The Empathy Trap

Empathy is all the rage these days - in business, in design, in life.  But there's a cost. From the article:

"Situations of unequal power can also create imbalance between partners in giving or receiving empathy. Consider an extreme condition, Stockholm syndrome, in which hostages come to express loyalty and empathy toward their captors. Upon rescue, a newly freed person expresses understanding for the captors’ actions, sometimes even the desire to remain in touch with or to serve them. Battered women and abused children often form similar bonds with their abusers.

Sadly, in relationships marked by unequal power, those in the low-power position are more likely to defer to the needs of those in the high-power position. Doing so helps them hold on to the attachment—at the cost of becoming the architects of their own disenfranchisement."

What struck me most in the article was that last line. Attachment - that basic need - can become a bad habit that is difficult to shake and can lead to a lot of self-destruction - in all its forms.