Contempt is poison. It is one of Gottman's "Four Horsemen." Hell, I don't want it. How can I feel it though, and consciously believe that the target of the contempt does not deserve it and that to feel contempt is indeed beneath me? I am aghast at my propensity for internal conflict. How can I get to the bottom of this? I can't even make sense of it...and it hurts.
She says: "I am direct," (while implying a contrast between her behavior and mine) and then says things like "L. (her parenting partner) says our dynamic (hers and mine) is abusive." Robert is not direct, being the unenlightened and un-de-FOO'ed one, but she is, always. I notice such contradictions. She tells me that she does not treat me with contempt, but she has, and moreover steadfastly refused to even acknowledge or discuss it...for over two years. So, I experience cognitive dissonance. I feel like I can't talk about things like this with her without being accused of attacking her. It's frustrating. Is it worthy of contempt? Why in the hell would I ever answer that question in the affirmative? Still...I feel it...and sometimes, I show it. It is on my face.
Is she awful? No. Is she evil? No, quite the contrary. I keep saying to myself that everyone has blind-spots. I accept that. She is a remarkable person. Then what is going on in me? I see the pattern: I don't want to be in my father's position. I perceived him to be, courtesy of my mother's numerous complaints, and his own questionable actions, her mistake, and I have come to see that kind of existence as appalling. I have resolved to never again end up in that position...and yet, I still often perceive myself to be in that position. Is it just me, or did I actually become enamored of someone who recapitulates that experience with me? How in the hell am I supposed to figure that one out? There's an example of Peter Gerlach's "trust wound." I suppose that it is also compounded by the "shame and guilt wound." It is more than just dismaying, how these traumas combine in wounds that produce a kind of fractal pattern of cognitive and interpersonal pathologies. When it's not painful, it is morbidly fascinating.
Pete says these things are ungrieved things or traumas in us, and that grieving them frees us from them. To Laurel, "de-FOO" fixes everything. She doesn't say that as much, lately, which is just OK with me, because it really rankled me when I heard it. De-FOO is not a process; it'a a result! It's neither a means nor an end; it is a realization to which one may come. So, what's to do? More parts work? I suppose I should dive back into Pete's site. I can't get anywhere right now. I just end up making things worse. Sometimes, I find myself so unmotivated in the mornings. I have to drag myself out of bed, or lie there, working up the initiative to do something. That was the state in which I found myself this morning. Hell, I would have found sadness to be a relief, but I felt "insulated" from that. I feel tired and frazzled and frustrated. Part(s) of me insist that I may as well be alone; my company is not that appetizing right now, anyway. I think I want solitude. I want to go home, and be alone right now. It is not a good day.
There is too much going on at once. Jackie's headaches are getting worse again. She wants some sort of medical cure. Her good doctor, the family practitioner she likes, asked her if maybe she thought she might get somewhere talking to a therapist. I heard my own former disdain in her voice. She's angry and doesn't want to be thought crazy. Nobody is denying that she is experiencing these physical problems but she definitely does not want to entertain the idea that they have a psychological/emotional component, at all, or that maybe, she might find some insights in coping with these things if she spoke with someone. I asked her if she thought that I am crazy, after all, I am now talking to someone in an effort to find some clarity. That question got dodged artfully. There are no lessons so bitter as the ones we long to un-teach. Why would they listen best when I was wrong? I suspect it is because that we learn that we are wrong through age and experience. We are wrong before we are right. We are wrong when we are younger, and our children are younger, and that is when they are most vulnerable and impressionable. It is difficult to talk to her and reach her...and I'm not talking to the person with the good ideas in this arena right now. Damn it. This is what I get for plucking out my right eye. Ha.
At least Jackie will say that something is wrong. Shannon is trickier. I spoke to her last night around nine, and then again around ten, when I got back from Oakland, where I was helping Tom. She was having a panic attack, I think. She found herself in a position of being unable to swallow, and was retching back up the water she kept trying to drink. She described it as feeling like her esophagus was blocked. I suggested that she might want to call the ER and talk to them, but apparently, she decided to wait it out. I asked if she would call me back last night, when she knew more, after talking to someone with a medical perspective. She didn't. Instead, she went to bed. I called her this morning to check up on her and found out that the distressing condition went away after about forty-five more minutes, and that she was still tired. Well, as maladies go, ones that disappear on their own are better than one's like Jackie's migraines, which hang on tenaciously. The thing is though, I don't know what is stressing Shannon right now. It's worrisome. I think I'll call her tonight again, and see if she will talk to me. I can be difficult to reach her, in more ways than one.
I wish it were five o'clock. I'm not feeling useful, right now.