Go to Top

Why We Need to Embrace Self-Pity

I love self-pity.

It’s so necessary, because nobody knows how bad things can get for us sometimes like we do.

The only problem I can see with self-pity is that we don’t do it enough!

“But what about all those self-pitying types who go on and on about what a bum deal they’ve gotten?,” you might ask. “Don’t they have enough self-pity for all of us?”

I’m glad you asked.

Those so-called self-pitying types are only playing at self-pity. They talk a good game, but on the inside they’re their own harshest critics.

They continually abandon themselves, refusing to engage in genuine self-compassion while they chase after someone else’s sympathy.

It’s kind of complicated, I guess.

Paradoxical, even.

Check out this week’s post at this link:

The Self-Pity Paradox | Psychology Today

One more thought…

True self-pity is not about “playing the victim.” It’s about the cold, hard fact that sometimes you ARE the victim.

The truth can set you free.

Just my opinion. What do you think?

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Tina Gilbertson

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist, speaker and author based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children through therapy, consulting and other resources, and offers assertiveness training and executive coaching for organizations. The author of "Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them" and the "Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children," Tina is often featured in the media as an expert on communication and relationships. Her blog on PsychologyToday.com is called "Constructive Wallowing."
,

6 Responses to "Why We Need to Embrace Self-Pity"

  • Jasmine
    April 4, 2015 - 6:06 pm Reply

    I’ve reduced the duration of my self-pity sessions by following the guidelines in Constructive Wallowing. Everytime I feel dreadful, I think about the cold hard feeling in my gut or chest or wherever it happens to be, and I say silently “How awful to have such painful feelings. I’m so sorry you have this pain.” or words to that effect, and I also (discreetly if in public) rub or pat the place where it hurts. I still get the painful emotions often, but they pass much quicker than they used to. And I don’t feel as if I’ve been put through a wringer afterwards, leaving me more energy for being a Good Member of Society. AND nobody knows that I’ve been quietly nice to myself instead of awful!

    • Tina Gilbertson
      April 4, 2015 - 7:37 pm Reply

      Jasmine, you are a constructive wallowing rock star! Thanks for sharing your method. Keep up the great work!

  • Anonymous
    April 4, 2015 - 6:51 pm Reply

    Woah. That’s painful and sad to read. That describes my mom to a ‘t’. However the odd time I try to empathize with her thouh, she gets rather… Snappish.. Like ‘tsk! I’M not SAD… You think I’m sad?!” Or, it just fuels the fire and spins her into anger. I Used to think she’d appreciate having one of us feel or try to hear her side. But it rarely works. Ive learned to just keep my mouth shut now. There’s never a right thing to say.

    • Tina Gilbertson
      April 4, 2015 - 7:39 pm Reply

      Yes, zero self-pity. Won’t even tolerate compassion from others. It *is* painful and sad, especially when it’s someone important to you.

      I think of that snappish behavior as having a wall up, not against compassion per se, but against one’s own need for it. The wall is between parts of the self — in this case, “me” and “my need” — but such internal walls always create a wall between self and others.

      I’m so sorry for your mom, and for your pain in witnessing her trouble with this. Thank you for your comment.

  • Iris Reimringer
    February 19, 2018 - 7:22 am Reply

    Thank you for this short but necessary article. The consensus in our society seems to be that we’re not allowed even for one minute to feel a little bit sorry for ourselves. While it helped me a great deal to accept that bad things had happened to me and I could draw strength from the fact that I survived many catastrophes in my life, I was also able to facilitate other people overcome challenging times. I think it’s a really toxic mindset that denies us to feel sorry for ourselves, used by many to belittle negative experiences they don’t understand and don’t want to deal with. It’s surely no coincidence that especially in cases where women (and men) were sexually assaulted, they’re being told to not make such a fuss, not make themselves out as victims and go on living. At least here in Germany that’s often the case. (I would like to apologize for my bad English at this point.)

    • Tina Gilbertson
      February 19, 2018 - 2:41 pm Reply

      Iris, your English is better than that of many native speakers! Thank you for visiting, and for sharing your thoughts so eloquently.

Leave a Reply