Letter to Jerry

I wish we could have a true conversation and discuss the things that are important to both of us, the thoughts on our minds, our feelings, opinions, hopes and desires.

I get that you feel as though I don’t communicate with you and spend too much time on my phone and the computer.  The thing that you don’t see is that you say and do things in such a way that I feel shut down and closed off from you.

When we first met, you would listen to my thoughts and hear my viewpoint and opinions, which were so different and unlike what you knew and experienced in your life.  You were fascinated by them.  Now, whenever I offer my viewpoint or opinion, your response is defensive anger because it is different from yours.

When we were in our younger years, when you were upset and angry at something another person had said or done you would vent it out.  Then, after I had listened to your frustrations and opinions on the matter, you would listen to me and the perspective I had to offer.  You appreciated it when I helped you to see the bigger picture and recognize that maybe there were other factors to consider in the situation.

At least some of the time these things were true.  At first.

Somehow, it seems you’ve always felt that anytime anyone had an opposing viewpoint they were somehow invalidating yours.  Honestly, I can understand that after watching how the various members of the family you grew up with operate for the past 16 years.  I can understand it also because there have been so many times when in my hurt and woundedness I derided and diminished you in the eyes of others, especially my older children.  I’m truly sorry for that.

I love you and value your presence in my life for so many things, in so many ways.

It’s difficult for me to express that to you in the presence of your dark and scowling face when you are verbally harsh, dismissive and rejecting because you feel like I’m not supporting you or somehow I am invalidating you.

One of my new blogging acquaintances experiences Dissociative Identity Disorder and is working with a therapist toward integration.  One of the system members is named Anger and is a little boy who bore the brunt of the worst period of abuse.  So, whenever he comes to the forefront, the words, tone, and attitude are very threatening and scary to others in the system.  The therapist suggested that the others in the system show him love and acceptances, offering hugs in the face of his threatening demeanor.

While we aren’t a DID system, we are in a dysfunctional relationship and we are in our own closed system.  Ideally, we could engage with a good therapist (or group of them) to work through our issues. Sadly, we aren’t in the position to do that, and it’s what we truly need.  I am immensely grateful that you have someone in your life now you are starting to work with, informally, who wants to support you in your healing journey.

The fact is that I don’t feel emotionally safe opening up to you and honestly expressing my feelings and thoughts.

I don’t feel like I can truly engage in a conversation with you because my thoughts and opinions are so drastically different from yours, especially when it comes to the things that are at the top of your mind in this season of political campaigning.  The people who are influencing you and the sources of information they provide you with seem to have reinforced everything that triggers your fear and anger.  Whenever you talk about those things it is with such certainty and conviction that any differing opinion or information is unacceptable and somehow anti-everything you believe in.  Even questioning the sources and trying to understand what the underlying ideologies and agendas seems to trigger your anger and sense that you are being put down.

I realize that many of these issues are deep and probably part of an undiagnosed mental/emotional health disorder.  I’ve seen your heart and witnessed the effort you have put into your attempts to grow and change.  The times that you are tender and playful, especially with Luna, and how you communicate with me in writing, a lot of the time, are evidence that you want to be a loving, caring, and relational man.

I can’t fix you, heal you, or save you.  I can only love you and maintain my commitment to you and my determination to not abandon our relationship and to do everything in my power to facilitate the relationship between you and Luna.

That being said, I need more.  I need to be able to express my thoughts, feelings, opinions, and have them heard and validated as much as you need those same things.  Since you aren’t able to do that for me, I have to find ways to accomplish that and writing on my blog is helping me to do this.  The support and encouragement, the validation and empathy, combined with the opportunity to explore and expand my knowledge and experience through interacting with other bloggers is the only thing in my life right now that feeds me.

So, when you are silent and brooding, engaged with your own phone, or completely involved with what’s on the tv screen, I disappear into my virtual world where I feel accepted, understood, and valued ~ things I don’t feel in our life together.  I have my own struggles with the depression, the pain, and the fatigue and not being able to have the mental and emotional support from you means that it’s more and more difficult to rise up through those things to give you what you need from me and to be the mom Luna needs.

I see you trying. I know you want to be and do better.  I want you to know that I am trying too.  I love you. We will get through this.

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