Day 143 – Empathy

Keeping this diary is apparently good for improving my mental health. Better out than in.

Last time I saw my ex on 18th April, following a shocking event engineered by him and his mistress, I angrily told him that he would never see me again except in a room with solicitors or mediators. It looks like that comment might come true next week. As he left our former home that night, he turned to wave at me with a look I interpreted as regretful and apologetic. I would capture that last image of him for eternity. I didn’t wave back.

Sadly, his behaviour since then have been neither regretful nor apologetic.

I don’t know how I would feel when/if, I see my ex. I don’t know whether I would be overwhelmed by the emotions of the last few months. I don’t know whether I would be overwhelmed by the hurt and anguish that he has caused me since the last time I saw him. I would hope to be professional and detached enough to handle the business at hand without being overwhelmed by my emotions but I just don’t know.

Today in therapy, we spent the whole session talking about how to deal with the possibility of seeing my ex again and I spent the whole session in tears, something that hasn’t happened since our early sessions.

Grief is a funny thing. Just when you think you’ve got it all sussed out, it hits all over again. Betrayal compounds the grief.

This week, my thoughts about my ex have been confused with empathy.


I feel sorry for him.

I want to ask him whether he is OK. Really OK.

Even though this week, he has also done things to hurt me, in my head, I seem to have reverted to thinking that he must be suffering too.

He must be suffering to continue to think that it is OK to continue to hurt me.

He must be suffering to continue to behave in an inexplicable and unreasonable manner.

He must be suffering because he has lost all decency and all ability to decipher right from wrong; just because he thinks he can get away with doing something, doesn’t make it OK.

He must be suffering because the anger and venom he still directs at me shows me that he is not a happy man and hasn’t found the “happiness” he was seeking outside his marriage.


He must be suffering because he appears to have abdicated all responsibilities for the breakdown of our marriage and 14 year relationship. He has somehow in his head, painted himself as the saint and the victim, otherwise, why would he continue to behave as appallingly as he has done? Why would he blatantly lie about events when both of us know the truth?

He has completely detached himself from me. I am this fictionalised stranger far removed from him to whom he can be utterly heartless. I am no longer that person that he claimed to love; no longer his world; no longer his little one; no longer the ying to his yang; no longer the love of his life; no longer the woman he wrote countless times to love now and forever; no longer his best friend; no longer his darling love; no longer the sunshine of his life.

I am nothing to him but a nuisance that needs to be mercilessly dealt with.

I feel sorry for him that even though our marriage has broken, our relationship has been so utterly smashed that a friendship that was meant to last forever, has been destroyed.

I feel sorry that I have been left with no memories of him to treasure. How can I treasure any memories when the entirety of my relationship was a lie?

How can I treasure memories when the man I loved didn’t actually exist?

This week, I am proud of myself that I have not lost all decency. I have not lost empathy. Even though this man has hurt me and broken me more than I ever thought possible, and continues to hurt me, I still have enough human decency to think about him and wonder whether he is OK.

anger is an acid

In some ways, I have reverted to thinking that I couldn’t have been so wrong for 14 years to put my ex on a pedestal. He must be doing the things he is doing because he is unwell. Professionals who know better than me have labelled his behaviour as various things including that of someone suffering a serious mental breakdown, a mid-life crisis, psychotic episode, psychopath with a personality disorder, multiple personality disorder.

They all agree that his insanity will one day clear and with that, would come the realisation of the avalanche of devastation he’s left behind. A one man tsunami.

If he is unwell, then I can’t blame myself for wasting over 14 years with someone so undeserving of me. He must be unwell. In which case, he is not *really* responsible for his behaviour.

This morning my therapist ended that analysis by simply saying, perhaps he is well. Perhaps he has changed and now, he’s simply not a nice person.

As I write this, I remind myself that my ex has categorically written that he is well and not suffering from any mental crisis. He is his own man. He accuses me of being the one who seeks to rationalise the end of our marriage and his behaviour as a mental crisis.

Perhaps he’s right.

I am just glad that I am still that decent person capable of human empathy and capable of feeling sorry even for someone who has continued to hurt me.

2 thoughts on “Day 143 – Empathy

  1. Pingback: Day 149: Making Fire – Sisters Are Doin’ it For Themselves | Chipping Away the Fat...

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