Robert (Bro. Pepper-spray of Reasoned Discussion) (montecristo) wrote,
Robert (Bro. Pepper-spray of Reasoned Discussion)

It's easier not to be wise, and measure these things by your brains

It's my birthday again. I'm 52 years old today. My parents called me on Skype. I'm still ambivalent about talking to them. It is tough to hang in limbo. Molyneux and my dearly lamented lost Pleiad would advocate that I hold honest conversations with them. The point presumably, is either to be able to have such conversations, which would be desirable, or else become convinced that such a conversation is not possible, because there was never a strong, honest relationship there from the outset, and break my connection to them. I'm still stuck. I haven't called them in months now, and they only call me infrequently, perhaps every couple of weeks or so, once or twice a month. We don't speak long, anymore. My father has politely, almost plaintively, encouraged me to call my mother. I am so conflicted about this. I don't know what to believe about them. Their contradictions hurt my head, but on the other hand understanding what is happening, what has happened to them and understanding how hard it is to deal with it makes me feel hypocritical, even cruel, in judging them, sometimes. Other times, when my inner guardians are not particularly vigilant, the anger gets free and I feel a sense of outrage. Why is the health of my soul and the value of my children enough for me to at least attempt to fix things, when by contrast, I apparently wasn't enough to inspire them to do likewise? I cannot unsee what I have been learning. The only way out is through. I just wish this were easier. This battle has cost me so highly...and Pete Gerlach tells me, and I believe, I'm not even very good at grieving my losses and moving forward.

So much of the time, when I am alone and thinking about this stuff I am in conflict or perhaps confusion. Parts of me want to know what is the point of forcing the issue. What is cutting more connections really buying me? Am I not already alone enough? I hear all kinds of miracles proclaimed for doing this, for breaking off "toxic" relationships, but I only just respect Molyneux, as opposed to being fully convinced that he is without error, and the woman I love, who also advocates this course, has cut her ties with me and burned the bridges between us for good, for all I know. What is the point of taking everything to zero? It would just be isolating myself, excepting of course, my children, and I suppose, my friendship with Tom. My friend is being consumed by cancer and probably doesn't have another six months in him — I'm not sure. As for my children, Jackie is doing better every day at building a life for herself. Eventually, Shannon will get her life back on track, as both of us would sincerely wish, and then move out again to pursue it. I'm not particularly inspired by Facebook right now and have been off of it for a week now. The desire for companionship is presently not outweighing the doubt in my ability to sustain my relationships. I still miss Laurel. I still don't feel like I have any traction on resolving things in my family of origin.

Maybe I should just wait a awhile. It's too much stress right now. I've got enough on my plate trying to get Tom's bills and finances straightened out, plus trying to encourage Shannon. I'm still missing Laurel. I know how that will run. Eventually, I will think of her one day and then realize that I haven't thought of her in days or a couple of weeks, and that will be the tail-end of my grieving. Whether is is "effective grieving" or not, eventually, the conflict will die down, the pain will recede, and thoughts of her will not trouble me at least once a day anymore. I'm not there yet. I have thought of her every last single day of my life since May 12th, 2014 to the present. I can deal with grieving that broken connection until it fades, but I'll be damned if I see any advantage in piling new/old grief on top of what I've already got, right now. I'm just so mortally tired of that recurring ache. The verse from the Doobie Brothers song, "Real Love" comes to mind:

Your days and nights like a wheel that turns,
Grinding down a secret part of you,
Deep inside your heart,
Where nobody knows...
I keep telling myself that if she doesn't think that our relationship is worth her time then by definition, and the same reasoning, she's not right for me, and little by little it sinks in, I think, but parts of me will not yet let go. I suppose they might, by the end of the year. It is inevitable, but the parts that love her so fiercely, the parts that need her, damn it all, are diehards. In two months it will be half a year since I saw her face and spoke to her. They may have lost their grip on foolish hope by then. Maybe that will be a good time to wrestle with my parents. Sooner or later, it's coming. I can't unsee what I've seen now. I'm just not a rip-the-Band-aid-off kind of person. One damned painful thing at a time for me, thanks. Ha, my dentist is still after me to get my right side wisdom teeth pulled.

I still don't know what I'm doing with the therapist. I was under the impression that this stuff is hard. It hasn't proven so yet, but then, I can speak with candor to her, surprisingly, or not so surprisingly. There's nothing I perceive as being "at stake" there. I suppose I ought to be more surprised that it was just as easy, most of the time, talking to Laurel, with whom much was at stake. I guess I was kind of amazed, at first, but then it just became so comfortable and right...and I see where that went. Ah well. I would weep, but I don't feel like wrestling with my guardians for the ability to do it, right at the moment. Meh. At any rate, I have no trouble talking with the therapiist about things, but I have no idea where it is getting me, other than a bit lighter in the wallet after each visit. I'm not inclined to quit yet, because I am in no way convinced that this course of action is without merit, but on the other hand, I have yet to discern what good it is doing or will do me.

