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Sympathy - It Is Creeping Back Here

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but all good things come to an end. :rolleyes:

I prefer to think that life is ever changing and a journey. While one door closes another opens. I live in hope that some good things in my life will not come to an end before my life ends.

Personally, I think that the "goal posts" in life often change as does our perception. When I married I thought I was marrying a wonderful man and now when I look back I think I had rocks in my head. He has changed and so have I due to the experiences we have both endured.

The forum has grown and once you change the dynamics by adding different personalities it is inevitable that things on the forum will change. People, even those long standing ones who were here at the start, have changed too so when they come here now, 2 years later they may not becoming from the same viewpoint or with the same perceptions they may have before. I could write some examples but I haven't had the chance to ask people their permission as yet.

Me, I came to the forum wanting to understand what I was dealing with. Sometimes it made me sad as people with PTSD ripped my head off simply because I did not understand but couldn't see that I was actually coming here to try and understand. As a carer it is a very lonely place as all we can talk about is how to deal with something we will probably never understand. I personally thought at times that people with PTSD could be very harsh in their reactions to anyone who did not have PTSD. Just my opinion and it has caused me to toughen up and not take things so personally....being on the forum has changed me :rolleyes:

I agree we all need sympathy and empathy at times in our lives but I have found the harsh realities have been the pivotal moments when I made life changing decisions (most for the better).

In terms of the forum, I think if you had a smaller number of people and there were a couple of people who needed sympathy it doesn't seem that it is a big issue. With a huge increase in members I find coming here on occasion very draining if I try and think of something nice to say to everyone.

While I come here today based on what I has happened in my life today I may read something and interpret it one way and then tomorrow view it completely differently. What I am trying to say is that what you once saw in the forum due to a need may not seem the same down the track when you don't have those same needs and are coming from a different point in time.
Hello Everyone & Anthony!

It's been awhile, but it's so awesome to see you guys again!!!
Life has been crazy, and we'll definitely have to catch each other up!

Sympathy opened my heart. It told me that people understood, and actually gave a rat's-ass. Otherwise, I would have left after my first visit.

I agree with your analogy, and it scares me how many people may have left such a great forum for that reason!

The forum has grown and once you change the dynamics by adding different personalities it is inevitable that things on the forum will change. People, even those long standing ones who were here at the start, have changed too so when they come here now, 2 years later they may not becoming from the same viewpoint or with the same perceptions they may have before...

...What I am trying to say is that what you once saw in the forum due to a need may not seem the same down the track when you don't have those same needs and are coming from a different point in time.

I agree that my viewpoint has changed since I first found this site. It's changed enormously! But what hasn't changed, is the memories of what I went through, and knowing what helped me during those times. I see the world in a different light, BUT when talking to suicidal patients at the hospital, I can relate, I remember how it felt to be at that stage, scared and ready to give up. I know that feeling, and unless you've ever experienced it... it's really hard to relate to.

You're right, my needs have changed, I no longer need to dissect every thought, I'm fine with bi-weekly appointments at the hospital, but even though I can't see myself getting as mentally ill as I was in 2006, I've still got PTSD, and triggers are hard to ignore... I remember searching the net for answers, and the desperation I had to find help... thankfully there was this small group of us that found eachother and talked everyday. While my needs are different now or not, the people who are just discovering the world of PTSD need the same support I got.

With the huge growth of this forum, I understand that no one can keep up with everyone, it'd be unrealistic.
But I do believe that each person deserves to be listened to, rather than be dismissed or getting a short answer.

You may be exhausted re-reading the same questions, so don't read them/take a break! Or it's very simple to add a link to a thread that answers their repeated questions.
Or let someone else looking for a friend contact them... they can discuss and learn together.

How about instead of calling it 'sympathy' we call it 'compassion'?

Here's my favorite quote:

Too often we underestimate the power of
a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear,
an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential to turn a life around
- Leo Buscaglia
Just wondering.... Could we be having a serious semantic problem? eg: My husband is a highly educated Indian whose English really is English. I am American whose English is American. After much strife, we agreed that if he hurt my feelings, I would go look up the words he used in the Oxford dictionary. Likewise, he would have to look up what I had said in the Webster's dictionary. It took us seven years to hammer out a common language.

