2 thoughts on “Dying For Empathy, Puzzled By Empathy

  • August 30, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Oh, goodness, this strikes a chord. I am extremely adept at giving empathy to others, but it has taken me many years of recovery to be able to accept it in any form for myself. Even when I do, I can still find myself very uncomfortable inside, wondering where the catch is (There was ALWAYS a catch!) or when the other shoe is going to drop and smash me like a bug.

    I think one of the big problems with empathy is that when you have been raised by narcissists (both my parents are), there is no way to trust anything good that happens, especially empathy. When everything has a possible hidden agenda, there’s no way to relax.

    Becoming dreadfully ill long term made me come to terms with this since I had no choice but to depend on my husband. Thankfully, he was a much better nurse than I was a patient! 🙂

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  • August 31, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    The part about your husbands parents struck another ” Mommy Dearest” chord with me. When I was 16, I had been sent to go back to our house from the neighbors to retrieve some item. I went running across the street, and jumped up on the curb in my platform shoes, and my ankle folded underneath me at a 45 degree angle. I limped back to the neighbors with the retrieved item, and told my mother that I had hurt myself. I was literally gasping in pain. The ankle was already beginning to turn blue, and throb with pain. I had to take my shoe off to allow blood to circulate in the foot, and I couldn’t put it back on again. My mother started screaming about how careless I always was, and how she knew this was deliberate. She slammed me into the backseat of her car, and told me that she intended to hit every bump in the road- which she did-and I had better not make a sound. She knew I was in excruciating pain, and purposely made me suffer. She made it clear that I had better be really hurt, although she knew I had done this deliberately so I wouldn’t have to go get things that she needed( because I was so lazy). When we arrived at the hospital, it was discovered that I had torn every ligament and tendon on the left side of my foot- but that it was not broken. Surgery was recommended so that I ” did not have a deformed foot that could cause me problems later”. My mother said, ” I don’t care if her foot is not “pretty”. You’re telling me that she has a sprain? Wrap her up and let her go”. On the way home, she ranted about “what a pain in the ass and faker I had been, and she was not going to pamper me through this”. I heard about “what an inconvenience I had caused and I had better be a lot more careful from now on”. My mother was a sadistic monster. I usually take care of whatever pain I might be in myself, so that I don’t “inconvenience” anyone. I have actually arrived at a workplace with broken bones, pneumonia, and once- a concussion. I am so concerned that anyone will think I am a faker that I have felt responsible for failing to be a team player. I have never understood empathy or compassion directed at myself, and have remained suspicious of it from others. I learned all about cruelty and abuse from my mother- but certainly nothing about love and caring.

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