Solar eclipse display left a lasting scar, in more ways than one
DEAR ANNIE: About three years ago, I did something very stupid. I looked at a solar eclipse. I thought it would last only a minute and, not wanting to miss it, I ran outside and squinted at it through my sunglasses. I fully acknowledge that I can only blame myself for that. The next days and weeks were some of the scariest of my life. My vision became blurry and I had a hard time focusing. I feared that I might not recover my sight and that my center of vision might always be skewed because I had looked directly at the sun.
Thankfully, my vision gradually recovered. But one thing about this episode has left me deeply troubled. When I thought I would be permanently blinded, I needed love and support. However, my mother quickly became convinced that I was faking it. She insisted that none of it was real, it was all in my head and I was just imagining everything. It was frustrating and confusing. Why would she deny that I was having a medical problem? Why would she take a position that could only hurt our relationship?
Last week, during an eye exam, the doctor noticed a spot and diagnosed me with a textbook case of solar maculopathy. I passed this confirmation along to my mother, but even now, she won’t acknowledge how wrong, and in some ways cruel, her denial and indifference were.
In my right eye, I have a dark spot that follows wherever I l ook. I ’ ve grown used to it, but it is a constant reminder of this troubling episode. Am I wrong to continue feeling hurt? Or does this reveal something about our relationship and her moral character?
Dear S.: Denial is a very powerful emotion. It allows someone like your mother to refuse to believe that you have a serious problem and what it could mean to your future. She needed comfort, too, and this is where she found it.
Is Mom’s behavior toward you otherwise close and l oving? If so, we would put this in the past. Continuing to dwell on the hurt will only make you bitter and will alienate the two of you, which we assume is not what you want.