Crash and burn, and cry too.

When you’re young, relationships are clearly defined.  You either like someone or you don’t.  You have a crush on them or you don’t.  They’re your friend, or they’re not.  As you get older, things get so much more blurry.  Life in general has gotten more blurry to me.  I imagine this is from the perspective of an INTJ, as almost every bit of it is emotionally involved, but I also imagine that life would be hard for almost anyone at this point.  A lot of people try to equate all of their life to the MBTI, and while there is a lot of it that I can relate to, and I find it totally fascinating, it is not the whole of my being.  I do have a terrible time with emotions.  I am good at identifying when something is wrong.  I’m reasonably decent at identifying the moment it’s wrong, although maybe not until later.  I am terrible at identifying the actual reason or cause of whatever the wrong was until WAY later, usually after there has been some sort of lashing out, or breakdown, or something volatile.

Admittedly, things are always blurry between Mr. ENFP and me.  He’s my best friend.  We fooled around in high school, repeatedly, over a year period.  We kept up with each other even though we lived across the state from each other.  We saw each other a few times in college.  While he has hardly been an active presence in my life until the past six months or so, nothing was ever allowed to run its course, so who knows what could have been.  Almost always, I do not speculate on that.  I’m reasonably happily married, and if given the opportunity to do it over, I am pretty sure I would stay the course I took, even knowing all of its flaws.  But, now, Mr. ENFP and I are the best of friends, both going through a terrible time in life, and sharing emotions and feelings together, which for me is incredibly difficult.  I have cried more on the phone with him than with anyone ever.  I do not cry in public ever.

He’s dating a girl, who I have reasonably quietly contended is a decent person, but not the match for him.  We’ve had this conversation a lot of times, but as nothing is really wrong with the relationship, he keeps plugging forward.  In any case, we were talking, to which came the question of why he was up so late.  Now, he says he said that “now, INTJ, you know we’re not supposed to talk about this,” and ended the conversation.  I call bullshit.  As the receiver of the conversation, I may not remember exactly how it went down, but that was not the end.  That’s where it should have ended.  And admittedly, what he shared was pretty benign, but I got way more knowledge about their sex life than I wanted.  I kind of lost it.  Not in that moment, but hours later, after it’d been stuck in my head for hours, I sent him a very dry, flat text message, which resulted in a very weird conversation with a lot of unrest.

The next day, I completely crashed.  My dad, who is dying of lung cancer, sounds terrible, and the realization that we are closer to death than life firmly set in.  As a person who seldom cries, I cried almost constantly.  I had little sleep because my husband’s CPAP machine was buzzing and leaking.  Mr. ENFP’s status was very unresolved.  And, of course, impending death of my father was staring me in the face.  I sent the following text message: “I didn’t really want to put all this in a text message, but I think I’m going to, and then we can talk about it later.  I am overwhelmed and sleep deprived, and I have a dad who is dying of cancer, and I firmly believe he is dying.  So add to that, I have a husband and a guy best friend who don’t know really what to do with each other because y’all are so different.  Y’all both make snarky comments about each other which I immediately try to diffuse, but that adds to the exhaustion.  But, I desperately need you both in my life or I’m going to crash and burn. And then there’s you.  I teeter on the edge of feelings almost always.  It warms up and cools off, and I refuse to acknowledge them, because I’m not leaving my marriage, and you’re not going to upset a marriage, so that’s that.  And about 95% of the time, I’m just fine with my hypothetical Berlin Wall that stops all the feelings, until on the occasion that you talk about sex.  And then I imagine it, which makes me angry because that’s never going to happen.  I know that’s never going to happy.  And not only that, you’re having newish relationship sex.  I’m having I’ve been with this personal almost 11 years and we have a kid sex, which I ensure you is entirely different.  And I’m jealous because I miss that, but also angry because then the feelings that I’m so good at containing aren’t contained anymore, and then add to that the lack of sleep and dying Dad, and it’s just too much.  And I’m crashing and burning and nobody is even noticing.  And I put this in a text message because every time I start to think about this, I cry, like sob, because I don’t know how to make any of it stop, and I can’t do that on the phone.  So please be gentle.  It’s not you.  It’s entirely 100% me.  I’m sorry for sending this in a text.” It followed later with a fairly one sided conversation, to which, as expected I cried on the phone.  He related relationships as adults as giant piles of leaves that kind of blend together, where they may not have touched as kids.  He spoke of how close we are, and how it’s easy for things to lean that direction.  He was surprisingly not awkward.  I tried to cry as little as possible.  Sometimes I wonder what makes a friend one you hold onto versus one who you ditch.  Several times, I should have ditched him; several times, he should have ditched me.  Yet, we go on.

