http://www.thoughtsfromatherapist.com/2011/06/08/empathy-building-exercise-–-learning-to-be-empathetic-–-increasing-emotional-understanding/ I was struck by Cedar's thread on the necessity of boundaries for compassion, and the sense that empathy could be taught. I googled teaching empathy to adults. This was the best article I saw in my brief search. Here is a link. I forget already the therapist's name, but he has a very nice explanation of empathy, his belief that it can be developed, and exercises on how to do so. This therapist uses the exercises in couples therapy and says he continues to be amazed at the results. I see actually that I am not that empathic with my son *my empathy seems to break down with his pain. I tend to try to negate his sad, bad feelings, instead of hearing him--because they are so painful to him--and thus to me. I have a hard time maintaining boundaries around his and my own pain. I tend to try to problem solve instead of hearing him. We easily devolve into bitter accusations to deal with our hurt--each of us blaming the other. How in the world did this happen? M goes crazy when this happens. He accuses us of retreating to English to better insult each other. And to shut him out. He cannot understand and therefore cannot help us or stop us--before we fall into oblivion.