Showery day, which hadn’t been forecast. Pretty cool outside for July 1. I’m tempted to let today be a total day off, and not take the walk I’d taken for granted I would. Maybe not even do yoga. I’ll see Shannon, of course, even though I kind of wish I didn’t have to do that on my day off. I kind of preferred having my day off on a different day than a Shannon Day. I’ve been trying to adjust. Before shutdown I’d go and walk in the Tabor neighborhood ahead of our appointment—since it got light enough to, anyway. It was nice getting a break last week.
So, some thoughts did occur to me, where some more meaning stood out to me from the basic facts than what had presented themselves to me before. It had to do with the nature of how I considered my friendship with Martha, which I had presumed was mutually cherished. Of course that’s what the whole thing revealed, was that she disowned my claim on her. Yesterday was a poignant day, not just for the anniversary of the loss of my sister, but the 1st anniversary of Martha and my last breakfast together.
It simply offended her deeply that I called her attention to something she was doing to ask her to stop. She felt shame, and to reduce the causticity of that shame transferred it to me as anger: begging a question that the greater transgression is to mention a transgression. As if there was some sort of sacred agreement that it is ok for one party to demand that the other allow them to take and ask nothing in return. And I was in violation of such an agreement, and thus worthy of all scorn and censure. She simply refused to consider that this is a very one-sided agreement that benefits her only, and surely no one in their right mind would agree to such a thing. Of course, that’s to accuse her of being so reprehensible as to be someone who demands that another consider her, but herself feels no in-kind compulsion to also consider “another”.
It’s weird just how many people there have been in my life who seem to think just this way—that they don’t owe others what they expect from them.
So anyway, I wasn’t interested in breakfasts any more with Martha, because I’d seen her disown the relationship I’d taken for granted we had, and she didn’t retract that disowning. That’s kind of the bottomline truth, and I have no desire to have a relationship with her that’s not the one I’d thought we had. There’s no going backward toward an “acquaintances”-level in my heart, once I’ve gone beyond that into close-intimate. Whatever it was she had with me was not enough to keep her from behaving the way she did, and then apologizing for without resentment. Our relationship was not precious enough to her to weigh more in her decision of what to do.
It’s just a fact to face. It probably makes sense that we actually ARE too different; she’s right about that. We differ in that I believe in telling the truth about relationships, and I believe that relationships can deepen when the parties are sincere, love their relationships, and proceed with the best of intentions. She believes that the highest expression of relationship is to never be informed that her behavior hasn’t been right. She’s blind to the inconsistency that she feels entitled to tell others when their behavior hasn’t been right, but gets offended if they bring something up to her about her own. She truly believes that she has been maliciously harmed by another who holds up a mirror. I suppose that’s because the shame she feels at being caught in a misbehavior is so sharp that she can only blast it at the person who is most closely associated with it. Completely missing that she’s expecting something of me that she doesn’t expect of herself
--to her it is logical that I am to blame for the strong emotions surrounding this. I feel kind of helpless about this, because it’s clear that anything in my tool box would be considered offensive by her. So I helplessly am aware that to her it really does seem as if it is my stubbornness, hypersensitivity that have caused this, and she is the victim.
Truly, what happened is that she began to lash out. At first it was rare enough that I overlooked it, but then it started happening more frequently. When I felt I couldn’t overlook it any more I asked her to change her behavior.
Thus, this is the first time I’ve exercised this belief, that one should tell the truth, about something adverse about her, to her. All these years, and this is the most directly I have faced her with something that has bothered her all along about me—that I believe in being authentic. All along she’s disliked this trait in me, and having it finally appear directly between her and me focused her dislike to a point where it seemed reasonable to sunder the friendship.
Well, they were good years. I’d sure looked forward to nestling into that friendship, and the wider cocoon with Teri (and the wider circle including Kat and Wanda, too) for the rest of my life. It was a place where I felt completely myself, and completely accepted for myself. In the deepest, most satisfying way.
I suppose the part about feeling fear about ‘losing’ Teri (losing the friendship) is about a hint that Teri may be sensitive to any winds from Martha that would find it disloyal for Teri to continue a relationship with me. Which could express as a sort of belief that she and I "just don’t have as much in common", something like that. Rather than seeing it as moving away from me out of a sense of loyalty to the friendship with Martha, she might see it as something I’m doing wrong, or a ‘perception’ that we’ve grown apart somehow.
I’ve also been aware of this all my life, I guess. That people might be prone to see me in a way that enables them to value themselves over their value of me. That people don’t really see me, and they don’t see that their own defense mechanisms in part are why. Their own defense mechanisms, their own fears, wounds, reflexive allegiances. I guess I’ve just been around so many wounded people, who then wounded me.
But, I guess that’s the whole nature of mental health healing, is dealing with the effects of caustic decisions and contexts on our psyches. My parents were hurt themselves, and their hurts caused them to make decisions about their worth that bent their worlds into a shape where their own coherence and worth as people was predicated on their children’s behavior. Their own coherence and worth were more important than the mental health of their children, and so they asked more from their children than could be reasonably expected, ever
and children’s efforts to comply result in a weird patchwork of beliefs and compensating behaviors, that in turn wounds others who come after.
I just realized that it’s actually time to begin 2020.3, vol 131. The second quarter ended yesterday, June 30, on the same day that my sister’s life ended in 1988, on the same day my friendship with Martha ended. When Martha made it clear that it was unacceptable that I had told her that she was hurting me with the way she was treating me. THAT’s what’s the irreparable difference between us, the unbridgeable gap. It had just been waiting 40 years for it to be exposed. I would never expected that she would choose her belief that she's entitled to expect me to shore up her illusion that she’s infallible to the sweetness of a friendship that was a source of joy.
I guess I’ll close with that here, and begin vol 131 with it there.
I wonder if I needed to see it, in this way, in order to realize again, what a big realization it was, and how I needed to protect myself from it, that my parents loved a version of me that I did not match. Furthermore, they expected me, and expect me, to present to them a facsimile of that version of me that I don’t match. The me that doesn’t match the version they have of me knows that she isn’t acceptable to them. So I spent my life assuming I was at fault, and assuming my feelings were deeply wrong, because that was where the seat of my disagreement with the others was. So I spent my life trying to fix my feelings. Because in order to tolerate Martha’s treatment of me, I would have to be a person that doesn’t get hurt by them. In order to have stayed married to Gary I would have had to be able to accept the shit he threw at me (without him realizing it was him throwing shit). In order to have stayed in relationship with Mark I would have had to be someone who wouldn’t hurt when he did little (and big) disloyalties to our relationship.