Gas Lighting: The Jonathan and Luke Edition

“Where’s Oliver?”, Luke asked.

“I don’t know. With Daddy I guess. Daddy didn’t ask me to pick him up today.”

About 20 minutes later, I go downstairs to lie down and rest before making dinner. I had been sick to my stomach and was feeling queasy and exhausted after working all day.

As soon as I drift off, Jonathan bursts into the room.

“Where’s Oliver?”, he demands.

“I thought you were picking him up today.”

Jonathan slams the bedroom door, stomps out to the car, and zooms off to pick up Oliver.

About 30 minutes later I come upstairs to make dinner. Jonathan is sitting at the bar with his head down like a kid at a desk. He raises his head

“I don’t even know why I bother having a smart phone if you don’t get my texts. That’s all I use it for is to text you anyway. I’m going back to a regular phone. I can’t depend on your to pick up Oliver.”, he says.

“I never got your text. See?” I hand him my phone as proof.

“You’re going to have to call Dee and tell her to pay me for the truck. Actually, I don’t even care if I get paid. I’m just going to take the truck back from Dee. She’s had it long enough and I’m sick of your excuses. If she really had the money order stolen, they would have resolved it by now. That’s bullshit. Give me her number and I’m going to call her.”

I refuse to give Jonathan Dee’s number. I know Jonathan will yell at Dee and I really don’t want Dee to be yelled at.

“I’ll handle it.”

“You better handle it. I’m sick of waiting.”

“So, you need a new phone…or for me to fix your old phone…and for me to either collect money from Dee or repossess the truck. Is there anything else you need?” I ask since Jonathan is in a very crabby, shouty, demanding mood.

“I never said any of that! Where do you come up with this stuff?”, he asks.

I recognize he wants to pick a fight and is gas lighting. He wants to tell me I’m irrational and crazy for reacting to his demands in what I see as a totally rational way. Luke hears Jonathan attempting to begin an argument – the kind of argument that would have resulted in Luke’s mother screaming and yelling – and clears the living room.

“Oh. I just make these things up I guess.”, I say knowing the Jonathan will eventually assert that I’m making things up since he’s in the mood to pick a fight.

“I don’t even know why I bother talking to you.”, he says. His attempt to assert that I’m a crazy, irrational, overly emotional woman has failed.

“I’m afraid I can’t answer that for you.” I tell him.

Luke is standing in the hallway in awe of my calm. Luke’s eyes dart from Jonathan to me and back again. It’s clear he’s wondering how I just avoided taking Jonathan’s bate. Luke and Jonathan argue all the time over small stuff because Luke is stubborn. Luke hasn’t learned how to see the oncoming storm that is Jonathan’s grouchy moods and batten down the hatches.

I turn away from Jonathan to unload the dishwasher as though Jonathan is not sitting behind me looking for an argument. I don’t want to argue. I grew up in a household of arguing, screaming, violent people and I’m done. I pick my battles. Maybe Luke will learn to pick his battles too…or at least learn to avoid Jonathan when he doesn’t feel well. Jonathan is always picks fights when he doesn’t feel well.

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