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Strawbean 07-23-11 10:08 AM

don't understand tragedy
I don't know how to respond to tragedy.
Some people get so sad watching stuff on TV, when something horrid has happened.
Tho people say that it's normal not to feel too, maybe it just doesn't seem real to you, it's not close to you.. but no- I'm always like this.
Things on the other side of the world, like tsunamis, things in the US, like 9-11 (I had friends who lived there), tragedies at schools, Virginia, Columbine, etc..
but even in my hometown, a suburb, several occasions.. 7 people died - nothing. People from across the country would ask me about it 10, even 15 years later if I told them where I was from. People I knew worked there + got lucky. Still - nothing.
In 2004, kids that I worked with lost brothers, cousins, etc.. I heard about it on the news. And the next day they tell me what happened, crying in class.. a sympathy, somewhat, but still, nothing.
My "stepfather" died. My mom asked if I wasn't sad. Implying 'what's wrong with you??'
My pets, my grandma. Stoic.
I'm afraid of losing people, very afraid.
But I feel like stone. I know with family matters, part of it was that it wasn't safe feeling around my mom, had to be strong for her + couldn't show weakness.. couldn't.
With people close to me, later I'm sad, I miss people a lot, but don't always feel much for a long time.
Most of the time though, it's nothing.

It makes me sad. I don't know what to do for other people. It doesn't make sense. I don't understand how people can be so connected to the world to feel so sad and greived. And I don't know how to help them when they're sad and watch the news day and night, waiting to hear the last of the news.
I don't understand. It makes me feel like stone. Like there's something wrong with me. Lonely. Selfish. Really selfish.

I wish I knew what to do to help others that feel so sad.. but I can't sit and watch the news all day. So I just leave them alone.
Not that I think that I can make anyone un-sad.. I just expect myself to be able to be more supportive...

Blue Girl 07-23-11 01:34 PM

i've known u awhile & i think u are very caring in other ways. i've seen u reach out to lots of people here over the years. a lot of times those tragedies seem very far away from me, too. on 9-11 i was living close by. i felt bad for not feeling worse, but i didn't know anyone personally affected, thank goodness.
and it makes sense to me that u didn't grieve much for your grandmother or "stepfather"- if i remember correctly, there were some situations there. i can't say u are wrong.
i don't believe u are selfish, maybe others have made u feel that way, but i really don't think u deserve that label at all

hottea654 08-30-11 03:21 AM

There are many ways to grieve, Strawbean. Some people show grief out in public, loudly. Others are like you. There is much variety in grieving. TV shows us how (we think) 'everyone' acts, or how we 'should' act and people begin to judge each other accordingly. From what you have shared, you have not been safe to or in a position to grieve naturally in your life yet. I grew up like that too. You may grieve more in an outward sense later when you are safe to do so, or you may never. Be who you are, and don't worry about it. Just guard yourself from judgmental people who might try to judge you for not grieving like they do.

You are not selfish, perhaps just more realistic. Maybe just let the sad people know you 'understand' or give them a quick squeeze. You don't have to dwell on things with them.

super147 08-30-11 03:50 AM

I think that hottea654 gave a really good answer and I would echo those words. People grieve in different ways and people handle tragedy in different ways. People are different, people have different circumstances and people have different emotional states and different backgrounds. Sometimes we don't feel things simply because our brain sees that as the best way of coping at the time. There is a lot of difference between being emotionally detached and being sociopathic.

I would always advocate that people don't try to force emotions. They will come when you are ready to handle them. In the meantime, the most people would generally expect is a bit of empathy and sympathy. Even if we can't feel what someone else is feeling we can generally understand how they MIGHT be feeling and can react accordingly. It sounds to me like you react appropriately to other people's pain and therefore you are doing the best that you can.

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