I suppose that it is still too early to tell anything in figuring out what is supposed to be happening with the therapist. I've only talked to her now for one full session. I go back again on Wednesday. I spent the last hour trying to establish some sort of informational framework and context. I was trying to answer the question: why am I here. There's so much stuff, so many things that have gone sideways. I suppose that I have grown, some. I still don't trust well...hell, and when I do, what is that? Is it fantasy? Was it wrong to trust Laurel? Was it and is it wrong to be attracted so much to her? Is it realistic, or merely wishful thinking? I have trouble trusting myself. Laurel doesn't trust me. She apparently trusts men who tell her no when she tells them she desires to pursue self-actualization with them. Should I have trusted what she was telling me from the beginning, when she first ran back to the physicist, to the "safety" of a triangle? "Driving in a stake" means "tying her Dancer down." Should I have taken her for what she was then: someone who would not see merit in what the two of us were doing and run? What would that have got me? I would have missed out all the wonderful experiences I did have in her sweet company. As Gerlach says, it's trust too much or trust too little. Am I to regret holding onto her? Should I more earnestly endeavor to scrape her out of my heart? I've just got to wrestle this stuff out. There is no escaping it. It's who I am.

Last Sunday, while Shannon and I were sitting in the car, waiting for the laundry to get done drying, she mentioned that it was difficult for her when I was "gone," by which she meant "not present" all the way. I asked her why, and she said that she feels the urge to be "gone" herself, off in her imagination and engrossed in her artwork and pursuits and "not present" as well, but when she is in my company she feels obligated to be present on the chance that I will surface. Well, that's how that little bit of poison plays out in her. Obligation. Damn it. I wish I could make it clear to her that she doesn't "owe" me. I did try. She asserts her boundaries about her room, her space, and when she's feeling social and when not, and I keep telling her that I am grateful that she trusts me enough to stand up and assert herself and tell me when she is and is not feeling like socializing, or when she is angry at me. She really has gotten much better at being herself and establishing her boundaries than she was when she was younger. I look at her behavior now and I am amazed, now that I understand a bit of what I am seeing. Shannon really was pressed under the burden of accommodating Crystal and I. I worry that I still do it, pressure her to accommodate me, because I do, and I am trying to become more aware of it and keep the "arrow of responsibility" pointed in the correct direction. I try to remain aware of it. I suspect that it may help when we talk about it. I don't want to be like far too many others in this world: to be the kind of parent that smooshes and smothers his children, that warps them with his own needs and prejudices and desire to evade responsibility, and yet I know that I have been like that, previously, and still have much to learn. I helped bring children into the world and nurtured them in order to share life and the wonder of existence with new people. She ought to have her wings free. I just hope I can help her get the tar off of her feathers so that she can fly.

So, we were sitting there in the car, at the laundromat talking and I admitted to her that I was distracted and had been non-present for some of the past two days as she pointed out, and she told me that it was pretty obvious. Well, that's interesting. I started wondering how she knows. It is easy enough to understand that there are plenty of physical cues but I was curious as to which ones she had noticed or if she could enumerate them consciously. I asked her, and she started ticking them off for me. I was amazed that she seemed to have a huge list. It wasn't just one or two things. That surprised me. It wasn't just that she was making up some stuff, either; she was sure. I asked her to write them down for me and she indulged me. Her list looks like this:

  • teeth set
  • frowny eyes
  • head angled slightly down
  • reduced eye contact
Body Language:
  • spine hunched
  • shoulders forward
  • stride is longer and quicker, but less "bouncy"
  • hands loose
  • terse, one-word replies
  • lower register

She's good at this. She beats Crystal at cards. I always found that Crystal had a hard time lying to me convincingly. She just could not do it. She could deceive me, but if I pointed out that she was cheating the woman never even bothered to deny it. When Crystal felt guilty she could not keep it off of her face. On the other hand, she would typically win at cards, when we played, depending on the game. Shannon, however, can kick Crystal's butt. Shannon once enumerated her mother's "tells" for me, when we were talking about cards. Memo to myself: never play poker with Shannon for money unless you intend to be poorer. Heh. She has a talent. She tells me that at the summer camps where she worked as a camp counselor she was really good at mediation of "camper conflicts." When she talks about it, I hear her pride, but it is not an arrogant pride, it is the quiet pride of self-confidence. Shannon prides herself on being a peace-maker. That's a valuable skill in this world, and a quality of leadership. It pains me to see how Crystal and I deformed her self-confidence and have hindered her in seeing how much value she represents, both to herself and to those about whom she cares. She has so much to offer. It is one of the things that drew/draw me so powerfully to Laurel, that she was able to see qualities in Shannon and enunciate them when we would talk about our children. I wish I were a better inspiration for Shannon and could help her undo some of the negatives that Crystal and I fostered when we failed to connect with Shannon and Jackie. People are not objects. It hurts to be able to see someone else's sorrows and not know what to do or say to help change their perspective. That's another thing at which Laurel had some genius. Thinking about it makes my heart sore with missing her. There's nothing to be done about it. I don't have Laurel's perspective by my side anymore. I've got to work harder at developing these resources for myself, as best as I am able.

Tags: birthday, family and friends, interpersonal, introspection

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