Two days later, things are a bit unresolved.  They’re resolving, but I’m still always on the edge of tears about my dad, and the witty banter that Mr. ENFP and I always have hasn’t made its way back into the fray, probably because I am still so noticeably not 100%.  In just shy of three weeks, we drive down to Baton Rouge to spend the evening with him.  Currently, I’m more nervous than excited, but that’s three weeks from now.  Because he’s so good at people, he suspected that feelings had crept back in.  We had a really odd conversation about it, but even though it didn’t really apply to the current situation, it made total sense.  And, as far as I know, I’m not being friend dumped, at least not for now.  I would like to hope that there are mutual feelings on occasion, because so much of my life has been full of unrequited love, but then you come back to two hard stops for us both, so why does it even matter.  Things will be ok.  And if they’re not, at least my reservations are able to be cancelled.

My dad has an MRI of his head to check out his brain, with results Friday.  To say that I am concerned and nervous is an understatement.  Lung cancer metastasis to the brain isn’t necessarily a change in prognosis, but as my dad works as a chemist in a lab, it’d very likely be a huge change in life for him.  It makes my chest tight to think about all of this.  Per the American cancer society’s website, we are in the last two to three months of life, which puts his estimated death around my birthday.  Not that I haven’t been cherishing every moment that I can with him, but I certainly have been holding every moment tight, especially the moments he shares with my son.  But, for the first time, he really looks like a cancer patient.

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Sometimes there’s nothing to write about, and then you write 1000 words about it.

Part of the problem with blogging is you have to have something to blog about.  It’s been a very work intensive week, with a boss fresh off of his race training schedule, which means the days of getting off at 5:00 p.m. on the dot are long gone.  My childcare has become erratic.  The various nieces and nephews were sick last week, which has led to the in laws being sick this week.  My mother only got released from her wound vac yesterday, which means that child care will sort of return to normal next week for the first time in a month and a half, but this week, has caused havoc.  With the in laws out, both my husband and I have had to take some baby duty time. It’s been stressful, to say the least.

The MRI of my dad’s head has still not been scheduled, although, as with all things cancer, while time sensitive, it’s not an emergency.  I keep telling myself this.  I keep muddling through the possibilities of hope that maybe he doesn’t have any cancer in his brain, followed by the inevitable crash that the symptoms are surely there.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to affirm or disprove this until we get a look at his brain.

Halloween has come and gone.  Our little Charlie Brown was quite skeptical of getting candy from random people down the street, but was super excited about seeing who came to his door.  The doorbell would ring and I would dutifully grab the bowl of candy for the eager eyed goblins of all sorts.  He would come running behind me to see everyone and stare excitedly, and upon the departure of the young trick or treaters, forcefully slam the door.  I haven’t been able to figure out if he was just excited to close the door, or specifically excited to close the door on people he doesn’t know.  Either way, he had fun, and that’s really all that matters.  Luckily, or unluckily, only toddlers get to know what toddlers think.

We’ve had three seasons this week – summer (today), winter (Monday/Tuesday), and fall (yesterday).  We have more summer for the rest of the week, followed by a gentle transition back to fall next week.  It’s a wonder that we’re not all always sick, but so far (fingers crossed), I have managed to stay healthy.

