Friday, March 5, 2010

Letting Go

Sometimes, in being true to myself I find I am in conflict. Each 'truism' has merit and purpose and is valued and ethical and yet in direct conflict. I have written before about my struggle with a friend that I have separated from for many, many reasons. I had cause to be with her the other day and I certainly could have refused the opportunity but I wanted to 'see' how it felt. And although, on the surface we laughed and enjoyed our old ways of being together, - for me, right under the surface is all that has transpired between us. For me it is not a 'safe' friendship.

Right there is my conflict of how to 'honor and/or be true to myself. On the one hand I have a belief system that says to love no matter what and forgive and on the other hand I hold true to a belief that says pay attention to what can cause harm and avoid situations and people that you have experienced as such, directly and indirectly. Also, when I spoke with her and explained how I felt - she was surprised and can not acknowledge or validate how I experienced her - and thus is holding me responsible for our friendship not moving forward. I tried to explain that as she was changing and I was experiencing her in hurtful ways I fought hard for our friendship by excusing those behaviors and finding a way to love her despite them - and that at some point her hurtful behaviors became bigger than my ability to put them aside. She has NO reference for this at all. And for me it is just too unsettling to pretend that everything is fine when I can see the pink elephant and she cannot. And when I mention the pink elephant for the sake of resolve it is clear that she has no interest in acknowledging it or resolving anything - claiming there is nothing really to resolve with statements like, "that is who I am,", "I was doing my job", "you should have supported me more".........................I was in a very difficult situation and I honored her until I couldn't.

I cannot honor her now. I don't hold her in esteem or regard any more. I don't trust my truths or what is important to me, with her. I don't like the person she has become. I liked/loved who she was, who we were together, for a long time. And if you were to ask her she would say that I was the one who left the friendship, not her. That is the most disturbing and unsettling part of this for me - to know how I agonized over how much she changed and how I fought to hold on to her, to us, despite the changes in her until I couldn't make sense out of that effort any more - and to then spend an evening together as if none of that even happened? It was all too much.

How do I say what I must say,. Why is that "love no matter what" value and "protect myself" belief in such conflict. Both are right and have purpose and they are both yelling inside me to 'win'. I believe I can love her and still protect myself. I can move from the friendship lovingly, knowing that who she has become is not safe for me. I have to let go of wishing she could understand that. She never will. :-( I tried, God knows I tried.








40 comments:

Choices said...

Hi Gail,
Letting go is sometimes very hard to do. But, it is a part of life. You tried your best to accept her, but it didn't feel right for you. That is all that counts. Embrace that feeling because you did all you could do. Sending you hugs!
Take care.

Wanda said...

Things change, people change, sometimes there is no right or wrong, sometimes what we perceive is not the same as what other's perceive. Just drift away, let the friendship die a natural death, being that you are uncomfortable with her now, I think that's less stressful than trying to convence her of any wrongs. Love her, but leave her...I guess.

Tramp said...

Hi Gail
I don't know that it's exactly the same but I've tried to resolve conflicts with myself when I feel hate for someone by trying to transfer my hate to the particular behaviour rather than hate the person. I have also used this approach to stop hating myself when I've done things that I am far from proud of.
...Tramp

Bernie said...

It is obvious you still care very much for your friend, that is why it is on your mind and heart. I am sorry that you do not feel safe within the boundaries of friendship that she can provide but it is okay to let go and move on. Sometimes people change and we do not recognize the person they become......perhaps neither of you are wrong or even right. It is what it is. I would draw all the good memories from this relationship, forgive the bad and move on. Your feeling of love and safety is far more important than trying to justify a friendship gone by.
.......big hugs to you......:-)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail, my dear friend, your dilemma is, in large part, caused by how you pose the question. It doesn't have to be either/or; it is possible "to love no matter what and forgive," and "pay attention to what can cause harm and avoid situations and people that you have experienced as such."

Consider it in a situation all blown out of proportion to what you're dealing with, but which might make it easier to understand. Let's say you're the parent of a son or daughter grown now into early adulthood. A parent who has to face their adult child who has been convicted of a heinous crime. A parent who raised their child well, teaching them good values, and who yet knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the child is guilty. We hear/read about this every day. Can they still love their child? Yes. Can they support their child? Yes, by loving them, by caring about them, but not by aiding and abetting. To do that does not help the child, PLUS it puts the parent in a state of jeopardy, a place of personal danger legally, morally, emotionally. A toxic place. If it weren't their child but, say, a lifelong friend, the points still stand…they could continue to care about the friend and support them so long as it didn't put them in jeopardy. Your situation is only different by degrees—you have a friend you stood by as long as you could, whom you can still continue to care about, but whom you need to avoid by and large to keep yourself out of trouble.

An old buddy of mine used to have a serious, serious drinking problem. After lots of replapses, he finally cleaned himself up, joined AA, and remained sober the rest of his life. He told me he had to give up hanging out with his friends in THEIR places. He didn't stop being their friend, and would do what he could for them whenever they asked, so long as it didn't put him at risk. But he had to think of his emotional and physical safety first—after all, if he wasn't safe, he couldn't be their friend.

You can continue to be a friend on whatever level keeps you safe with this person. For now, she's not going to see things from your perspective; she may never. People change, just as you've changed—for the better—in these past years. You can let go of the new person she's become and still hold onto the old one you knew and cared about. But you're not being selfish or disloyal by distancing yourself.

