Though we didn’t see each other much this weekend, Jon and I did email back and forth and get a few things figured out.
I think it’ll be easier if I post them in a couple of posts.
First, his denial of things that were abusive and shitty dynamics that I was calling out.
He did not understand at first why I was upset. He wrote me an email that said “I am confused. Lora has agreed to go to therapy, and I agreed with you that she is doing really shitty things, but you seem more upset. I thought you would feel better. Am I missing something?”
Oh yes, Jon. You are.
We had a step by step conversation where I pointed out to him that if every time I come to him with concerns, he downplays them, then I am going to get verbal cues from him that he does NOT think that they are important. This is going to cause cognitive dissonance for me, because he is generally an intelligent, emotionally smart person, and these were abusive things, but if he’s downplaying them, ARE they abusive? Am I crazy? I might as well not bring them up, because every time I do, he says they’re not a big deal. Maybe *I’m* the problem. Or maybe he’s been so abused by Lora that he no longer sees abusive things as abusive.
How can I know? I can’t know, unless he tells me that these things are a problem.
He held off on telling me that they were a problem because he didn’t want to complain about them to me.
He didn’t want to *complain* about them to me. Because admitting someone is being shitty (at the least) and abusive (at the most) to you is complaining?!
We straightened out that it wasn’t. So he didn’t want to tell me because he felt like he would be complaining. And anyways, he didn’t think I thought they were a big deal.
Because I didn’t bring them up anymore.
Because every time I did, he said they weren’t a big deal.
So every time he said they weren’t a big deal, I was less likely to bring them up. Because he said they weren’t a big deal.
And then because I brought them up less and less, this reinforced to him that they weren’t a big deal to me.
Aha! Then he understood. And now we are clear.
They are a big deal to me. They are a big deal to him. They need to stop.
We both agree on this.
My brain feels so much better.