I overheard my wife talking with my son and later remarked to her what a different tone in conversation it was from the one I had with him earlier. My interaction involved me on the receiving end of his tirade which was filled with anger, rage, despondency. I was jealous of her conversation. My wife did not so much apologize but lament the role I played. "You are his Atlas. You're the only one he feels safe enough to vent his pure venom upon without crumbling. And he knows this."
We are not passive receptors of suffering. We are engaged actors with different roles to play upon the stage. Both my wife and I are parents but the quality and nature of our suffering differs tremendously. One is neither heavier nor lighter, nor more difficult to bear. Anything that threatens to rip apart the soul is something that does not vary by degrees. It is an all or nothing proposition. But there are different roles to play, for better or worse, and we must play them out or risk becoming untrue to thine own nature.