1. Sympathy and sorrow aroused by the misfortune or suffering of another.
I think that the definition of pity isn’t the way most people think of it. I grew up seeing others’ reaction to pity being something that no one else wanted someone to feel for them. It is a negative, judgmental emotion. It is seeing someone else as a victim. It wasn’t compassion or empathy. It wasn’t assistance to become healed, assertive, or empowering. Wikipedia says, through insincere usage, it now has more unsympathetic connotations of feelings of superiority or condescension.
It was a kind of commiserating and cloying emotion that others felt for their lessers, as though you are less than me so I will feel some sort of superiority and feel sorry for you as being beneath me, because of what you have gone through and continue to go through.
Okay, not something that others would like to go through or feel that others are feeling that way towards them. I have been the victim of a pity session with a few people. I can see it in their face, in their voice, in the way that they move. They pity me. It was completely unpleasant. It was a real attack on my self-esteem. I don’t like it. I don’t want it, ever again.
I don’t feel it for other survivors. I don’t feel it for the inners in my multiple system. My inners don’t feel it for me. I don’t see any of them as being less than me. I don’t see myself as being superior to them. What I know and feel is how wonderful, awesome, inspiring, brave, and courageous they are.
But here is the thing: I do it to myself all the time. Feeling pity for myself has really served me poorly in my life. Underneath all my healing efforts, on some deep level I didn’t admit to, I was seeing myself as lesser than, inferior, a victim and feeling pity for myself. I suppose I started doing it when I was very tiny and it comforted me, at least someone felt something for me, even if it was only me.
Well I didn’t know how to see myself in any positive way then. No one in my family showed positive feelings towards me or treated me positively. Even though I have learned to see many good things inside of me and my actions, pity has been underneath everything else, enforcing all the negative that my abusers and family taught me and believed about me, setting up a pattern for my life.
I don’t need to be feeling sorrowful all the time about my life, about my childhood, about the abuses we endured, about my physical challenges and disabilities, about my life history, about my current and future life.
I was realizing this yesterday and I knew that I needed to stop that. I’m not less than others who have been abused. I’m not less than others who have not been abused. I am not without intelligence, wisdom, compassion, or skills. I really am marvelous.
Yes I can feel lots of emotions about my life; past, present, and future. But pity and sorrow, no. I can do my best and feel proud of myself/ourselves. I see all that. No more pity.