I was reminded this morning whist I sat in the therapist chair, of the importance of Empathy.
She was full of it, empathy that is. She empathised at the struggles I face as a mom of 3, then at the challenges I face as an adoptive mom of 3. She offered empathy for my struggle trying to re-parent traumatised children and more empathy at my fight to seek out support for my family. She empathised about the struggles of parenting children with attachment difficulties, even at how difficult I find sharing my troubles to strangers on an online forum. She empathised about my dwindling friend network and the struggles I face with friends and family who through no fault of their own can’t possibly understand. She didn’t give me advice, she didn’t offer her opinion, she didn’t judge me or make me feel like a failure, neither did she praise me or tell me I was doing everything right. She just empathised.
I know she was just doing her job but she did it so well that I left with a smile even after being told I was on a 9 week waiting list! She understood that I faced difficulties even though she didn’t really understand those difficulties herself.
Empathy is such a powerful emotion. yet in their plight to help me, friends and family tend to be so eager to offer me their advice, opinions and thoughts without realising, really all I need is a little empathy now and again.
One of the Mom’s on the playground this morning, knowing I’ve had a tough week, showed me she was thinking about me when she asked me ‘are you ok?’ I wanted to hug her. Another friend helped me more than she knows this week by taking some time out of her own very busy life to just listen to me. They didn’t have answers, they didn’t offer advice, they just listened as I released some of my stresses.
I was reminded by an adoptive mum this week that my children leak trauma all over me, and right now I’m drenched in it and need to wring myself out a bit.
I don’t expect anyone to give me the answers, I’d just like someone to listen to me. What is it they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Given the lack of support groups available, I think I’m going to really benefit from counselling, when it finally starts.
I’ve learnt that Empathy can make a difference, I’m going to try and show it to my own friends and family a lot more!