Ideas from books, articles & podcasts.
Pity is an especially problematic and painful treatment, although it might seem very close to kindness. When someone hears of a problem we have, they may ask us with concern how we are doing; they will inquire if they can get us anything at all; they will say they imagine how awful things are.
To be pitied is to be placed in a category of loneliness and freakishness at the very moment when we really long for solace and confirmation of being human.
MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE
Both the pity-bearing and sympathetic person will recognize our troubles; they both may say 'poor you.' But the pity bearing person does something cruel by implying that the mess we're in is only ours. They must remind us of the distinctiveness of our situation and keep us at arm's length.
The pitying person knows how desperate our situation is, but then use their energy to make it clear that our sorrow is ours alone and that any similar horror could not ever touch them.
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