What I've learned is that people are people. A complex web of to emotion, intention, and aggression. At any moment, any combination of qualities could appear. Experiences elicit different facets of people's personalities. In a time of trial, when the pressure is on, true personalities express themselves. When all the bravado is taken away, the primal instinct man appears. With all the spit and fire that you can expect from an animal. This has been my experience.
That seems a bit harsh maybe but particularly with my family this is reality. I have found little kindness underneath the fake shell. That is disheartening because I have such empathy. I see grace and I try to be compassionate. This seems to be the abnormal behavior for my family. There is a single-minded, self-preservation mantra that allows them to steamroll everyone in their wake. This is not what we are supposed to do as humans. We are supposed to be kind and help your fellow man. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Isn't that what we are supposed to do?
I have learned that I cannot bridge that gap. I cannot love enough for both of us. I can only give my portion into any relationship. If the other person doesn't rise to the occasion, there is nothing I can do about it. This has been a hard lesson because I have always tried to put a little more in to fill the gap. At first, that seems to work but over the long haul, it is in vain.
People are what they are not what we want them to be or what we see they could be. That is a hard pill to swallow.