You asked "Why is it that that every time I try to find some sympathy for something in the past, someone always tries to one up me?"
In the game of who has been hurt most - there are no winners. Its a natural tendency to try to win a competition, be the biggest, be the best. There are times, however, that there are contests with no winners. The contest of the greatest pain is such a contest.
If we can't decide who has been hurt most, we have both lost. Neither of us understand the pain of the other, and we each feel that our own pain was greater. In failing to sympathize with the other person, and letting our own ego dominate we have both lost something.
And if your pain is greater... I know how deeply what I felt has touched me and how much it hurts. Just the thought that someone else that I care about has felt worse and endured more brings a tear to my eye. I can barely imagine a pain deeper, and yet you have felt it. And now, I feel small for thinking what I felt was so grand and profound. I have lost something.
Woo Woo! I won, my pain is the greatest that anyone has felt. Gee, thats nice. I've won, and yet gained nothing. Its not a victory that you can put on a trophy shelf and parade around. The last thing I want is to have people feeling sorry for me and treating me special because somewhere back when something happened. It is much better just to get over it and become a better person - respect me for who I am now rather than what has happened in the past. In the 'victory', I have lost something.
Can't we just put the past behind us... cry on each other's shoulders if necessary and comfort one another? Each of our pains were things of the past, and our joy is of the present. When you tell your story, you're not looking to 'win', but rather for something to hold and rest on - to make it all feel better after it has been aired out... as am I when I tell my story. Together, we both win.