Grieving The Living

A few years ago, I went to see a counselor about some deeply painful abandonment issues I was dealing with and he told me that we should treat the loss of a friendship or relationship as we do that of those who pass away. In many cases, as in death, we are not given the closure we so desperately crave and if we do not find a way to work through that on our own, it leaves a hole in our lives that we continually try to fill.

Sometimes the closure we need is not available and therefore it is up to us to find a way to move on without it. Easier said that done of course, but such is life.

Everyone experiences loss in different ways and for me being left behind or disregarded was something I experienced at a very early age, which is perhaps why it has become my kryptonite.

And I am not referring to the distance that can sometimes grow between two people. I have many friends that I don’t talk to on a regular basis, but it doesn’t mean I care for them any less or visa versa. We all get busy and caught up in life, but if one of us were to reach out, the other would always be there no matter how much time has passed. I value those people more than they will ever know. Their love is what gets me through in the darkest of hours, even if their presence is not always there.

What I am referring to are those that lack the common decency to clarify their reasoning before simply throwing away a long time friendship. Especially, when you are not able to find a reason for them doing so. The ones you thought you meant something to. Those you talk to on a regular basis, confide in and who never gave you a reason to doubt their loyalty until one day, they just walk away with no explanation.

Those are the ones that make it hard to open up again to anyone. They are the people that remind me why I have always found it so hard to trust people when they say they care.

Over and over, I am finding that breaking down the walls seem to only leave me in pain.

I have a tendency to internalize the cruel actions of another as a reflection of myself or  as a the result of something I have done, but in almost all cases that is simply not true. Rationally, I know that, but the damage to my heart and loss of faith in humanity seems to be irreversible.

It would be wonderful if everyone treated others with the amount of respect they deserve, but that is simply not how the world operates.

Perhaps the reason I could never treat people the way they treat me is because I have been on the other end of it so many times that it has almost broke me. I could never live with myself if I knew I was responsible for inflicting that much pain on another person.

We don’t know what others are experiencing at any given time and our callousness could be what sends them over the edge. And besides, is it really that hard to be kind.

I would never ask anyone to stay in my life if they did not wish to do so, but it is simply inhuman to toss someone aside like they mean nothing and with no explanation.

If you are experiencing this in your life, I urge you to review the five stages of grief as listed below (more detail here).

Denial – The survival mechanism. The focus becomes trying to get through the day despite feeling overwhelmed and in many cases numb. You don’t want to believe that this person would treat you like this. You don’t want to believe you were once again fooled. It is dehumanizing and heartbreaking to think that someone you have allowed yourself to be vulnerable with has no regard for your feelings. Especially when it is so hard to open up to people in the first place. I remember thinking, I thought I was safe with you, we tell each other everything, how could I mean nothing after all these years?!

Anger – Self explanatory and extremely necessary. It is okay to feel angry with the person that hurt you, disregarded you and made you feel like you were meaningless. We must embrace this stage wholeheartedly if we are to move forward. After all, it is impossible to forgive someone when you still have anger in your heart. And forgiveness (even if they are not deserving of it) is the end goal. Not for them, but in order for you to move on.

This is always a short stage for me, because I am not one to get angry usually. Maybe with myself, but I always try to give others the benefit of the doubt before I fly off the handle. I was angry at myself for allowing him to take my joy away and ashamed that I didn’t see it coming, but how could I? There was no warning.

And so I did get angry, so angry. Angrier than I have been in a very long time. So much so that I busted my knuckle on a punching bag and I haven’t wanted to punch someone in years. And it felt good. To get all that aggression out and to know that what I was feeling was valid and necessary. He has known me close to 20 years, so he knows what hurts me the most and he did exactly that. It hurt like hell.

 

Bargaining – In this stage we are desperately seeking clarification. We wonder what we could have done to prevent this person from leaving. If only I would have been more present, more willing to compromise or in cases of relationships, maybe we wonder if we were simply not pretty enough, skinny enough, etc. It is our minds way of trying to find a way to change it or to make them come back, to care for us in the way we care for them. We are no longer angry at them for leaving, but rather in a state of confusion about what we could have done differently. And sadly, in most cases there is nothing we could have done, which leads to the next stage.