On my musings of the MBTI, Mr. ENFP has been sliding down a dark slippery path.  He’s been applying for various college jobs, as well as submitting applications to various saxophone conferences.  He’s terrible at having himself judged in his current state.  I am ridiculously pattern oriented (INTJ classic), probably to a fault, so anytime there is any variation in his general pattern, I tend to get anxious.  Somehow everything comes back to his failed marriage (I forwarded him information on a divorce attorney in Arizona yesterday, at his request), and how this makes him a failure of a person.  I constantly remind him that it was his wife who ultimately gave up on the marriage (he desperately wanted to try to work it out), and that while he is certainly not faultless, it is not him who let it just die.  What comes with all of this is a retreat inward on his part, which, due to our multi state separation, I see as backing off/abandoning me.  I then get concerned, but instead of reacting out of concern, I usually take a defensive standpoint and lash out with a snarky text message.  It used to be that he would lash back, but he’s gotten used to these outbursts, and we both seem to know they’re going to happen.  Admittedly, this was the best he’s ever done, as he swooped into caring ENFP mode before I’d even realized that’s what was happening.  There’s something about the tone of voice that he has when he’s trying to make his INTJ feel better, even if it’s him who caused his INTJ to feel not better in the first place, that immediately puts me at ease.  Being vulnerable with anyone, including my husband, is huge.

Admittedly, I have this underlying fear of something that was very realized in an attempted friendship a few months ago.  I’m vulnerable, and expose my inner feelings (which are a convoluted disorganized mess), and then I’m left raw and exposed, and abandoned when the friend or friend to be says it’s too much.  The friend to be was our realtor on selling our townhouse.  There was so much potential for a great friendship there, but she’s so flighty.  Admittedly, she also manipulated the sharing of feelings.  I don’t think it was out of a place of malice, but it was easy for her, and she did it.  That would have been ok if she didn’t cancel about half of the plans made.  Finally once one set of plans were cancelled, my maximum threshold was reached, and I quit texting.  I assume one day (maybe), she will text me, but probably not.  I’ve faded into the background, as has she.  She was also very critical of my friendship with Mr. ENFP, who had been around quite a bit longer than her at that point.  In any case, my tendency towards fearing abandonment is something that has been realized many times.  And, while I know deep down, that he probably won’t abandon me, the delicate nature of an opposite sex friendship thrusts this fear towards the surface frequently.

He will be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we’re (husband and me, no toddler) traveling down to south Louisiana to see him, probably after Thanksgiving.  Having a husband with Asperger’s gets to be a challenge here.  I want to see my friend for as much time in a short time frame as possible.  My husband wants to have dinner and call it a visit.  Mr. ENFP is a guy, so the likelihood of having dinner as a trio, then dropping my husband off at the hotel so Mr. ENFP can have coffee (or drinks, or just conversation) is not likely (and I agree with my husband on this).  But, it puts me in an interesting tug of war.  There’s three weeks until Thanksgiving.  Hopefully all of this goes smoothly.

 

How to make your INTJ feel loved, you ask?

Simple.  Take their advice.   If you’re close enough to them that they’re offering a solution to your problem, they care a lot about you.  Take their advice, and then tell them you’re doing whatever it is they suggested you do.  Case in point – Mr. ENFP has a good friend who he used to work with.   They used to see each other every day, and now, rarely see each other.  Mr. ENFP mentions how much he misses seeing his friend, that his friend was one of his anchors.  He mentions this after having gotten breakfast with friend. I, the INTJ, suggest that he set a standing weekly breakfast date with friend, to which Mr. ENFP thinks is a fantastic idea.  Two weeks later, I get a text checking in, and saying he’s going to his standing breakfast date with friend.  He has absolutely no idea, but I kid you not, the biggest inner smile was made.  That one little phrase totally brought out the warm fuzzies.

Also, if you’re seeking a myriad of thoughts from friends, make sure your INTJ knows this.  Not taking our advice, and then whatever you were seeking advice on going wrong elicits very bold eye rolls.  Likewise, if you’re close enough to get advice from your INTJ friend, they’re probably not going to advise you on anything unless they know what they’re saying will work.  We understand the multi-points-of-view-pick-the-best-idea mindset, but seriously, we’re not going to stick our necks out unless we feel pretty solid on it.

Take our advice, and let us know you took it.  You’ll seriously and effortlessly make our day.

People are disappointing. Period.

