Who Suffered Most
This is a perfect companion piece to yesterday's entry about the wonderful Ring Theory. Surely this describes a woman who was unfamiliar with those suggestions! From Joyce Wadler in the New York Times comes this essay about responses to others' problems--as in, my suffering/accident/loss/illness was worse than yours. I often hear this concern described as an issue in some support groups--that is, it can seem as though there is a hierarchy of breast cancer misery, and a woman who needs less treatment than others may be made to feel that she shouldn't complain. I truly hope that no one ever feels that way in one of my groups; I am on alert for such a sequence of feelings, and I think I manage it satisfactorily. Of course some of us need more treatment than others or longer treatment or have even scarier diagnoses, but we are all in this together.
Here is the beginning of Ms Wadler's piece and then a link to read more:
I was in that prison of enforced intimacy, the elevator, when I ran into a neighbor, her face streaked with tears, who was taking her sick cat to the vet to be put to sleep. I did what New Yorkers do in such situations: avoid eye contact and make believe I was living on Krypton, as the woman stated the obvious to another neighbor: Fluffy was indeed walking, actually being carted, the last mile.
That’s when I heard the voice of a woman, who, for the sake of discretion I shall refer to as Mom, speak up:
“You know, in a way you’re lucky,” she said. “What happened to me was worse.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/booming/who-suffered-most-a-contest-for-the-tact-free.html