Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Total Lack of Empathy

Last night I had to lie down because I felt ill. I'd had a couple of nights lighter on sleep than normal and, as a result, my eyes were even more sore and weepy than usual. I tried to watch TV, but even that proved too much, so, despite having had an afternoon nap, by 8 p.m., I couldn't even sit up because I felt lightheaded, nauseous, hot and cold and so dizzy I needed to cling onto the floor.

So I lay down and went to sleep. I slept, more or less, right through 12 hours, until 8 a.m. this morning, when the cats wanted breakfast. I forced myself out of bed, because I needed to the loo mostly, to feed them and get my own breakfast. Even though I didn't really want to eat, I knew hunger would make the symptoms worse. Besides, I've had 15+ years practice at forcing food down me, even when I feel dreadfully nauseous. Most people wouldn't. I did this as quickly as possible, so I could get back to bed, because I feel absolutely crap.

As well as general malaise and unbelievably awful level of nausea, today I'm shaking like someone who's had too much caffeine (I haven't); I ache in muscles, bones and joints; I feel like I have the flu (I don't); I have a feverish headache and I can't even sit up in bed, because I don't even have the strength to support my own head. Any stimulus, including noise, makes it worse. I need the light in the room to be relatively dim. The only way I can keep the desire to throw up down to just bearable, is to not move, so all I can do is to lie as still as possible.

But my mother didn't like it because I did not respond enthusiastically to her as she was whittering on about something that had absolutely no relevance to me - that she'd burst into my room uninvited to do. She thinks I'm rude and wrong for not being interested in this and storms off in a huff, slamming the door loudly, as though she's been affronted. It's not the first time, by far. She knows what I have wrong with me. I've given her enough literature that, by now, she must have a fair idea of the general symptoms. She certainly knows that my symptoms NEVER go away, but can get worse. It doesn't even occur to her that I might be feeling too ill to be interested. Narcissists and psychopaths lack empathy.


cinderkeys said...

A healthy person has very little hope of empathizing with the symptoms you describe. Pain is a different country. It's not something we can imagine without having experienced it.

That said, sympathy will do in a pinch. You don't have to understand how all those symptoms feel. You just have to take the person's word for it that they're BAD.

Hope your mother leaves you alone long enough for this particular patch of badness to pass.

Pamela said...

Yes, I know what you're saying, but she's old enough and has had enough complaints that she does have a good idea. And, you'd think that anyone with a modicum of imagination could at least get an idea, when I've described how I feel at various times pretty colorfully. For pain, I've asked her to imagine how she might feel if someone had beat her from head to foot with a baseball bat. She said she could.

But I'm afraid it's that she doesn't want to, because admitting it would mean she would have to acknowledge having been wrong, having caused me harm through her ignorance and, worse, it would mean she isn't the poor, sick center of attention. She was going round telling people - carefully worded - that she "did not believe there was anything wrong with me."