Empathy for my father (not like it seems)

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marycontrary

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Empathy for my father (not like it seems)
« on: January 22, 2015, 12:32:53 PM »
Today is my Father's 70 birthday. I have been NC for almost 2 years. This is a very troubled person that has the relational skills of a 3 year old, though he tries to conceal this handicap it by being a Narcissist.

Well he has had some close calls to death (health wise), and he would be dead if I not had stepped in and intervened. He and I do have a very deep agreement about end of life issues, including DNR, medical directives. Before I was forced into NC, I told him that I would do everything I could to no have him suffer lingering agony. He was very open to moving to an assisted suicide state (should disability become terminal) and by declaring himself to be a Christian Scientist (not true) to avoid life prolonging medication. The thing is, he does not want to linger in a hopeless, human shell state, when the time comes. I totally got that.

The problem is, he gave my sociopath brother full power of attorney. And he finally broke the straw in a severe way with me. I have empathy, because my brother will permit neglect and profound suffering---letting humanitarian crisis ensue as my Father's health declines. My brother totally did this with our grandmother, and my father is well aware of it, cause he did it too.

I have empathy in that it must be terribly frightening to be vulnerable to prolonged suffering, with the prospect of neglect from your son. The only person who cared, me, has been chased off. But I had no choice. The abuse he put me through, even as an adult, forced me to fend for myself in order to not fall into psychosis. I totally have zero guilt, as it is survival for me. But it is probably terrifying for him. That is empathy.

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keepfighting

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Re: Empathy for my father (not like it seems)
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 01:11:40 PM »
 :applause: :applause: :applause:

I think it is great that you can empathise with your f in his current situation yet at the same time be compassionate and true to yourself in staying NC for your own health's sake.

That's one of the things I worked on in t: Allowing different 'realities' to co-exist: Your f's who is now totally dependant on the care of a son who's incapable of empathy --- and your own, who has been forced into NC with that same f because he himself has caused too much harm to you to let it continue. This way, you can feel true empathy towards your f without being FOGged back into an unhealthy relationship.

Kudos to you! It's very inspiring!  :hug:

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marycontrary

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Re: Empathy for my father (not like it seems)
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 01:38:58 PM »
Keepfighting, thanks much.

I mentioned this on Schrod.Cats thread. There have been a lot of studies on the outcomes of PTSD of vets. "Unfixed", the prognosis is very bad, and the lingering issues are overwhelming the VA. The rate of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, you name it, is much, much higher than those without. The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) survey, which has been studied for decades, had determined that CPTSD people like us live an average of 20 years LESS. Also, suffering and disability....quality of life at all levels is much lower. Again, higher rates of everything cause early death. So unfixed CPTSD leads to a crappy life with early death.

Let this sink in. Seriously, it took me a long time to "take in" these facts. This is the hard truth. I (and "we") cannot afford more physiological stress stimulation. I personally cannot afford it. If I ignore this fact, I might as well put a gun to my head. The only way to cheat fate is to very ridgedly control the situations that cause gratuitous, wasteful expenditures of energy in the form of stress. Don't have the resources, just don't have it.  No need to feel guilt over something that just isn't there.

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flookadelic

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Re: Empathy for my father (not like it seems)
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2015, 04:07:53 PM »
Ace reasoning and ace approach, frootles.

It is perfectly possible to have compassion towards those who have made their own beds and are forced by circumstance to lay in them. Compassion is "omni directional" - if we have compassion for others we must also have it for ourselves otherwise it isn't compassion, just sympathy. And sympathy is a very poor second. "Sympathy requires a hierarchy, compassion is a deal between equals" runs the maxim.

Compassion means we take care of ourselves so we are in a position to help when we can. Compassion recognises potential wasted effort and stops us, as it would deplete our usefulness to ourselves and, therefore, to others. So compassion encourages us to be healthy and together for the sake of as many people as possible. I have a little saying - "it's wonderful when I can help and it's wonderful when I can't". Because to deplete myself on situations I can't affect or would deplete me if I tried would be to drain me of energy and resources that can be best used elsewhere.

I'm told that I'm a kind sort so I don't think this is a recipe for selfishness; compassion, in this sense, is enlightened self-interest.

