Since therapy a couple of weeks ago, The Player is trying to be more thoughtful about what he says, about listening and about really hearing me.
It became clear he needs to up his game in the empathy department. He’s not considered me and my feelings for so long that he completely shut out how I feel about anything. His counselor told him he wasn’t getting it and that instead of repeating how he is sorry he did this or that because of this or that he needed to start considering what I was saying. So in addition to hearing what I say, really listening to my words and my pain and take them in.
Later that day, I emailed the counselor to ask him if empathy could be learned or if you don’t learn it you never will. He said unless the person is a true sociopath, empathy could be learned. He said there would have to be a long time without destructive behavior in the way of him learning it that it’s like a muscle that atrophies without enough use.
The real question is, can The Player do it? Can HE learn empathy or can he retrain those muscles to walk again? I don’t know. It’s one of the big questions I have right now and I’m not really getting any answers. I’ve backed so far away we don’t really talk about deep things unless we are with his counselor so it’s hard to say if he is getting closer to really taking in what he’s done. I know he feels shame and guilt but aren’t those two things as a result of getting caught? They aren’t really taking in how deeply he hurt me. He says the right words, “I know I have no reason to ask for another chance because of how badly I’ve hurt you.” But the empathy isn’t there. He’s confused about what empathy is, really.
His words are just that; words. Actions are what will speak louder. If you look at the cards he’s given me over the years in most of them he says something about how he hopes he shows me with his actions how much he loves me.
I heard him loud and clear.
He wants me to stay?
He’s got a long way to go.