Tuesday, April 8, 2014

If You Want Sympathy, It Always Hurts

Does wanting sympathy ALWAYS hurt?In this post I am going to look at this statement accentuating my remembrance as someone who's experienced what PTSD feels like, what trauma feels like, and what my relationships with unhealthy people looked like.

This quote stirred some controversy when it appeared on Byron Katie's facebook page last year and I began to start to write about it.

This post will be about looking at her statement / quote / status: Anytime you find yourself wanting sympathy, you’re trying to get someone to join you in your mythology. And it always hurts.

I look at some of these quotes or statements through a lens of my remembrance; When my Mind wasn't exactly friendly toward me and I needed help; When seeking this help through The Work required a bridge of compassion that I did not have from myself or - what I perceived - from others.

So if I can help offer a bridge for others in the same position, this is my message today.

"Anytime you find yourself wanting sympathy, you’re trying to get someone to join you in your mythology. And it always hurts." ~ Byron Katie [See the May 18, 2013 status on Facebook or see it on Twitter.]
Did you read the above post and get angry? Did something about the evocation of the concept 'wanting sympathy' rub you the wrong way? Or maybe it was the term, 'your mythology' that had you go quirky?

Since the Byron Katie posting on Facebook created opinions of disagreement that I agree with AND because I agree with the spirit of Katie's quote, I wanted to take a closer look to see if I could understand why or how I am agreeing with her quote and also agreeing with others disagreeing with it. . [Harken back to another statement of hers I dissected, if you wish: Abusive Partner is your Guru?] 

The hurt causing us to want sympathy in the first place, hurts first.

When we're in a victim story and want sympathy, we're already hurting. We feel abandoned, alone, maybe betrayed or self-pitying. We're feeling anger, sadness. We're feeling emotionally sunburned or raw. We're ALREADY hurting.We're re-living some kind of trauma or otherwise having thoughts that hurt us.

It is not true that when I'm desiring sympathy, it always hurts.

If I am in a victim story, what I am ultimately desiring is an end to my pain and I think that if I can 'get sympathy' I will not feel so alone or scared or desolate. When I want sympathy (or compassion or empathy or caring) I want an end to my suffering.

If I am not in a victim story and 'wanting sympathy', I am desiring basic compassion, human understanding or rapport. And how could this possibly hurt unless I'm wanting it and not getting it? But in that, there is even a different story.

Sympathy definitions and synonyms


So do I disagree with her message? No.

I have known people whose vocation is to suffer and be at the whim of the world and want you to join them in the righteousness of their suffering. They want you to agree that they have a right to suffer because their story needs an audience to keep it real.

But because they already know they have this right to suffer - because they're doing it - the fact they need, want, seek, desire your collusion, is an indication that it is a mythology they want supported and encouraged.

And this is what I think her message is.

Byron Katie Quotes

Many/Most/All (?) of the quotes you will see on her Twitter account and her Facebook page, are extracted from her books, lectures, and teachings. But while they come from her books, lectures, and teachings, they are in context. So seeing them on Social Media can feel like they're out of the blue statements of absolution. As a result, many sound harsh or ridiculous without context.

And the thing with the Mind, is that certain language is evocative or painful for it, depending where you are on your journey.

If you visit my Byron Katie Quotes page of ones I have collated from her, you will not see more of the 'ridiculous sounding' ones (out of context) because I've forgotten or lost the context.

AND because this blog is geared TOWARD friends who really HAVE suffered trauma, PTSD, abuse, or extensive codependent dysfunction systems, I certainly have no wish to "shock jock" anyone into anything. Read Trauma and The Work for further expounding of this idea.

Be good to yourself today,

when you think everything is someone else's fault, you will suffer a lot. when you think everything is your fault, you will also suffer a lot.

1 comment:

  1. I found myself here after searching for something to help me understand why I want empathy or sympathy when I'm experiencing physical pain. I understand what you are saying and what Byron Katie says as well. And when I read your writing I am reminded of my own personal growth training and that perhaps instead of feeling like crying because I feel pain and have no one to tell who can ease my mind and heart, I am faced with looking within. I can turn my focus inward and feel empathy for myself. Somehow that doesn't feel as rewarding though.It just feels like more pain because I'm not inspired to feel better while in a state of pain.


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