Too much compassion? Someone could have too much compassion?
Sure. It happens all the time, mostly in women. Women who have too much compassion may love people too much.
You’ve heard of women who love too much, as discussed by psychologists in their popular press books.
Oh, it’s bad to love too much, they say. You could “smother” those around you, loving them too much.
I mean really, all these women were doing were loving others.
You know what is said about those who attack others, don’t you? They are usually trying to hide something, some sin of their own.
Is it possible that maybe psychologists are trying to judge others too much – and everyone else – and not loving enough? Maybe that is the root problem of all this.
Researchers Start Studying Compassion Fatigue
Well, a research study was reported in a Chinese medical journal in June 2012 about compassion and coping strategies of hospital nurses in Taiwan.
These researchers must have picked up the same frequency as the psychologists about the idea of compassion.
They applied the theory of women who love too much to what was happening there in Taiwan and observed that it was possible for nurses to love too much – and develop compassion fatigue.
That’s a fancy term for fatigue because someone gives out too much compassion.
Their theory was that if nurses were exposed to trauma cases for long periods of time, they could easily get involved far too much in the patients’ lives. They would reach their tipping point by overextending their caring.
If they did this, it was possible that they would become unable to adapt and cope and their lives would go down the tubes as they began to suffer psychologically and physically. And then what would happen to the hospital?
Here’s What The Researchers Proposed For A Theory
The researchers projected that the nurses who cared too much would reduce their own quality of care they gave patients.
Next medical care costs would rise due to mistakes. And in the long run, nurses would leave the profession.
The researchers were really just spouting off in the research paper, discussing their opinions on the matter, and no actual research was started or completed.
That just means that you can expect research to occur in the next ten years.
They mentioned that the topic was already something accepted by the profession. Nurses themselves believed that it was possible to care too much for their patients.
Here’s What Nurses Do When They Care Too Much
Surprisingly, the nurses knew what compassion fatigue was and already had a strategy for it:
1. See what exactly is occurring in the nurse’s situation and evaluate it.
2. Talk with the nurse and have her adjust her attitude (a fancy way of saying stop caring).
3. Hold training sessions on the topic.
4. Increase support systems for the nurses who care too much.
But the nurses never addressed the physical and psychological consequences of the compassion fatigue. In fact, no one really has.
So no one really knows for sure that humans can truly care too much!
How To Determine Whether Or Not Compassion Fatigue Is Legitimate
It turns out that this is one of those topics that you really have to think through to see if it’s legitimate. Here’s one list of potential ways to think it through:
1. What else happens when someone spends time caring for another human being? What thoughts go through their mind? What feelings do they feel?
2. If someone has the potential to feel another person’s pain, then what becomes of that pain?
3. How can anyone draw the line and say, “You’re too compassionate! You must stop caring for the patients!”?
Who would be the judge of whether or not someone has no compassion, just enough compassion, or too much compassion?
4. What happens to a nurse’s heart and soul once she stops caring so much? Does a part of her die and her heart becomes hardened?
5. Are there spiritual reasons for not even thinking that compassion fatigue is an issue? Does the Bible say that we are to share each others’ pain and what exactly does that mean?
What do you notice in your own life? Have you cared too much for someone or your patients if you’re in the healthcare profession? Did you have to stop caring to continue on with your job?
Have you ever loved someone so much that it hurt when they passed away? Is this an instance of caring too much?
Certainly grief brings with it fatigue, thus compassion fatigue might be the label according to the psychologists.
Lots of questions. No answers. Time to decide for yourself on this topic of compassion fatigue. Is it real or not?