Thursday, November 15, 2007

More of the Same (long and self-pitying, reader beware)

Jaimes says some of the most hurtful things imaginable.

I mean...I guess there are always worse, more hurtful things that could be said. But he says things to me that cause me a great deal of pain.

We got in a fight the other night. Really, about stupid things. I was tired, it was the end of a day that had been terribly stressful, I was not at my best, and he wasn't at his best either. He stormed off.

I called him a few minutes later, and he answered the phone, "It better be important," in a sharp tone of voice. I was stunned and didn't know quite how to respond, so I didn't speak right away...and then he hung up on me.

I messaged him a while later to say that I didn't want to see him for a while, that he doesn't have to live with me, he doesn't have to love me, he doesn't even have to like me...but at a bare minimum, he should be able to treat me with some courtesy and civility. I did say in the message that, while I don't care to spend time with him at the moment, I don't want to keep him from Ravenna, and if he wanted to see her he should let me know and we would arrange details.

Two days passed without a word from him.

Today, I called to ask if and when he wants to see Ravenna, and he took it as an opportunity to get into it about the other night. As he sees it, I am entirely in the wrong, and my message was totally unwarranted. It is perfectly civil for him to answer the phone however he chooses, and to hang up on me if he feels the conversation is not worth his time, and it's unreasonable of me to ask anything else of him. My problem is that I think he and I are equals - and we are not. I need to pay attention, I shouldn't have called, I shouldn't have tried to manipulate him with my silence, I shouldn't have been upset when he hung up and should have expected it, and I shouldn't have sent him such rude, manipulative messages. He hardly let me get a word in edgewise as he expounded on all of these things, and ignored repeated requests to drop the stuff between us and to focus on if and when he'd like to see Ravenna, and on arranging the visit.

Early on in the conversation, I tried to communicate to him that I don't want him to hang up on me when we speak...if he doesn't want to talk to me when I call, let it go to voicemail. I don't think it's an unreasonable request, but he was completely closed off to it, just continued talking over me, interrupting me, telling me how I need to pay attention, understand that he is right, listen, I don't went on and on, I had trouble even keeping track of everything.

Since he was not open to my request about refraining from hanging up on me when we speak, I eventually shifted to asking him to please understand that if he is unwilling alter his behavior in any way, he needs to understand that calling him will not feel safe to me, and I will be less inclined to call, especially when I am tired, stressed out, or already not at my best for some other reason. He didn't take this as well, accusing me of trying to manipulate him, telling me that I need to go to 4 years of counseling, I need to learn to pay attention, that nothing he did or does is unreasonable, that I need to learn the lessons he's trying to teach me, etc.

At some point, Ravenna was crying in the background, and I asked him, "Do you hear Ravenna crying? I can't continue this right now." He hung up on me.

I called back after I had resolved the situation with Ravenna, and he said, "It better be important," very curtly.

I said, "What, are you still trying to teach me some lesson?" We got back into it, the conversation (was it even that?) about the same as before. He told me several times that he was tired of repeating himself, I was boring him. And he finally said that he does want to see Ravenna, that he gets back from Pittsburg on Tuesday (I didn't even know until this moment that he was going out of town), and that he would call me then. Then more of the same. Why can't I just listen? I'm so stupid, boring, I need to learn to pay attention... he was so condescending. And apparently offended that I would presume to think that he didn't understand exactly how I felt. I told him that he is very smart, intelligent, and aware, and probably is aware of the effect that his actions have...perhaps he does not like that I am still so emotionally attached to him, and his actions were intended to sever some of those bonds. He flared up at that and said that I was trying to manipulate him by making him feel guilty. And then, at some point, he said that I have never loved him. That I don't even know what love is, I only want something from him, I only manipulate him...going on, and on...bitter, biting, accusing.

This really, really hurt. I couldn't help myself, I started crying. "I love you, I LOVE you," I said. "How can you say something like that? Do you really mean it?" He talked around my question, maybe said something like, "Would I say it if I didn't mean it?"

