8
   

Do strangers’ misfortunes or fortunes affect you?

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 07:08 am

If you see a stranger hurt, upset, or scared does this have an impact on you? How about when something wonderful happens to them in front of you – does that draw any feelings reactions from you? Or if you it doesn’t why?

I’m asking because I was thinking about an accident I witnessed. I was driving down this roadway that has a high rate of speed (or else people just normally drive fast on it). It is right off the highway that connects major roadways. Any way this was early morning about 7:00am. I see this car ahead of me swerving into the other side of the road. I start beeping my horn at him – it seemed he was drowsing. Then a car from the other direction – I blare on my horn to warn her and the car that is swerving – the inevitable happens. He swerves and hits her head on. I am so close; I see her surprised reaction and the air bag go off. I scream.

Later I tell my husband what happened and that I screamed. He seemed befuddled and asked why I screamed. I was shocked he would even ask – I said because I care about other people. This is not different from how I have reacted about other things with people I do not know. I tend to feel happy when I hear or see something positive from a stranger and the opposite as well.

So is it odd that I have this sort of reaction – that just seeing a complete stranger does something or experience something makes me feel or react? What about not reacting with emotion or feeling an impact? I’m not saying not caring at all - I've seen my husband help strangers when they needed help, but once he is done then he just goes on - like no deep feeling about the person.
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 07:39 am
@Linkat,
I don't think it's odd at all and, yes, I am affected by the good and bad events that occur in other people's lives. Sometimes I don't even know what the event is or who it's happening to. As an example, my pulse quickens and I silently say a prayer whenever I hear the tell-tale sounds of fire engine or ambulance sirens in the distance. The first thing I do is a mental check on where all of my loved ones are and then send healing karma to whoever it is that may be in danger. It is particularly troubling for me when it occurs during a time that the school busses are all on the roads.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:09 am
@Linkat,
I don't know if I would scream (I don't even sing my voice is so off tune), but I'd make sounds - I think. Never been in quite that situation. In panic situations where I need control, I can usually maintain it - as when I was hit in my Volvo by a car that changed lanes and sped through a red light, twirling me around. (Luckily two witnesses waited for the cops.)

I think making sounds, and which sounds, and having empathy for others are distinct processes that don't necessarily happen at the same time.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:14 am
@Linkat,
Of course I'd react in that situation!! I'm reacting just reading to it. (What happened after the hit? Head-on seems very very bad.)
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:22 am
@sozobe,
Yes! I was hoping that since Linkat didn't say, it wasn't all that bad, but given it was a fast road..
Maybe it was a situation where it wasn't appropriate to pull over, and Linkat doesn't know.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:38 am
@Linkat,
If nobody had a sympathetic reaction to what happened to others, Hollywood wouldn't make anywhere near as much money.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:50 am
Linkat,
I think this is a facinating topic. It brings to mind something I've often thought about and even thought about starting a thread about, but wasn't sure what to write.
Sometimes I think I have a bleeding heart gene or something because of my first reaction to some things that just make others laugh. When I see someone slip on the ice and take a dramatic, hands-flailing fall, my first reaction is to wince in pain and wonder if they're hurt. I've found that most people laugh uproariously at such things right away, and then maybe think about any possible injury later.

When one of our cats (or another animal seen on a youtube, etc) gets into a precarious spot, my first reaction is panic and getting in rescue mode. Like, when Cleo our clumsy pudgy girl cat got a bag stuck on her head and took off running, I ran to grab her and take it off because she is very uncoordinated and I feared shed knock herself unconscious. My wife basically collapsed into rip-roaring laughter.

I've really thought about this, and wondered if I'm just being a self-righteous prig, but I really do like to laugh - it just doesn't come naturally as a first reaction when someone might get hurt.
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 08:52 am
@snood,
It's called empathy, snood, and there's nothing wrong with having it. It's a bit harder sometimes than not having it, actually.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 11:08 am
@sozobe,
I could see the woman as the car hit - it was really odd - but she didn't appear hurt (at least badly). I called 9-1-1 to report it. As I had the kids in the car, I couldn't stop and help out so I honestly don't know the end result. Although I would imagine there would be more details in the news/online if it was very serious.

My husband heard about me screaming because the kids told him about it. That's when he asked why did you scream? And I was just baffled thinking why wouldn't you?
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 11:16 am
@snood,
yeah I get it. My friend slipped walking on some ice. My first reaction was - are you all right? Once she said she was fine, I burst into laughter well because I realized how funny the fall looked. But like you said at first I thought ouch!