Re: Empathy for my father (not like it seems)
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2015, 05:09:20 PM »
That's the kind of attitude I want to have. I'm getting there.

One thing (not the only thing) that helped was this forum. Again and again, people talk about their family's or partner's or friends' abusive behaviour. And that one simple thing helped - MENTIONING the elephant in the room, calling a spade a spade, saying it as it is, no whitewashing, no excuses, just clarity. Again and again, people here model this for the rest of us. I'm finding it enormously inspiring, and it's helped me a great deal. There's a certain kind of strength and fearlessness to it: daring to go against everything our abusers have brainwashed us to believe, finding the truth, and standing by it.

It let me realize that I can have a s*** list. I never knew! Well, I knew theoretically, but it seemed inconceivable to actually put that into practice. There was this unwritten law: I must always, always excuse other people's bad behaviour towards me. But now - ah, now I have a s*** list. There are two people on it that, if they ever wanted to come off it, would have to bend over backwards to prove that they've changed. There are a few more that are just vaguely pencilled in. But all of them: the way they're acting now is unacceptable, therefore they're OUT. Oh my goodness, it feels so liberating.

And the thing is, I don't hate those people. It's the very FACT that I've distanced myself from them that lets me be compassionate. I can view them from a safe, dispassionate distance. They're messed-up people who were blind to the harm they did to me. A few weeks ago, I went purposely LC with my mother and brother. And now that I've done that, I can finally see them with that same mix of compassion, empathy, common sense, clarity, and self-protection.

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flookadelic

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Re: Empathy for my father (not like it seems)
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2015, 06:37:06 PM »
Quote
One thing (not the only thing) that helped was this forum. Again and again, people talk about their family's or partner's or friends' abusive behaviour. And that one simple thing helped - MENTIONING the elephant in the room, calling a spade a spade, saying it as it is, no whitewashing, no excuses, just clarity. 

Totally. Even understanding the behaviour of perpetrators doesn't excuse it. In a strange way not being crystal clear about the damage done by whom kept unhealthy conditions in place. Yes, I understand why my parents and brother acted as they did. Yes, I do feel compassion for them. No, I don't think my anger is unjustified or an unnecessary part of my recovery. Compassion and empathy isn't about becoming or staying a doormat.

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Kizzie

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Re: Empathy for my father (not like it seems)
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2015, 08:03:33 PM »
So sorry to hear about the situation with your F Mary.  :hug:   I am inspired by how much compassion you have for your F and more importantly for yourself. 

I'm not sure I would have understood what you posted even a year ago, but it resonates with me completely now.  I too got to a point where I realized I wasn't going to recover if I stayed in contact with my FOO. It wasn't much of a choice; it was me or them.  By distancing and disengaging I too found I was able to be much compassionate with myself, and in turn them and what a wonderful, life affirming antidote to the toxic brew that is unresolved anger, shame, grief and fear.   

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flookadelic

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Re: Empathy for my father (not like it seems)
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2015, 08:35:14 PM »
I wish my father had lived long enough for my recovery. I wouldn't ever have seen him again but I deserved a right of reply after over three decades of one way traffic. Ah well.

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marycontrary

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Re: Empathy for my father (not like it seems)
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2015, 02:12:21 AM »
Wow guys, THANKS for the support!

Guys, empathy is not the same as compassion...

Empathy is just being able to mentalize the emotional (emotional empathy) and/or cognitive (cognitive empathy) states of another person. Being an aspie, I can do the emotional empathy real quick (he's in pain), but it took me a few year to learn cognitive empathy (he has an manipulative agenda)...this is not forgiveness or a free pass...it is getting into another's head to understand perspective.

Empathy for oneself...damn took a long time for develop....is what drives the difficult decision of NC. Like Kizzie said...there comes a point that one will self destruct if he remains in the same toxic environment.

Maybe keeping in mind that we will die statistically 20 years early, with poor life quality, is enough for a come-to-jesus moment.
If if one has kids, how this will affect THEM. Sure wished my Mom had fixed HER trauma before screwing up MY life. She died at 58, roughly 20 years too early.