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Relationships

After the Storm

Finally, finally, the anger has mostly subsided. I was waiting for this. Although it’s very easy to call to the surface if I take even a moment to think about the cowardly way you avoid difficult conversations with me.

Breathe. We won’t get into that here. I’m relieved that this anger has mostly transformed into resolved sadness and, even in some cases, understanding.

You never meant to hurt me with your heavy lead-on and unexpected rejection. You just haven’t figured out how to communicate your feelings, needs and wants in real time yet. And I happen to be a heartbroken recipient of that internal avoidance. A casualty. Poor thing, you don’t mean to leave destruction in your wake. (Wait, how the hell is that my fault? It’s okay for you to be horrible, as long as you don’t mean to?) No. Shhh. The anger is secondary.

You said you need Friend Me now, and I’m so very used to giving you the Me that you need at the time. I will do it again. Friend Me. Hmm. Who is she, again? I’ve been in love with you for so long I can barely remember what she’s like. Oh, I think I got it! She’s that smiling, detached, but supportive Me. The one who cracks jokes and welcomes any topic of conversation during the once-every-few-months video chat. She can read you better—the one who’s not in love. She sees when your face breaks into that “wow, that’s right, she is really cool and makes me feel good, I kinda forgot” goofy smile. That smile is addictive. It’s like a big gold medal of honor; see, I am what you want!

But that seems hard now. You say you need Friend Me, but what about Friend You? I don’t know… this gets a little messy. My friends don’t completely forget about or ignore my birthday. They also show at least mild concern when I tell them I broke my nose, and check in when I express how depressed I am.

This is where the resolved sadness comes in. You have not been a friend to me. The Why no longer matters here. The distinction between can’t and won’t no longer matters here—it is simply a truth. I don’t even know what Friend You looks like. I do know Friend Me very well, though. She sends you packages, makes sure your stress levels are manageable, rearranges her schedule and drives long distances to see you. Oops, maybe this is the Me that’s in love. I’m not sure there’s a difference.

Now I’m feeling embarrassed. The worst part of all is that I’m still in love with you. But maybe as I let the anger transform, so will my love. Or at least my pitiful pleasing, which sometimes (always) feels like love.

I’m not here to be angry. I’m not even here to be hurt or sad. I’m here to be done. This will not be an easy task as habits are very hard to break, but I’m showing up to do the work.

It feels exciting and good to free up this huge space in my head and heart that has been occupied by all that is you since… 2015? Who knows when it really started? Who cares anymore? I’m going to be free from a jail of my own making. If that’s not something to smile about, I don’t know what is.

I have transformed the anger, but I won’t ignore the gut-wrenching sadness that fills my entire stomach whenever I think about losing you. But it’s okay, there is a lot you must lose to feel free. Besides, I’m not really losing you. Rather, I’m retiring the idea of a life with you in it. I’m shoving it so far back in a corner of my consciousness that I’ll be able to go about my life without thinking of you. And hopefully, someday, I will forget where I put it. I will lose the thought of you.

Like this post? View similar content here: Lessons of a Toxic Relationship

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by charlotterking

Currently preparing to spend 27 months with the Peace Corps in the Philippines. Recently taught environmental education in the Bahamas. I like to read and write and better myself and make the lives of my loved ones easier and happier.


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