I need to start this post by reminding you that I know nothing of what I’m writing about. I do not have any academic qualifications in psychology, or psychiatry. I simply write about what I observe, and as such you should take no notice of my words at all.
Having that out of the way… the past few weeks have seen me isolating, a lot. Mostly it has been to tend my wounds and allow for healing to begin. Contact with some people in the past while, has been more than a little painful, so time out is welcome. I am an introvert too, and while I enjoy the company of people, I also know that I gain my strength (and healing) through time alone. This isolating won’t last for ever, but for now it’s what I have needed.
I haven’t even been out to see L and her family. I miss her a lot but trying to explain to a two-year old, just how I feel is more than a little difficult. Nor am I able to go there and pretend my heart hasn’t been broken. No doubt a few hours with L would do me good, and I will do it soon.
Meanwhile there has been lots of reading, lots of sleeping, plenty of music and while I expected lots of writing (for myself) it hasn’t come, because I’ve simply found it too hard to put down the words. Oh, and lots of time with Ted.
The title of this post is ‘Four Types Before Me‘ because I have recently observed around me four types of people. Don’t worry, I’m not about to name names, simply to share what I have noticed.
The first type is perhaps what we might call ‘normal’, for want of a better term. Apparently that is a setting on a washing machine, although I checked today and my washing machine doesn’t have such a setting. Doesn’t that just say it all?
The normal person (for this discussion) is the person who has compassion for those around them but can balance it. They can balance their own needs against those they see suffering (animals and humans). They can feel for someone in pain, but they don’t allow it to consume them. Is that fair to call them normal? I’m not sure. I don’t even know what proportion of the population would fit this category, although in not knowing what I’m talking about academically, I can only assume that most people would fit this.
I have people in my life who very definitely fit this type. I admit I sometimes envy them. It must make life so much easier to deal with. It would provide balance and limits. It would allow perspective. Actually it helps to have them in my life because sometimes I need the reminder, even if I don’t personally manage balance, limits and perspective.
The next type of person I see at the moment is one that has me puzzled. This is where the psychology degree might help, because I’m one of those people who just has to understand what is going on behind that smile. The type I’m talking about is the person who shows every sign of being able to have compassion for others, but is seemingly completely unable to express it. They come across as very cold, indifferent and uncaring but I suspect that somewhere beyond that cold, almost vacant stare is the feeling. I have no idea what label gets attached to these people, but then what do labels really matter? All I can imagine is that something must have gone very wrong for those people at some time, and because of that, their ability to express feelings has gone… or at least is locked tightly away.
I admit I feel a combination of sad for them, as well as being frustrated to be on the receiving end of this. I’m guessing (but they couldn’t tell me) that it is an incredibly hard way to live, but I know too, that it is hard to live around. No one wins.
The third type in front of me at the moment is the person who simply has no compassion for anyone. Not human, or animal. It just isn’t there. If I can see compassion in that person it is highly likely that it is all a multitude of lies. They also seem to lack the ability to really love. It is so far removed from my own reality that it is really difficult to understand too.
There are labels for these people, but again, what do those labels really matter? These are people who are lacking a core ingredient of being human. It is incredibly painful to have these types of people in your life too, particularly if you’re not ‘in’ on the secret that all they offer is a lie. Again, no one really wins, and what life can it really be to have no regard for others.
Finally is the fourth type. A type that I suspect more, and more that I come under. I’ve heard lots of labels from empaths to highly sensitive people (HSP’s) and I’m sure if I had that psychology degree I’d know so much better how to label these people.
They are the people whose heart is overflowing with compassion. Every piece of evil in the world, almost literally stabs these people in the heart. We frequent places like change.org and the like, trying desperately to change the world, to stop the hurt and pain we see around us.
The pain we see in the world can make us physically sick, because we simply can’t bear the intensity of suffering around us. Having fibromyalgia is certainly not helped by this.
Let me explain that on the weekend I heard some news that I found very distressing. It wasn’t about me, or anyone known to me personally. It was something that had happened to some completely strangers. But it tore me into pieces. After stressing about it for several hours I had worked my way to a massive headache, which wiped out the rest of the day.
I know there was no perspective, no balance. I just saw people hurting and felt almost as if it was happening to myself. Since then I have purposely tried not to think about it, although being the type of person I am that is difficult in itself. But I know that for my own sanity, and my own health I have to find that perspective and balance.
Now can you see why I have been isolating?
There are of course, many other types of people but sometimes it simply blows my mind how different we are as humans. I not only have to deal with the reality of my own overload of compassion, but also relate to those others around me who are so different from me.
PS. I don’t often reblog other posts but I would recommend Summer Solstice Girl’s latest post on A Canvas of the Minds. We write on a similar issue although from a different perspective. I think she really is my long lost twin.
“At that moment I remembered something Cal had told me: that there is beauty in darkness in everything. Sorrow in joy, life and death, thorns on the rose. I knew then that I could not escape pain and torment any more than I could give up joy and beauty”
― Cate Tiernan, Awakening
- As the earth turns (acanvasoftheminds.com)