I Love You But I Don't Trust You by Mira Kirshenbaum

I Love You But I Don't Trust You by Mira Kirshenbaum

Author:Mira Kirshenbaum [Kirshenbaum, Mira]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781101560044
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2012-02-07T05:00:00+00:00

Julie and Steven

I remember one woman, Julie, whose husband, Steven, had cheated on her. She dragged out of him every excruciating detail of every place he’d been to with his lover. And then Julie would pour her heart out, over and over and over, about what it was like for her now to live in their neighborhood and have to avoid driving past the Starbucks where Steven and his lover had had coffee together. How she couldn’t buy groceries anymore at her favorite supermarket because it was where Steven had run into his lover one day. How she couldn’t go to the public library anymore because once he and his lover had met there and gone to make out in a faraway corner of the stacks.

The normal geography of her life, what was supposed to be a collection of comfortable, familiar places, had become a geography of pain. It was as if he had sown a crop of emotional landmines throughout the world she called home, making it a place of danger.

And she talked about that over and over and over.


Because she wasn’t getting what she wanted. She didn’t need to know that her husband felt bad. In fact, I realized one day, his feeling bad kind of pissed her off. I’d had the same experience with my husband, and it was extremely puzzling.

But with Julie I saw how all this really worked emotionally. Here’s how she experienced Steven’s outcries of how sorry he was. She experienced it as his way of telling her to shut up. It was as if he was saying, Can’t you see how much this hurts me? Because if you did, you’d stop going on and on about how much I’d hurt you.

And I realized that her endless recitation of pain and anger was her way of refusing to shut up. Julie needed something else. Why would anyone repeat themselves endlessly? Because they don’t feel they’re being heard. If you and I are eating lunch together and I ask you to pass the salt and you do, I wouldn’t have to ask again. But if you didn’t pass it to me, then I’d keep asking for it.

Julie being in pain was as if she’d caught on fire. His saying he was sorry was his attempt to put it out. But her real problem wasn’t that she was on fire. Her problem was that she didn’t know that she’d gotten through to him.

So he had to do the very thing he dreaded most. He needed to tell her the story from her point of view. She needed to hear him talking about how painful it was for her to drive down the street and run into one of those emotional landmines. And he needed to do this in detail because when we’ve been betrayed, we experience our pain in great detail. It’s all about the details.


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