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Psy 220 - Psychology Case

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Changing Perspective

Cindi Gould

PSY 220

Axia College

The situation I am choosing to discuss is the end result of an affair. I have a 25 year old brother that was conceived during an affair my father had when I was 11. I have had the opportunity to observe my mom and hear about her feelings, about my brother as well as analyzing my own thoughts about him for 25 years. I did not have the opportunity to grow up with my brother because my mom didn't want anything to do with him. I believe I had compassion and empathy for my mother. "Empathy involves the capacity to imagine the way the world looks through another's eyes. As we consider another's world, our heart vibrates with its emotional impact. By putting ourselves in another's shoes, we come not only to see what another sees but to feel what another feels. Compassion, a term closely linked to empathy, comes from the Latin cum passio, meaning "suffer with," or "suffer alongside the other."(Bolt, M, 2004, p.46). I can honestly say that after mustering up the courage 25 years later, to find my brother, it wasn't a yes no decision.

From a religious perspective, the affair would have been looked upon as a sin. My brother would have been branded as a bastard by some religious groups, while others would embrace him with open arms. The religious groups that would view him as a bastard would not be able to see past the situation and see him as an innocent in the whole mess. I believe that most organized religions preach about the immorality and negativity to their congregation that an affair and having a child from an affair would be. In the case of my mother, I feel she is not relying on her religious teachings and only seeing the negativity that happened and not a human being. I am a Christian woman, and I believe that an affair is morally and biblically wrong. Because of my true Christian beliefs, I am more empathetic toward others and I understand that my mother is making the decision that is best for her emotional well being. I am also empathetic toward my brother because I realize he was an innocent in this just as I was. He did not ask to be born. "Research suggests that empathy is an important source of pro social action. In fact, laboratory studies indicate that it may promote genuine altruism" (Bolt, M, 2004, p.49).

Culturally I feel that America is divided when it comes to affairs and the children born from them. It seems that an affair is second nature to some and just brushed off with out so much as a slap on the wrist. We live in a very "me first" society. Most of society has degraded moral values and have also taught their children to be "me first" types of people. I am not sure that the people that use social acceptance as a basis to beliefs feel there is anything wrong with infidelity. I also believe there are many subcultures that reside throughout America, and depending on which subculture you were raised in, would depend on how you felt about the situation. My mother would be considered a normal scorned wife and my brother an innocent child in all this. As much as I do not like the way my brother was brought into this earth, I am happy he is here. I feel my decision to find him and get to know him is the right decision for me.

Our personal beliefs are obtained from many different sources. We can take ours from the beliefs of our parents, friends or even strangers on television. I think that if we are



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