being a miserable, distant person

Last night I got home from work pretty late. It was both deliberate and not deliberate. Not deliberate in that the feeling that staying at work, where’s it’s definitely going to be quiet, and peaceful, and I can relax is something that arises on its own, based on past experience of how work is after regular working hours versus how home can be when Lora and Jon are both home. How could I not want to stay where it’s going to be quiet and peaceful? Deliberate in that I didn’t particularly want to see Jon or Lora – so I stayed late to minimize the amount of time we’d all be together.

When I did get home though, I was distant and not particularly talkative. Every time I look at Jon, I feel grief and anger and a sense of hopelessness. I feel like everything is falling apart, even with us both trying so hard – because we’re not the ones who need to be trying. When I look at Lora, I feel a kind of dull antipathy, shame, and disgust. Antipathy and disgust because she has had every chance to get solo therapy, to get help, to improve her behavior. It would be hard, really hard for all of us, but we could make the money part of it work (one of her biggest concerns, apparently, is that solo therapy would be too expensive. It WILL be expensive. Getting it will temporary decrease me and Jon’s ability to save money for the future, and Lora will have to put a lot of her income towards therapy. Of course, there’s that whole long-term benefit of her not being an abusive, anxiety-and-anger-ridden asshole, but that doesn’t seem to be important enough to her). Our home – except for her outbursts – is (or maybe was) a safe, loving place. Jon seems to be an unlimited well of second and third and fourth and five hundred and twenty-fifth chances for her. I was trying with all my heart to give her time, give her encouragement, be a friend to her. I feel shame that I don’t want to give those things to her anymore. I also feel anger and disgust because I feel like all the compassion and time I gave her was a giant waste, especially now, when I need help and energy myself, but I tried to aim so much at her, because I wanted her to get better – if not for herself, then for Jon.

Now I don’t care about her problems anymore. She said she’d get professional help. She’s going back on that. Fine, I think. Whatever. Except it’s not fine, I feel nauseated with anger and helplessness.

So I was distant and cool and mostly kept to myself. I told Jon that I wanted alone time for myself. There are words lurking behind my teeth every time I look at him. Of all the things he said when we talked about Lora not getting therapy, the thing that is the most incomprehensible to me is when he said that he was really surprised that I was holding onto her getting therapy so much, and that it was so important to me. He said he didn’t realize it was such a big deal, which makes me wonder – are we living in some strange parallel universe? I mean, I directly told her that she needed therapy for her anger (which she agreed to) during our confrontation about how abusive she is towards Jon. That was a non-negotiable point that she tearfully agreed to, telling us that she hates how angry get gets and that she’s had problems with flying into rages since she was a child. I spent months researching (and sending to her and Jon) poly and kink friendly therapists. At one point, when Jon’s work was crazy and he said he kept forgetting to contact the doctors to find out about costs and availability I repeatedly set up reminders for him on gCalendar so that he wouldn’t forget. I also talked to him about how I was concerned (because he kept forgetting) that therapy would fall by the wayside and that Lora wouldn’t get therapy. He assured me that he would stay on top of it, and that she would get therapy.

In light of all that, how the hell would he think that I wasn’t very invested or felt strongly about Lora getting therapy? I want to ask him that question over and over and over until he has an answer for me that doesn’t sound like a pile of escapist bullshit. Because the only thing I can think of as to why he suddenly doesn’t understand how important Lora getting therapy is to me is that when she started saying she wouldn’t do it, he started telling himself that it wouldn’t be that big a deal anyway – they’re getting couples therapy, so that’s a start, and that should count as enough, right? I can see how it might be easier for him to just go with that and hope that I don’t freak out, although this is all total conjecture on my part. Desperate mental scrabbling to explain the insane cognitive dissonance of a world where I say that Lora going to therapy is a non-negotiable point of us continuing to live together, but yet somehow a few months later, he’s surprised that I care about it that much.

I realized this morning that part of why I was distant and cool last night is because one of the few things that every seems to inhibit Lora from having melt-downs, fits of anger, or just generally being obnoxious is when I’m clearly having A Thing going on in my head. So me being clearly not myself causes her to tread carefully. That seems like it would be a deeply unhealthy dynamic for me to have with her. But acting cool, distant, and like I want a lot of space is also…it’s not an act. I do want to be disengaged right now; I feel like I need to be disengaged and focus more on myself and give more to myself. So I think it might be necessary to tread the careful path between being cool, distant, and asking for more space because I have a need for those things, and stop myself from slipping into pretending to feel that way because it’s the only tool I currently have to ensure that there won’t be any outbursts or fighting from Lora.

To take that back to a theme that I’ve touched on before – Lora has said that she can’t help her anger, can’t help her abusive outbursts. BUT – they appear to have improved since I told her that we couldn’t continue to live together anymore. Also, she treads carefully when I’m upset (which is also overall…interesting is the best word I can come up with, since even when I’m angry, I don’t get into screaming or shouting matches with people. I think Jon and I have had two heated disagreements in our relationship where I raised my voice in anger, and then apologized and went back to regular volume), so I’m not totally sure what it  means when she says that she can’t help her angry outbursts, but then obviously can at times.

But that’s a bunch of wool-gathering and not particularly relevant for what I’m feeling now. What I’m feeling now is not good. It’s that I tried, and now I’m tired, and I don’t want to try anymore. Not for Lora. Not even for Jon. I need something else. I don’t know what yet. But this isn’t working for me anymore. I’m hitting some breaking points. I don’t know which ones yet, but I can feel cracking in my bones.


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polyamorist, cat-lover, hopeless optimist when I'm not being a firm realist.

3 thoughts on “being a miserable, distant person”

  1. I’ve been following here for a while now, but don’t think I’ve ever commented before… I just wanted to offer my sympathy for what’s clearly a really hard situation. I can identify with a lot of the feelings and concerns you have, especially some of the “how out of control are you *really*” and “how did y’all not get that this was serious and important to me?” stuff. I have SO MANY THOUGHTS and stuff I’ve been learning about abusive dynamics. But bottom line, you’re in a tough situation and I’m hoping for the best for you.


    1. Thank you so very much. It feels like a really horrible place to be. I think the worst part is that I don’t really know how Jon is doing or how he is feeling. He so often tells me that he’s fine, or that it’s fine, or that he really doesn’t get bothered by the things that I do. And I think to myself “Is he really that cool of a cucumber? Is he in denial? Is he really upset by them, but he doesn’t want to admit it to me? Am I crazy and maybe these things aren’t that big a deal?”. And then there are the times when he cracks, like when he said that he thought couples therapy could be a gateway for Lora, that it would be a place where she’d see that she *really* needs her own solo therapy to work on her own things. He said that he REALLY needed them to start working on their relationship problems – and as he told me that, he got choked up and couldn’t talk for a few minutes. When I see little flashes like that, I get really scared about how much is hiding or downplaying or trying to ignore.

      So thank you so much for the support. I’ve read your blog and a lot of the words that you’ve written about abuse and what the community needs – and really by “community” I mean more of “human community” than “poly community” because I don’t think there’s any niche of humanity that’s figured out how to handle abuse well. I know that I’ll continue following what you’ve written for inspiration and one of the things that I tell myself is that hopefully my situation living with my partner’s abuser will help shed some light on what things can be done to deal with abusers and abusive situations. Always hoping for a silver lining.

      Liked by 1 person

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