It’s not always easy to know where to draw the boundary line between another person’s trauma, painful situation, feelings and stress or our own. If we have known trauma or pain ourselves we can resonate with another person’s pain and we may want the person not to suffer as it was so hard for us to suffer. But sometimes (often) suffering comes as a result of other hurtful unconscious people acting upon us or ourselves being driven by unconscious patterns from the past. That said we do need a limit on empathy at times and that is something I find hard as I tend to naturally extend my energy into another’s energy field.
I have had some lessons with all of this as you know in past weeks with my sister. Running around trying to guess what she would like to wear only to buy stuff take it to her and have it rejected and then I have to listen to her trapped very much in lost child, which is understandable and sometimes I need to help that child of hers but at other times I honestly find myself wanting to give her a metaphorical kick up the bum to take some action and get some backbone to fight for her True Self. Problem is, as my therapist points out this self is not accessible to her and that is what hurts to see most of all, as well as the collapsed posture she is adopting with hang dog eyes and pleading for strength from outside.
This may sound cruel but is what I witnessed on Wednesday and I am not going to see her tomorrow as I asked a friend to a movie a few weeks ago and am really looking forward to it and the last thing I need is to feel riddled with guilt. But my sister plays on how lonely she is and yet she could reach out, so it goes round and round in my mind. I know realistically people in major depression and being drugged cannot reach out, they would if they could.
The same goes for my friend overseas who I shared about this morning in a terrifyingly dangerous conflict zone. I didn’t put him there and I never knew how tough it would be when we first connected and last night I felt kind of angry he had pulled me into this kind of situation when he knew he was not free from it but at the same time why wouldn’t he? I had to shut the phone off last night to get some sleep as I am only just getting my pattern of sleep back after over 13 years on the back of major disruptive PTSD following the end of my marriage.
They say trauma attracts trauma and we attract souls who resonate with our own. And there was major war trauma back in my grandfather’s past and he died well before I was born and when Mum was only 7. At times I feel him and I feel his trauma. I think of all those women during the years 1914 to 1918 who watched their brothers and fathers and sons and lovers go off to war only to be killed. I watched the movie Testament of Youth a few years back and that portrayed the painful situation in the life of a real woman living in the early 20th century and it moved me so much I wrote a blog about it.
I question how I still hold my heart back a little and keep trying to pull up this boundary. Is it a sign I cannot love a person in a dangerous traumatic situation due to selfish fear of loss? I don’t know the answer. The last thing I need to go is give myself a hard time but it is a conundrum for me. I never seem to attract those who have had an easy life, but then neither have I. I don’t know if my friend will make it back home alive as the situation is escalating every day. I can only pray and ask for help to bear what I need to bear, to take care of myself as well and to find an answer to the question in both situations of how and when to draw the line?