More on the difficulties of empathy
I’ve read stuff about this research several times in the last month. People who have walked in your shoes are actually less likely to be compassionate about your situation.
I used to see this regularly in my university jobs — the false conclusion that because I mastered a situation, others should be able to, as well. (To me, this is just a failure in drawing comparisons. It’s simply not the same situation when a white woman is pulled over by a cop as when a black man is. The fact that I know how to deal with that issue successfully doesn’t mean a black man can do so. If I apply my experiences, I get it wrong right off the bat.) That said, I don’t know if it’s an across the board result. I think it must depend in part on whether you’ve succeeded in dealing with the challenge. I am way more empathetic to people who have lost a parent than I was before I lost mine — possibly because I still haven’t figured it out. That experience changed entirely my way of dealing with students who’d just had a significant loss.