U know this reminded me of something. A cousin of mine was crying nearly hysterically the day my dad died. I was 6 months pregnant (after 5 years of infertility and going thru some bleeding the 3rd month). I had been thru 2 hospitalizations of close family in past 3 months. And she was crying coz my dad died. I wasn’t. I was so angry at her..because by crying that way she was getting SYMPATHY. He wasn’t even her own uncle for God’s sake.
When my uncle died it was only a year later. I didn’t cry publicly because I felt the right thing to do was to support my cousins (his kids) and his wife and his sisters (my aunts and mom). It’s not that I lacked empathy or wasn’t sad myself even. I had just recently lost my dad and it reminded me of that. And I loved my uncle. But the most useful thing to do/be at the time is emotionally detached from my own feelings and helping them in actionable ways not feeling sad and crying with them.
I am just thinking of what yoy just said and how behavior that supports someone who’s suffering is more important than feeling with them. Sometimes u don’t need to feel with someone to support them (how can a man imagine what it’s like to bear and give birth to kids? When so many if not most ob/gyn are men). In other cases, feeling with others can help us know how to help because we have been there or imagined it and know them well enough to imagine what would be most helpful behavior. But we may assume and make mistakes. Been reflecting on this a lot and have a game-like thing developed that unpacks this a little and takes it in different dimensions. Working on it w Audrey now.
On how we don’t always know what’s best for someone else and to try not to assume as much as possible