I think I must have the biggest rose coloured blinkers going, because I think I was pushed, again, so thats twice in one month.
I am too tired to rake over this, really, but owe this much to the kind commenters.
A good British cup of tea has worked it's good British miracle cure.
In short - it seems I was suckered, wound up like a clockwork toy by what might have been deliberately difficult behaviour.
I think perhaps we were too suburban for my globetrotting friend, too mediocre and settled and I think he felt stifled. Whether he realised it or not, I believe he pushed the fringes of human tolerance quite purposefully, with the digs and snipes becoming deeper and more blatant every day, knowing at some level that one of us would snap and he would have someone to blame for his departure.
An example is last night - I had places to go and invited him for the walk. Specifically I wanted him to see around town and get more of a feel for it than the straight line between my home and the supermarket. I wanted him to look up and consider options. On the way back, in new territory, instead of following me he galloped off down the wrong road. My statement (made like walking on eggshells, as it was) was on the lines of "Err, I appear to be going in a different direction from you here."
Do I get an 'oops, sorry?' or a chuckle? No, I got interrogated, belligerently and loudly, about what that is supposed to mean, whether I would prefer we went in different directions and whether I was trying to tell him something.
I apologised, said I didn't mean it that way, and he then warned me to practice communicating with normal human beings, or I'd get myself locked up. Lovely.
I let it ride, so ten more steps down the road he started asking why my husband and I had 'ganged up on him' and 'forced him out of the house' and whether it was my husband who wanted to see the back of him. All that had happened was I asked him out, and as we left, my husband said bye.
I really can't differentiate between paranoia and a conscious search for an exit route on his part, but you see the way his mind was working.
Later, after he retired, my husband had just gone to bed as I finished up, locked up and switched everything off. Our visitor chose that moment to come back out when there was only me to face, park himself on the sofa, flick the channels on the TV and only then ask if it was okay if he stayed up to watch some more telly. He made me feel like it was his house, and him waiting for us to get out of the way.
Fine. I said it was fine, even though we are in a bungalow and all on one level and it meant light shining in to the bedrooms through the fanlights until who knows when.
He sat there, he bloody sat there another three or four minutes, watching me, until I had switched off my computer and had just hit the button to close my husband's machine, then chose that very second, with sarcasm and disdain dripping from his voice, to mumble "Oh. No more games for me tonight then?"
Everything has been like that. I don't like bathing when he's here, he leaves lights on and curtains and doors open and saunters round like he owns the place. I wash before he wakes, or when he is out. This weekend it couldn't be helped and I announced my intention to dissappear into the bathroom for half an hour. His comment: "Oh, you're having a bath?" It wasn't the words, so much as they way they were steeped in mocking incredulity.
I really do wonder if he's as unstable as he makes out, or whether its a convenient tool for a free ride on other people's backs.
What I know is this - in two different ways, by two very different people, I got pushed into a corner this past fortnight. I got goaded until I could take no more.
Its not something I am used to recognising, let alone experiencing, even on an annual basis. To have it happen twice between the two eclipses, well, I have to wonder if the universe is trying to teach me something about myself. Whatever it is, I'm going to sift it out, and learn it. Maybe 'don't be such a doormat' is a good starting point.
P.S. Having consigned this to a learning curve and begun the clearing up, I found my husband's birthday present wine tucked neatly into the duvet cover on the visitor bed. It will be a long, long time before I can face drinking any of it and we may even save it to give away - its somehow tainted, now. The smug smirk on my visitor's face as he left and I challenged him for return of the bottle has taken on a whole new meaning and I have to assume he was displaying triumph that I would believe him capable of petty theft. He wants to be sure I loathe him, it seems, and that sounds dangerously self destructive on his part. Not so good for a man in his forties, although the more I look, the more it fits a pattern.
I forgive him already. His destruction of me seems secondary to his main purpose of self destruction. However, I would forgive a mistreated dog for biting me - even if I needed stitches - but that doesn't mean I'd let it near my skin a second time.