Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Disguised Loneliness in Families

From Marianne Wiggins' The Shadow Catcher:

"I don't think children can identify loneliness in others.

Although lonely themselves, sometimes, I don't think children have the depth of experience to recognize loneliness as a state of being that exists in others.

I don't think we, as adults, are especially aware of loneliness in others, either, unless that person is obviously alone, sitting on a bench, sitting at a remove, picking idly through trash on a street corner, staring from a window.

When loneliness exists inside a family, it havens its own silence. Families breed loneliness that's disguised as shyness, or as boredom, or as sleep.

Families are designed to be the social antidote to solitude, so to learn to search for signs of loneliness inside a family goes against our instincts.

We're not taught to look for loneliness, so it passes, like a shadow, over dinners, over evenings watching the TV, between married couples, between parents and their children.

The silence that was probably a kind of dull ache in my father emanated to me as a kind of comfort."

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