Thumbnail: Greg Rosenke
I just walked back into a friendship that I knew was bad for me.
I knew how deeply this relationship activated severe anxiety in me. I knew that this person needed to leave my life for a good reason and yet… I couldn’t help myself but to seek them out again.
Why? Because I fear losing connection.
I just walked myself right back into feeling undervalued and underconfident because I craved a connection.
I just reminded myself that the connections I deserve are not the ones which I feel I need to struggle and fight for. (even when it’s hard to believe)
I just saw a little child in me who desperately does not want to get ostracized, left out, or forgotten about. And she will flail around for attention in the faces of those who only halfway want to give it to her, in an effort to “make sure” she’s not left behind.
That little kid doesn’t understand that she’s not for everyone. She has one goal, and that is to make sure she’s loved and wanted. She doesn’t want to feel like she’s failing.
I’m trying my best to make sure she knows that. To tell her that she is not failing at life if she loses a connection that felt bad most of the time anyway. And that she needs to let this one go if she wants to learn how to make more connections that feel good… Rather than holding onto ones that don’t value her.
Yesterday, I found myself in a conversation with this person, and of course, I couldn’t help but tell them that I “missed hanging out” with them.
Not “I miss hanging out with you” as in “when can I see you again?”.
“I miss hanging out with you”, qualified with a “but we butt heads so much that I think it’d be hard to go back to the way things were”.
Not expecting anything, yet when that message was returned with a “how about Tuesday?”, I watched myself, in horror, begin to believe that maybe paying them a visit wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Maybe we could maintain a close connection. Maybe that’s what I needed. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt me. I knew it would hurt me, but I kind of wanted to “try it again” anyway.
Maybe I could somehow stop myself from feeling hurt this time.
Then, they left a message unanswered for several hours, and in that, the Universe provided me with a window of time to notice what this shit actually felt like.
To notice the pain that arose after the craving for connection dissipated a bit. To reread our conversation and take in the fact that I was the only one putting in any effort. To realize that they were still holding a grudge against me for setting a boundary. One that they made hardly any effort to understand. One that led to me being ignored for days after asserting myself.
And yes, I’m okay– unless you know me personally, then it’s not up to any of you to check on me.
I blocked them. I knew I’d continue to return to that message to check if they’d read it, out of concern for what they were thinking.
I knew it was a black hole I’d get sucked into. I’d “change my mind” and decide it didn’t hurt so bad after all. So, those who didn’t have my best interests at heart have been blocked and removed from my life, only to ensure that I don’t feel tempted to return to an anxiety-filled connection.
What I’m trying to say here is: it’s okay to remove people from your life for YOU. I don’t believe this person to be “bad”. I don’t hate them. They don’t deserve shame.
Yet, I do have a tendency to return to those who aren’t interested in caring about me, just to make sure they know that I still care about them.
I circle back around to make sure they know that I don’t hate them and that I’m not holding any grudges… Yet I completely ignore the fact that they’re holding every grudge against me, for actions which I don’t believe were “wrong”.
In doing so, a connection which feels mostly bad is maintained. Just because the feeling of blocking them leaves me in a void of sorts, where they could be thinking or saying anything at all about me, and I don’t know, because we have no mutual friends (luckily). I forget sometimes that I am not for everybody.
One action which has truly served me today is rereading Clementine Morrigan’s words on an Instagram post of theirs, which says:
“People being upset with you does not necessarily mean you’ve done something wrong… When we are healthy and grounded in ourselves, when we know who we are and what we believe and what our boundaries are, lots of people will be mad. Giving up people pleasing means more conflict not less.”
Why do we think that when we heal, we’ll get along with anyone and everyone, and no one will ever be pissed off at us?
It’s detrimental to our self-relationship to think that we’re never allowed to piss anyone off. Or that, if we do upset someone, it automatically means we should be sorry. That’s just not true. Boundaries can often upset people.
I had to remove this person, not so that they wouldn’t contact me, but so that I would not contact them.
So that I would not be sucked into my own desire for connection, paired with my hurting/healing ability to see when a connection totally sucks. So that I would stop looking at their Snapchat story and searching for excuses to reply to it and “see how they’re doing”.
I had to remove them, because I knew if their presence wasn’t totally eliminated, I’d keep trying to hold on.
So, please know that I’m not telling you that you “should” do this. If this action feels right for you, then take it. You get to decide who’s good for you and who isn’t. You get to decide who you let into your life, and who you keep out.
And keeping people out isn’t bad, it isn’t “negative”, and it doesn’t have to mean that you’re “holding a grudge”. You can remove somebody simply because you don’t like the way you feel when you spend time with them.
Finally, remember that if you’re like me, and you find yourself walking right back into any relationship that makes you feel bad, don’t criticize yourself for it. You clearly needed something that you thought they could give.
Instead of beating yourself up, recognize what you need. Ask yourself honestly, “how can I meet this need?”. And always remember to be gentle with yourself.