Sometimes we get into huge knock-down, drag-out arguments with people we care about, or have simple (later resolved as complex) misunderstandings with people we are in relationship with, that change the nature and dynamic of that relationship. It happens. Sometimes these moments allow us to forge a deeper understanding of ourselves, and sometimes they force us to retreat deeper into our emotional selves rationalizing for once and all, that “this is why I don’t open up to people like this.”
It is inevitable in the human experience that someone will get something wrong about you. That someone who you think should know better, will make you two-dimensional. Their understanding of your particular actions or your statement in a moment will be construed to a deeply flawed assessment of who they think you are and what you represent. And sometimes in those moments our words fail us.
In the brittle seconds that pass before relationships are completely destroyed, we think of all of the things we could have said. Later we remember all of the interactions that they’ve had with us that deny who they claim us to be, but at the end of the day, it feels for naught because everyone truly is entitled to their own opinion. They feel as strongly about their position of who you are as you do. They are as deeply hurt or passionate about the events that form the past interaction as you are. Sometimes you cross the Rubicon never to return again to a place of understanding or of what you thought was an intact relationship. And sometimes that’s okay.
That familiarity that you crave, that understanding between humans probably wasn’t as resolute as you thought it was to begin with. They probably didn’t understand you–nor you them–as much as you thought you had. Sometimes as clichéd as this sounds and I know it is clichéd, people truly are in our lives for a season. Sometimes we evolve, and people from the past no longer enter the next realm with us.
We should give ourselves the space to lament or grieve or bemoan that loss, depending upon how close we were with that person. We should also grow from the experience by using that information to make better decisions about engagement with that person in the future, and with all individuals in general, afterwards.
For example, the interaction in the entirety of this relationship or friendship, and the disappointing incident specifically should both me learning opportunities. You should use it to determine how much of yourself you share with whom. You should also use this information to determine how much access that person has to you no matter their position and history in your life, thereby evaluating how you need them and on what terms. It’s easy to write people off, but it’s much harder and a more bitter pill to swallow to try to understand their perspective and to determine truly how their presence affects your life. It is up to you to make a decision about how necessary that connection is for your growth, flourishing, and survival.
Surely it hurts to get cut out of someone’s life with no explanation, or what feels like no regard. Sometimes, however, it is for the best. Perhaps the break is for their growth and for your own. Sometimes it’s just as hard for the cutter as the cuttee to make removals. Sometimes things will never ever be the same and there is no need to lament that fact. That is just life, and growth.
And at the end of the day, if everything in you tells you that this feels wrong, listen to your intuition. If the engagement and the interaction with that person feels off, then there is a reason. Stop doubting yourself if things are never on equal footing, never in a way that suits you and is true to who you are. If the friendship with that person consistently disrespects how you stand in your life, it may signal that you should love them from a distance. It may be healthier for you to invest less emotionally, interact without as much care, and engage in a way that is much healthier for you and truer to your growth.
It has taken some disappointing experiences to learn that truth but it is my own nonetheless.
When you feel disappointed with others and you analyze and over-analyze and reverse-analyze that first analysis, you don’t walk away with a sense of deep introspection but one of deep hurt and disappointment. People do that. Regularly. We disappoint one another. But it’s only because we had that much esteem for the other person to begin with.
It is our job then, afterwards to do the work of determining whether that esteem was deserved or misplaced. We have to figure out how, or if we want to continue our connectedness to those people. If so, we must develop a concrete way of engaging with them going forward, that does not open us up for more hurt, disappointment, and destruction.
Because sometimes some people ain’t shit. Or at least they aren’t when it comes to you. And it’s up to you to acknowledge that and determine whether you think their poor treatment of you is ok (hopefully you don’t). Then, remove yourself from that friendship, romantic relationship, family connection. It hurts and may perpetually suck. But you owe it to yourself to engage in ways that add to you, not ways that consistently detract from you. And it is stupid to justify bad treatment just because someone said else said you were supposed to allow an individual or group of individuals to engage to behave recklessly and not take you into consideration. You should never allow ill treatment simply because they’ve done it for so long. Life is too short to be in bad relationship for too long.
That’s a waste. For everyone involved. It takes too much energy to maintain that level of contempt or disdain. And maybe some people thrive off of bad juice. If you’re one of them, go get professional help. That’s not good. But if you’re not, remove yourself from a constantly draining, consistently negative, always misunderstanding dynamic and free yourself. It’s not your job to be someone else’s punching bag. Or to withstand their derision, or to always be at fault for their failure to see you as a three-dimensional person. That’s not a good place to be in.
If they are a person that has persistent flaws like all of us, it is important to be generous with your grace because you don’t know how much you might need it later. You can correct someone and still be in relationship. You can share your hurt and work through it. You can have a huge misunderstanding or argument and outline how each of you understood the other to mean exactly that or something else. These can be extremely difficult extremely emotional and uniquely challenging ongoing discussions to have. But if they are worth it, and the bond is worth it, as disappointing as it all is, it makes sense to save and reinvest in that connection in a way that promotes growth.
If they are not worth it then figure that out too and come up with a system that helps you easily identify how that interaction was destructive for you. Determine how much you lost of yourself and your time because of it. Recognize the pattern and traits of another person who may come into your life later, who behaves in the same way early on, so that you can distance yourself and not repeat the same mistakes.
Receive instruction from previous interactions. Don’t be plagued by the same inability to both allow people to consistently hurt and misjudge you, and believe that you are not worthy. Free yourself. Don’t think that just because you endured a difficult situation that you don’t have the capacity to learn how to have something in your life that is completely different. Work towards having something that is rewarding. Look for something that allows you to be at peace with yourself. Believe that your well-being and happiness matters, even if that means hurting someone else.
Originally published on Wordpress