When you lose somebody it is sad – no matter who it is you’ve lost, or how you lost them: from conflict, from miscommunication, from judgment, from death, etc. No matter what, losing somebody you loved really sucks. Romantic breakups are often dubbed one of the most difficult losses (aside from death) because our society tends to hold couples in such a high standing that people often feel like they’ve lost their entire identity when a relationship is over. But what about family? What about friendships? What about losing someone you’ve known and loved your whole life because they no longer like who you are, because they’ve decided to judge you for being yourself (or judge you for mental issues you’re dealing with, or whatever have you). Losing someone you thought you were very close to, because they no longer care for who you are, I think that’s one of the worst losses I’ve ever experienced.
Forms of Disappointment
I’ve dealt with heartbreak and disappointment in many forms. Often it is just a matter of one person’s wants and needs clashing with the wants and needs of the other person. People aren’t always compatible, even when there is a lot of love involved, and that really sucks. At times it can feel crippling, but overall you can realize that not everything is meant to be and everybody is different. It’s not worth forcing something that just isn’t going to work. No matter how hard you hit a screw with a hammer, it just isn’t going to slide perfectly into the wood. It isn’t meant to. A screw needs a screwdriver, and the hammer needs a nail. Not that it’s absolutely impossible to use one with the other or flip flop the way in which you use them, but when you’re using them in the wrong way the results just don’t tend to come out the same. Just as a square cake can’t fit into a round container of the same size. There is nothing wrong with the cake, and nothing wrong with the container, they just aren’t compatible. Unless you cut the cake into pieces, in which you often ruin the true identity and integrity of the cake during the process.
Loss of a Friend
I lost a friend the other day. I lost a friend that I’ve had for almost 20 years. A friend that has been there with me through basically everything in life. Someone I just assumed would be in my life forever, like a sister. I never could have possibly imagined that I would lose her. But she flipped out on me – calling me selfish and other awful names, placing blame and judgment all over me, spouting accusations, making assumptions based off of partial bits of out of context information. And then she told me she never wanted to speak to me again. Told me she was blocking my number, and not coming with me on our New Orleans trip we had had planned for months. I was already feeling depressed when I spoke with her. In fact, that’s why I sent her a text in the first place. I wanted some support and love and encouragement. Aren’t friends supposed to be there for you when you’re down? But all I got was hate. Hate flung forcefully at me. Shame pinned on me. A horrid and agonizing rainfall of disastrous word play. Huh, some friend…
Let me tell you, the pain that I felt…the deep gut-wrenching sorrowful heartbreak that I felt…was probably the worse I had ever felt before. Because I wasn’t only losing her, but I suddenly felt like I was an awful person. I felt everything she said. It stung deeply. I thought, “Maybe she’s right, maybe I’m a terrible mom and I’m destroying my children, and I’m not enough. Maybe I am garbage.” I cried all day long. Bawling my eyes out in between periods of almost falling asleep from pure exhaustion. Everything she said drained me and at the same time made me feel like everyone was better off without me. I thought just running out on my life would fix things (whatever might need to be fixed), because I wouldn’t be around to screw things up anymore. It was horrendous. For one, I am not ruining anything. I’m living and learning and loving and changing and existing, just like everybody else. There was nothing for me to feel that bad about. But I couldn’t get the feeling to go away. She had nailed me to the wall and I just dangled there in naked, petrifying agony. I didn’t know what to do.
You were a friend?
Of course, eventually I reached out to people who actually do care about me. I was able to calm myself down. I was able to pick myself back up. I was able to move on with things, move forward, and continue on with my life and my plans. Eventually I was able to see past her judgment and into reality, and then I just felt confused. I kept asking myself why. WHY would she think all these awful things about me? WHY would she treat me like this? WHY would she stop speaking to me if she actually cared about all the things she seemed to think she cared about? WHY would this relationship of almost 20 years be so easy to toss aside? And then I really started thinking about it. Believe me, it was hard to dissect at first. But as I got the ball rolling, it just kept rolling, and I was surprised I hadn’t noticed any of these things before.
She wasn’t really my friend. She had never really been my friend. She had always been distant and closed off. She had always probably been secretly judging me. We used to spend almost everyday all day together, but still, we didn’t really know much about each other. She never opened up to me. We weren’t very close. Not in the way people ought to be. It was a friendship of convenience. One that lasted so long because we both often felt lonely and tried desperately to fill the holes inside ourselves by shoving each other into the empty spaces. We both had hurt and hate and anger and we were great at holding long conversations about abstract concepts that didn’t actually have to do with each other. But once I started talking about myself – opening up, and sharing – she would zone out or do something else. And she never once really genuinely opened up and spoke to me about herself. Not in a true way, at least. She never shared her emotions with me. She was always just there. We talked a lot, but we said very little. We weren’t really communicating in any way that we needed to. Yes, we had gone all over the place together and experienced tons of new things together and been around each other for so many different parts of life. But…none of it was…none of it was deep. It was all superficial.
After almost 20 years, I still didn’t feel like I could be my authentic self around her. I wanted to be. I tried to be. But I always felt like she was just silently sitting and watching and judging. When I put in all this effort and time and love…I got nothing in return. I was often left waiting hours or days to spend time with her as she would continue to tell me “Soon. I’ll be there soon.” Sometimes to the point where I would message her hours later, the day ending, and she tells me she had changed her mind (without telling me) and went to go spend time with someone else. It was years of frustration and semi-resentment. But I kept trying to break through. I kept trying to care for her, to be around her. But maybe in that aspect I was being selfish. I wanted her in my life so badly that I disregarded the obvious signs she was showing me of not caring enough to make an effort to actually be in my life. She told me she loved spending time with me. She told me she just needed people to push her sometimes otherwise she wouldn’t do things. So I did. I was there. Often walking miles to get to her when no one else cared to. But…it was me putting in all the effort. Not her.
I spoke to my mother about the whole incident recently after it all happened. She told me she had always been amazed at how much I would put up with from her. She told me it had always seemed like a pretty toxic relationship. Like my friend was a toxic person to be around. The things she was doing forming emotional abusive patterns in our friendship as she ignored me and then guilt tripped me back in. She told me I needed better friends. And at this point, it finally hit me how right she was. At this point I have healthy relationships and open communication and I’m honest and I take responsibility for my own needs and I’ve learned so much and grown so far from where I used to be in life that it all seemed somewhat obvious to me. Suddenly I felt relieved. It was sad, yes, to lose someone who had been in my life for so long (a relationship I had put so much of my time and effort into); but, it was a good thing. It was beneficial. Like shedding skin, I was getting rid of another part of myself that I no longer fit into. The whole process was a chance for me to grow and change and learn even more. And as much as it sucks…I am grateful for this experience, and for this chance to move forward and take another try at redefining myself. When life burns you to the ground, rise from the ashes and soar into the sky.