We have been going out quite a bit, and that means it has been more opportunity for me to see what isn’t working.
First, i tried to ignore it. Then, after seeing a pattern of ongoing behavior, i tried to calmly and gently explain. Now i’m in a bad place emotionally.
At a bar night, Sir Raven snapped at me the whole way there and otherwise ignored me. We go in, she gets me a soda, sits me down somewhere and spends the next hour talking to someone else. At some point, she sits next to me for three minutes, and i’m happy for just that. Literally, as soon as i thought that, she got up and moved away to sit next to the person she had been charmingly chatting up for hours now. And then she says, “I only domestically partnered with her for the health insurance.” Hurt and humiliated, i tried to make a joke of it, by saying that i only did it for the cinnamon rolls we had at Burger King right after. Because it was about as nonsensical as what she had just conveyed.
After my emotions cooled, i tried to explain that the total sum of the message she conveyed was that our relationship has no romantic love to it, that it is acceptable to ignore me, and that it didn’t matter that the person she was speaking to ignores me as well. Granted, health insurance was a major reason. But i pointed out that saying something like, “I knew that owning jade made it my responsibility as a Master to provide for her and be sure she has good medical care, so we got domestically partnered,” provided a very different subtext.
At the Botanical Gardens night show the next week, she was grumpy and irritated every time i spoke. She would just sigh at me. However, she was able to have a perfectly charming conversation with our friends just fine. To me, it was sharp commands: “walk” “go” “walk through those people” and “watch out, jade! Don’t walk into those people,” combined with grabbing my arm all night, likely harder than she was meaning to. i was trying to engage her, apologized for the big crowd, and it was just another night. A night that i had worked for to provide, that i went out the night before and several times in the rain that morning, and still had to take a test when we got home because i was taking care of the house chores and making sure that everyone had drinks, snacks, cigars, etc.
The next event was Folsom East, where i was surprised that she took someone else to walk around when she had never done that with me. We have been three or four times, and she has refused each time to go with me so i could shop and enjoy. And what was i focused on? Getting her a beautiful cuff.
She posted some update on facebook the day before, about doing self care for both of us, and went to bed. She was on the phone saying how exhausted she was, leaving out that she spent two days in a row coming home very early and spending hours napping. Or that she went to bed, and i was up doing All The Things so she has nothing to do but relax. But the impression she leaves is that she is taking care of us. Um-no.
The next thing was my birthday. She had agreed to take me to the Met, then let me know that wasn’t going to happen on my birthday. Then she said maybe the Cloisters. Then just to the Botanical Gardens, which wasn’t possible because it was closed. Seeing it go back and back and back, i just gave up and said we should just have a quiet day at home. It is the one day a year i feel comfortable asking for exactly what i want, so i did, and every plan got rejected. Including just playing with me at home. This year i carefully managed my expectations, and i was really okay with it, but the day before still hurt.
The last bar night was her snapping at me, per usual. It is just a volley of ignoring, snapping, talking over me, and then being perfectly charming to everyone else. It was so bad on the way, that i was seriously thinking about going into a Dallas Bar B que and telling her to come pick me up on the way back home. Karida had come over, and i had served her and cleaned up and then went to be playful and kiss her in bed, which she just ignored me. Two minutes later, as i’m cleaning things, i hear her laughing with Karida. My first reaction was to smile, because i love her laugh and was happy for them. But then i felt bad, because i had just been rejected, but she can manage to not do that to other people. When me feelings are hurt, i try and redouble my efforts to please, offer more things, trying anything-and then got snapped at for that. i was seriously thinking about staying home. It just gets old.
At home, alone, yeah she ignores me and does her own thing. i care a lot less, because i have plenty to do besides just sit there and feel awful and try to not let anyone see i’m hurt. She also doesn’t snap at me constantly most of the time, when we are alone. i think part of that nasty behavior is her anxiety, but she made the choices to get involved with the Pearls or have people over or go out, so really-don’t take it out on me.
Saturday, it just reached it’s zenith. We don’t go out alone very often at all, and i was trying to just enjoy lightly talking over dinner, and trying to get more than two words out of her was exhausting. We were standing online forever, it was a hot mess, and i was feeling really crappy. And when we got home i snapped. i told her she needed to watch her grimy tone at me.
i have been trying to ignore, let it go, meditate, try harder, explain gently. Every time i try and say, “When you use this tone, it conveys annoyance. When you respond sourly with “well, you know” when someone asks how you are, that means that you just conveyed something negative. When you deposit me someplace and don’t touch me all night, you are conveying that i don’t matter.” Her first reaction, always, is to deny it. She says she doesn’t snap at me, doesn’t have a tone, doesn’t sigh, doesn’t ignore, doesn’t lie about me or taking care of me.
