Damn it. To say: "The trust is gone. I don't want to engage," is effectively saying: "It hurts me to communicate with you, and either you do not care that I am hurt, or you are not capable of communicating with me in a way that does not hurt."
I'm willfully hurtful, or at least willfully negligent? Is that what I am to understand? Have I been hurtful? Yes. Without question, I acknowledge that I have been interacting with Laurel (and also others in my life) in ways that Schnarch would say are not very differentiated and in ways which Gerlach would say are the products of psychological wounds, such as a dysfunction of the ability to trust, or a dysfunction of the ability to connect with my own emotions and thus empathize effectively, or under possible distortions of reality, or in response to a triggered shame or guilt reaction, or even in response to an irrational fear reaction. I have reacted to perceived attacks and stresses which may not actually reflect a realistic assessment of my interaction with others. I cannot deny that I believe this to be true. It does not please me when this is the case. I feel badly when I am in the wrong. The idea that she may believe that I do not even care is very painful to consider. I find it stirs up a great deal of sadness when I contrast what I do value in Laurel with the fact that she perceives me to have communicated to her that I do not value her.
It is difficult for me to decide and make a declaration like this to somebody else, especially when I perceive them to have other values which may offset the awkwardness or ignorance with which they handle their communication and interaction. I don't perceive her to be without baggage, and in at least some ways, I perceive her to have communicated with me and acted toward me in ways that I have come to understand are not particularly constructive and helpful, either to me or to her. Nevertheless, I would be very hard-pressed to attribute what I perceive to be lapses in this context as the product of malice or willful evasion. In other words, when I am being most just and objective, I perceive her to be doing her best to be honest and mindful. Schnarch himself claims that we choose partners who are essentially not much more or less differentiated than ourselves. Is she really saying that she perceives malice or willful evasion in my words and deeds? Stumbling into conflicts with her is so painful to her that there is no value in any of our non-painful communications to sufficiently offset any of it? Does she perceive it to be all my fault, or is it just her opinion that the two of us do not "work" as a couple? Of course, that raises the question, in comparison to what?
Would it be more honest with myself to agree with her assessment or is it more honest to just consider that we have a difference of opinion here that cannot be reconciled without exceeding her ability to maintain the contact? Why is it apparently so difficult for her to maintain intimacy with a man who has told her "Yes," and apparently so facile to maintain intimacy, or some semblance of it, with men who have emphatically told her "No"? Is it easier for her to believe the honesty of a "no" than it is for her to believe the honesty of a "yes"? Is it her or is it me or is it both of us, and if is both of us, in what proportion? Is this even a fruitful avenue of thought to pursue or am I merely barking up the wrong tree? I have the feeling that Schnarch would tell me that I am looking at things a bit wrong here, but I'm still not seeing how, exactly.