Ignoring My Empathy

I woke up this morning and realized that I must have had a proper REM cycle, because I’d been dreaming. The remembered dream made me laugh because of how silly it had been, and I was instantly in a good mood.

I went downstairs, and found that my husband was already awake and had started the process of making coffee. I told him about my dream, laughing as I did, and afterward saw that he looked like death – extremely tired, pale and depressed.

You didn’t sleep well, I said – a statement, not a question. He nodded. I hugged and kissed him but then walked away.

He needs to acknowledge he has a problem and accept that he needs help, and then try the available means to fix his problem before declaring it can’t be fixed.

In his mind, it seems, as long as he’s alive he’s fine.

It hurt me to see him that way, but I still walked away.

For years he destroyed my sleep and never questioned the impact that might have on me. He prioritized his comfort and his bad habits over not just my comfort, but my health and therefore my life.

He knew I was uncomfortable. That I couldn’t sleep well with the lights and the noise of the TV. Yet because I hadn’t delivered an ultimatum, he kept going.

It seems unfair to have someone ignore your comfort and your literal need for years, and then have your good mood upon waking, a rare thing, soured because you feel sorry for their self-inflicted pain.

I do have some capacity in me to be a cold-hearted bitch, though, and I will draw on that now.

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