If i treated her how she treats me, she would never be able to handle it.
i am tired of the pain that Summer always makes worse, and that stress makes worse, and not being comforted or held by someone who is supposed to love me.
Last night, i asked her to cuddle me, and she said, ‘I don’t think that is going to happen.” i point out that it is her responsibility to respond to the fact that she hurt me, that this is how she could be serving the dynamic, because her behavior has been bad and caused hurt.
Growing up, my Grandmother would do the same thing. Two or three times a year, my mother and i would go over to scrub everything and she would hardly talk to us at all, when she did it was pretty condesending. She referred to us as, “You people.” The phone would ring, and she would have this suddenly animated conversation, when she had jack shit to say to us. My mother would look so hurt and dejected. It is the only time i can remember seeing her actually sweat because she would actually help a bit. She would whisper to me that this was what her childhood was, knocking herself out to please, and getting ignored. She said she would listen to the phone calls as a kid, hoping to hear anything kind about her. We even had a phrase for this behavior, it was so common-“the belle of the Ball.”
Take any other person-from a random stranger in a grocery store-and my grandmother could turn on the charm. She could have a perfectly lovely conversation, her face and voice all animated. People would think she was great. We never got the Belle of the Ball.
When she would talk about how beautiful an Italian cousin was, her voice would always get very dramatic in the explaining of her bedroom eyes, her beautiful skin, ohhh she was gorgeous, her lips, and she was so sweet, like an angel. When she was dying of dementia, i left the nursing home just long enough to shower and bake muffins and came back. And she told me that this cousin from Italy had been there earlier with fruit, how she was still so beautiful, so sweet, still an angel.
It was me there that morning. My grandmother never said anything positive to me about my looks my entire life, save once and that mistaken identity. Being compared to someone my grandmother had called the “epitome of feminine,” was jarring and heart soaring. Who knew?
i remember my mother’s sad moon face, her crying, while i tried to get the cleaning done expertly and get us out of there with the jobs done. The Belle of the Ball made my mother cry. We were never mentioned, and my grand gave the impression to everyone else that she was this charming person who was loving and who had no family there sweating and scrubbing for her. To us, she had little to nothing to say really. It wasn’t until i was well into my 20s that she and i started talking, because i had a cell phone and she could call me directly without dealing with my mother. It took a year of her calls for me to stop flinching every time it was her, because i was expecting to be snapped at or blamed or criticized. i was also expecting she would be the one to call and tell me my father was dead, and that was my first thought that first year of calls. i was genuinely surprised to be able to enjoy her calls, that she wanted to know how the kids and i were doing. She would tell me i was a good daughter, a good girl. One-on-one, she always told me i was a good girl. In a group, she was really a frightening person, esp if my brother and mother were in that group.
The Belle of the Ball would get more nasty and snappy around people. When she called me, she was just her. And it was so much more than enough.
It took years for me to trust that she wasn’t going to attack or blame me. i don’t understand what any of this was about. i do see the patterns in my own life. i wish i had stood up to my grand, maybe we would have had a better relationship sooner. She had to admit her bad behavior, and she did that. Then we were able to move forward, and she worked to regain my trust. She showed a genuine interest in my work, in my boys, and in me. She was the only person that i could have shown up penniless and she would have opened her door for me. i didn’t need her to be the Belle of the Ball. i needed her to be her and to acknowledge how hard i worked on her behalf. When that was our norm, it changed everything. i stopped feeling like a disappointment, or the reason my mother was crazy. It couldn’t have happened without both of us being honest and reaching out to each other.
This thing with Sir Raven requires the same things. Honesty and learning to lean in to each other. Some repair work is needed, because i’ve absorbed too much negativity and shame from her behavior. i know i’m worth that. Hopefully, she will figure that out too. i love the woman, and i’m not going anywhere. i need her to put her pride aside and do some work. Either she will or she won’t. i’m not going to pretend it isn’t happening anymore. Trying to focus on and acknowledge only the good has made the behaviors worse. So i’m trying being vulnerable and honest.