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The Empath and the Miserable Neighbor


“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is.” -Eckhart Tolle

My boys and I went to visit a friend yesterday.  She has two boys, too.  They are a little older, but it was a lot of fun.

While I was there, my friend asked me to read her neighbor. 

“What do you get from that guy?” She asked.  My friend and I work together, so I have heard a lot of stories about this neighbor.  She believes that he is crazy, and she dislikes him immensely.  “Oh,” she said. “I feel like a voyeur.”  And I guess I am a voyeur of sorts, but I was hoping to give her some insight into the man.  He was outside in his backyard, working on things it seemed.  “I think that shed is like a meth lab or something,” she said.

When I tuned in on this older man, he felt miserable and angry.  I don’t think I have felt this level of anger and sadness in another human being in a long time.  He purposely keeps to himself and will not let anyone into his heart or his world.  

“I also see a woman.  She is not his mom or his wife, but she feels older than him,” I said.

“Yes,” my friend said.  “He has a girlfriend.”

“He hates her,” I said.  “She is always telling him what to do and yelling at him, but he needs her.  He can’t leave.”

“Yes,” she said.  “She owns the house.  He calls her all kinds of names.  They are always fighting.”  I saw an image of an old crone with a long pointing finger.  The man’s vibe was so angry and hurt.  I wanted to give my friend a piece of humanity, so she could maybe see past the anger and resentment and see the man instead, but all I could find was hate.  

“The shed’s not a meth lab,” I said, smiling.  “He likes to do woodworking in there. It’s the only place he feels safe and somewhat happy.  But he doesn’t approve of anything he makes.  He just scraps them and starts again.”

“Oh, well, I’m glad to hear that,” she said.

I kept digging, still looking for a passion or love that he may have for something.  Instead I stumbled across an alcoholic dad who was very abusive and a distant mom he also hated.  I could feel that he hated her for her weakness.  I think she either died or physically left him with this abusive father and he could not forgive her for it.

“His father was a really abusive alcoholic,” I said as my eyes welled up with tears for this man.  I saw him as a little boy, scared and frightened, so I stopped there.

“Oh,” my friend said.  “I didn’t realize that.”

I didn’t really achieve my goal with my friend. She didn’t see him any differently after I told her those things, but I certainly did.

In every human life there is a story.  Everyone is the way he/she is because of a reason.  When we uncover the trapped truths, we can develop empathy for others.  When we create a level of empathy, we can also feel love and caring for the other person.  

Before I left, I wanted to talk to this man and give him a hug.  He is just so broken, but I just loaded my boys in my car and drove away.  I made sure to hug and kiss my little guys before we got in.  If I can’t heal someone else, I can at least try and help my two to have a healthy sense of self worth and love.  It is the least I can do.   

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