic personality and its subtle ability to emotionally manipulate and wear others out.
Likewise, it is important to highlight a reality frequently experienced by all those professionals who work in the health sector, such as compassion fatigue .
This psychological condition originates through that therapeutic help that is provided to the person in need of any kind of attention or assistance . Gradually, the delicate and vulnerable reality of the patient ends up causing a patent wear on the professional, to the point of invalidating his work, of not feeling able to be useful.
As we can intuit, there are many situations in which both the vulnerability of others , and the bad arts and manipulation that others inflict, infect us, flood us to alter values, self-esteem and self-concept. Therefore, it was necessary to have a term that included that healthy strategy, ecpathy.
Ecpathy and empathy, how do they differ?
Empathy allows us to go beyond our own reality to understand other people’s realities. That is, this psychological strategy is like taking a trip to others to connect with their emotional realities, their thoughts, desires and behaviors. Something like that allows us to understand and act accordingly.
Now, as we have pointed out, empathy has a risk , and that is that on that outward journey we sometimes forget to return to ourselves. Moreover, one can return to their own shoes, but we carry extra luggage, a weight that is not ours.
Ecpathy on the other hand, is a word that derives from the Greek ( ek-patheia ) and means “feel outside . ” Something like this translates into a series of very clear strategies:
- Regulate the degree of emotional involvement.
- It is not to raise a wall to prevent the other from rubbing us with its affections. Is to put filters, is to open windows to look, but without jumping into the void. It is to continue in our shoes while we visit each other’s emotional home without taking anything.
- Likewise, we should not conceive of ecpathy as the opposite of empathy. In reality, it is a complementary quality and both must work together in harmony to ensure our well-being.