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The Difference Between Sympathy And Empathy Is ...

I am visiting my family alone again because my husband had to work. In the five years of our marriage I have made the eight hour trip more times alone then with him and now I manage to do so with my nine month old son. Upon arriving my expectations were high,as always, looking forward to the excitement that came about when we attended family functions or visited relatives or even just sitting and talking with my mom. Only now, there is no excitement. I feel alone - whether it is driving alone and singing endless songs to my poor bored baby on the never ending drive, or the fear I experience as I move as quickly as possible in the dark to the rest stop bathroom to change a diaper and finally relieve myself because I'd put it off for so long to avoid having to risk any chance of waking the sleeping child. Or maybe it's when we arrive at a BBQ and everyone asks where's your husband? And the look of wonder is in there eye - I can see the stories they come up with (he doesn't like our family, or there marriage must be struggling - and the "sympathy" sets in) Or when all the other moms tote there totally adjusted and comfortable babies around laughing and smiling and never admitting that they too have felt exactly the way I do when I try to lay my exhausted child to sleep and he is so unfamiliar with his surroundings and the slamming doors of this strangers house that he screams and sobs and as I try to console him he rips on my hair and thrashes the air totally inconsolable (no they wouldn't ever admit they too feel helpless as if they have no idea how to raise a baby and wonder every day of the "best I can" is good enough - no they show there "sympathy" they say poor baby he looks so tired or a comment is made about what a fussy baby I have) Or when we visit with my sister and he is yet again exhausted as am I - at the table - another "what is your husband up to?" and I've not the energy to explain yet again why he is not here. I feel alone - and when he finally goes down for a nap everyone else proceeds to swimming as I catch a heavenly hour of sleep with my angel - only to wake up and get ready to join them surprised find them coming back through the door as I'm prepared to go out. Or when I try to converse and have a real conversation begging for some interest to be shown in the shrinking personality that once was me they don't respond or care to understand why I am not myself or why I seem unhappy ( no that is when the "sympathy" sets in again - she is unhappy being a mother or her husband should be here, and the speculation of what they decide my reality is becomes the truth in there minds)

I am tired of your sympathy - keep it for yourself - what I want no what I need is some empathy - for you to look at me and know the hurt I feel and the loneliness that clouds my joy. For you to reach inside the realist parts of yourself and remember the times you felt all alone and all you wanted was to be understood and taken for the truth you know and not the one some one else has made up in there mind for me.
Sharrose526 Sharrose526 22-25, F 1 Response Jul 1, 2012

Your Response


Hello...I know you're complete stranger, but I feel it's appropriate to share....I also have a 10 month old and his father and I just separated. We separated, not on terms I would have hoped for, but it was probably a blessing in disguise. My son and I too are adapting to major changes. <br />
My ex partner (my sons father's) whole family turned on me because he could not bare the guilt he'd felt after we broke up for how it happened, so he made everything my fault to his family and destroyed any possibility of us even being friends. It's not the same situation, but it's similar in that my son and I are alone as well.<br />
I understand it completely when you need to take their resting time to catch up on your own sleep. When depression (for me) kicked in, it was very physical and all I could do was sleep. For days that's all I could do while my son slept was sleep my self. <br />
My sons development has been slowed (I think) because of the major changes and he was not sitting until 10 and half months and he's almost 11 months now and just crawling now. People keep reassuring me that all babies are different and though I know this, I still can't help to think that his development would have progressed a lot faster had it been a better more positive and a more ideal environment. He's only just now sitting and crawling forwards at almost 11 months.<br />
It's almost 3 months and I'm just coming out of the depression, but it's still very much there 'cause I find everything over whelming (even taking my son out for a walk.)<br />
Depression can linger for months/years and postpartum has been known to be a risk right up to a year after birth.<br />
It most certainly can be challenging to try to relate or explain your self to people who ,just simply, will not listen or understand.<br />
Sometimes having more parents around of the same peer group or even just new parents can help on many levels.<br />
If you ever need someone to talk to you can always feel free to add me and message me.<br />
Please take care and I hope you'll take a chance and message me.