And by “we”, I mean me and Jon, about Lora.
Where Jon is: Jon doesn’t want to give up on Lora yet. He wants to see if therapy helps, though he has acknowledged that it might not help her Lora. But, he said, he feels like he has to pull out all the stops, try everything possible, before giving up on Lora.
It didn’t occur to me at the time, but later it popped into my head that I should remind him that he‘s not the one that needs to try everything and pull out all the stops. Lora is. I know that when I point them out, he’ll say he knows that. I think he’s mentally bargaining. Hoping that if he tries hard enough, somehow that will spillover and make things work. My heart really goes out to him. I’ve been there before.
That said, my heart goes out to me too, and what I’ve had to deal with in living with Lora. Namely, watching her abuse someone who I love dearly. And – as a friend pointed out to be today – being abused by proxy. It has really been a mostly miserable experience since mid-December of last year.
Where I am: I’ve given up on Lora. I don’t think she’s going to get better. As I explained to Jon, it’s easier to think she isn’t going to get better because if she does, then I will be amazed and pleased and grateful. If she doesn’t, I won’t have another set of hopes crash down around me.
What I didn’t explain to Jon is that I’m starting to think she really doesn’t want to get better. I think she’s pretty happy where she is, or at least, content to stay where she is. I think she agreed to get therapy as a way to string us on, get the time passing, hope that it blows over and we continue to enable her to be abusive and controlling. I think she wants to have other people do all the work for her, and continue to cause drama, act out, be selfish, and demand as much from people as she can possibly get. And ultimately, though she says at times that the things she says and does aren’t acceptable, she always blames them on her mental illnesses and does nothing of her own volition to improve them, so those behaviors speak way louder than her words of “Yes, this is wrong and I need to stop”. The words are only useful in that they keep us hoping that she will start to display daily self-improvement and so (she hopes) we’ll just stay along indefinitely waiting for that day when she finally makes good on her words.
That isn’t going to happen.
I’m proclaiming out loud that my personal cut-off point will be September, if not earlier. If by September I haven’t seen some level of quantifiable improvement in the way that she’s treating Jon and taking on responsibility for her own life, then I’m going to tell him that this isn’t working for me, and we need to split homes again. I am going to tell Jon first, because lately I’ve been wondering if deep down inside, Jon feels like he can’t break up with Lora for himself, but if it came to me saying that we couldn’t all live together anymore, then maybe that would be a wake-up call to him, and he’d do it for me.
I am not saying that I want him to do that. I am not saying that I will ask him to do that. I am not saying that I know that’s what is going on in his head.
It’s just this weird little niggling feeling I’ve had since he and I emailed back and forth about this. There have been times in my past, when I’ve had an abusive (or just plain out shitty) partner and – for myself – I wanted to keep giving them chances, because I just knew that if I could figure out the right way to talk to them, the wonderful, shining person that I’d seen them be sometimes could really come out all the time, and the shitty, hurtful, hateful person that they were far more often would finally disappear. If I just got through to them, all the controlling behaviors and selfishness and shittiness would stop. I just had to figure out the right way to do it; then they would see – I knew they would. They had to. Right?
But eventually, something happened with someone else that got me away from them. In one case, it was Rachel, and someone who practically wanted me to disavow all affection for her. Another time, it was a partner who I think was truly, deeply abusive. It was during the “separate the person from their friends” stage of abuse, when a number of my good friends were really unhappy about barely seeing me that I walked away from him. A close friend had a birthday party and my then-partner was really angry that I was saying that I *had* to go. If I had to go, then he had to go. And right before we left for the party, he threw a huge fit about something incredibly dumb (All the dishes weren’t washed. I’m not kidding. That was it.) and refused to go. So I said “Ok, don’t go then. I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess”. And that put him in an absolute rage. I was abandoning him – he needed me – I couldn’t go!
At the time, I was almost taken in. But I missed my friends so badly – this was the first time I was going to see them in months. I couldn’t give that up. So I went to the party. And my partner treated me to an amazing array of passive-aggressive, mock-suicidal, completely insane texts. Which, surrounded by healthy and awesome people at the party, I realized more and more and more that he was controlling as fuck, and that it was glad that I’d gotten an eye opener then. So I broke up with him.
But had it not been for that aching desire to see my friends, and knowing how disappointed and sad they’d all be if I didn’t come, I don’t know when I’d have gotten out of that relationship. Making all of them sad for me cancelling on the first night I’d agreed to go out in months was simply not worth sticking around for his tantrum.
So I do get the idea that sometimes, it takes someone other than yourself to walk away from a bad situation.
Anyways, I thought it might be wise to tell Jon that I’m done first, to see if he wants to talk to Lora in a particular way. I can also see if he decided that me saying we can’t live together anymore is going to be a break-up trigger, and he will have a chance to break up with Lora before I talk about moving out, so that she doesn’t get the idea that I’m forcing Jon to break up with her.
Because I’m not, and I wouldn’t. Which isn’t to say I would be unhappy if he did break up with her over that. It’s just something that I cannot ask of him, and would not instigate on my own.
But if it happens…then it happens. I won’t lie. I’ll be happy. And sad for Lora. And sad for Jon. And worried if she’s going to do anything spectacularly self-abusive on her way about (911 is my friend in that case; it’s going to really suck if she tries to pull him in with suicidal threats and then hear the actual police knocking on her bedroom door after I call them).
Mostly, I think I’ll feel relieved and exhausted and probably a little shell-shocked.
I am feeling pretty wiped out, so I’m going to save the last part for tomorrow. It will be about the new boundaries that I told Jon I would be enforcing, in order to be able to continue to live with Lora and feel more in control and emotionally nourished than I currently am. I will say that he agreed to them, and that they are all reasonable and should have been implemented months ago.