I’m not sure I can coherently write in the moment, but I want to try. This is usually where I go into fog, so I’m going to try to write it all out.
There’s a job he’s working on. It’s a school. It has a president’s name (as so many do), but I’ll call it Franklin. It’s a school, so anything to do with any kind of governmental pay source is slow. This means you want to wrap it up neatly and.get.that.invoice.rolling. Plus, it means you want to get it wrapped up so you can hurry up and move on to a commercial job that pays much more quickly, or you won’t have money to buy food and pay bills. We are facing just such a pinch.
So, that job he’s working on. For the last few days, his projected hours show up as either increasing or not decreasing. It’s like the hours are reproducing like dust bunnies. It’s not the norm.
There are possible reasons for this: He did a terrible job of calculating the budget and projecting hours. He’s not working on it as much as he says he is. There are legitimate unforeseen screws and twists that can plague certain jobs. Any or all of those.
My problem is that I don’t trust him. The reason I don’t trust him is because he’s lied to me about various and sundry, big, small, middling, important, and trivial things for all the years I’ve known him. He can go a long stretch without lying, but then again, how would I actually know that’s true… I know that he’s lied belligerently, repetitively, smoothly, earnestly, sneakily, cleverly, stupidly, and most important… he’s lied about lying.
This means when for any reason I pause to wonder if he’s lying, I have to consider that maybe he is lying. It’s sensible in light of history, and I don’t mean ancient history. I find it reasonable to have doubts and to ask questions.
He finds it insulting. Apparently he finds it a reason to start shouting at me too. Which he just recently did today. This morning his projection showed (again!) 3 hours to finish Franklin. He was in a tizzy about starting the next school project. I told him to wrap up Franklin (fercryinoutloud) so we could invoice, and that one particular small commercial job had to be finished today so we could get grocery money in fast. I could see him balking, and we had a discussion about it, then finally he agreed and left to purportedly start finishing Franklin..
Fast forward to mid-afternoon.When I asked if he was finished with Franklin, he told me not yet. Not yet? It only showed a few hours this morning, and that was close to five hours ago? Then he explained about his last few hours with some long stream of garbledygook job lingo that made me feel like I was being schmoozed and snookered somehow. I asked if what he just described was part of finishing Franklin. He looked irritated and started to go into the whole spiel again about how it was going to help with Franklin AND the upcoming schools.
I asked, “If I come back there and look in detail at what you did for the last three hours, will I see how it was moving Franklin to completion?”
That made him get more angry. He seethed, “(version of my childhood nickname said with sneering tone) I just told you that it would be applied to both … [insert blah blah blah of repeat]”
I asked, “Then how many hours are left on Franklin?”
He says he’s not sure.
I asked again, “So if I come back and look in detail, will I see that the background preparation you did for future school, also helped you to get Franklin completed?”
“What do you mean by background,” he asked with his eyes squeezing together. “What do you mean by background? I need to know what you mean by that word, so I can give you the right answer!”
I said, “Anything that includes preparatory work, any organizing steps or stages to build on to complete a job.”
Momentary nasty glare, then yelling commences. (I guess maybe he didn’t care what the answer to his question was after all.)
Now he’s yelling. He’s sick of it. He can’t take it anymore. I should find someone to replace him at his job.
If only. Oh… if only. Don’t tempt me when your turd factor is at high stench levels.
He yells more. I constantly accuse him of lying. It’s so hard to live with my suspecting him.
I said, “You do realize that you are entirely responsible for creating this? That if you would stop lying, and just tell the truth for a decent amount of time, that this would change?”
He snaps, “Would it?”
And then I realize I am not getting more upset. I’m calm. A sick small clench is buried somewhere inside, but I’m calm. Like the eye of a storm, but I’m not feeling anything. I just want him to go away. I want to go away. I want to be done.
I told him that his behavior has been getting worse. That when he’s escalated in the past, it’s always left destruction and loss in his wake. That when I said I’d attempt to work on things, but he had to cooperate when it came to work and money, I did NOT mean this stuff. I told him that given his history and recent behaviors (lies included), that’s it’s entirely sane and reasonable for me to doubt and ask questions.
He said, “I try to answer earnestly, and you interrupt me!”
(I’m thinking… maybe it’s because you also can lie earnestly.)
I told him that when he’s yelling, and getting digs in, that it’s like guerrilla warfare, and I don’t want it.
He said, “Digs? What kind of digs? Give me an example of a dig I made today! I don’t make digs at you! All I did was try to explain, but then I have to deal with your cross-examination!”
And actually… he went on for a few more sentences, so I guess he also didn’t want an example of a dig. As if using the word ‘cross-examination’ isn’t its own little dig.
I ended by telling him that he could either stop it, or I’m ready to do whatever I need to, including going to a homeless shelter if I need to. I said, “You know how excited I was that a couple kids might be coming home to visit this summer. You know how much I care about the flowers and garden. About working with our youngest with education. But I’ll do it if I have to.” I said that I knew there would be fallout, and some people would be hurt, but I was prepared to accept it as part of the cost to protect myself. I said I was going to call someone so we could meet and I could explain (with some documentation) why I don’t trust him, and that he could explain to that person why he felt it was reasonable to be angry about my doubt and questions.
I said, “You have stolen so much of my life already. I won’t willingly let you take anymore of it.”
He said he needed to take a break. I said I needed to make that call.
And I tried. I kept the number in a fb message, and guess what wouldn’t load for me? I just said a prayer and let it go for now. I’m guessing he’ll wind down. I hope he does. I’d rather keep making my progress towards independence without landing in a shelter. But I’m still strangely calm, no matter which way it goes.