Looking for Empathy

I am very sad. My dear Tuffy Cat, who is 15 years old, is very, very sick. I have to take him to the vet on Monday but he won’t be coming home alive.

Some of my friends are telling me, “it’s just a cat! You have 2 other cats! Why are you so sad?”

But Tuffy Cat is a loving, sweet, gentleman kitty, and has been my close baby kitty for all these years. He loves me best, and I love him, and I will so much miss him when he’s not sitting on my lap or helping me on my computer, or telling me to give him treats in the morning when I’m lying in bed. When I was so sick just a while ago and had to stay in bed all the time, he was right there with me keeping me company.

How do I explain to my friends that I am very sad, and will be even sadder on Monday, and for a long time after that? Heck, I am still sad about the first kitty ever who I loved when I was 8 years old….and Tuffy dying will make me really sad all over again. My friends telling me this don’t have a Wombat or Dingbat or a Tuffy in their lives. I’m sad for them, too…..

Thank you. And I hope you get all better soon.

–Very Sad

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Compassion Fatigue

Dear Wombat and Dingbat,

Do you two ever experience compassion fatigue? The children being separated from their parents at our border make me incredibly mad, but at the same time, I’m feeling a cold, stunned disbelief kicking in. This can’t possibly be happening, can it? I want to stay present, but I don’t want the constant anger in my life….

Sincerely, WTAF

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Modifying Messy

Dear Wombat and Dingbat,

How do I get my husband to put his dishes in the dishwasher? Or pick up his socks? Or take out the trash? Or in general, not be a slob, and not treat me like a maid? I’ve gone on strike and all that happens is he gets grouchy and my house gets disgusting. HELP!!

-Miserable in Maryland

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A Neat Street

Dear Wombat and Dingbat,

Our block is quite orderly and well-trimmed BUT there is one household that never mows their lawn. Well, maybe twice a summer. Car parked on lawn. Unsightly. And no one ever sees the inhabitants. Well, maybe very occasionally. Someone in my household has suggested making a sign, and planting it the problem yard in the middle of the night, that says “Free Dandelions! U-Pick.” Do you think this would be helpful?

–A Neat Street

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What to Believe

Dear Wombat and Dingbat, 

I have read and strongly believe that discussion with people, and hearing out different opinions is a great way to learn more, develop empathy, and broaden your horizons. I have found however that it can get rather overwhelming and confusing when you are trying to develop your OWN opinion.  How does one reconcile learning to consider the wisdom of others, with *also* learning to strengthen one’s own inner voice?

Listening Too Hard

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