What Is Barbara Lazear Ascher's Trauma Of Compassion

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In 1980, Dr. Robert Plutchik, an author and psychologist, decided to get in touch with feelings. He constructed a theory of emotions, categorizing them as primary, secondary, or tertiary. In short, a primary emotion is an immediate response, while a secondary emotion is incited by the former, leading to the tertiary emotion, the most vulnerable to one’s control, and typically the most tenacious. Initially, it’s a chain reaction, with each emotion catalyzing its successor. In her essay, Barbara Lazear Ascher observes the behavior of her fellow New Yorker’s interactions with their homeless populace. She focuses on the emotions that come, and how they provoke the emotions that are presented. Out west, Nancy Mairs shares her compelling story of the difficulties she must face living with Multiple Sclerosis. Her trauma is impactful on many people. After coming to a standstill with her condition herself, she struggles to understand the way her disease affects those close to her. Barbara Lazear Ascher and Nancy Mairs illustrate how pity or fear lead to remorse before progressing to compassion, justifying compassion as a tertiary emotion. In these particular sequences of emotions, pity or fear present themselves as primary, remorse is implied as the secondary, and the tertiary lies in compassion. Nancy Mairs shares the things that impact her the most in her …show more content…

Though she doesn’t want to, she believes the people around her pity her for being “a cripple”, that they see her as disabled and small. They then feel remorse because she can’t change “the way [she is]”. Leading them to “profess fondness”, simply because it’s the right thing to do, because she cannot control her M.S., and they are aware of that, it just takes time to realize. Alternatively, a New York mother encounters a man that looks intimidating. Their interaction is brief, but says a great deal about the

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