example: I know a woman who's struggling with her first baby. The baby won't sleep and cries all the time if she goes more than a foot away from him. And when he cries, she picks him up and comforts him, every time. She can't bring herself to let him cry and get used to not being comforted every time. Even though everyone in the universe, practically, has told her she's making a rod for her back, and even though she's now always so tired and desperate, she still won't stop picking him up all the time and she won't even let her parents have him for a night because she knows he cries when she leaves him. So she's completely put herself in this position by refusing to do the common sense thing. She knows fully well what she has to do and surely must know, by the fact that everyone else does it, that it's not going to traumatise the baby. But she still won't do it. The result being that she's so exhausted and depressed that she's on the verge of tears all the time.
I sympathize - I know it's hard for some people to just let their baby cry. I know how hard it is to have babies, having raised two myself, alone. I know how exhausted she feels and that she needs help. But I also know that there's really nothing anyone can do, if she's not going to follow any of the advice she's given.
I find it very difficult to know how to express my sympathy in this situation, or to gauge whether to even express it at all.