Jon is getting busier again at work, Lora is madly working towards finishing her school work for this semester (and doing her new forty-plus hours a week job), and I’ve finally gotten a diagnosis for my health problems and a plan for physical rehabilitation (and a work schedule with quite a bit of travel) – as we all get busy outside of the home, things have gotten quieter inside the home. I think the next month is going to have very few days where all of us are home together and awake. Looking at Jon’s work schedule, Lora’s work/school schedule, and my work/physical rehabilitation schedule, it looks like we won’t all be home together and awake for more than two hours at a time for at least the next two weeks.
On my end of things, I don’t have any big trips planned, but I do have a number of overnight trips for work planned over the next few months. There will be a lot of evenings when I’m not home at all. Jon’s schedule is all over the place, and also involves some travel – there will be stretches of two or three days at a time when he’s gone. Although Lora doesn’t have any travel planned, holding down a 40+ hour a week job AND a studying for finals is going to take most of her time for the next month and a half.
I am going to take this time of not seeing much of Lora or Jon to focus on my rehabilitation and to give the things that have happened the past few months time to sink in and percolate. That is a thing that I need at times – thinking through things is great, but before I can start thinking, I often need a time to deliberately not think, or maybe it’s a time to pre-think. It comes when I feel really tangled up about things; sometimes I can’t begin to unravel all my feelings until I just let them sit for awhile and go about the rest of my life. I’m not sure if it’s the time passing that is important, or if it’s the things I come across in my day that provide little pin-pricks of enlightenment about whatever it is I’m mulling over. Whatever it is, taking a big chunk of time to just let things simmer in the background while I go on with my life often reaps large rewards of greater understanding of myself and my motivations.
One of the things that I am seriously considering doing in this time is starting therapy to help me with my feelings towards Lora about her abusing Jon. That is one subject that I don’t think time itself will help solve. Lora and I have had some nice moments lately – hanging out together talking a bit while we make dinner or unwind after work. I’ve often been surprised by feeling warm and more comfortable around her and then having those feelings suddenly incinerated in a flash of rage towards her. Sometimes the rage-trigger is obvious; Lora’s language is often rather controlling. She doesn’t speak of asking people to do something; she usually couches things in terms of commands – telling someone they should do something, or telling them that they’re not allowed to do something. I can go from zero to ragey in a millisecond when I hear that; it reminds me of all the times I’ve heard her try to tell Jon what to do, what he has to do, because if he doesn’t, he’s just another abusive asshole like her drug addicted ex.
Other times, the trigger is more subtle. I think sometimes it’s that I start to feel closer to her and get the impression that she feels closer to me and then on some deep level, I remember how she treats Jon (meaning, I’m not immediately consciously aware of what is triggering me when the anger/withdrawal starts) and then I start to recoil/put space between us/wrap up our conversation to go be alone. I don’t do this because I’m afraid of her abusing me or hurting me; it doesn’t make me feel afraid for my emotional or personal safety. It makes me afraid that she will will feel comfortable enough to act abusively towards me, and that will effectively end any kind of personal relationship and/or living situation for the three of us.
Jon is a lot more forgiving than I am about those things. Or maybe it would be fair to say he’s a lot more forgiving about them than the person I am now is. I’ve had my share of abusive past partners who tried to use coercion, threats, and controlling language to force me into doing the things that they wanted. What I learned from those past partners was that they weren’t going to get better, and that I absolutely had no interest in a relationship with someone who would treat me like a thing to be controlled and manipulated into serving their needs at the expense of my own. And although Lora does appear to genuinely be getter better and being less controlling, she still has a long way to go. If we get close enough that she feels I’m a safe person to attempt to control, then very bad, potentially unforgivable things will happen between us, and for Jonathan’s sake, I don’t want that to happen.
Because getting to know her has become a very triggery experience for me, I think that it’s going to take some serious discussion with a mental health professional to figure out how to defuse those triggers. Or maybe a therapist wouldn’t try to defuse them and would instead give me very good reasons why I should keep them – but also ideas on how to have a relationship with her even as I keep those triggers. It’s also possible that a therapist might make a good argument as to why Lora and I shouldn’t live together – and yes, that is something that I’m afraid of. Of realizing that living together is a bad idea and that we should stop all living in one home. That would break Jon’s heart, and I do imagine there would also be some fall-out from Lora if it happened. At this point, I am viewing that option as something that would be very scary and potentially very upsetting/relationship shattering. Well, maybe not shattering, but it could potentially have a very negative impact on the relationships between the three of us.
You know, all that ruminating took me into a much more negative place than I actually feel myself to be in right now. But knowing that those concerns about Lora are constantly pushing away at the back of my mind makes me think that yes, therapy would be a very good idea. I’m currently working on getting my physical rehabilitation schedule set up; that has to take precedence in my life right now. But in a few weeks when that schedule has been established, I think it would be best for me to start therapy to talk about Lora’s abuse, how I feel about about and how it’s inhibiting my ability to have a relationship with her, and what I can do about that.
In the meantime, I’m going to try to enjoy this busy – but hopefully emotionally quiet – period and allow everything that has gone on in the last few months to sink in. I hope that Jon and Lora also get some benefit from focusing on other things and going with the flow for awhile. It is really important that we work on our relationships, but I think we could all use a bit of a break from these hard things to spend some time dealing with other aspects of our lives.