I have begun to - to act on my instinct now - maybe because I am older and more comfortable with myself. If I see something I react now. Even something small. A couple of weeks ago, I am on the subway and I see a man start to faint (fortunately he was sitting down). The woman next to him fortunately was a caring person. She helped him and when we pulled into the next station I jumped out to call for a security person.

In any case, he seemed fine and said he didn't need assistance. The woman suggested he get something to eat - no one said anything so I said I have grapes and then people began offering him stuff -

This helpful woman and I got off at the same station and I just felt the urge I should say something to her - so I went up and said thank you for helping him. It just seemed something necessary.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Sep, 2012 04:14 pm
@Linkat,
Hell yes....I am strongly affected by what happens to other people.

We are social animals....I think it's very natural to react to others' experiences.

I'd have been devastated by the accident you witnessed and I would very likely have screamed.....and probably stupidly covered my eyes as well!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Sep, 2012 03:35 am
Having spent three years in the Army Medical Corps, i have the ability to completely distance myself from the pain and suffering of others--you have to have that ability to function.

But i'm not in the Army Medical Corps any longer. It really distresses me to see people and animals suffer, and it makes me angry. Many, many years ago, i attempted to start a thread (one more than one occasion) on the topic of horror--and i was referring to the horror one experiences when one sees someone else suffer. The threads didn't work out. People kept assuming it was about a dog, and Osso actually moved the thread to the pets section.

I suppose that if i were in a situation in which i was the only person able to render assistance, i could fall back into the old detachment. Otherwise, i don't even like to see violence on the screen in a fictional context.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Sep, 2012 06:47 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
I suppose that if i were in a situation in which i was the only person able to render assistance, i could fall back into the old detachment. Otherwise, i don't even like to see violence on the screen in a fictional context.


I relate to this completely. I'm really, really good at putting on my clinical hat when a clinical hat is required but can't sit through a movie that contains even gratuitous violence or torture.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  4  
Reply Fri 21 Sep, 2012 09:43 pm
Tonight, while driving home, I witnessed an accident. A green sedan raced past us as we stopped to let an SUV turn left at a very busy, uncontrolled intersection. The green car hut the SUV on the rear right side, which then flipped over and landed on it's roof. Both car were driven by women, with little boys strapped in back seat car seats. This happened right beside me, scared the crap outta me. After we got the little boy out of the overturned SUV, I went to check on the other driver. She was a young, black immigrant muslim woman. She was so scared. She grabbed me and hugged me for about 4 minutes. I hugged her back and told her it was going to be ok. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
The hug also helped me. I was shaking like a leaf. Poor girl.. While everyone else pooled around the other woman, she was left alone. I played with her little boy, he was sweet, while the police, fire men and EMT's did their thang. One fireman brought a colouring book and a plastic fireman's hat for the little fella. He and I talked about the trees and the helicopter and played in the ditch/culvert, while his mother fretted in her ruined ride. My husband wrote out a statement, I couldn't. I was on the phone, and the fore-details, not the sound or the aftermath, were foggy.

A few observations... People are idiots. While standing on the side of the road, I couldn't believe the actions and behaviour of the rubber neckers. Or the honking horns and drivers at break neck speeds, passing people in an accident scene, seriously! fuckers..
People can be really mean. If this woman had been white, secular.. I wouldn't have heard half the shite I did today.
When I said goodbye to the little fella, he cried.
So, yeah, I guess you could say strangers misfortunes affect me. Sad

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Sep, 2012 09:46 pm
Man, Ceili..
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 06:37 am
@JPB,
Sirens. Lots of them. I notice instantly and then check the time. School buses all on the roads. My anxiety level peaks. Sending prayers to whomever it is.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 06:45 am
@Ceili,
Wow, Ceili. Damn. Just, damn. Thanks for being there for them. Stuff just like that is why I walk around angry sometimes.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 05:53 pm
@Ceili,
Wow. I like you, Ceili.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 11:12 pm
Thank-you. But I didn't do it for me. I was glad I was there to help, but I just kept thinking 'there but for the grace of god' and all that.. I would hope someone would do the same for me or people I care about. It's too easy to turn a blind eye and drive away.
0 Replies
 
 

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