Adverse experiences that can drive action


 "We need to start looking at those who are recipients of suffering not only as having difficulties in functioning but having potential lived experiences that could be turned towards emotional intelligence (EQ) to guide others in our communities. A highly effective Community Supportive Listener brings with them a potential depth of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Psychological and Emotional Resilience unobtainable without suffering." - Jeff Lee


02 SupporterComparisonS

Sympathy – feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune
Empathy – understanding and sharing the feelings of another person
Compassion – feeling someone else’s pain and distress, and wanting to relieve it


blockArticle Suffering or Victimisation - Higher Emotional Intelligence

Suffering (or victimisation) can take us into the depths of human experience unobtainable by any other action. Suffering can increase our internal emotional connections that drive upwards into our conscious awareness (Interoception). When we are supported to help make sense of our adverse experiences we can use this new integrated awareness to drive purpose, leading to psychological changes of increased emotional intelligence (EQ) and authentic resonance which is crucial in the supportive listening role.

Wikipedia - Suffering - an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual.

Wikipedia - Victimisation - the action of singling someone out for cruel or unjust treatment.


blockArticle Interoception - Pathway to Empathy

The pain that sent you to the darkest regions of your mind may be the strongest light for others to find their way home.

Taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound are our 5 main senses but neuroscience says we also have a 6th sense called interoception. Interoception is our bodily sensations, feelings, emotions and perceptions that guide us to take action. (eat, drink, restore calm).

People who have more interoceptive ability have greater activity of the right brain hemisphere insula, which makes them more self-aware and more empathic.

Read the full article - Interoception


blockArticle Altruism Born of Suffering - Staub, Ervin & Vollhardt, Johanna. (2008). Altruism Born of Suffering: The Roots of Caring and Helping After Victimization and Other Trauma. The American journal of orthopsychiatry. 78. 267-80. 10.1037/a0014223.

ABSTRACT - 'Research on altruism has focused on its positive roots, whereas research on the effects of victimization and suffering has focused on aggression and difficulties in functioning. However, anecdotal evidence, case studies, and some empirical research indicate that victimization and suffering can also lead people to care about and help others. This article examines the relation of "altruism born of suffering" to resilience and posttraumatic growth, and proposes potentially facilitating influences on altruism born of suffering during, after, and preceding victimization and trauma. These include experiences that promote healing, understanding what led harm doers to their actions, having received help and having helped oneself or others at the time of one's suffering, caring by others, and prosocial role models. We suggest psychological changes that may result from these influences and lead to altruistic action: strengthening of the self, a more positive orientation toward people, empathy and belief in one's personal responsibility for others' welfare. The article critically reviews relevant research, and suggests future research directions and interventions to promote altruism born of suffering. Given the amount of violence between individuals and groups, understanding how victims become caring rather than aggressive is important for promoting a more peaceful world.'


Psychological changes -

  • Stronger sense of self
  • More positive view of the world and other people


Psychological processes that facilitate helping -

  • Greater awareness of others suffering
  • Enhanced perspective taking
  • Compassion Empathy (vs cognitive / emotional empathy)
  • Perceived similarity and identification with other victims
  • Greater sense of responsibility to prevent others suffering


Download the full publication from the author -  Altruism Born of Suffering: The Roots of Caring and Helping After Victimization and Other Trauma


blockArticle Supportive Listening

When it comes to Supportive listening it does not just include a cognitive aspect but also requires that - "the support listener demonstrate emotional involvement and attunement while attending to, interpreting, and responding to the emotions of the support seeker—a complex and challenging task." (Susanne M. Jones (2011) read full abstract from authors site) 

By enhancing emotional involvement, resonance, attunement and interoceptive awareness we can connect deeper to this uniqueness of being human, the source of kindness, trust and compassion for others, much needed in the world. When we add to this our own resolved life experiences, particularly if they were adverse, we can build upon a resonance unobtainable to others who have never gone through suffering. (a diamond in the rough)


blockArticle The Unexpected Gifts Inside Borderline Personality



blockArticle Other Information

Childhood Neurodevelopmental trauma - Dr Bruce Perry

"It is paramount that we provide environments which are relationally enriched, safe, predictable, and nurturing. Failing this, our conventional therapies are doomed to be ineffective." (Dr Bruce Perry)


The Aces (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study


Dr Dan Seigel - Interpersonal Neurobiology