After a little bit more of that, I told him I just needed to ask him one more thing, and then I would let him go. He finally gave me a little space to speak, and I asked, "Do you honestly mean everything you have been saying to me, or are you letting anger and frustration color your words?" Again, he didn't answer my question, just talked around it...asked me if I thought he would say something he didn't mean, or something to that effect.

That was it. I kept to what I had said, told him I'd talk to him when he called on Tuesday, and said goodbye.

And then I carried Ravenna inside, told her I was very sad, we laid down on the bed together, and she let me hold her while I cried.

Why does he say things like that?

Even when you're fighting, why would you say something like that to someone you care about?

Does he really believe it? Or was he just saying it because he knew it would hurt me? If he believes it, does that mean that I've wasted these last several years of my life, putting my energy into loving him?

I don't like being hurt this way. I hate it. I hate fighting. I hate getting so emotional. And I hate that he says these things. Whether he means them or not, they are terrible things to say.

All this, and I hardly even see him any more. We don't live together. At most, I see him for an hour or two every day or every few days, so that he can spend time with Ravenna, and sometimes not even that. And still...he has so much power to hurt me. He oscillates from being very loving, sometimes for quite a long time, to suddenly being very hurtful. It's circular; I'm hurt, so I pull away, and then he's very sweet and loving, so I am drawn back in, only so that he can ultimately hurt me again.

I can pull myself further away again now, that's all fine and good, but when will I finally learn to stop letting myself be pulled back in?


Susan K. said...

I am very impressed that you didn't hang up on him; I would have taken that easy, angry, hypocritical out. Your actions show how truly deep your integrity runs.

I'm sorry that you're sad. I wish I could cry on the bed with both of you too, even if it wouldn't help. I love you, and I love being pulled into loving you.

snarlydwarf said...

people say crappy things when fighting. that part is normal.. the trick is to seperate "fighting words" from the real problems... Or the Adrian Belew line: "I remember how to forget"

I dont know what to say about the above though.. sure, some fights can go on longer than others, but it sounds to me like he is being extra-pissy-mooody-nasty for far too long. And you (like me!) hang around far too long for that sort of abuse.

And, yes, that is abuse. No one has the right to repeatedly treat you like poop. Don't call him. You don't have to go so far as to avoid him, just be careful of giving him too many opportunities to rant at you... perhaps he sees your attempts to reach out to him as a sign of weakness and pounces on that (that is how it reads to me). So don't reach. Let him figure himself out more, let him figure out who you are and that you deserve better than to be treated as he has been doing.

(And, yes, it is much easier to say "ignore the ass" from my vantage point than it is from yours. God knows I didn't run away from some people when I should have... so if you goof and he treats you like poop again, I won't blame you. He'd still be the ass.)

Mary said...

I wish I were there to give you a big hug, and now I'm crying too. :(

I don't think you get to pick who you love.. it just happens. And you have to find a way to live with it.

Maybe his parents didn't have a good relationship, so he never learned how to maintain one. Maybe he wasn't loved as much as he should have been when he was little. There are a lot of maybes that could explain why he treats you the way he does. But regardless of the whys, he does. And you deserve so much more.

I love you. You are amazing role model to me, and I know that you will pull through this somehow because you have strength in you that I admire.

Anonymous said...

"He oscillates from being very loving, sometimes for quite a long time, to suddenly being very hurtful. It's circular; I'm hurt, so I pull away, and then he's very sweet and loving, so I am drawn back in, only so that he can ultimately hurt me again."

you've described a classic abusive cycle but you probably know that.

...many people have heard "you never loved me" from jaimes. he means it insofar as he is not entirely sure what love is, that's all.

Kathryn said...

Yes, I suppose I do.


I also know that about Jaimes, that he isn't really sure what love is. That's one of the harder things, maybe; seeing it makes one think, "all he needs is to be loved enough, he needs to be shown what love really is and I, I can do that for him..."

Well, just look where that's gotten me. And where it's gotten him. Maybe we aren't really anywhere too different from where we started.