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Sympathy - It Is Creeping Back Here

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Re-reading my posts in this thread, the word that comes to mind is 'bitchy'. It has been pointed out to me that bitchiness is very destructive to the health of an internet forum, and that I need to stop it. Having a lot of experience with internet forums, I agree entirely.

I think it's relevant to the topic of this thread to point out that there's another kind of 'going too far' that seems to be discouraged here. The bluntness isn't just about not being overly kind, I think it's also about not being overly cruel. In PTSD, things drag on forever - the bluntness has a role in preventing that.
In my experience, bluntness works on certain personalities, and not on others. Finding out who it works on and who does not respond well to blunt communication is a whole journey of discovery in itself. Learning to adapt my own communication styles to be effective with different personality types is an interesting learning curve.

I have had friends who have gone their own way only for us to be re-united at a later date, tell me that I was the only one who had the balls to tell them what they didn't want to hear...and that earned me respect, even though, at the time it was upsetting. Others have parted ways never to reconnect and perceived me as rude. All depends on the person and how receptive they are to moving forward and changing.
For me, the issue is lack of being able to combine understanding/wanting to be understood with moving forward.

My heart sinks when I see a post along the lines of "I've been triggered by the colour blue for years. Today I saw the colour blue and I'm massively triggered" then responses that say only things like "Blue is triggering for me too" and "I totally get it, for me it's the colour red" and "You have to accept that you'll aways be triggered by the colour blue, and try to manage that, for the rest of your life."

My heart also sinks when I see responses like, "You have to sit with the colour blue until your hair is standing on end and you have seven nightmares a night for a month. That's life - accept it."

What I really hope for is for someone to say, I've always been triggered by blue and I want to get over this but it's so hard" and a response that says "Yes for me it was yellow, and it was really, really hard but I did X, Y and Z and finally I can be with yellow and be OK".

Why do I feel so alone with this?
This is my take, and how I see things.....

Empathy is when I can practically put myself into the other person's shoes (or they in mine) as we have had very similar experiences in life. In regards to PTSD, I get no empathy in my real life, only here on the forum. That is, nobody can give me empathy because they haven't experienced anything like my trauma or resulting disorder.

Sympathy is close to empathy, but without the "in your shoes" bit. I can feel sorrow for another's position without having experienced it myself. One would be a soldier returning from the front lines of combat or someone who has been in a deadly car accident, etc. I have not had these experiences, so empathy is off the table, but I can, indeed sympathize and give my support.

Sympathy and Empathy are neighbors. They live on the good side of town. Pity is the black sheep of the family and lives in a van down by the river. (Kudos to you if you get that reference!) Pity is reserved for those times when I see someone as nothing but pathetic. I cannot put myself in their shoes. One example would be child abusers, especially those of the female variety. [I was abused by 2 females.] No sympathy for them, and since I've never violated a child, they sure as heck aren't getting any empathy. The only thing left for them is pity, as I see them as nothing but pathetic. I will not put myself in their shoes, as I will not lower myself to such depths. It is very much a sense of disdain.

I realize I define my words a bit differently than here on the forum, but there are also sites online that discuss sympathy as not always including pity, which is pretty much what I have done in my own determination of what these words mean to me. But, if we go by the forums definition of sympathy (which again, is not my own), I think its pretty safe to say that I've given no one any sympathy whatsoever. Coddle, schmoddle. I hate that stuff!
Well said, @Hashi - I really like the way you described the things you don't like and the things that you do like; that helps me understand what you're aiming for. If I understand correctly, you're saying that you want people to respond with help, and you're disappointed when they respond with sympathy instead. One reason why this forum is really good (even if it draws out some of my pathology sometimes) is that there are a lot of people who think help is more important than sympathy.

When you're struggling with a problem, it can be very discouraging when people want the pain to go away, and they seem to want that more than they want the problem to go away. And most of the time, our problems are less of a priority for the people around us than their own pain is. That might be part of why you feel like you're alone.

The trick (which is far easier for me to say than it is for me to do) is to try to be explicit about wanting help when you want help. Instead of saying "I'm unhappy about being triggered by the colour blue," it is probably better to say "I'm unhappy about being triggered by the colour blue. Does anyone have any ideas on how I might be able to get over it?"

I'm feeling a bit insecure, and would genuinely appreciate feedback as to whether this was the kind of response you were hoping for.
@BlueOrange, you are very wise! When I posted this I was thinking about other people starting threads. What you said made me realise that it's exactly the same if I start a thread myself. It has sometimes - not always - happened that I've started a thread wanting understanding and advice, but the responses have focussed on understanding. Precisely because I didn't say the "any ideas...?" bit.

To be fair, maybe I should turn it around and say that the threads that I've started on here that have helped me incredibly are those where people have been both understanding and constructive. It's a very powerful combination, and one that I do often come across here. Tbanks for helping me realise this. :)
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