These last 12 months have really brought about the end of an era. In that time I left a stagnant career but I’ve also reconnected with my dreams and passions. I’ve faced my fears and past hurts, and with the help of some incredible souls I deconstructed and rebuilt my psyche. There were many breakdowns before there came just as many breakthroughs. At the end of it all, my cat companion of twenty years left this realm, and now I’ll even be moving soon.
It’s been a great year for growth and I wouldn’t change a thing. But I’m no longer in denial of my past traumas and disappointments. Now that I’ve confronted them, there’s no longer any need to mask them with less than healthy patterns of behavior. So it’s kind of no surprise that the topic of relationships, particularly the nature of friendships, has been occupying my mind of late. For on numerous occasions, I’ve had to make the agonizing decision to end some friendships that were no longer nourishing me or worse, had become completely draining.
As a wise person I know said to me, “Where were you at in life when you befriended these people ?” Meaning that energy begets energy, and that we attract whatever we put out there or feel about ourselves at a given moment in time. I met the people I’ve had to let go of during points in my life when I was in pain, or feeling lost, or in denial. It makes sense to me that it now no longer works when one half of us chooses to stay immersed in that same field of pain, while the other shifts towards a new energy.
Ending a relationship cold turkey is not something that comes easily to me, or that I take lightly. At the same time, I’m here on this planet to learn, grow and evolve. And I can’t afford to keep people around who aren’t interested in growing and bettering themselves. Which isn’t to say that I’ll abandon you if you happen to go through a rough patch, or you have an incident, or you’re less than perfect. If, however, I find us caught in a stalemate in which you tell the same sad stories over and over again (with my ear being constantly bent), or we engage in the same self-destructive behavior and patterns (with it sometimes dragging me down), or just in general your energy brings out my worst rather than my best, then it’s time to part ways. If we cannot honestly and openly communicate to one another beyond the superficial, penetrating past the aura of false positivity (that good ole band-aid for denial), and listen to one another’s constructive criticism, then there’s not much that I can work with. When I walk, it’s because nothing changes.
I most recently pulled the plug on my friendship with my girlfriend of the last seven years. It was difficult because I was too close to see the bigger picture during all of our face-to-face interaction, especially in earlier times when I was eager to experience solid female friendship. Nearly seven years later, however, and I’ve come to learn that she was never at all who I thought she was. The rift widened and deepened as I witnessed an alarming increase of narcissistic behavior on social media. I was aware that my friend did always possess a need to charm a room and be the center of attention. Still, social media platforms shed a whole new light on this tendency. She put an awful lot of effort and energy into crafting this contrived version of herself, which she then presented back her growing “fanbase”. Every thought, every mundane action or routine had to be documented and displayed to her adoring public. She constantly contradicted herself and I gradually began to wonder about how many times I wasn’t getting the full and accurate story.Suddenly, nothing about anything she said seemed sincere or genuine.
It got to the point where our catch-up calls, which became rarer and rarer, centered around talk of her brand. No, “Oh hey, what’s new and how are you?” Just, “I need to watch what I do because I have to be conscious about my brand.” All while stubbornly engaging in the same, self-destructive patterns over and over again. My initial attempts at opening a gentle discussion about all of this were dismissed, and met with denial.
Months passed, conversations became less frequent and more superficial (I even felt mocked for being on a “spiritual journey”), and my final attempt to kindly and gently address any of these things was met with counter reactive blame.
After months of the same old patterns and such, the final straw was her not saying a word to me about Lolita’s passing. By then I was already over the disappointment that I felt and the frustration of being used as a sympathetic ear, only to be replaced by one of a number of interchangeable friends. The pulling of the plug may have dragged on for months, but I can honestly say that I don’t look back. Sometimes people enter our lives for either a simple lesson or for support when we need it, but then they exit our lives once the work is completed. I actually just read an article today about the end of friendships. It suggests focusing on what you’re grateful for from knowing them (even better if you get the chance to tell them, although many times we don’t have that opportunity). And then move forward. Your true and lasting chosen family will become clearer and more present as we age and keep going.