I’ve been struggling with an internal, emotional quandary and I’ve finally decided to put fingers to keys and roll it around in black and white.
A month ago, when my Godson and I had a discussion that ended with me deciding to ‘disengage’ and be silent rather than allow things to escalate I thought I’d taken the correct path, was ‘protecting self’ and preventing things from getting worse. He’d made a comment that I found to be insulting and I recognized a pattern of his wherein he interprets something that’s said as ‘attacking’ and ‘attacks’ in retaliation.
Since that time there has been no further discussion. My husband tried talking to him about the situation and his response was, “My analogy was a good one and I’m not apologizing.” With that response, my husband dropped the subject and hasn’t revisited it.
I recognize what’s happening, it’s something my Godson told me was his way of ‘handling’ difficult situations. He believes if you just ignore a situation, pretend it didn’t happen, put space and time between yourself and the other individual(s) involved, that eventually it just ‘goes away’ and everything well return to normal.
The first time he suggested this was an appropriate way for adults to handle discord I suggested to him that it is hard to ‘respect’ someone who doesn’t acknowledge responsibility for their role in any given situation. I tried to share examples, from my personal experiences, of how things fester and eventually cause irreparable damage to relationships.
I explained to him then and am feeling now that the more time that goes by without addressing the situation the more hurt feelings there are, the more it appears that the relationship isn’t worth saving, that a relationship with the other individual has no value. The angrier and more hurt I’m becoming.
What is so difficult for me in this situation is that I know he’s misinterpreted what upset me, what caused me to disengage from the discussion. He thinks he made a successful attack against something that’s important to me and that’s why I recoiled, but in reality it had nothing to do with his ‘analogy’ and everything to do with his arrogance in suggesting, as he does quite often, that he had to present his position in ‘a way I could understand.’ He is exceedingly patronizing.
I’m torn because part of me is hurt by the fact that he doesn’t think our relationship, after 22 years, is worth recovering. He apparently doesn’t think there is anything to talk about or that it’s not worth talking about. Another part of me feels a sense of relief that the stress he’s caused in recent years for our family has been dramatically reduced by his absence.
I can’t help but feel extraordinarily disrespected. I am beginning to feel, at this point, that there is nothing he could say that could make things better and that there are some things he could say that could destroy any remaining threads of the relationship we did have.
I’m seeing him as another adult, not my Godson, not the ‘poor boy that didn’t have functioning parents’ but as an adult whom I cannot relate to. I’m not interested in anything he’s interested in, I disapprove of the way he treats people and this notion he promotes that ‘his generation’ doesn’t see a need for consideration (which he thinks is disingenuous) of other people’s feelings, that he doesn’t understand/use tact when speaking to others, that he thinks having attended college makes him an ‘intellectual’ and therefore superior to those who haven’t attended college and are part of ‘the working class.’
If I were to meet him on the street tomorrow, he is not someone I would seek out a friendship with.
When I chose silence as a means of de-escalation of the discussion I thought that was an appropriate means of self-care. I’m wondering if he thinks he’s doing the same thing by remaining distant… am I being a hypocrite? Is silence a bad thing? Am I seeing my silence from my perspective and unable to see his silence from his perspective?
I’m really very confused about how I’d like to see this resolved.