Perfect example of the breakdown in communication. Let’s take a look…
I’m typing away on my PDA and Arwyn sits down near me and asks what our plans were after church. I put the PDA aside and say it depends on the weather. It’s supposed to be hot, humid with a chance of T-storms in the afternoon or evening, sort of like today. A friend of ours (who is in the midst of a divorce) had called earlier and wanted her boy and our boys to get together. This seemed fine. Arwyn then talks about this other woman’s quest to find a job and began a meandering conversation. At this point, I’m fine with that and figure we’ll get to tomorrow’s plans soon enough, all in good time. It was almost nice having a regular conversation.
But then trouble came and rained on the parade. As Arwyn talked, she would pause. I would begin to say something and Arwyn would interupt and run over the top of me without even an acknowledgement that I was even saying anything. You know, like “Excuse me..” “Pardon me…” “What were you going to say..?” These are just the most basic parameters of a basic conversation. After about the third time, I picked up the PDA and resumed my typing.
“Do you mind putting that thing aside?” she asked.
“I can listen just fine. If you want to have an actual conversation, we can do that, too. But you’ve already interrupted me 3 times.”
She lost it. She got up and stormed off, saying that she didn’t even know that she had done that. But she also refused to talk any more. I had already put the damn PDA up. She grabbed the phone and went into our room and is presently talking to this other friend. I need to come up with a name for this other person as she is becoming a more regular fixture.
In anycase, this was a classic example of a seemingly innocent exchange turned contemptuous, defensive and finally she stonewalls me. All in the space of 30 seconds. Are those chest pains I feel? I’ll go have a smoke and simmer down.
When it comes to grinding an axe clear to the handle, Arwyn and I are nearly well matched. She actually wins because her memory is far better than mine. But we both can hold grudges for a long time. We are both quite stubborn and obstinate. In fact, when it comes to more subtle forms of emotional warfare, she has me whipped simply because she can ambush me, and then run away with lightening speed. She’s like an insurgent, who blows the bomb and then disappears, leaving me to clean the bloody mess. It is in this environment that I’ve become conditioned. I can never react fast enough, I can never see it coming, but my mind and body try anyway. I get all ramped up to fight, and stay that way for a good 45 minutes.
I’m not sure writing is even helping.
This is where things get tough in the decision-making process. We do a fair job of buffering the kids from our conflicts. Not perfect by any means. The research on divorce and kids is pretty definitive. It almost always has a negative impact. Arwyn is a case in point. Her psychopathology, whatever it is, can be largely attributed to the reults of an alcoholic father and divorced parents. As adjustment goes, she has really done quite well.
But the toll all this takes on me is heavy. I can taste it in the air. On the present trajectory, my days are severely numbered. On one level, I can see my journey Heavenward as offering exquisite relief. On the otherhand, I do worry about my kids. Consigning them to God’s care is more difficult. The day will come when I’ll have to do that but I’m not sure I wish to just yet.
This criminal investigation also adds sauce to the goose. While things look hopeful that I may have a remnant of my life back, it is still hanging over me. A heaviness that never sleeps. I can not get into specifics, obviously, but it is just one more thing. No matter the outcome, I am a changed person. For the better in some ways, but less of a person than I was before.
This is why Pete’s Prison Blog is on my roll. A very real reminder of one possible destiny. I’m optimistic, but still, it is like a long shadow cast over everything else. I’ll know one way or another by the end of the month.