One-Way Compassion

Many problems between houses start because someone is actually trying to solve a problem.

A father desperately misses his kids. A stepmom is trying to find her place in a family with lots of history that came before her. A mom feels disoriented, sharing parental responsibilities with someone she doesn’t know.

People struggle with their emotions and act in less than helpful ways — or behavior they think normally doesn’t “apply” to them.

And yet… it does… when they’re in pain

It’s easy enough for us to “excuse” our behavior, because WE know what’s at stake for us, what we’re grappling with, the anguish we feel in our hearts.

And so we have compassion for ourselves, we have understanding for the difficult time we’re having in our lives.

But what about the other side?

Where does your compassion for them begin and end?

Can you see their pain? Can you reinterpret their angry, manipulative, crazy behavior?

A hint…

If you find yourself swinging back and forth on the pendulum of being a hero or victim/martyr in your situation, your compassion might be on too much of a one-way street.


  1. Dina McCausley says:

    The last sentence ~ meaning that you’re having comapssion for yourself, but not the other woman/situation?
    I think it’s really easy to get too myopic in these kids of relationships ~ I also think it’s really easy to get so caught up in your ‘victimhood’ (as I have done this in the past in other relationships) that you can’t see just how much help the other side is giving, or how much compassion they are showing you. It’s like you end up not being able to see anything but what YOU are doing and how much YOU are giving and then resentment creeps in and makes it nearly impossible to see the reality of what’s going on ~ which sometimes is that the other part of the relationship is bending over backwards to try to be a friend/partner and because you’re so lost in your own head, you can’t see that they are starting to feel resentful because they aren’t getting anything back but negativity.

    I just creates another circle of resentment and anger….

  2. Exactly, Dina! It’s a very human thing to do… and yet worth watching out for! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  3. Accountability! One of my favorites!

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