Thanks so much for your answer. I find it very helpful. Still--it seems a bit harsh to 'walk away.' We are friends. That is to say, I believe we have a responsitiblity to one another.
In fact, I think you are right about the power play. I have noticed this in other venues. He is extremely bright, creative, and charming. And he sometimes 'plays' with people by giving them false signals/information and then cheerfully reveals their naivite. I have suggested that this is a kind of dishonesty/power play; but people often find this ability (which is often enormously creative) a charming feature about him. Nevertheless it seems odd to me. He also does sudden emotional 'shifts" as if to keep one guessing.
Nevertheless I do cherish this relationship. He is, in many ways, a kind of 'soulmate" (sorry....) But we are both hightly intuitive, and it is fun to play the 'read my mind/symbols' game. Besides, he does seem to have a capacity for empathy that is extraordinary (one that I am almost in awe of, being a strong "T" myself.--and somewhat adverse to [and hungry for] close relationships.) He moves from strong boundaries to no boundaries at all (though not as a needy person, but as one capable of strong identifcation.) I tended to think of this event as a kind of break down in his boundaries under stress
. But yes--there is definately the assault quality too--and I think your analysis is correct--that as I failed to respond, he needed to 'up the ante.' In fact, as I was nearing his house, to drop him off, he wanted to extend the drive a bit--not sure why, except that he was enjoying the situation and perhaps was trying to force me to acknowledge his sexual 'presence.'
More disturbing is the fact that he is a pastor--and a damn good one--capable of great community building, theological interpretation, and intellectual inquiry--a fascinating person. How I hate to 'give him up.' And of course there is this odd neediness I bring to our friendship--somehow related to my father's distance (and intimidating intimacy). But of course, his position in this community allows him enormous intimacy with many--and in what seems to be a very supportive sense (at least officially). Still, I am suddenly a bit fearful of his apparent problems regarding power/sexuality/intimacy--fearful that is for the many students he has contact with on a regular basis.
Perhaps I am in no position to 'help' him, being myself, less than fully mature in these matters. Nevertheless he is a person of enormous compassion and with very unusual intellectual gifts--not someone to be discarded easily. And, obviously, I enjoy his company--especially his inclination to 'coach' me into assuming the challenges I face in my own scholarship. (I am ADD
, and his ability to focus, and to encourage others in their achievement of goals is enormously helpful.)
So, is there any way to salvage this? I expect confrontation (honesty) is called for if we do eventually meet to 'discuss' the incident. He is also quite sophistocated in his psychological knowledge and is, I suspect, staying away until he manages to understand (or make some sense of) his own behavior to himself--and until he manages to likewise find a coherant way of explaining himself to me. That means that if we meet he will come with a very clear line already prepared. It will be altogether coherant, but probably not fully confessional or one that genuinely places him in a vulnerable state. While he appears vulnerable, and describes himself this way, I think that his vulnerability is always predicated on a larger frame in which he gets to be in control of the situation. Nevertheless, his self-understanding, especially in the present situation, is one in which he feels he is being utterly ravaged by the present stress within the community that he is so identified with.
Perhaps this is a way of pushing me away so that he can leave to go to a new job without feeling that he is pulling support out from beneath me..... Perhaps, I am addicted to interpreting his intentions in the most optimistic sort of way (as I probably did
with my father as well....)
Thanks for your ongoing help in understanding this.