Tag Archives: empathy

Incapable of love

incapable of love

In a previous post I mentioned a very disturbing thing dad did right after grams died. The other day mom expressed her concerns about dad playing some songs that were played at grams’ funeral and since dad was still there I asked her to tell him about it, so we could resolve the issue for once and for all.

He has been playing those songs frequently and somehow I had hoped he would be considerate enough to steer clear of them until she had recovered from the grief of losing her mom a few months ago.

In my opinion, what he fails to realize is that she was very close to her mom and her death affected her a lot. He lacks empathy. From what I’ve gathered, he and his mom were never really close. She was a strict disciplinarian and at some point, due to the conflict of interests he ran away from home. That said, I feel he doesn’t quite understand that special bond between a mother and child.

He never had the pleasure of calling his own mother “Mom.” She forbade her own children from calling her ‘mother’. She never really wanted to accept she was growing old and it’s like she imagined being called mom would emphasize the fact that she was losing her youth.

Making up for lost love

However, we understood that fact a long time ago, and for that we’ve always showed dad so much love, hoping it would in a way make up for his love-deprived childhood, though he hardly reciprocates. I feel he deliberately pushes us away.

Shouldn’t the thought that we try to make him feel loved help him overcome the bitterness from his childhood? I am no shrink, but I imagine my presumptions are not too inaccurate.

What ensued though, was a fight. Dad argued that there’s nothing he does that sits well with mom. “People die, you will die too. Let everyone carry their own cross,” he bit out angrily. I hadn’t seen that coming. Somehow I had imagined he would be like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you felt that way.”

On the contrary, he seemed totally unapologetic. “Let everyone listen to the songs they like,” he seethed.

His response shocked me. I had hoped he would atleast empathize with mom. But then, the more I think of it, the more I realize why he seems incapable of love. The one person, who was supposed to show him how to love, didn’t.

Substandard parenting

I may never have this conversation with his mother-for respect’s sake-but I feel she’s entirely to blame for her children’s misfortunes. As damaged as dad might seem, he appears to be the best of the siblings. That definitely tells a lot about her. She failed her children, now we’re left with the empty shells she raised; mean people who don’t seem to know what love is.

How do we teach dad how to love? How to be empathetic? It’s true what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks; how can we possibly fill his heart with love, when he grew up, not knowing how it feels to be loved? How can he love, if he doesn’t know what love is?

In a twisted kind of love, I talked about how he has a weird way of showing us he loves us. He tells us he loves us, but his actions tell a tale of their own. I don’t remember any single thing dad did for me that made me feel he loves me. I get the impression that every little thing he’s ever done for my sisters and me, he did out of obligation.

When I was small, I managed to overlook his shortcomings. I knew I would have wished for a better dad, but somehow I still loved him, and hoped he would love me back. Now I’m all grown up, and there’s nothing he does that even gives the illusion he is capable of love. In any case, nowadays it even feels worse because he has become an alcoholic so any free time he spends away from the office, he spends it alone, drinking; and most of the time he is plainly hostile.

Neighbours who have come to know the type of man dad is keep telling mom whenever they meet outside, “Be strong.”

After that brief argument, he said goodnight and flounced out of the room. Clearly, it hadn’t gone the way I had expected it to. I know mom has her own shortcomings and all, but that’s not the response I had hoped for. She had approached him meekly, in a conciliatory tone; one that didn’t brook argument, yet he reacted like mom had thrown hot coal at him, throwing hands up in the air and all.

I know dad had a difficult childhood and that’s why he has turned out into the hostile man he is today. However, I believe even though we might not have the power to change the lives we led as kids, life gives us numerous opportunities to forge out our own paths.

It’s not easy trying to ditch one’s past, that much I know; but at the same time I believe that with a little determination one can make so much progress.

 

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We are all sinners

do not judge2

Have you ever felt judged? Feeling as if you have been pushed to a corner, all fingers pointed at you. I can barely count the numbers of times I have felt judged. At the same time, I also know there are times I judge, so I put others in the same hurtful place; that same place I don’t like finding myself in.

Why is it so easy for someone to judge others, when they themselves don’t like being judged?

Human beings are so judgemental; that’s something I always feel when I look at the society we live in. It feels like we are so quick to pinpoint others’ wrongs. According to the Bible, this is what Jesus said about that issue. “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and He will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.

Why then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your eye? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please let me take that speck out of your eye’, when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite!

First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7: 1-5).

The mere fact that we are all human means we are all sinners. And when it comes to the business of wrong doing, no one is better than the other. It would be hypocritical for someone to feel they are lesser sinners, because that brings self-righteousness; a trait which is so destructive. It smothers love and care, so that people are only left nit-picking.

How will I love my neighbour, if I feel she is a prostitute; he’s gay; he is of a different heritage; he’s from a different religion; people from his community are terrorists…? There are so many tags we use to justify our hate towards others. What we need to realize is that the minute we start branding people, being critical of their behaviour, we diminish the chances for love to grow; and last I checked, where love is scarce, dreadful things happen.

Christianity as a religion is based on the birth and death of Jesus Christ; but the latter mainly. He suffered on the cross for us, and died so that mankind would be saved, from sin. It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. But God has shown us how much He loves us-it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us. By His sacrificial death, we are now put right with God. (Romans 5: 6-9).

If we all were not sinners, why would God feel the need to sacrifice His only begotten son? When we read the Bible, we get an idea of what was actually done to Jesus during His passion, but when it’s broken down into precise details, it’s stupefying. The death of Christ was clearly beyond any human mind’s comprehension.

He was subjected to the ill-treatment of people who didn’t believe in Him; people who took His words for granted, mocking Him like He was just another mad man; people who treated Him like He was a sinner, yet He was the holiest of us all, and accused Him of blasphemy.

The way I see it, if Jesus accepted to die on the cross, because He knew what was coming to Him, it’s because He knew we needed to be saved. Why? Because we are all sinners! We may not all be thieves, rapists, murderers…etc. but we are sinners regardless.

Some of the wrongs we commit might not even be serious enough to be punishable by law, but whatever the wrong, we are sinners. And this is something we need to remember always before we go out acting like we are our brothers’ judges. If we think our brothers have specks in their eyes, then that’s nothing compared to the logs in our own eyes.

As a child I always heard that ‘if you draw the sword, you will die by the sword’. A deeper translation of that would be, we will suffer the same fate we condemn others to. With this in mind, we need to reflect on our actions as individuals, and imagine how it would be if we were judged the same way we judge others.

do not judge

Sometimes it’s not even about the things we do that are legally wrong, but about those small things we do that cause others so much misery. For instance, a young girl from a poor family marries into a rich family and when she is all rich she forgets her poor background, and when her own daughter is old enough to marry, she forbids her from marrying a poor guy.

That leaves me wondering, what would have happened had the rich guy, who married the poor girl, looked down on her because she was poor? Would that woman have become rich in the first place? Would she have the clout that gives her the courage to ask her daughter not to marry a poor man?

Walk a mile in someone’s shoes; that is the best way to understand what someone else is going through. When we imagine ourselves in other people’s situations, we will atleast get an inkling of how it feels to go through what they are going through; and when we understand that, we won’t judge as much/at all for that matter.