How does self-pity differ from the factual statement of pain and the cry to God?
Do people who can’t hear God, no matter how much they want to, have self-pity standing in the way so all they can hear is themselves and their own pain?
There are the ones who are “obviously” in self-pity because they are continuously expressing “woe is me” in one way or another. Their whole demeanour is one of “woe-is-me”, even the way they talk is very whiney. This is off-putting to others. Such people may have few friends, or if they do these friends may be suffering in a similar way.
There are others whose self-pity is not so obvious. The clue seems to be that like the “woe-is-me” people, they keep coming back to the same things and going over the same ground, like a merry-go-round that never stops for them to get off.
With either group deflection into self-pity happens often and quickly. It seems to be a protection of some sort. Self-pity has a genuine core of real and true pain but it also seems to have a blame element that shows them as the victims and everyone else as the victimiser. This self-pity seems to have a power to keep the person focused on themselves and on their pain. Sometimes it is very cleverly couched in such a way as to keep the true identity hidden. If self-pity is exposed as self-pity then the person is forced to face it and do something — make a choice to deal with it (whatever that means) or to remain in it and stop wasting the time of counsellors, friends, prayer team, etc.
How does one face and deal with self-pity? Leanne Payne’s “Restoring the Christian Soul”, Part 1 addresses this in part by identifying self-pity as a manifestation of self-hatred (and self-hatred as a manifestation of pride).
Another way to face it is to keep on acknowledging it and “putting it aside” while addressing the real issue. Initially, this will be next to impossible but with the help of trusted friends and counsellors, it can happen. As the healing progresses, the roots of the self-pity are slowly removed. As God brings his truth into the wounds where self-pity has been rooted its reason for existence is removed. Where there are demons attached to the self-pity they lose their right to remain and must leave (of their volition or be sent packing). Change should become obvious to the person and especially to others. If it doesn’t then there’s a need to investigate what is going on. Is there a lurking demon that needs to be dealt with? Is there some hidden sin? Vow? Judgement? Something? God knows and can reveal it.
If the person is only used to looking at their pain they may need help to turn their eyes to Jesus and fix them there and so learn new habits, new habits that are God-focused not self-focused.