dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

On the fear of sympathy.

If you've been paying attention to the Pattersons as long as I have, you'll have noticed that the number of strips where someone offers anyone sympathy can be counted on the fingers of one hand. It seems to me that Panel Two of this installment of the "Liz takes third-hand gossip from people with an axe to grind as gospel" arc says it all. On the one hand, we have a woman suffering the heart-ache and torment of post-partum depression and on the other, a jackass who not only doesn't understand why she's in such a wretched state or that it isn't all in her hear or that she isn't a horrible person for not being what his narrow, empty mind says she's supposed to be, he seems terrified of offering his wife sympathy.

This seems to be as Pattersonian as bludgeoning children over the head with the "Needlessly inconvenience yourself or we can't love you" thing. It seems to me that the Pattersons are horrified by the prospect of trying to console the ailing in their vicinity. The reason Anthony tried to blame everything on Thérèse for wanting things women just shouldn't is the same reason Eva Warzone has for talking about refugees as well as the same one John and Elly use to justify their insane need to never really listen to their children. Lynn's mock wisdom about complaining being good for you unless you're doing so to the person you've got a problem with hints at why as well. Simply put, the Pattersons never want to console people because they're terrified of realizing that what they're doing is actually wrong and harmful. As an example, Elly doesn't want to reassure Mike that it isn't the end of the world if he isn't great at the trumpet because it would mean giving up the delightful vices of panicking over nothing to feel all big and important and assuming that he's out to destroy her in order to not admit that she's not some sort of special snowflake that everyone wants to keep down because she's too cool to be allowed to live free.

Elly also doesn't want to live in a world wherein the obviously unimportant and meaningless things her children do can be said to matter or wherein their feelings can be hurt because that would mean something just as terrible and wrong. Not only would it mean that she is a crappy parent who treats good kids like crap out of selfishness and malice, it would also mean that she's partway responsible for the chaos that baffles her.
Tags: ogres are us

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