Why am I Insensitive to the Suffering of Others?

Why am I Insensitive to the Suffering of Others?
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 28 July, 2022

Every species of animal in groups has the ability to be sensitive to the pain or suffering of its peers. Solidarity is part of their genetic code because in most cases it is a guarantee for the survival of the species. Why is it, then, that some people are basically insensitive to the suffering of others? How do they close themselves off emotionally to everything external to them? What makes someone become insensitive?

There are various possible answers to these questions. The causes that lie behind insensitivity range from the existence of serious pathologies to a state of extreme vulnerability. The paths to becoming insensitive are also many, and they include many different manifestations.

In general, insensitivity doesn’t apply to everything. That is to say, unless there is a very disabling mental illness, people are not completely insensitive. The degree varies, as does the object and the circumstances. In other words, one can be completely insensitive to the suffering of some. But, at the same time, you can be very sensitive to the pain of others at a certain moment. Yet the situation could reverse.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Otero, J. (1999). Alexitimia, una revisión. Revista de La Asociación Española de NeuropsiquiatríaXIX(72), 587–596.
  • Navarro, Marisa (2015) La medicina emocional. Debate

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.