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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Hi Kate, I hope all is well.

This answer was rated:

Hi Kate, I hope all is well on your end. My son gave me a hug today upon leaving. Yet, he seems somewhat preabsorbed or self centered. I don't know if I can go as far as saying he lacks empathy like his Dad. I thought part of it is a protective measure by focusing on himself, keeping all in order so he doesn't become anxious. Also his age and state in life.I wondered if this is protective measure possibility, given his childhood. Id hate to see his self centerdness as a deficiency if its really his way of keeping order.  (My other son shows more empathy.) I  am aware he suffers with anxiety and depression as well.

Hi Dee! All is well here, thank you :)

I think you are right. Your son is most likely trying to protect himself. While it is possible that he could lack empathy, that usually occurs based on trauma and abuse that is unresolved. Your son did not experience the same things his father did, so it is unlikely that he would take on the same traits. Plus if he was like your husband, he would do more than just seem protective when he hugs you. He would also do other things that are similar to what your husband does and act out in other ways.

More likely, however, is that your son feels the need to protect himself while at home due to the chaos caused by his father. He would need some way to cope with what he feels while there. And shutting down or pushing his emotions away would be one way to do that. However, the fact that he hugged you is a good sign. He seems to feel ok being close to you in that way.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

hi Kate I just wanted you to know that he didn't act protective while he was hugging me, just in his his behavior and body language

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you!!

You're welcome!

Thanks Dee for clarifying. I think based on his other behavior, he is still not lacking of empathy. It is most likely just being protective.

Take care!
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Okay. Good, and thank you.

No problem! I'm happy to help.