For me, sympathy has no negative connotations and does not imply wallowing in mud like some poor hippo.

Emapthy is a much deeper connection in which the person writing is inviting a further relationship with me.

I loved the new words I learned like Lacunae- sounds to me like the name of a great lunar moth, oops it's a designation for a meeting place. My sister-in law- (Cambridge University) says we, Americans, speak Elizabethan English, phrases like my jeans gave up the ghost, meaning are too worn to wear anymore, is one example.
WOW! So this thread's to help new members know how to behave on this forum?

I might be wrong but I thought new members had Moderated Member under their name like I have under mine. If that's so only one new member has (upto now) responded to this thread and the response they received was enough to register as bullying on my chart.
Some people should read this thread through again, you can see a pack/clique/gang forming, some replies Trent received were basicaly rude while others were certainly patronising, then you get that old nugget "if you ain't with us you're against us" creeping into the fray.
No wonder Trent seemed to get a bit angry, defensive, frustrated even.
It seemed to be implied that new member's should "read the thread's" before joining in.
Well it took me about an hour and a half to read this thread, there are 31 threads on this page and there are 65 pages of threads, that all add's up to_ _ _ _ _a lot! (you do the sum's)
I won't take a Degree just to comunicate with other's who have PTSD. I want to be in the here and now not in the look what you missed.

For me I sympathise with someone for what they have suffered.
I can empathise with how they feel now.
But it's only my opinion!

Oop's! Look's like I don't have Moderated Member under my name anymore, I only feel a little bit daft about that bit.

I liked reading everyone's post. And I have to say I agree with them all.

Having a pity party as it were, ISN'T going to be productive but at the same time, sometimes we need to feel sorry for ourselves, to confirm and validate that happened was wrong, to grieve and have people grieve with us. If our whole process is this then of course we won't move on so we can't get stuck here but I don't think its bad to be at that point either from time to time. Personally, it helps me when people get mad like i do about my abuse, or if people grieve with me over it or simply listen.

I think i see more empathy here then anything because we have all been there and you guys all help me tremendously. Even if its simple as something "You can do it" and "we are all here for you" speaks volumes to me. It is knowing and identifying what I went through but at the same time, its encouraging me to keep going.

I agree with some who have said "tough love" isn't going to get me anywhere. If someone were to say they were giving me tough love and pushing and pushing me to heal when i'm not ready for that step, I will retreat and get scared. (My best friend did this once, pressuring me to confront my abuser....it made me mad like she didn't care what it meant for me). But at the same time, my mom who often shows "tough love" by getting me to focus during a panic attack or encouraging me and telling me that I can't give up and have to keep going. It helps. So maybe it depends on who is telling you (in terms of your relationship and closeness with that person) and what they are telling you (like the way they are telling you or what they are telling). This of course is only my opinion lol .
IMHO, I agree (for myself) with cragger's "definitions" of sympathy and empathy, and how they assist you to open up (or prevent it).

Similarly, I remember some post by Anthony (somewhere-??) that talked about (as I recall) "removing this large thorn from your arse"- re: PTSD management. That is a form of empathy to me too, and makes me laugh.

I think no one wants to put themselves willingly through an experience of secondary wounding, so empathy and kindness are critical.

But for me, too - sometimes I need a pat on the back, sometimes a "kick" in the arse. If it's meant "for my benefit", I try to see it that way, but kindness and thoughtfulness of the "delivery" are also appreciated, too.
I also have had a negative response to the original post. I am a new member, I am still in moderation, I constanly worry that my posts will be ran through with a fine toothed comb, and not be up to Anthony's standards. I wrote a very emotional post yesterday that has yet to be approved, and now I wonder if he judged it to be seeking sympathy.
I wasn't, I was basically going through a flashback and typing as I went...it was probably pretty messed up. Probably didn't make any sense though I read and re-read to check for problems.

I am not sure if it was intentionally not posted, but I am worried that Anthony didn't approve it. I too feel that he is dictating how everything should go on here. I understand that there are very good reasons for all the rules and order in this forum, but I worry that it may go above and beyond just order. From the limited number of threads I have read on here, I have the feeling that Anthony has a lot of control over his PTSD, or is "cured". If this is the case, that is great, but should we all not have the chance to go through the same process you must have to conclude that sympathy doesn't help...as each person in this world is different, and each person reacts in their own way, is it not possible that some people may need the sympathy as a part of their healing?

