It’s normal for people to feel empathy towards someone who is suffering. However, when someone who has hurt or abused you or someone you love, it’s just as normal to feel little or no sympathy towards them. It can be very challenging to navigate these feelings, but it’s essential to understand that it’s a natural response. Today, we will discuss this topic & provide tips for how to cope.
Feeling little or no sympathy towards someone who has hurt or abused you or someone you love is a natural defense mechanism that helps protect you from further emotional harm. When you experience abuse, your brain recognizes the perpetrator as a threat, & it triggers the natural response to protect yourself. This response can cause you to distance yourself from the abuser physically &/or emotionally, & feel little or no empathy towards them when they are struggling or suffering.
Coping with the emotions of feeling little or no sympathy towards someone who has hurt or abused you can be challenging. It feels so foreign for the average person, because people naturally have some degree of empathy for their fellow human beings. It’s so important & helpful to acknowledge your feelings or lack thereof & not judge yourself for having them. Instead, remind yourself that you are ok! Yes, your response is abnormal in most situations, but in your abnormal circumstances, it is very normal.
As a Christian, praying for your abuser can be a powerful tool for healing, but it must be approached in a healthy way. Praying for the abuser also does not condone their behavior or mean that you have to have the goal of reconciling with them. Instead, it helps you to release any anger or bitterness you may be holding towards them while obeying God’s command to pray for our enemies. It’s hard to do this sometimes, I know, but it does get easier the more often you do it. God knows this & understands. I learned in these situations that I might as well be totally honest about it. I have prayed for people & told God, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t care right now about what happens to them. But, I know You want me to pray for them, so I’m doing it.” I figured that God knew what I was feeling, so why not just be honest about it? Pretending I didn’t feel that way wouldn’t fool Him. And you know what? Not once did He judge or even criticize me. He appreciates the effort we make to please Him, & I think even more when we do things that are very hard for us. Also, after praying this way a few times, it got easier & my prayers finally became more sincere.
There also have been times I simply couldn’t pray for these people, no matter how much I wanted to. I learned in those times to ask those close to me to pray for them & for me to be able to pray for them. In time, I was able to pray for them as well.
When someone is suffering, even when you feel nothing for them at first, sometimes it can be tempting to try to reconcile the relationship. It’s so to remember that narcissists don’t change just because they’re suffering. They may behave better temporarily, even after the suffering is over, but that change is almost never permanent. Exercise wisdom & ask God for wisdom & discernment in your situation. Only reconcile the relationship if you know beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is God’s will. Never feel badly about distancing yourself from your abuser & protecting yourself from further harm, no matter what is happening with your abuser.
You will be wise to focus on your own healing & well-being & not let your or your loved one’s abuser’s struggles or suffering distract you from such things. Remember that it’s normal to feel little or no sympathy towards someone who has hurt or abused you or someone you love, & there is nothing wrong with distancing yourself from them. Feeling little or no sympathy for such a person is a normal response to an abnormal situation. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you or that you’re a bad person. You are simply a normal human being.
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