where sympathies lie

by Andrea Elizabeth

So why do I get sadder at the injustices done to the mother/child relationship than to the male slave? My evangelical/conservative/fundy/19th C feminist (when it comes to injustices) background? I don’t really like that characterization, though how could I not be influenced by it? My feeling, as romanticized and based on childhood experience psychology as it undoubtedly is, is that my first trauma had to do with how ill (many times at death’s door) my mother has been ever since I was born and how protective I felt of her and devastated by the thought of losing her. Also because of how I responded to circumstances with my dad that I’ll honor him by not putting (biting my tongue) in public. Should I sacrifice this code of honor for the mental health that could benefit my children (by the help I received from therapeutically talking about it which I haven’t decided is worth it) if I indulged? I feel public opinion says no. I have felt relief from saying stuff on the internet in the past. Since I’m undecided on the value of it I’ll refrain. When in doubt you know. I’ve already said enough to not benefit from being virtuous, but enough to provide the relief I want? Maybe.

I’ll grant that I need to move beyond my individual past experience and try to sympathize more with the male predicament. This is made easier by my sympathy with my husband whose toil at work has probably contributed to the premature grayness of his hair. Men are the brunt of enormous pressure to perform. This involves being kicked from above either physically (in past days) or emotionally (due to the modern importance of stock market bottom lines). This pressure has in the past contributed to how some (in trickle down fashion) kick their animals, wives and children. I’m not a determinist so I don’t think it has to be this way, but I know when my feelings are hurt I want to hurt somebody too, so I don’t know how other people stuff it. My husband does not get revenge. I’ve never seen him “react”. He just gets stomach trouble, and like I said, gray hair. He’s a saint. God bless him.