Monday, February 6, 2012

Got Advice? Get Lost

It's been several weeks now since our actual divorce and tonight I was hit with flashes of panic that she's really gone.  We've no longer any legal connection between us.  But what of it?  I mean marriage per se has never really held people together, not in an emotional sense.  Since my first divorce I've maintained the only thing that keeps people together is how they feel about each other.  It's true.

Some of my family and close friends have at times been tongue tied about what to say when I was in trouble.  These people are Christians and wanted to share beliefs and how faith helps them but knowing I'm atheist, they refrained.  They tried to help as best they can.

Glad though I was of their desire to help, I find it profoundly sad when a human being doesn't know how to stabilize and support a fellow human without invoking spirituality.  And while most people thankfully will never experience such egregious circumstances: losing marriage, home and future combined with the loss of health, which for me also means identity, as I did, still one surmises any human of depth has hurt enough to know how to "be there" for another without bringing religion into it.

Angie says for her the only people who are supportive when she's in crisis are those who feel her pain.  This requires empathy.  While I think most of us are capable of compassion, it's odd how many refuse to go there.  What, exactly are they afraid of?  Feeling someone's pain is far from offering advice which is often one of the worst things a person can do.  Advice isn't support.  It's not empathy.  It's a superficial quick fix attempt.  One size fits all platitudes and religious dogma alienate.  But of the three advice, particularly from someone who hasn't spent time to know the ins and outs of a particular situation, is the worst.  Quick advice from someone who doesn't care to go deep is aggravating and only reveals the advisor's ignorance.