Creative Nonfiction Drama Friendship

Karen Carnes 

5475 Sarvis Ave 

Waterford, MI 48327 



What’s Jung Got To Do With It? 

Karen Lankford-Carnes 

What on earth gave me the impression that I should, rather could, be married? Me?! Debbie domestic? People like me should never marry. Within a month of marriage, I was “jokingly” telling others: “What the hell was I thinking?” Yet, here I am twenty-five years later, nearly despising the man who’d clung to her and her daughter like toilet paper to a shoe. He had become so self-centered and so juvenile to the point it makes me feel physically ill. The lying! Was he lying, or was that just his perception of the situation and why am I even asking that question when I’m very well acquainted with gaslighlighting and it’s manifestations? 

He is a good guy and a great father. Why didn’t they laugh anymore? Why was everything such a big, damn deal? And why, for the love of God, won’t he ever just leave the house and try to have a life outside of their immediate troika? I was forced to go on disability. 

Why did he? People don’t know what they’re in store for when their spouse retires. I just wish he would get a hobby and leave the house occasionally. Maybe go to a ballgame with a friend. It’s not that he didn’t get offers. Without fail, the answer was always the same: “I have a family. I would rather spend time with them.”

His idea of “spending time” with us was, sitting on the couch, watching television. I’m living with a “dry drunk”. What did I expect? I met him at a 12-step meeting that I shouldn’t have been at. I was impressed with him because he wasn’t a player. He didn’t throw any lines at me, but I wish I could remember falling in love with him. He’s never been romantic, I can live without that...if I have to. When I was a musician, people didn’t see me. They saw the guitar and heard the voice. I was kind of cute back then, too. Nobody knew me. If a man got too close to suspecting what I was really like, it scared them off, and I'd happily be on my way. There were few relationships in my past and I didn’t mind at all. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been considered different, “weird”, I would call it unique. If someone asked “Why are you so weird?” I would answer with a triumphant: “Why are you so boring?” I found out “why” when I was fifty years old and took a Meyer-Briggs Personality Test. 

Being a performer, I’d always considered myself an extrovert; but the result of the test, the first time I took it, and every time thereafter is the same, INFJ. My husband is not. INFJs are considered to make up 1-3% of the world’s population. I like to think of myself as an “Outgoing Introvert.” I can perform, on stage, or in a social situation, on cue. I avoid parties, but love planning them down to the last detail. If you catch me at a party, it’s because I feel obligated to be in attendance, and I’ll most likely be in the kitchen, helping the hostess put the refreshments out. My mother used to joke about my 4th birthday party. The guests were all still there. I told mom I was going to take a nap, now. 

Sometimes I wonder if I’d had the knowledge of what the INFJ personality type entailed, although I thought I knew that I was not , uh, “typical”, maybe I would have thought twice about marrying at all.

She’d been told that people referred to him as “Zoom-Zoom” because he was always so active and loved music. I was a musician and imagined I would continue working after our marriage.I could imagine us traveling regionally, going to concerts. I felt a connection. 

There must have been something about him that made me think I loved him enough to want to be his wife. I just feel nothing now. It’s known as the INFJ Door Slam. When you try and try and try and then just stop. It’s not like stonewalling. It’s not intentional. It’s self-preservation. I would say that INFJs probably shouldn’t marry. It’s too invasive. We’re needy by not needing. 

The tragicomedy of settling for the status quo, I made the decision that I would not marry until I was at least thirty, because I knew how much people have to grow, mature and understand the determination it takes to make a marriage work. I also made the decision that I would not settle. It’s excruciating to see people refer to their spouse as their “best friend.” I can’t honestly say that. 

With one exception I regret making that decision to marry all those years ago; our daughter. I’ve written in the past of how she’s so much like me I almost feel sorry for her. She’s an INFP. She’s a high school senior this year and I spoke very frankly about what’s been happening with her father and me. I feel like I can’t breathe. I mean that literally. 

He speaks so easily with others. As he used to speak with me. He’s always on the telephone. He never talks to me, except to tell me “you can’t.” We’ve all had our share of medical problems, that’s his cover for saying that, but I suspect it’s more about control. I will not allow this. If he knew anything at all about me, he would understand how crushing those words are.

I don’t know what heading I’m going to submit this under. Friendship between the Intro/Extro? I have had acquaintances who are extroverts. I have never had deep, trusting or long lasting relationships with one. I don’t think it’s possible. I did want to touch on what I feel is the importance of awareness of the different temperaments that people have; the different personality traits. My best friend from childhood is nothing if not an extrovert. I’ve thought of her family as my second family since we shared a playpen. There are few people that I would consider shallow. She is one of them. We’ve got nothing important to say to one another anymore. It's awkward, and it usually takes place at a funeral. Actually, we never had anything important to talk about, other than Donny Osmond or the Bay City Rollers. I think she’s still into the Rollers. 

I’m not sure how far off the trail I went by discussing my marriage and how our Jungian personality traits may or may not have predetermined the fate of the relationship. I do wish I would have paid attention to the red flags. They're always there. If someone is only looking for the negative traits in someone, they’ll be there. If you’re only looking for the positive in someone, there’s going to be some of that, hopefully. We had neither a whirlwind courtship, nor a blind date. I guess we both figured that we were compatible, so we probably thought it convenient. We had plans for our lives. Life had other plans.

July 29, 2021 17:46

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