Toxic Compassion

Is compassion ever a stumbling block?

If you had asked me that question 6 years ago, I would have given you the most sarcastic glare known to man. Of course compassion is always right, always loving, always good. Signs of compassion are what has kept my faith in humanity. There’s never a time where compassion may be wrong. … 6 years ago, I would have gone to my grave believing that.

Then my disorders developed chronic –almost never-ending pain.

People with Chronic pain – whether mental, emotional, or physical – get asked the question, “How’s your pain level?” quite often. It’s sweet, sometimes it’s needed, most of the time it’s sincere. I get that. I love that.

I don’t always want to answer it.

There are some days when telling people, “I’m better than I deserve” is truly just a cop out. But most days, that phrase is quite simply the only thing that keeps a smile on my face.

I don’t want my friends to construct their lives around my pain.
I don’t want to think about my pain.
I don’t want to serve my pain.
I need to ignore my pain.

As a believer in Christ, I fully rely on the fact that there is nothing handed to me that I must experience which can be considered “too much to handle.”
My pain, no matter how badly it gets, is never stronger than God. Therefore- I’m better than I deserve.

There are moments when I need someone to let me scream. I’ve been broken spiritually enough to learn I can’t take those moments away from myself; nor can I take those moments away from my friends. There will be days where I’m brutally honest and I will let those closest to me know that the pain inside my body feels as if I’m getting ripped apart. Have no fear, those days will happen.

But for the most part, I need to be able to live ignoring my pain to the best of my ability so I can live.

Asking someone about their chronic pain level is precious. It’s also understandable. But when it gets brought up from someone not in pain, it becomes a stumbling block.

Lovingly, please consider something that most people won’t say, but I have no problem talking about the “taboo” of chronic disorders (grin).

When you ask someone about their pain, you get the answer and then you are allowed to go about your day.

The person in pain is reminded they are in pain and then that is all they can think about. You may not understand how someone in pain can fathom the idea of exerting themselves, but they want to try. They need to try. If they don’t try, they’re serving their pain and they stop living.

Being asked randomly about their pain level forces them to forget their attitude of “I’m gonna do this. I’m fine. God’s good.”

Instead, it reminds them of the fact that they’re in so much pain they shouldn’t’ve gotten out of bed today.

Compassion can sometimes be poison when humans put words around it. Learn to let your hug say more. Learn that sometimes, all that person needs to know is that you know.


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