One of the highlights of being an INTJ is that people all around us are doomed to fail.  We set these ridiculous standards and expectations for people, that will rarely, if ever be met (except maybe by an INFJ), and when the people around us whom we like, care about, and maybe even love, disappoint us (which WILL happen), then those people become just like everyone else.  I’m in the midst of disappointment as I type.  Admittedly, it’s been a long time coming.  The pedestal was very high.  And while there have been lots of little hiccups along the way, there have been lots of little redemptions.  Unfortunately, we’re several important let downs in, and full blown disappointment has set in.

I’ve mentioned that I recently got back into music.  Admittedly, Mr. ENFP was a big pusher of that.  It’s something I’d been toying with, but I didn’t know what outlet to look for, and so therefore, that’s as far as it went.  He gave me the push and direction to actually do.  Now, it’s me who’s practiced and practiced.  It’s me who went to rehearsals.  It’s me who decided that I needed a new mouthpiece.  I’m not selling my involvement short.  But the push and go do, that was all him.  We had our concert Sunday.  He waxed on and on for days before about how he’d love to go if he could (he’s a 20 hour drive away), and if there’s a video or recording to send it to him.  Sunday comes, Sunday goes.  Radio silence.  Admittedly, this is more my thing than his, but for someone who was the champion of all of this, I really expected at least a ‘how’d it go,’ or ‘good luck’ text.  Nada.  There’s #1.

I’m not a big sharer.  I don’t share songs, music in general, news articles, memes.  I don’t share.  If I do share, I really think it’s something that your life is lacking if you don’t look at it.  So, there was an op doc in the NY Times yesterday about this couple who survived the Holocaust together.  It’s possibly the most heartwarming thing I’ve ever seen. I almost cried.  At work.  I don’t cry (I think we’ve been through this).  So I share it with him (he was having a particularly rough day, and all the loves seem to perk him up).  I even go as far as saying he can share it with the girlfriend, which is huge for me.  Specifically I sent it through facebook messenger.  When I share something, that’s how it goes.  Fortunately, or unfortunately in my case, you can see when someone has read your message.  We even TALKED about the op doc.  Has the message been read?  No.  Of course not.  Has he (or gf) watched it?  Well, she might have because she has a NY Times subscription, but did he watch it, betcha money the answer is a big ole NO.  There’s #2.

In honesty, #3 happened before #2, but really #3 is the icing on the cake.  Navigating friendship with someone who you were romantically interested in at one point, while you are married, is possibly the trickiest thing I’ve ever done.  It’s a delicate balance, full of all kinds of road hazards.  I didn’t take it on lightly, and I’ve had to stand my ground on both sides of this multiple times.  So, Mr. ENFP called while I was on my way home (he has a knack for interrupting something that I really want to listen to, and yesterday was no exception).  Conversation is light and easy, minus the giant interruption of Coldplay.  Somewhere close to home, I mention that my husband sent a dirty text.  We don’t talk about the contents of the text (admittedly he tried, but sorry, that’s all you get), and then he one ups me by telling me he and the gf had a nooner.  I drop it.  I get home, I’m ambushed by toddler and dogs, and the conversation lingers a bit.  As a last comment, he says “have fun with the [my last name] game of hide the pickle, later.  In fact, you should tell [husband’s name], ‘let’s play hide the pickle’ and see what he does.”  My husband is no idiot.  He’s been around a long time and knows my general discomfort in talking about sex (it’s private, it’s personal, I don’t like to share).  He asks what Mr. ENFP said.  I get even more awkward.  He gets mad.  Angry even.  So ultimately I tell him.  He already knew, because, after 7 years of marriage, he knows me.  While husband is taking a shower, I send a text to Mr. ENFP saying that we’re not allowed to talk about sex ever.  I explain that I’m just as guilty as he is, but we can’t do that anymore, ever.  There’s a little kick back, but finally some acquiescing that saying that in front of husband probably wasn’t the best thing to do (saying that period isn’t the best thing to do).  We text a little later, light, nothing too big.  He swears he doesn’t, but he tries to back me into a corner of my thoughts on him.  I bolt (it’s late at this point).  He lightly apologizes, and tells me to have a good night.  His comment and subsequent conversation casts a shadow on the whole evening.  It was the last thing husband and I talked about before bed.  It was the first thing I thought about this morning.  Husband emphasized this morning that I didn’t have to talk to him if I didn’t want to. Usually, I shrug it off.  But today, I feel different.   Suddenly this shiny person, who I’ve held in such high regards is anything but.  He’s manipulative, maybe even a little mean, and definitely self absorbed.  I pour out more care for this person than I have ever except for maybe my husband, and it’s in no way returned.  A girl he was involved with and he had a big fight about two weeks ago.  I still don’t side with her (I don’t care who you are, if you hook up with someone the day after their wife leaves them, you can’t expect a relationship), but I get some of the things she felt.  I get some of her thoughts.