Looking back, I can’t find one reason for him ghosting me, except for maybe being honest. I respected where he was in his life, gave him space when he needed it and was there for him every time he asked. Maybe that was what I did wrong, I cared and I wasn’t afraid to tell him so.

Depression – Emptiness. We come to the realization that there is nothing we could have done or can do to change what is. The truth of the matter rears its ugly head. As David Kessler explains, “We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense sadness, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going on alone? Why go on at all?”

For me this is the longest stage, perhaps because I already battle with it and have for years, but in the end of it, I always feel like I am able to shine a bit brighter after the darkness fades.

Acceptance – The final stage and the last step in forgiveness. It doesn’t mean you are okay with what happened, but rather you have accepted it and the understanding that this new reality is a permanence you simply have to deal with. We become ready to pick up the pieces and move on with our life without that person in it. This does not mean all the hurt goes away, for some of us, it will always be there. There will be days when we remember and still find it hard to get through, but that is okay as long as we have worked through the other stages in the grief process.

What stage am I in?

Acceptance. I spent the weekend working on forgiveness and finding a way to move forward without this person in my life. I would be lying if I said it didn’t still hurt, but I know there is nothing that I did or can do to change this.

The simply truth (as I have said numerous times before) is that not everyone you care for will care for you in the same way and that is not your fault. The right people will find their way to you and maybe losing someone you love is a way to make room for those that will truly value you. Not just use you to stroke their ego whenever they need it.

I forgive him for being incapable of appreciating my presence in his life, because I know that in the end it is his loss. A part of me is saddened for him, because I know that one would only behave in this barbaric way if they too were struggling in some way. When we are content with our lives, there is no need to be cruel to others in this way. And therefore  I can only hope he finds happiness and peace in his life as I have in mine.

To the friends that chose to leave without rhyme nor reason from my life: I still don’t know what I did wrong, but I choose to forgive you. Abandonment is the cruelest way you can choose to leave a person and I have found it in my heart to forgive you, not for you, but for myself. I hope that wherever you are, you are happy. And I hope no one ever leaves you wondering, the way you left me wondering what I did wrong. Because no one deserves that. Not even someone who practices or chooses that themselves.” – excerpt from: What Nobody Tells You About Losing a Friend. 

May you all find happiness and peace – T

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For My Brokenhearted Friends

For My Brokenhearted Friends

https://lifelessonsaroundthedinnertable.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/for-my-brokenhearted-friends/
— Read on lifelessonsaroundthedinnertable.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/for-my-brokenhearted-friends/

Beautiful words that really hit home 😊 Such a talented writer, I suggest you follow. You will not be disappointed!

Ghosted

I will keep this short and sweet this morning. Call it another public service announcement from T-Bell if you will, but I cannot go through this day without sharing with you a very important lesson I learned this weekend.

So, Sunday was my birthday. A day that has been hard for me since I was a kid. Mostly because I never knew where my mother was most of the time, which usually meant that as a child, I would spend the whole day wishing and hoping that somehow she would reappear and she never did. So year after year, my heart would break just a little bit more. This year was no different.

You see that is why people don’t understand how important being remembered is to me. For someone who is always forgotten, a simple text or phone call to say happy birthday means more to me than anything in the world. Just once, it would be nice to not be disappointed.

I had such an amazing day on Sunday, so much fun! I went to the car show with Daddy J, which was a blast and then a few of us came back to my place for an impromptu hang session. It was everything I could have asked for and more.

When everyone left, I came back inside and started catching up on my birthday texts 🙂

When I replied to the last one, I realized that two very important people had still not sent me anything? And I don’t mean gifts, I could care less if you buy me anything. Although, my friend Elaine did hit it out of the park this year!!

Two of the people I care for most in the world, showed me just how little they care for me. I kind of expected it from one of them. I know him well enough to know it was not really because he doesn’t care about me, but rather he just cares about himself more. No surprises there, he has been this way his whole life. It doesn’t excuse it (believe me I ate his ass!), but the point is that I know in my heart that he never intended to hurt me.

The other, was a complete surprise. It was someone I thought I could count on, someone I thought valued my presence in their life. Someone I never thought would blow me off, especially on the day he knows I struggle with. We lost touch for years and having him back in my life this last year has been great. It was so refreshing to spend time with someone I could truly be myself around, someone who truly saw me and valued me for all that I am. Which is why, his forgetfulness hurt more than anything I could have imagined.

