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Abstract

In an effort to complicate the commonplace understanding of empathy as an uncomplicated good, the author draws on her experience of sibling abuse to distinguish between empathy and appeasement. Because both rely on perspective-taking, empathy and appeasement are often conflated, but this essay demonstrates the importance of recognizing that empathy originates in courage and appeasement in fear. Abuse victims will recognize this important difference quickly enough; we need others espousing the value of empathy to recognize the difference as well.

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