People are bright and shiny, until they’re not, when the inevitable disappointment happens.  Maybe he’ll recover from this.  Maybe he won’t.  But, as much as it hurts my feelings, the one person who has never truly let me down rings true.  As an INTJ, who finds CONSTANT disappointment in those around me, having a husband who has just as high standards is a quiet blessing.

The ENFP friend(s)

I have always been very particular about trust.  I am very protective of myself, very self sufficient, and the idea of actually needing others and relying on others makes me want to vomit, quite literally.  However, I have two very dear ENFP friends who I offer up my life to, including all the feels.  Despite these two (one male, one female) having the same MBTI type, you could not find two more different people.  In an effort to keep anonymity, the female ENFP is light, easy, and the friendliest person you’ll ever meet, with a zany intelligence that will match anyone toe for toe, all while being a devoted and talented musician (we were each other’s biggest competition in high school).  We have been inseparable since fourth grade.  The male and I actually have a little bit of a history.  We met at an honor band in high school.  There was an instant attraction (I think we went from meeting to making out in the span of an hour and a half).  We kept up with each other off and on through college (he went to one SEC school, while I went to its rival), and have remained facebook friends.  He is simultaneously the lightest yet deepest person I have ever met.  He also is hands down the most talented musician I have ever known, ever.  We reconnected over the summer as his marriage was falling apart.  Somewhere along the line, I became a deeply trusted confidant, and still hold that role.  While the nature is purely platonic in this context, the friendship has been fast, fierce, and enduring.  Additionally, he is possibly the most accepting person of me as me that I’ve ever known (my husband is a very close second on that front, but does sometimes have issues with my dry logic).  Between the two of them, they have gotten me back into music, and he has helped me branch back out and make a few select friends (although floating 5 friendships all at once is seriously exhausting).

It brings an interesting twist to life, as I’ve been married for 7 years now.  Can you be friends with someone of the opposite sex?  I say (and firmly believe) yes.  We have acknowledged the history.  My husband knows of the history.  I’m annoyingly transparent about our friendship (also exhausting).  Admittedly, if we were both single, I might completely uproot my life to be with this guy, but I’m mostly happily married, and he has a girlfriend, plus is fixing to go through what will no undoubtedly be an awful divorce.  Most people say the heart wants what it can’t have, but really, with me, the mind looks at the whole situation and says it’ll never be, so why want.

I write about this today, as the issue was an issue yesterday.  My male friend was having a particularly emotional day, so he called.  I talked while entertaining our almost two year old toddler, and cooking dinner.  Afterwards, there was a huge explosive fight, followed by lots of silence, and ‘I love you’s’ on my husband’s part, which has continued into today.  My guy friend and husband have not ever met.  There are tentative plans for the two of them to meet around Christmas (he doesn’t live close at all), but that is all very tentative.  I don’t make light of the relationship my guy ENFP and I have.  I won’t lie; I’ve spent many hours pondering what could have been, and whether it would have worked.  But, at a place that I am at now, I really do believe he’s just my pal.  Probably one of my best friends, but nonetheless a friend.

So what do you do with that?  Obviously it’s a spring stretching to its tightness juggling my friend and husband.  Running in the background is my father, who is fighting with lung cancer (never smoker, don’t judge), and will probably die in the nearer future.  It’s been a battle for four years, which is insanely remarkable, but we are nearing that critical point of cancer ratio to organs.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) my male friend’s father also died of cancer.  Sometimes you need that connection when you need to be negative, or realistic.  The giant red line in the sand has been drawn.  On occasion, my husband challenges it, but then steps back realizing that I do love him (and our son) dearly.

Time will tell, I know, but in the meantime, life is a tangled dysfunctional mess.