My compassion has been the biggest casualty of the 2+ years I’ve spent closing off. While compassion is defined in the dictionary as having sympathy or empathy for someone in a dire situation, it feels far broader than that. It’s about listening, not just hearing; it’s about being there for others, good times and bad; it’s about taking a breath, turning off the phone/games/TV/whatever and really paying attention. I have been pulling further and further away from all of that, diving deeper into escapism, which is what got me where I am now.
I could go through all of my theories as to why. My relationship with my parents and stepmother is shitty, because they’re shitty people who treat me like rope in their tug-of-war and seem to feel that they have some ownership over how I live my life. Our youngest son has been exploring his own colon so hard that he’s back in jail right now for the fourth time in a year, and betrayed everything we tried so hard to teach him, and has sent my Kit into spiral after spiral of feeling like he failed as a father. Purchasing the house was an incredible ordeal, and there’s a lot we’re trying to do now to make it ours, much of which I’ve taken on as “I need to do” rather than “we need to do.” That flows into the day-to-day of the household, because my brain is going, “I need to do these things because Kit’s spoons are sucked dry by the day job/weather/what have you,” instead of asking him if he has the spoons to help me with X, Y, or Z. The current administration is burning everyone out. Add in the day job with its stressful clients and coworkers, and trying to make Raven’s Own self-sufficient…
I could go on. Life is life is life and comes with its ups and downs. And in the face of stress and shitty people and betrayal, I did what comes naturally to me – I closed off to try to protect myself from it, except that like all of my oldest coping mechanisms, I always take it to the nth degree. I’ve said for years that I’m on the edge of a nervous breakdown, but I don’t have time for one, and I’m wondering if closing myself in my little tube of distraction was my way of keeping myself standing.
But, as Brené Brown says so well: “[Y]ou cannot selectively numb emotion.”
Well, I sure as hell tried. And, just as she states in that talk (which was my first therapy homework, by the way), I numbed gratitude, I numbed joy, I numbed compassion.
(I had a whole case in point thing typed up here, but it felt like obsessive venting, which I am also really bad about doing, and I deleted it. So yeah.)
I don’t really have a neat way to close this out, which is frustrating me a bit, so I’ll just… end it here.