That some people are pity-blind
September 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
M says that she wants me to tell her what I feel and think; but there is no point: I’d have to expend vast amounts of time and energy on explaining myself, which I do not care to do — I am too old, too tired, and too… realistic: even if I did — she probably wouldn’t understand the explanation. M’s inability to grasp how I think and feel is astounding: she has known me for 25 years; corresponded with me daily for 10; has spent hundreds of hours on the phone with me; yet, she does not understand the most basic ways in which I function.
When, in the darkest hour of my life she refused to help me – I had asked her for a $12,000 loan: a relatively small sum given her resources, but one that could have changed my life entirely; and, in the same email, sent me a photo of a $6,000 chandelier she’d just bought; telling me, in effect, that a chandelier was more precious to her than my fate; her intention was clearly to hurt me. It worked: it did hurt me. Yet, not, as she imagines, because she was showing me that a chandelier was more important to her than my fate; since by then I had come to know well that M has no clue as to what she should or should not want; indeed, in all her life decisions she seemed resolved to make the wrong choice at every turn; but because she was so transparently setting out to hurt me. It was her conscious decision to hurt me that hurt.
It continued to hurt for a long time. Which is why I stopped writing; writing reminded me of the hurt; not writing allowed me to forget. (Which, eventually, I did: the wound stopped bleeding, then closed, and, eventually, nothing but perfect indifference was left. Now, like a great philosopher, if I could by the destruction of the whole world and all the living creatures within it, relieve myself of a small twitch in my pinky, I would; and the opposite: if by inventing a cure for AIDS and malaria, or a machine that turns stones to bread, or a pill which prevents violence and war, I could relieve the same pinky twitch, I would, too: my pinky matters to me more than the whole world’s happiness or — otherwise — does. M’s, unfortunately, included).
Yet, M imagines that I had stopped writing out of vindictiveness. She imagines this, I suppose, because that is the way she functions; and because this is how the people she knows function. But I am not like that: I was hurt at the time, but if I had any feelings towards M, they were the feelings of pity. By her own foolishness she was pushing me away; she thought she was disciplining me, but she was in fact — losing me: losing the only thing that — she repeatedly declared — gave her joy. She was, in effect, punishing herself; cutting off the nose to spite the face. How could I not pity that? Yet, M does not understand it. Pity is not a feeling she understands.