So­lar eclipse dis­play left a last­ing scar, in more ways than one

The China Post - - TV & COMICS -

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?

— S.

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.

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