His need for compassion should not come before her right to live free from abuse.

This is true. But itís possible to have compassion and good boundaries at the same time. Compassion doesnít mean you have to have any contact, or give anything up in negotiations. It definitely doesnít mean tolerating abuse or being codependent.

I see compassion in a more Buddhist sense - trying to see the Buddha nature in every being.

I could easily get stuck in just thinking about how my ex is a narcissist who cheated on me more than once and who could never quite be satisfied with me. And all those things are true, and I have anger at the way he continues to interact with our adult children.

But I try to maintain a compassionate stance. He consciously tried to be better than his parents, although he ultimately failed. Heís had multiple concussions and maybe a shadow form of bipolar disorder that affects his actions. And his behaviors towards me in the marriage were just a reflection of his deep inner dissatisfaction, a hole that wlll never be filled. Iíve got by far the better end of the deal, as Iím happy with life, free of bitterness.

That doesnít mean I want any communication with him. I just feel sorry for him, that heís missing out on a rich relationship with our cool kids, and continues to be incapable of being satisfied with what he has.