Sunday, 22 November 2015

Self-focused Ideas on Compassion

Maybe the iRun person is running from my parents

Today my parents told me that I rank very low on the compassionate scale.  According to my mum I was born without the ability to see past my own nose.  My dad says I'm incredibly self-focused, but he hopes that I'll change when I turn 30, and apparently self-focused people are more successful, to which my mum replied that it's because they don't give money away to charity.

It's just sad that my parents are the people who know me best, and if anyone were able to judge how compassionate I am, or how self-focused I am, it would be them.  So does that mean they're right?  Does that mean that when my mum tells me I don't feel as much I really am cold-hearted?  She said it was a fact - not an opinion, but the truth.

They made these allegations based on what they thought my sister would do.  They hypothesised that my sister would go to the hospital with my dad for his sprained leg, or that she would most definitely ride in the car with my mum to pick me up (in this case they were asking me to come and fetch her).  So here's how the situation played out: We went to pick up my sister, and she started by questioning why I was in the car.  She didn't understand why I would come to pick her up, which shows that she most definitely wouldn't come to fetch me.  Then, when my dad asks her if she'll come with him to wait in the hospital, she replies the exact same way I did - "If you drop me off at the hospital I can walk home.  Why do you need me there when you're clearly fine?"  Somehow my parents still think she's infinitely more compassionate than me.

So based on their dodgy evidence, I can't be certain their opinions are facts, but they're still their opinions.  When my mum tells me that I was born without the ability to see from other people's viewpoints, that I don't feel as much, it really really hurts.  I don't believe that I feel any less than the average person, and I don't believe that I'm incapable of feeling compassion, but do I come off as heartless to general people?  Do I come off as extremely self-focused?

As an insecure 12-13 year old I used to pretend to be over-confident.  I wanted my parents to think I was fine.  I wanted them to think I had loads of friends, and I was never pushed around, and I was good at everything, and I had no reason to be upset - and it's sad how easy they were to fool.  Well, they seem fooled anyway, even until this day.  Maybe they do see through the cracks but just don't say anything, but they honestly think I'm a super strong-willed person who never lets anyone get the upper hand.  I actually wanted them to think I was self-centred.  I told them countless times that I wanted to be a billionaire when I grew up, that I aspired to be some kind of Bill Gates and have servants.  I think they believed me.

And even to this day, when I've stopped pretending to be someone else and I've started to tell them my real problems, they still think I'm that pretend person.  They haven't caught up.  They think I'm insensitive, that they can later use the issues I've spoken about to justify why my friends are weird.  They say my sister's friends are all perfectly nice, but I know for a fact that she doesn't tell them about the conflicts that happen in her friendships.  If she told them they wouldn't use the information to get back to her when they're mad as they do to me.

You see, they have this stigma that she's weak, that she needs help with everything, that she doesn't have very many friends.  As a result they give her rides to the far corners of the city, they think she's super compassionate, they think she's sensitive and feels more.  Seeming insecure doesn't make you feel any more than the next person.  Just because I don't act insecure around them doesn't mean I'm not.  Even if I tell them about any insecurities I have, they don't view it as real.  They dismiss it.

But if my parents don't know who I really am, then who does?  Will anyone really know me or am I all alone in that aspect?  But if my parents do really know me, that means I'm uncompassionate and self-absorbed, and I don't know which is worse.

I'm not saying I'm not self-focused, because I honestly know that I am.  I honestly know that most people in this generation at least are.  In fact, most people are.  We think of ourselves because that's who we spend the most time with.  We think of how people see us, who we have relationships with, how we spend our time.  We're just as self-focused as the next person, and I think it's unfair of my parents to tell me I'm this way when they're no different.

My dad used to force us off the computer when he wanted to use it.  When I tell him about my day he doesn't listen or empathise - he moves on to asking if I got any marks back.  My dad refuses to drive me anywhere, whether it's 5 minutes away or causes him to wake up earlier (which is still later than me). I know for a fact that he worries about how people see him, or how many friends he has, or getting recognition.  He goes on about how he himself is so compassionate.

They're disrespectful in the sense that no matter how often I tell them my opinion, or my plans for the day, they disregard it.  Even my sister mentioned that I spent a whole chunk of yesterday going on about how today was my rest day, but instead my dad sent a message to my mum going "I changed my appointment to 1 so we can delay her more. Ha ha."  Now how childish and spiteful is that?

It's sad how once they have an opinion, they can't change it.  I've called them closed-minded in the same way they've called me cold-hearted, so maybe we're even, or not.  I don't know if they have the capacity to feel compassion for the way they treat me.

I still need them, but one day I won't.  One day they'll have nothing to childishly hold over me, and maybe on that day I'll drive away and not come back.  The friend we picked my sister up from today apparently has an older sister, and apparently she got into an argument with her mum and they didn't speak for 6 months.  I can imagine that happening if things don't change.  If my parents see me as this person forever, maybe I won't be able to deal with this negativity in my life.  If they can't change their opinions, they won't change the way they treat me.  They won't stop disregarding my opinions as wrong, or yelling at me for looking out for myself even though my sister does the same.  My mum had the nerve to call me resentful of my sister - and that's true in the sense that she gets much better treatment, but not true in the sense that she 'feels more'.

I spent three hours of the morning of my 'rest day' in a yelling match with my parents.  I cried for the first time in ages, which shows that their comments must have really hurt.  They didn't stop though.  Does that make them bullies?  No eggs benedict is worth this amount of disrespect and maybe they're right - I really don't enjoy spending time with them.  Let's just say I won't be going out for breakfast with either of them for a long time.



  1. I have had this exact same problem with my mom and younger sister, and I wish I could say it improves but even though I am no longer a child my mom and I still have a tumultuous relationship at best, and my sister is definitely higher in her eyes. I just don't care the way I used too.

    1. It's difficult how once your parents see you as one person, that person never seems to change. They don't understand that growing people make mistakes, and growing people evolve based on their environment. In my case, I'd say my parents see me as higher than my sister, but they say she must 'feel more' to compensate for what they think of as my success. It's sad that these rigid opinions lead us to one day not caring what they think.

  2. For many years my parents were my Gods. Whatever they said was sacred and I didnt have a courage to oppose it. I heard many things about whom I am and listening to it for years made me believe it is true.
    One day I looked in the mirror and I knew that I am not whom they consider me to be. I knew also that I do not have a courage to be anybody else until I am with them.
    I decided to leave. It is 6 years now that I am gone. Being alone helped me to be myself. Without their breath on my neck I could have made my own choices and deal with its consequences on my own. I didn't have to give explanations and excuses to anyone anymore. I learned to be happy.
    I love my parents, they are great people and I am grateful for what they have done for me. I am glad for whom they made me to be. It is just thanks to them that I had a courage to leave my safe life at their side. It is just thanks to them I was able to think, to undermine whatever I had in my life.
    I love them and I never felt it more than I do now.
    I wish you to find such peace.

    1. I love my parents too, and I used to think they were Gods too. Supposedly our parents are supposed to know us best, but what they think of us still shouldn't get to us, because the generation gap and their inability to understand our environment show that they can't possibly know who we actually are. My mum moved out at 15, so I don't think she understands the concept of giving a child independence. I think that maybe I will find peace the way you did - by finally moving out.