I don’t feel like writing….

I don’t feel like writing… and the reason for this is not good. A blogger I follow is going through a rough patch and it is his pain that started mine. Empathy. I sense pain in others and take it on as my own. I don’t mean to, I know it’s not healthy – taking another’s pain as your own – but sometimes intentions aren’t enough to stop empathy.

This blogger is a young man and I am neither young, nor a man. He writes in a general way giving very little detail about his personal life, yet there is something in his writing that leaves the impression of much more below the surface.

I am drawn to reading his posts but I am an introvert, and there is the age/gender thing, so I am trying to stay hidden. Not an easy thing to do as his audience is still small.  Regular visitors stand out rather dramatically. With view stats he would see activity from my country only, but with likes and comments he would see my identity. So, I keep likes to a minimum, and avoid making comments. Eventually his curiosity about this person reading all of his posts has him trying to coax me out into the open. I steadfastly refuse to rise to the bait, until he shares a post revealing some of his pain. The encourager in me can’t help but respond, and I think this is where the trouble begins. But I could be wrong. It could have little to do with my response and much to do with the aftermath of his revealing some of his personal pain.

The trouble with wounded introverts, in my experience, is they over examine every interaction and then flog themselves mercilessly.  I can see signs of flogging going on. There is the unusually long silence and then today’s post indicating deep pain, with the probability of no more blogging. That would be a shame, on so many levels. I expressed this in a comment. I hope he hears and is encouraged to keep in touch.

I have been focused on what I imagine to be his pain paying little attention to my own pain based behaviors. Recognizing the resulting depression in me is the reason for this blog post …. forcing myself back into community, avoiding the tendency for withdrawal.

There is something therapeutic about the attempt to express thoughts and feelings in a way that makes sense. It helps defend against depression. And, community feed back  from posting is a bonus.

I hope my blogger friend will stay in community and keep writing. I know he will discover others who have travelled roads similar to his and will cheer him on, and he will discover growth in positive new insights about himself.

It’s working for me tonight, I would like to see it work for him too

And the pressure is off, hiding is over, no more avoiding comments and likes. Nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “I don’t feel like writing….

  1. Hello my friend! Thank you for this honest and indeed empathetic post. My profession in spiritual care emphasized the place of empathy in coming alongside people in emotional pain. There is somewhat of a price to pay in empathizing with other people. I believe you are exhibiting that price. Feeling the pain of others requires we know how to channel that pain in order to prevent such things as burn out.

    I sincerely appreciate your self-awareness as you think through your response to the young bloggers pain. I find the following statement indicative of how much you feel for him. You said, “I have been focused on what I imagine to be his pain paying little attention to my own pain based behaviors. Recognizing the resulting depression in me is the reason for this blog post …. forcing myself back into community, avoiding the tendency for withdrawal.” You show that you are aware of the need to channel a response to your empathizing with someone. As we come alongside others, even through a blog, the pain we may feel could have a negative response such as depression or withdrawal as you point out.

    The value of “community” can also never be underestimated. It is great you can write how empathy may play out in your life and express your pain to other readers. You mention “wounded introverts” in your post. As further feedback to your post I would like to suggest that, like me, you are a “wounded healer,” as Henri Nouwen talks about in his book of the same name. This is a healthy place to be for in it we recognize our own woundedness and with this awareness we may continue to empathize with others. We are, in a sense, in this “pain” together, yet it does not defeat us

    Like

    • Thank you for the insightful and validating comment. You are right, there is a price to pay, sometimes a heavy one. Learning to deal with the price is worth it though. I am deeply grateful to those who came alongside me in my pain and I want to pay it forward every chance I get. Blogging is a valuable opportunity to touch at least a few of hurting multitude, those suffering in silence and isolation. I keep their hearts in mind as I write, the thought of their need makes it easier to share openly and honestly.

      It is encouraging to meet other “wounded healers”, hopefully our numbers will grow as more of us learn to pay it forward. It is truly astounding to me, the number of hungry hearts out there, looking for someone to see, hear, and care about them.

      Like

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