Pain at Twenty Paces

Posted: September 8, 2012 in Postulates
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In taking stock in those that are suffering from tragic circumstance due to accident or unfortunate health issues, I have begun to consider the possibilities from both angles and am presently formulating my own perspective in regards to the potential psychological conflict.

It tends to happen quite frequently that when a person is suddenly stricken with a debilitating illness or some unforeseen accident, their life changes…not just because of their new health condition, but in regards to their surroundings…more specifically, their support group. Friends and even family members begin to disappear; they suddenly have work that gets busy…family with conflicts…studying to do…homework…chores…errands…

It seems whatever it is, there is always some reasonable reason for them to not be around, and quickly it becomes a habit until they have stopped coming around at all.

From my perspective, this happens for several reasons. We as typical arrogant human beings, have the ‘Superman Complex’. People see all these terrible things in the world but believe somehow they are immune. “It could never happen to me,” they say. We all do it. Let’s be real about this. When seeing a close loved one be hit hart or effected by such a situation, people can’t take it…people shut down. They can’t face the reality that it happened so close to them without accepting the fact that it could indeed happen to them. This is a terrible situation. They definitely don’t want to step out of their own illusion and face the fact that this is a real situation and someone they hold dear is suffering, so they instead move on…they’re no longer close to this person, they no longer have to face it.

An even worse situation is when people tend to assume that with suffering comes a lack of life…these people are not yet dead. They are alive and kickin’. And some of them are kicking very hard…desperately seeking some attention…some companionship. People get it in their minds that their loved one who is suffering can’t possibly have a life…what’s left for them to think about or speak about other than what is debilitating them. This is far from the case in a grand majority of cases. And even in those cases, there is a percentage of those that could be reverted to a more joyful life and situation if they had some companionship to inspire joy…to inspire life. Frequently, when people see their loved ones in that light, they feel as though they can’t handle being around them since they have nothing left. If you were around them, they would have you. Think about it.

Sadly, the bottleneck in this continued avoidance in efforts to ease one’s own situation…one’s own comfort level…one’s own selfish state of being…they frequently succumb to their own suffering. In dealing with their own psychological discomfort of the other person’s suffering, they avoid to the point of no return…to the point at which they feel they cannot come back…to the point to which their loved has moved on and doesn’t want them to come back…to the point at which they have lost their loved one…sadly there is no turning back.

The reality is that this sort of behavior is pretty typical in our society here in America. People have this whole, “can’t someone else do it” attitude. Or they are far too consumed with themselves and what they are going through to concern themselves with what others are being plagued by. In efforts to appeal to the masses and their inherent selfishness…I am asking you to think of it from a purely selfish perspective…

Are you willing to lose this person that you so quickly have lost the time for?

Are you ready to give up all you had with them and all that the future could hold for the two of you?

Dig deep and really truly analyze these questions and yourself…because far too many have had these questions answered for them…for lack of time.

Time continues ticking…you don’t want to miss out on all the joy that could be shared if you just thought for a moment from another’s perspective.

  1. Monica Robbins says:

    For all my opinions worth, I don’t believe the majority of people act this way. Maybe I want to be blind to it, but I personally feel these actions in time of stress, distress, or mass depression are actions of people who have some type of narcissistic personality disorder.
    Think about it, these people are there in good times, but when it gets hard they get the hell out of dodge. Why? Maybe it’s because they can’t recognize the emotions and feelings of the dying or ill. Now that the ill/dead person has the “limelight” the narcissist is no longer the center of attention or the “special” person.
    So what’s the best thing for this person to do? Walk away, pretend like nothing is happening, like they are suddenly to busy to deal with the current situation.

  2. Do you believe it to be far more likely that people are feeding into their own narcissism more than the idea of the ‘Superman’ complex? Is it possible that on some level, it could actually be both? There is something to be said for people’s inner desire to shine, and of course we can’t discount people’s exponentially growing selfishness…the reality is there is no true altruistic act in our modern society…or is there? Lets dive into that for a moment and ponder the idea of true altruism…is it possible that such a thing even exists?
    That having been said, is it not also possible that people’s narcissistic behavior is amplified by their own inner fear of not being ‘Superman’…having to face the fact that yes, at times these terrible things hit close to home and sometimes land right on your doorstep?

    Ultimately, in the end…whatever issue it is or whatever inner, psychological hang-up, or societal boundary is deafening the ears to the cries of the suffering…shall we not realize that in the end, those who walk away are the ones who lose something they may never regain…Is it worth rolling those dice to spare yourself a mere moment of selflessness?

  3. Monica Robbins says:

    Doesn’t altriusm exist? I mean look at firemen, these guys risk their lives to save people from burning buildings. Granted thats what they get paid to do, but in the most dire (potentially alturistic) moment with someone’s life hanging in the balance I doubt they are thinking of their next paycheck.

    As for the ‘superman’ complex, at some point people have to realize that they are not superman they are mearly average everyday Clark Kent, and by ignoring the injured or walking away from the sick they are slowly morphing into Lex Luther.

    As the saying goes “what you don’t have, you don’t miss”, once they walk away they don’t know what their missing, what they will never get to experience again. However as adults, we have to realize that we can not make decisions for others. If someone chooses to walk away because they want to, or they realize they are not in a position mentally or physically to deal with the situation there is nothing we can do.

  4. Something I have found particularly interesting especially within my most recent psychological research is the fact that it is something of great difficulty to be 100% certain when it comes to one’s intentions. It is quite fascinating. I like the direction you’ve taken here, Monica, but with that being said lets start at the beginning of your thought…
    You ask, “Doesn’t altruism exist?” The reality is it is something we have yet to be able to measure because of confounding variables. When speaking of the fireman, there can be many reasons that he would rush into the fire and save the child or dog from utter demise…he could be just going off of instinct and doing his job because it is what he was trained to do. The reality when it comes to things of this nature, altruism is so difficult to measure because of so many other variables…We can never be sure where one’s intentions are originating. There are numerous possibilities to consider when pinpointing one’s true motivation and when having to consider all these things…you can’t show evidence of true altruism without eliminating all those additional variables.
    Take your firefighter example…you would have to eliminate all his training which negates his instincts to jump into action. You would have to eliminate his paycheck which would take away the monetary compensation. You would then have to eliminate the ‘hero-factor’ by making sure no one not even the victim to which he rescues is aware of who his ‘hero’ is therefore he wouldn’t be doing it for the sake of heroism. At this point, you are dealing with nothing more than a citizen who chose to dash into a fire to rescue a stranger and escape undetected to be sure no one became aware of his presence. Even then, you have the karmic, spiritual, or moral justification that unfortunately I don’t see a way to eliminate this. To have a true altruistic act, you must walk away having gained nothing…not even gratification knowing you saved a life. Is that even possible?
    The reality is that I’m not offering an answer. I don’t myself know if there is an answer or if we will ever know. I merely find it to be a fascinating topic to ponder. I would love to know if you think it is possible to have a true altruistic moment…something completely selfless. Is it possible?
    I’m merely stimulating thought.

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