- Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
anonymousParticipant3 years ago
I’m confused about myself, can you help me understand? I always thought of myself as a very caring person, loving to be there for others,and having sympathy. When I see someone struggling, or in pain( could just be kids fighting, someone yelling,etc) or when I read articles, listen to stories I can cry for others. Growing up in an emotionally/physically abusive home I def cried a lot for myself, and others, I tried to soothe people as much as possible.
Yet when it comes to my father (which is the abusive one) and his mother which was also abusive i have absolutely no sympathy. My grandmother was very sick recently, and I didn’t feel sorry, sad etc. I didn’t even mention her name while davening, Same goes to when my father had health issues.Why is that? Were are all my feelings of care? or am I just not so caring after all?
MitchellParticipant3 years ago
Thank you for sharing this. While I can’t imagine what your family dynamic is and I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this, I think the answer is that nothing is black and white. You can be a caring person in general, but specific events can lead to you losing compassion for a person. I think your dynamic between you and your father and grandmother has nothing to do with if you’re a caring person overall, and everything to do with those specific relationships. How you work through these relationships is up to you, but know that it doesn’t say anything about who you are as a whole.3 years ago
Thank You I really appreciate your post, especially this “I think your dynamic between you and your father and grandmother has nothing to do with if you’re a caring person overall, ” it definitely makes it easier for me to understand myself.
CTabParticipant3 years ago
I think the fact that you want, in some way, to empathize and feel anything after what they’ve put you through is a testament to how much you do care (in general)–i’m just happy you aren’t wasting any more energy on them. Anyone who’s been abusive to you in the past isn’t worth a damn.
DotingKishkeParticipant3 years ago
I agree, I think the fact that you can feel something, anything at all, shows that you do care in some way. Feeling nothing is still a feeling. I think you are definitely still a caring person, regardless of this instant. There are always things that don’t hit us in life while other things do
avacad0Participant3 years ago
I can go on and on about this subject. I also struggle tremendously with this issue. I am a very deeply caring person, but because of past traumas my thinking got distorted and where I was supposed keep a distance I fell right into the trap and the people that really deserve my care I have a hard time connecting to. My brain became a huge mush of different confusing thoughts.
I learnt that it is very hard to make heads and tails over your own individual issues because our brain distorts very many of our thinking due to past pain and feelings of unsafety. The best way to work things out is with someone who is not in the picture.3 years ago
Why would you expect yourself to feel sympathy or empathy for someone that put you through so much pain especially if you haven’t worked through all that pain? I think it is an almost impossible ask of yourself. Also feelings are feelings and you can’t force yourself to have them or not have them. I also like and agree with the idea @dotingkishke shared that feeling nothing is a feeling. It sounds like you feel numb from the trauma that this is triggering for you, but also full of guilt for not feeling the feelings others would expect you to feel. Thats a lot of feelings for starters! Try to take off the expectations and allow ourself to feel whatever is there.
Bottom line the way i see it = you are a caring person!3 years ago
Loved the message Mitchell and others wrote.
I would suspect that its the unresolved thoughts about some of your family members that are linked to emotion and emotion you may not want to be available to right now.
I like to work at connecting the thoughts that the mind gives us to our heart.
What I hear in your first paragraph about others, movies, stories…your emotion from that…you ARE caring. You say you are. That’s from the heart. It’s telling you, you are caring. Acknowledge it, the mind is trying to have you second guess. But you know yourself in your heart. that ‘s where your wisdom comes from.
And if you feel any emotion at all, even anger, resentment, etc…..that is telling that you do have feeling – to emotionally care for others no matter the feeling, is a form of “caring”. If I can invite you to pick one of the family members you spoke about. find a quiet place and brainstorm without second-guessing, all the thoughts that come up – try not to judge them, judge yourself. or rationalize them. just write them down. All our thoughts are linked to an emotion. but that’s step 2. You may be surprised some feelings that start to surface, albeit probably not pleasant but that’s step 2.3 years ago
Thank you all,
A few of you mention the idea that having any feeling(even negative ones) shows that I do have some feelings towards them. That is actually what my therapist tried explaining too,and I sure do have feelings ,when I think of them ,but of hate,anger, disappointment,etc how do such feelings translate to being caring?or showing empathy?
@chany your so right abt the expectations,I do see now how it often plays out. its funny but when I couldn’t make it to one of my brothers weddings,( I had a baby day after, it was diff country) everyone expected me to be disappointed, but I was actually relieved!3 years ago
In response to anonymous's post #5427:
I would’ve also been relieved lol. You can have mixed emotions and feelings opposite what others “expect”. Remember not everyone is overtly as honest about their feelings which tends to just make the black/white expectations even harder to resist. You don’t need to feel a certain way, just feel and work with what’s there. Awesome that your working this out in therapy.
ChavyParticipant3 years ago
@anonymous, without knowing you, I think that you really are a caring person, but this specific situation makes it harder to see that bc emotions are getting in the way. It may be helpful to tease out (or separate) this circumstance (the abuse you endured) and the person you are. This may help you conclude that you ARE a kind person even though you may think otherwise in this situation. And, your willingness to even stop for a moment and sort through this confusion (instead of just dismissing it) testifies to the strong and special person you are.3 years ago
@chavy – nice. well said.
@ananymous hate, resentment, disappointment, etc. those are feelings you are choosing connected to the thoughts behind them. the biggest challenge is finding empathy for ourselves. once you can find that for yourself, others will follow. bottom line is, you can only have responsibility for what you choose to think, feel and then do. that’s the beautiful power of the human mind. But your question, I don’t think I answered…..the fact that you have a feeling means you care otherwise you wouldn’t expend energy on carrying that feeling around. The question is how does that feeling, any feeling, “serve” YOU, help you, move you forward? Help you step into the life you envision. instead of hate, anger, disappointment directed toward ___, what would you rather feel? that’s what you have control over. that’s step 1.3 years ago
In response to Dr. Joanne Royer's post #5439:
Yes this is definitely true but easier said than done. I like how you broke that into step one, determine how you want to feel and then what though, think thoughts that will help you feel that way?3 years ago
In response to Dr. Joanne Royer's post #5439:
I get what your saying abt the power we have to choose what we want to feel,but honestly I don’t know myself what/or if i would want to feel positive emotions toward them, because of my strong urge to not except any of there behavior ,or them as long as they behave certain ways will sort of feel threatened, makes sense?3 years ago
The great news here is you don’t have to think positively about them or their act.
What do you want to feel within yourself, what feeling would help you live YOUR healthier life toward yourself? that’s the place to start, what thought then can you have that will help connect yourself to feel that way. perhaps you are defining how you feel about yourself based on past behavior by others. what happened does not define who you are moving forward.
more than happy to walk you through it on a coaching call if you’d like http://www.joanneroyerphd.com