Jon let me know a few nights ago that he finally (finally!) he’d found a therapist who sounded really great. He also told me that he and Lora would start therapy as soon as her finals are over at the end of next month – also great. It’s taken over three months to find good therapists and make appointments – and I HAVE been getting antsy and stressed about how long it’s taking. But I know how long finding a therapist that you feel like you can talk to takes. The important thing is that it’s happening.
So I asked when Lora would start seeing a therapist. Jon hesitated, then told me that they hadn’t booked any solo therapy sessions for her. They wanted to start with couples therapy first. Why hasn’t a solo therapy session been booked for Lora? I wanted to know.
Because she’s afraid, Jon said.
I didn’t say much at the time, because I needed to sort through my feelings and thoughts about this. So I took the evening (and much of yesterday) to do so.
This is NOT OK.
I understand that Lora is scared. I understand that therapy is going to be painful for her. I understand that she’s going to have a lot of work to do.
I also understand that she said she’d start therapy three months ago, and while things HAVE improved, they are nowhere near ‘great’, much less ‘good’, or even ‘ok’.
I know that I’ve written a lot of positive things lately. There have been positive developments – things like Lora getting a job again, and a great one at that. But when we all moved in together and Lora had a job, things went really smoothly then too. It was after Lora was unemployed and started directing all of her stressed, nervous, unhappy energy at Jon that things started to go extremely poorly. Based on past experience, having a job means that Lora will be too tired and preoccupied to react in quite the keyed-up, constantly-aware-of-every-little-thing way that she did when she want unemployed. But that doesn’t mean that anything is actually better – it only means that Lora is too tired and preoccupied to fixate in the unhealthy ways that she does when she has time.
Even now, here’s an example of a thing that happens semi-regularly. Lora was vacuuming the hallway a few nights ago. Jon and I were in the bedroom that the hallway passes by. She yelled him a question over the sound of the vacuum. He couldn’t hear it, and yelled back that he couldn’t here it – she should ask him when the vacuums off. So she finished, turned it off, asked him, and he answered, then goes into the other bedroom. So far so good, right?
Ten minutes later, she comes back and says to Jon “You know, you didn’t have to snap at me about the vacuum”. He asks her what she’s talking about. She says “When you wanted me to ask after I turned the vacuum off – you jumped all over me and snapped at me. You didn’t have to do that”. He says “I’m sorry, love. I wasn’t yelling at you, I was yelling over the vacuum”. There’s a few more back & forths where she insisted that he was yelling at her meanly, and he apologized and insisted he was just yelling to be heard over the vacuum.
Happily, in this case, it ended there. I think it was in part because he apologized repeatedly – for something he didn’t do! This is an example of the kind of thing that can then turn into Lora going off on a “You treat me horribly. This is a sign that our relationship is bad. You’re always awful to me!” tangent that can take anywhere from half an hour to a few days to diffuse.
And this is their normal. This is now MY normal. And it’s the kind of thing that I need a reality check about, because I’m not crazy for thinking this is bad, right? Not when it can happen daily, even multiple times a day, when she’s feeling really insecure and sensitive.
The moment that Lora comes and says to Jon “You didn’t have to do XXX and be nasty/mean/shitty to me” my blood pressure spikes and I start getting anxious, because past history has shown that it could turn into a 10 minute back and forth where Jon apologizes five times and it diffuses, or an hours-long battle about how awful Jon is and how Lora feels so jumped on/attacked/awful and their relationship is bad, so she has concerns that she shouldn’t be in a relationship with Jon. It always starts as “You did XXX to me and it was awful/mean/shitty of you”. It’s never “When you did XXX, I felt like you snapped at me; are you upset?” or “I’m sure you didn’t realize it, but when you said YYY, you sounded angry. Are you angry?”. It’s always “You did XXX and it WAS mean/nasty/shitty” – which blows my mind, since Jon simple isn’t a person who does mean nasty things to people.
But to hear the way Lora says he talks to her, you’d think he was hourly treating her like shit.
So I wrote him an email about that yesterday. About how it’s completely not acceptable to me that Lora isn’t going to start solo therapy because she’s scared, when the last time we all talked about it, it was “Lora will start solo therapy as soon as we find her a good therapist”. Part of what I’ve been banking on for these months is her getting into therapy and FINALLY working with someone who can help her learn better ways to manage her anger and insecurities and way of attacking people.
I’m not sure when we’re going to have time to talk about it, since I’m going to be gone overnight for work the next few nights. I’m hoping Sunday. I’ll be home Sunday and Jon will be home Sunday, and Lora will be at work, so hopefully we can talk about what is going to happen. As I told Jon in the email, if Lora isn’t making an appointment for solo therapy in the near future, like she agreed to do months ago, then I need to rethink us all continuing to live together. I’m not going to spend months more hoping she gathers up her courage and starts going while regularly listening to her snits, abuse of/attacks on Jon, and dealing with her generally poor ability to manage her life. That is just too much to ask of me. I can’t do it.