What is it that makes us hold on to the people that are the absolute worst, the most toxic to our lives, just plain no good for us?
Consider my own personal experiences. I connect with very few people. So, when I do, I’m ALL IN. I don’t know how else to be. Usually, the people I connect with are the same. Then the red flags start getting thrown. But, I say, “Oh, it’ll be ok,” or “I can’t judge. I have the same issues,” or “No one is perfect. I have to accept some faults.” I keep saying this until I have been brutally and deeply hurt and that person has abandoned me. I keep saying this while my rational mind tells me to let go but my irrational one tells me that their bullshit shouldn’t dictate my actions and I should continue to be a good friend. I keep telling myself this long past what is healthy and sensible. And after I finally let go, I still struggle to stay away because, as I said, I don’t know how to go all in.
I’ve realized what my personality type is and how I approach friendships and relationships with friends or family will probably not change. This means that I will take disappointments hard and I need my time to grieve after each failed attempt. That’s ok. But, I still haven’t figured out when to start that grieving process at a suitable point in time. I haven’t figured out when to kick a toxic person out on their ass.
Ironically, though, I’ll be ready to kick out a good person. Take this for instance. One of my friends misinterpreted something I said. Rather, she chose to do so because she was in a bad mood and had had a trying previous few days. She reprimanded me 1) unnecessarily, and 2) in front of a group of people. My initial reaction was, “What the f**k was that?” I started thinking to myself I have to pull away, I’ve gotten to close to this person, they’re going to hurt me, we can be cordial, but we can’t be close friends. Then, I did what I often do not do in this situation. I stepped back and relaxed. I gave myself the rest of the day to be mad. The next morning, I told her I understood her frustrations and I forgave her. She was very apologetic. This was progress for me and I thought I had moved on. We hung out a few days later. I realized that I was holding back things I had planned to share (I had just had a breakthrough in group therapy). It took me a couple hours to tell myself to chill out and trust her. She had already apologized several more times during the day. I shared what was on my mind and I felt better. Later, she thanked me for not divorcing her as a friend. But, honestly, there was no reason to. A couple years ago, though, I wouldn’t have been able to get through such a situation nearly so quickly.
I realized that the toxic people that I have kept in my life, the ones that I still feel emotionally attached to, have made me afraid to trust the decent people that come my way. So, I’m more likely to push them away out of fear that they will hurt or leave me and instead stay with the people who DO hurt and leave me, thinking I can fix them. This is my safe place. But, really, it isn’t safe, is it? These actions also keep my depression and anxiety at a high. I’ve realized that, while it might make me a little sad and restless, it’s healthier for me to have an evening home alone, then continue in relationships with people that are just complete shit. It’s a struggle, though!! Fortunately, this aspect of my life is a work in progress.
What’s your experience? Share with me?