They had also spent their lives steeped in the notion that hard work and decency were enough to make a good life, and so when hard times came they assumed that the corollary was also true: that if they had failed to maintain their good life, they must not have worked hard enough or lived decently enough. They internalized their failure, in other words. They absorbed it deep into their bones, until it hobbled them.
“When we lose certain people, or when we are dispossessed from a place, or a community, we may simply feel that we are undergoing something temporary, that mourning will be over and some restoration of prior order will be achieved. But maybe when we undergo what we do, something about who we are is revealed, something that delineates the ties we have to others, that shows us that these ties constitute what we are, ties or bonds that compose us. It is not as if an “I” exists independently over here and then simply loses a “you” over there, especially if the attachment to “you” is part of what composes who “I” am. If I lose you, under these conditions, then I not only mourn the loss, but I become inscrutable to myself. Who “am” I, without you? When we lose some of these ties by which we are constituted, we do not know who we are or what to do. On one level, I think I have lost “you” only to discover that “I” have gone missing as well.”
– Judith Butler