Life with Mirror-Touch Synesthesia

  1. Mirror-touch synesthesia is basically when you feel other people's feelings.
    Some people have it really badly and can't distinguish their emotions from someone else's. Other people, like me, have it less severely.
  2. It's empathy turned up to 11.
    It's not just sympathizing with your emotions but actually feeling them myself.
  3. I can't watch violent movies or TV.
    See someone get stabbed = feel like you got stabbed. Now that I know what mirror-touch synesthesia is, I just keep the remote handy and don't feel bad about skipping stuff. I like a lot of detective shows, but I have to fast forward past bodies, autopsies, descriptions of the murder. I could never watch something like Game of Thrones. I watched every episode of Justified, but you better believe my remote got a workout. Fast forward all that shit.
  4. I consider myself to have it at about a 50% setting for physical pain.
    More or less depending on what it is. If I see you stub your toe, I will massively cringe, and I will feel a twinge in my own toe. However, it doesn't feel as intense as if I actually stubbed my toe. And I'll feel a paper cut more than a gunshot since I am very familiar with paper cuts.
  5. However it's probably more like 90% for emotional pain.
    I am excellent at putting myself in other people's shoes, because it requires literally no imagination from me. I can always feel what someone is feeling. Unless they're a psychopath who is mirroring emotions 😱
  6. I'm a creep.
    I'm notorious for acting too familiar with people because I feel like I know them. I try not to, but it's so hard when I've already felt your feelings. I've predicted at least 8 marriages, 1 literally when they met.
  7. I generally forget I even have it.
    I've always been this way. I thought other people were the weird ones. How can people think AFV and Jackass are funny? I'm sitting here squirming in pain.
  8. It's more than just visual.
    I can't listen to people describe injuries, or read about them, or even write about them myself.
  9. I'm often very quiet in large groups or settings with a lot of people feeling a lot of things.
    Like Disneyland is the worst. I'm in tune with every pissed off parent and sad kid and I want to yell at everyone to stop and instruct them on how to behave. Get your child a fucking pretzel, he's not "being a brat," he's starving. If I ever go back, maybe I will.
  10. I'm also quiet around very emotive people.
    I feel like I'm seeing your soul, but I don't necessarily know what to say. Like, hi, I'm sorry you're so sad? That's awkward. Also I guess it's kinda overwhelming, but I think mostly I'm just waiting on cues from you about what to say.
  11. I've only had a couple people in my life who "got" me, and they were totally cool about me spouting off weird stuff and knowing all their moods.
    Like when my high school best friend, who was about to graduate, was playing in the chorale concert. Later that night, I told him he seemed off. He said he was surprised I mentioned it but not that I noticed. He was thinking how weird it was that he would never again play on that stage that had meant so much to him, and I felt that from the back row of the theater.
  12. It's changed as I've gotten older.
    The more I've actually experienced certain pain and distress, the more nuanced my reactions to other people's pain.
  13. It's a little confusing because I'm asexual.
    Or somewhere on that spectrum. But I feel what they're feeling in romantic scenes in movies and TV. So it's like, I can feel it...but not in real life?
  14. I think I would be a good actor.
    When I'm watching TV and someone's face is injured but they're talking normally, I'm like, oh come on, can't you imagine what the bruise feels like? You would be talking out of one side of your mouth!
  15. I'm amazing with kids.
    Kids are more open, so it's really easy to gauge their emotions and be on their level. I can always tell that a "bad" kid is just scared or confused. Other people are yelling at them, and I'm like, hey buddy, what's wrong? Guess which of us they respond to?
  16. Sometimes I say the exact same thing as someone else at the exact same time
    Even if it's not the type of thing I would normally say. Because like, of course it's what you're thinking. Saturday, my friend's boyfriend said he was sweating from his outfit, and we both said, "You may be sweatin' but you look good doin' it!" I would never say that, but she is cheeky and I know how she thinks 😂
  17. Ironically enough, it's hard to sympathize with people.
    I don't understand people who have no empathy. How can you not even try to put yourself in someone else's shoes? I don't have the choice of whether to have empathy. I don't have the choice of denial. Really I get that some people were born without empathy, and some are clinging to denial, but it's both alien and terrifying to me to imagine shutting off to other people's pain.
  18. Some people are hard to read, and that is extremely disconcerting.
    I don't think they've ever not been a narcissist/psychopath/sociopath/someone who doesn't feel empathy. I can read people with Asperger's. I've never met anyone with autism. I can sometimes tell when my parents are going to flip out, but often I can't. I met a man who said he was in San Quentin, and some of the people there had eyes like they just weren't human. I knew exactly what he meant. If I can't read you, there's something wrong with you.
  19. I probably could be a nurse or a doctor, if I could survive training.
    When someone hurts themself or has a wound, I'm the one cleaning sand out of their cut or changing their dressing. I know what they're feeling, so I'm somehow able to overcome the squeamishness/grossness and do what I need to do to help them feel better. I guess it's a little selfish, really. Cuz I'll stop hurting if you stop hurting. Honestly, I don't think I could handle going to school for it and hearing about injuries over and over, but who knows.
  20. I've become pretty Buddhist about it.
    Suffering is especially hard for me, but I have to accept that it's a part of life. Instead of trying to fix everyone and everything, I just focus on myself and what I can do. Sometimes thinking you need to fix the world distracts you from the people in front of you who need your compassion.
  21. I can't believe I forgot to mention this:
    I was front row for The Civil Wars when they played HSB, and it was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I could feel the tension hitting me. It was so palpable. They broke up the next month.
  22. So yeah...like I said I'm so used to being this way, I might have missed some stuff, so go ahead and ask if you have questions 😊
  23. Response to @kate81 : I think I've always been able to distinguish between my emotions and others' emotions, though theirs do affect me. I think just getting older and learning more about Buddhism (mindfulness/compassion/no attachments/etc) has really helped. I've gotten a lot better at tuning into myself. I do like being around crowds and
    at large parties, but it really depends on the people. Even one dickwad can make me feel extremely defensive and off kilter. Like I posted how the majority of people at HSB were selfish and it was awful. I felt so drained. But I was at a big party last month where everyone was so kind and open and fun, and I don't think I've ever felt more whole/peaceful/happy/free/safe/lots of other good things. It's definitely the individuals more than the number of them or setting. And...
  24. ...as far as online communities, it helps that I can respond after I process it. Like I can read a list and comment later if I need to. In person, of course, the pressure is there to respond right away, which is really hard for me sometimes. It's honestly gotten easier just knowing about mirror-touch synesthesia, I think, because I can acknowledge
    my reaction and kind of put it aside. Not suppress it, but like, ok, this isn't really my pain it's theirs, I can be there for them now and process it later when they leave. But I don't have a mechanism for handling really big things yet. Something happened in my family a year ago and I haven't really been able to process it fully.