Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dead Zone and Why Do I Open My Big Fat Mouth?

It's been a tough few days. For some reason I'm losing my footing. It could be the days on end of rain which never works well for me. But if lack of sunshine were the only thing the solutions would be simple.

For months I've been becoming more and more dysfunctional in my work, but these last few weeks I have been borderline non-functional. Last week I clocked zero hours. For someone who wants financial freedom this is counter-intuitive self-sabotage. At the same time, my work is with him and for him. I can't separate it in my head. Still, that doesn't explain it fully because I have my own little side gig and that has been suffering too. I can do nothing but a few chores and read and write, mostly on this topic though I'm doing writing elsewhere that is unrelated. What work I do get done is forced and painful. One email to a client and I feel impossibly exhausted and drained. 

That "dead zone" that Estes talks about in WWRWW -- it's like I entered the killing room, saw what I needed to see there, but when I came out I got stuck in the dead zone around it. A place that is totally without light, without sound, without feeling. There is nothing to get hold of here. 

Meanwhile, Roi has stepped up his recovery to a meeting a day, working with his sponsor, and participating in a daily email group for sex addicts. I see visible changes, and to be honest I think this may be contributing to my having fallen into the dead zone. I don't want hope right now. Not now.

On a different, but always related topic, Kyd has come to stay for a few days. When he's here his girlfriend is often here too, and I get to see them interact, and I'm becoming increasingly disturbed by what I see. Nothing horrible, but an emergent pattern. They rarely fight, and have never fought in my presence. Mostly they talk, wrestle, play, watch movies, and joke around. It's the joking that's bothering me. Kyd tends toward those "jokes" that are semi-insulting. The kind of jokes you find in emotionally abusive relationships. I see no other evidence of overt emotional abuse. Other than the joking he treats her kindly, compliments her, listens to her, and generally obviously cares about her a great deal. 

But this need to poke with barbs wrapped in the scapegoat of a "joke" is problematic for me. It means that he needs to make sure she stays attached to him because he is the one who will define her. Even compliments, if this is the dynamic, are part of this. He often talks about how she says he treats her better than any boyfriend she's had, or how he supports her and encourages her. He wants to secure himself as her everything, he wants to secure himself by defining her. 

I tried to talk to him about it. Told him that I see that sometimes she doesn't always seem to like his "kidding around" and I gave him a recent example. He explained it was because she's a Pisces and this means she sometimes takes things too personally. WTF? 

It didn't go well after that and perhaps I should've known better. We're now giving each other a wide berth while we let the words between us settle. When he rejected wholesale my suggesting this was mildly emotionally abusive, I dug my heels in, which in turn prompted him to do the same. Nothing was accomplished.

I have no idea what to do about it, so I guess I do nothing. 


  1. WWRWW <---it looks better, I don't know why I initially omitted the 'with', I guess I felt I could based on a technicality, but I like this way better. Changes have been made on my side of the world regarding our unofficial book reading expedition.

    I get exhausted after standing at the mirror to put mascara on. I guess I am a bit behind you in the book, but if there is a dead zone that sucks energy, then no wonder.

    I guess it makes sense that your son doesn't listen to you...about anything...young adults don't tend to heed well to the suggestions of their parents. But, on behalf of women, I think it was good of you to say something. It would have conveyed acceptance of such behavior (as mild as it is), had you said nothing. Maybe this is the place for a boundary? Don't ask me, I don't have a lot of experience with those, it just seems like the place...

    As far as the jokes, themselves, I have been on the receiving end of those and they were damaging to me because they were 1.) constant, 2.)hidden under a nice veneer, 3.)at times subtle enough to leech into my subconsciousness before I even heard the dig. On many occasion I would be laughing at myself before I realized that my feelings had been slapped around a little. It was confusing.

  2. "our unofficial book reading expedition". I like that. It will be deeply personal for each of us, but I like knowing that someone else is going through the same excavation and discovery process.

    A boundary with Kyd might be a good idea. I'll have to meditate on what that should be, before I one day just blurt out, "Don't talk to her like that!" and throw us all into an awkward moment.

    I too have been on the receiving end of those kinds of jokes, and when I think about it, always with an addict on the delivering end. Go figure.

  3. Yeah, those little 'barbs' are deadly, and I believe they are designed to create the kind of dichotomy that leads to Stockholm Syndrome. That kind of back-and-forth, mean-and-nice ambiguity that effects our brain chemistry and creates a trauma bond.

    I think it's good that you spoke up about it. My experience with young adult sons is that although the reject our words, they often absorb them anyway. I often find my sentiments parrotted back to me six months later as if they were something new to me.


  4. I'm not convinced that it's intentional, but I do know it's a bad habit to get into. I don't have a lot of control over my children's relationships, but it's also a source of deep fear for me that they will go on to repeat the mistakes of their parents.

    But I do always speak up, and Kyd may not listen at the time, but things do seem to sink in. I hope this one does.