Talking to my therapist this past Thursday gave me some things that I needed to chew over before sharing.
I was talking about whether or not I should tell Jon that the day he broke up with Lora, I was coming home to tell him that I couldn’t live there until she was gone.
Because Jon broke up with Lora, I never told him that. It was no longer necessary. Or so I thought.
It scares me to tell him now.
My therapist wanted me to explore why it was important to me to tell him, and why I was afraid to tell him. I told her it was because I’d promised him that I would stay until he had therapy to find out why he was having panic attacks at the idea of he and I not living together full-time. I felt absolutely horrible about going back on that promise, but I also felt like…like if I tried to stay there, I was going to end up checking myself into a mental hospital. Like Emma Shea Fett’s terribly painful story, I was starting to realize that staying was causing me to break down mentally. But leaving…that would have been betraying Jon. I promised him. I was abandoning him. Not completely. Not permanently. But still, I was going back on what I’d promised to give.
I was afraid that he’ll be disappointed in me, if I tell him that I was going to go back on my promise. More than disappointed; crushed, betrayed. I was ashamed of myself. I’m ashamed that I wasn’t stronger. That I couldn’t be there for him like I said I would.
I have repeatedly said to him, when telling him how bad things were getting for me, that I was sorry that I wasn’t stronger. That I couldn’t handle it better. That I couldn’t be more. That I know that Lora is really suffering too, and I do feel compassion for her suffering. I wish I could be a friend to her and help her. But she is too destructive and terrible for me to be around. She’d hurt Jon too much, and through Jon, me.
I’ve also, all this time, been edging around the idea that there is nothing wrong with Jon if he walks away from Lora. That it’s too much, it’s too hard, she’s too abusive and shitty and demanding and terrible. He tried. But she’s in such a bad place; their relationship is in such a bad place with the things that she demands from him and insists he does for her. I truly believe she needs to learn to do far more things for herself before she can be in any kind of intimate relationship with another human being. Putting all her needs on Jon was slowly killing his spirit.
So on one hand, I’m telling him it’s OK to walk away. That I’ve seen how hard he tried. That I can see him killing himself, trying to stay with Lora.
On the other hand, I kept trying to stay, even though it was hurting me. I keep saying that I’m so sorry that I’m not stronger. That I don’t do better. That I should be able to handle more.
Two very big mixed messages.
I’m not saying that what I’m doing is making Jon do what he’s doing. But it seems that, at the least, I need to acknowledge those messages. Maybe I should talk to him about the shame I was struggling with, at leaving until Lora was gone. Maybe if I talk to him about how I needed to make that decision to preserve me, so that I didn’t end up in a mental hospital, it was ultimately for the good of all of us. Maybe just talking about being in such a mixed state of mind will help both of us. Just like…if Lora really wants to get better, then maybe she needs to be on her own, going to therapy and getting her shit together for herself, before trying with someone else.
Although, on one hand, I think the best decision Lora can make for herself is to go back to her mom’s where her expenses are minor and finish her degree, I also worry that going back there, she’ll let herself slide back into complete antisocialness. As far as I can tell, living with Jon has forced her to make some positive changes for herself. I know (because she’s told me) that after her first, serious break-up with her abusive boyfriend, she didn’t leave her mom’s home for three years.
I know that was a terrible break-up. That guy was pretty shitty. He did a lot of colossally shitty things. So I could be rubber-necking and offering opinions about something that I have no damn business having opinions about. But if I’d be Lora’s mom, I’d have given her time to grieve, and then made it clear to her that she needed to start therapy and start doing things around the house. Get a job. Move on.
For all I know, Lora’s mom tried those things. I have no idea. What I mainly know is that if Lora goes back home, for all I know, she’ll just slide back into refusing to leave and her mom will let her. And she’ll sit around bitterly recounting how she almost made it out, and would have made it out, had Jon not kicked her to the curb.
I know. It’s not my problem. I really do know it’s not my problem. I guess, on top of everything else, it’s just a depressing fucking idea.
This isn’t to discount the horrible pull of mental illness. I honestly have no idea how bad it is for Lora. Dealing with my own mental illness struggles has been a terrible trial at times. And Lora may way not have nearly the internal resources that I have.
But given the things that she’s been (semi) managing to do. At least GET a decent job. Get herself to work fairly well, for at least a month or two. Find work-appropriate clothing. Come within two classes of finishing college. It seems a damn shame to stop that and wallow in bitterness that a particular person didn’t stand by his promise to stay by her. A promise that seems to have included giving her the right to verbally abuse, berate, scream at, deride, belittle, emotionally abuse, and constantly coerce him at any time that he wasn’t perfectly fulfilling her needs and wants.
Which switches me from feeling compassionate towards her to just being happy that she may be totally out of our lives soon. Or at least, out of my home and my life.