een thinking about this use of the expression 'pity pot'. Given as I am to episodes of major depression, I have often had this term applied to me and it has never felt anything but condemnatory.
I don't think it is my place to determine whether or not the person engages in self-pity or not, but to offer comfort and solace as best I can. An example. It is from my own life and so is full of the "I/me" language.
There is this wonderful woman in my church who is going blind. She is twice widowed, well up in her 80s, no kids, no family ties as far as I can tell. She is financially comfortable but she is going blind. When I first met her, she would talk about going blind constantly. Other people in my church would tell me she doesn't talk about anything else and they are tired of the subject. That they would say such a thing pissed me off, forgive my language.
When she started to talk to me about going blind, I heard her tell me how anxious she was about being alone, how often she is bored because she can no longer read and how fearful she is about aging and being alone. She didn't volunteer any of that. I asked questions, had answers and to sum up, I told her that her situation is the shits, again forgive my language, but it cheered her up no end to have someone validate the horror that she experiences.
The other day someone mentioned that she hadn't spoken very much about going blind recently. Had there been a change? And she said "No. I'm still going blind. But whenever I think of it I remember Sr. Gloriamarie telling me it's the shits that I'm going blind and that makes me laugh. And then I remember how many people call me everyday to see how I am and to offer to drive me here or there and I realize I am not alone."
To me the expression 'pity pot' implies a value judgment that Person A has leveled Person B that communicates it is Person A's opinion that Person B really has nothing to complain of or that Person A thinks that Person B is being x,y or z, fill in the blank with your pejorative of choice. And what it all boils down to is that person A thinks Person B is a nuisance and should go away and not bother Person A. Person A feels they have taught a valuable lesson and Person B feels like dying or something.
Now, I suppose there are people who are chronic self-pitiers, and I suppose I have exaggerated the above, but even so, there is some sort of reason behind it what we choose to interpret or perceive as pity. And for whatever reason, our society here in the USA regards pity as bad thing. I can't imagine why, because without pity how do we have sympathy, empathy, compassion and change? Of course, once we experience sympathy, empathy and compassion, we have to become involved so maybe that's why we dismiss it as the pity pot, so we don't get involved.
I guess what it comes down to, as I see it, is that when Person A identifies Person B as being on the pity pot, Person A is really revealing a very great deal more about Person A than Person B.
I don't think it is my place to determine whether or not the person engages in self-pity or not, but to offer comfort and solace as best I can.