Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Total Lack of Empathy


Last night I had to lie down because I felt so 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 for me, so, despite having had an afternoon nap too, by 8 p.m., I couldn't even sit up because I felt lightheaded, nauseous, hot and cold, downright weird and almost like drunk and needing 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.

To add to the feelings of 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 everywhere, I feel like I have the flu (I don't), I have a feverish headache and a strange feeling in my back that I get when I have a fever too. I can't even sit up in bed. I don't even have the strength to support my own head. I need the light in the room to be relatively dim and the only way I can keep the desire to throw up down to just bearable, is to not move. Any stimulus, including noise, makes it worse, but I'm trying to keep myself amused with the computer - with simple things - just so I can keep awake and sane.

All I wanted to do and, indeed, all I can do is to lie as still as possible.

So, 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 whatsoever. So she grunted, impatiently - because she thinks I'm rude and wrong for not being interested - and storms off in a huff and slams 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. She never thinks to ask.

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."