Now, I try my best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt…Maybe something horrible happened, he lost his phone or a million other acceptable reasons for treating me like garbage. And so, at first, I tried to give him a chance to explain. One simple text from me to say that I was a little hurt. No response.

Okay so now I am worried, maybe something did happen? He doesn’t normally blow me off like this. And then the next day came, still no response.

“What’s the deal man?”

No response.

And that is when the waterworks began. Which pissed me off, because I thought I was done crying over stupid inconsiderate men, but I guess not.

I realized in that moment, that the friendship I thought meant as much to him as it did to me, clearly did not and boy did that sting.

We all screw up, we all forget things, but to not even acknowledge it or me? How cruel is that? Especially coming from someone who deals with the same emotional issues that I do and knows how much his actions would hurt me.

I can take a hint, but at least have the common courtesy to tell me you don’t want me around anymore instead of taking the cowards way out and ghosting me…on my birthday of all days! I deserve more than that, a lot more.

His actions disappointed me more than anyone’s ever have, because I never saw it coming, but I guess I should be thankful for that.

To him, for reminding me that I need to make better choices about who I give my time to. There are those that value me in their life and those that simply use me to fill their time when something better is not available.

And the timing could not be more perfect. As you remember from my last post, I have been taking a long hard look at the people in my life and well, I guess as heart broken as I have been over the last few days, at least I know now where I truly stand with some people.

I am so thankful to the people who remembered me on Sunday (even if FB reminded you, teehee I get it and it still counts).

If it was not for all of you, having been forgotten may have stung a lot worse.

The lesson here, if it’s not yet clear, is that no matter how much you care about someone that doesn’t give them free rain to disrespect you.

And if you are someone on the other end of this, try to remember that no matter how much you don’t care about someone that doesn’t mean your actions do not have the ability to destroy them. Try to be kind, respectful, is it really that hard to allow someone to leave your life with their dignity still intact?

I think not.

Oh Yes I Can!

So much has happened since Friday’s meltdown that I almost don’t know where to begin, except to say that sometimes everything has to fall apart in order to fall together.

Last week was one of those weeks where everything seemed to go wrong. The details of which don’t really matter. It was just one thing after another until it eventually became too much.

I’ve been doing so well with handling my depression that I was really disappointed in myself that I allowed it to grab hold of me the way it did, but I realize now just how necessary it was to begin this next phase of my life.

I did some much needed re-evaluating of my life and myself this weekend, including the relationships with others and how I am allowing them to impact me and in some cases hold me back.

I was caught up in such a spiral that I knew the only way to do that was to leave my house aka my comfort zone and completely detach from everything and everyone. So, I left Friday afternoon to go camping, left my phone in the car, bought a new notebook & some fancy pens (it’s an addiction 🙂 ) and escaped from it all.

It may have only been 3 days, but I feel like a new and improved me!

I started by centering on the common emotions I feel when I am spiraling and trying to get to the bottom of where and why they have the ability to have such power over me.

We all go through dark times and it is necessary if you want to grow in any way and if none of us know what’s next than is there any other reason to move forward but to grow? I welcome the darkness sometimes, but it is when it takes control that it gets truly scary.

It almost always begins with overwhelming sadness, but isn’t that really what depression is? Why was I so sad? I have a million things to be thankful for, but when I am in those moments of spiraling out of control, I find it hard to reach for any good feeling and I end up in a state of what’s the point? instead.

And that is when it clicked. It is the feelings of hopelessness, unworthiness and lack of purpose that are at the root of it all.  In those moments, I feel as though I have no place in this world, that my life is meaningless. Over the years, I have given so much of myself to others, only to be left behind and so I have this belief inside of me that I am unlovable, unwanted, undervalued and that everyone leaves in the end.

That is simply not true or at least it doesn’t have to be.

This is my life, my time and I need to stop giving so much of myself to other people. Especially those who do not appreciate it or me.

I need to find a way to give my life purpose, not for others, but for myself.

It is much easier said than done of’course, but I was determined to find a way. I don’t want to feel the way I did on Friday ever again. I know that may not be entirely possible right away, but we all have to start somewhere.

The two biggest challenges for me is finding balance, specifically, the balance between work/relationships & personal time, but how?