I personally feel as if I am completely insane a great deal of the time. I do not trust myself or my reactions to things, and sometimes I wonder if my reactions fit what happened to me. Why should I still be insane 7 years later? I think I received what would be considered "sympathy" in one of my other posts, and it reaffirmed for me that yes, what happened to me was bad, and that my reactions to it are human and normal for what I went through(I tend to forget that often, and I just end up attacking myself in some form or another for reacting in a way that do not deem appropriate).

I am not trying to be difficult here, or cause issues. I am actually very distressed by the original post and by several of Anthony's replies. I am scared that if he doesn't like what I say, or thinks I am seeking sympathy(regardless of if I am or not) that he will just withhold my posts and keep me in moderation longer. I worry that he will not find me as perfect as he seems to want us to be in order to pass initiation onto this forum, and I may not recieve the help I need. I think this forum could be helpful for me, but only if I am allowed to be here...I have nothing else right now. I have been unable to find professional help, and I have no support as my husband is 4 or 5 thousand kilometres away currently.
There are several questions in this post, if you'd care to answer Anthony, I would appreciate it.
Otherwise, I just wanted to state how I feel about this thread (in plain English, VERY worried, and insecure)
Luthien, sometimes Anthony and I do not get to the forum daily as we give our time freely. I am sorry for the delay but sometimes it make take a couple of days for posts to be approved (especially during the holiday season). I know Anthony was only here briefly yesterday morning (our time) and not since - at least 40 hours ago and I have had little time. I have not even looked at all the posts requiring approval as yet. Please be patient and I don't think Anthony is as harsh as you are interpreting. I just went and found your thread which was posted less than 24 hours ago so it not being approved is only due to Anthony or I not being on here editing all threads in that time frame.
Thanks for replying. I tend to be overly sensitive, and I am sorry if I sounded like a jerk in my last post. I usually do give it more time for a post to appear, and this time I didn't.
That said, it is very easy for a new member to feel alienatedon here, especially when a generic thread pops up saying that people are looking for sympathy. If examples of what may be deemed "looking for sympathy" were included, maybe us newbies wouldn't have reacted the way we did.
As Anthony pointed out several times, it is hard to tell emotion and intent in written content, unless it is clearly stated. The original post was pretty generic, and open to interpretation.
Thanks again.
I don't 'get' the difference between empathy and sympathy - one being 'good', the other being 'bad' - somehow. That sounds warped to me!

There is nothing in the Dictionary definition that makes me feel that seeking either is wrong. Healing takes many forms. During grief people are meant to feel bad for a while...

Do you see where this is going?

The bad feelings happen first, then understanding them, then learning to cope, then copeing... You don't start somewhere in the middle. You have to start where you are at, and we're not all at the same place with the PTSD challenge - so to speak.

Perhaps sympathy seeking should be considered short term good, long term bad (or unhealthy), and empathy is always good in the sense that it means understanding... and understanding is what gives people strength.

We are fighting something that will ultimately make us all more understanding and strong - wether a sufferer or a carer - or whomever.

But perhaps someone who is seeking sympathy all the time, is someone who is blocked on the road to recovery, and they need to feel that they have adequately recieved this before they can move on...?

Is this making any sense to anyone???

I'm not entirely sure where I stand with this debate, as I need more information. Thanks.

sallysellsseashells said:
I don't 'get' the difference between empathy and sympathy - one being 'good', the other being 'bad' - somehow. That sounds warped to me!
Its not really a good vs. bad scenario Sally. Sympathy has a real place and space within life... absolutely. The problem when you mix trauma with sympathy in abundance is that trauma never heals because you seek and often given sympathy because you seek from those who you know will give it to you. Basically, when used incorrectly sympathy stands healing still... even makes it worse. Sympathy with trauma is a form of enabling behaviour, basically put. Sympathy has appropriate uses in life, loss and hardship, etc.

Sympathy is valid when something occurs. Sympathy is no longer valid when you seek sympathy or expect others to be sympathetic to you for something that occurred some time ago... ie. traumatic event, loss of a loved one, etc. Sympathy enables if given more than once for any specific event... It is warranted for the event, but not on-going.

Hope that helps explain things more broad.
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