Let it all go and see what/who stays.

In regards to relationships, I asked myself the following questions:

Who are the people I gravitate the most towards?

Who is there when I really need them?

Who are the people who have shown me (not told me; words are cheap) they really value having me in their life?

Who are the people I feel most drained around? Those I associate with more out of obligation than an actual desire to spend time with them?

What are the relationships that I am putting more effort in than I am receiving?

Those that fall into the first three categories, are my people. Those who fall into the last two are people who have got to go!

It’s time to weed that friend garden and give the energy to those who truly deserve it, instead of wasting it on people who find no value in having me in their life.

Today, I feel refreshed. As though a large weight has been taken from my shoulders.

I didn’t just go over the people in my life, I reviewed my goals for the future, personal and work related. I took a long hard look at my life and the people in it as a whole and I am excited to move forward, even if some folks will not be coming with me.

I have such a better handle on everything now.

It’s like the clouds have finally cleared and I am no longer searching for the sun; I am the sun!

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I Just Can’t

Well, today I hit my breaking point. I feel foolish admitting it, but sometimes I feel like I just can’t do this anymore. You know…this life thing.

In my heart I know that is not true. After all I have been through in my life, is there really anything I can’t overcome?

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t become too much sometimes. There are moments when it feels like everything is falling apart around me and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

The search for clarity becomes one of overwhelming defeat and I am left with what seems like nowhere else to go.

It is never just one thing, one emotion, but rather so many it makes my head spin and I can barely catch my breath.

And in some cases, like today, the emotional pain becomes so much that it becomes physical.

The best way I can explain it is this heaviness in my heart. Like someone is standing on my chest as my bones crack beneath their feet.

And the worst part about it is that it is almost as if I feel like I deserve the pain…is that really messed up or what?!

Spiraling this much is actually not that common for me. I have my ups and downs, a little spiral here, a little spiral there, but always manageable.

This time it’s much worse. I haven’t felt this out of control emotionally in a very long time.

I am pretty seasoned at beating my demons but I am only human and there is only so much a person can take before they begin to crumble. And crumbling I am.

I know it will pass eventually and if someone asked what it is I am in need of, I’m not sure…maybe a hug?

Or perhaps just to being held for a moment would make it all okay.

Whatever it is I need, I know it’s not words. I’ve tasted that poison too many times before. Words mean nothing when spoken in vain.

I desperately need action of some sort.

I feel so alone, unvalued & misunderstood.

Again, my rational mind knows that is not true, but I can’t seem to convince the rest of me of the same.

I know it sounds silly but I have this overwhelming feeling that I am simply broken beyond repair.

Unloveable and becoming unable to love.

And not just the romantic kind of love although I’m not sure that will ever be possible again unless I can get a certain someone out of my head.

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and take back the confession of my love to him. I would have kept those feelings hidden forever if he hadn’t told me it wasn’t all in my head, that he felt it too, but that’s something else entirely. People change their minds and it’s not like he’s gone from my life. I treasure our friendship, even if it hurts sometimes.

What’s going on is so much more than unrequited love. After all if there is one thing I know how to deal with and very well for that matter, it’s rejection.

I’m sure the longing I feel for him is part of the pain I am experiencing right now, but I’ve been dealing with that for almost a year now. It’s always there under the surface, reminding me of something I will never have.

Today is no different, but there is so much more at play here.

Everything seems to be falling apart around me, including me.

I’m exhausted and angry at myself for being exhausted all at the same time! It’s excruciating.

And the scariest part is this is the first time I’m not quite sure what to do. Normally, I would surrender to the darkness, ride out the wave and revel in how brightly I burn after it all fades.

And then…it would all become art.

This time there is not a doubt in my mind that surrendering is the opposite of what I should do this time.

How do I know this?

Because the last time I felt this way, I did and well if you’ve been following along all I have to say is…it’s only happened twice before and it wasn’t pretty.

So what do I do?

The only thing I can think of.

To step back from it all, from everyone and re-evaluate my life.

Where am I going? What am I doing? Do I stay or do I go?

It’s time to answer those questions.

The search for the answers will be a much needed distraction and when I find myself struggling, I just have to focus on all the positive things in my life.

Even though they feel hard to grasp right now, I know I have the power to rise above it.

I just need to find my strength again.