If you were driving a car with your family aboard, and you saw a giant pothole ahead, one that could potentially wreck the vehicle, you'd dodge it, right? You wouldn't say, "well, this used to be a great road, smooth, no potholes. It will hurt the roadway crews' feeling if I start dodging potholes. Make them think I don't care about their road. If I were a better driver I could probably get over that pothole and not wreck. Hey, I'm the problem, not the road."

Dodge the pothole. You have family and friends riding with you.

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ-

I SO appreciate your wise and loving and understanding words to me. I will re-read your comment several times so I can fully grasp all it's facets and meaning. I especially "heard' the example of the pot-hole in the road. Excellent analogy.

Thank you Grizz,

Love to you my river-bank friend
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI BERNIE-

I actually felt badly knowing you would read this with your dear friend so ill. I hope my dilemma did not cause you unrest.
And I truly appreciate your loving wisdom and you are right - we are neither right or wrong it just has become what it is now and it is no longer safe. "Thank you" Bernie, ......thank you

Love to you my friend
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI TRAMP

I really appreciate you sharing your experience with me. I really don't feel any hate though, hurt and disappointment and sadness.
Thank you for your understanding.

Love Gail
peace......

Gail said...

HI WANDA-

Yes, I SO agree with what you worte,,,,, "just drift away and let the friendhship die a natural death". "Thank you" Wanda for your kindness and wisdom. It means so much to me.

Love Gail
'peace.....

Gail said...

HI CHOICES-Anne

You are right, I did do all I could - I fought for us hard. Thank you for reminding me. :-)

Love to you
Gail
peace......

cinner said...

Gail, I know it must be hard to be put in that position. I would just take the good from the friendship and keep yourself safe. go with your instincts. There does not have to be a right or a wrong, but unfortunately people do change and go in different directions. I did like Grizzs pothole analogy. love to you, keep being you.

Iktomi said...

my sister has that kind of friend. they were really close in the past, and then that friend hurt her. she still is friends with her, but they are no longer very close. i think that once you are hurt by your friends, the same kind of relationship that you had before can never happen again.

also i wasn't necessarily "hurt" by one of my friends but i was judged by him at one point. now we are friends again as i know he has gained a little perspective, but there will never be the trust that there once was.

she may feel as though you are judging her for something unrelated to your friendship, and if that's the case, gain some distance and possibly in the future you might both gain some perspective and reconcile. if she did something unforgivable to you, then cut her out. the truth is usually somewhere in between, and that's where things are not so clear cut. however, relationships change over time, some for better and some for worse. don't dwell on the past, because there is usually balance in this life. when one friendship ebbs another one is waiting to develop.

Gail said...

HI IKTOMI_

Thank you for sharing your personal experiences - I always gain such depth and insight from other people's life experiences - and YOU are so wise, and way beyond your years.

Love Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI CINNER-

Yes, nothing stays the same forever hey? sigh......

Thanks for your loving support.

Love Gail
peace.....

Teacher's Pet said...

Trust is a very to regain/restore once it is broken. I am thinking of you, Gail....

Tramp said...

Hi again
Yes sorry I guess I was trying to generalise and went wide of the point into resolving different conflicts of feeling that I experience.
I have reread what you wrote and hate doesn't come into this.
Isn't it difficult when people try to confuse you and make you feel guilty with "you are hurting me" and "you are hurting our friendship"?
Yor friend should be able to agree to disagree.
You are a wonderful loving person, Gail. Don't let them manipulate you.
Tramp
(not sure if this went so I've sent it again to be sure)

Gail said...

HI TRAMP-

I so appreciate your re-visit and your kind words of understanding and support. You are a sweetie. :-)

Love Gail
peace......

Gail said...

HI JACKIE-

Oh yes, trust, once broken, well - things are never the same. sigh....

Love you
Gail
peace......

Teresa said...

Hi Gail,
I am sorry to hear about your friend, and it is obvious you still care about her. No sense holding on to what was, some friends are there for a season, and right or wrong that season appears to have passed. Move on, with out guilt and as Wanda said so wisely, just let the relationship die naturally.
(((HUGS)))) T

Diana said...

Well Gail I've been through a similar conflict of emotions myself recently. And have pretty much come to the conclusion that the relationship doesn't make me feel good. So that is that. Not quite as easy as it sounds since this person is a close family member but I just can't "Pretend" that certain things never happened. I did pray a lot about it and kept weighing the benefits against the pink elephant and the elephant won if ya know what I mean.
Love Di ♥

Gail said...

HI DIANA-

I feel like you are right inside my heart and head. What you wrote is SO true. The relationship doesn't feel good anymore, and that's it!! I tried sohard to make it be different - it just isn't.

HI TERESA

And you are SO right also. SOme relationships are for a reason, a season or the road and/or of the heart. We had our "season" and now it is time to move on without guilt. Amen.

"THANK YOU" both SO kuch

With love
Gail
p[eace......

Eileen said...

Sometimes when people change, the dear feelings that bonded us together change too, and it's hard to let go. I actually did a post on this very subject some months back, my husband was having a very hard time coming to grips with a friendship that had become broken because the friend had become broken. It is such a long, sad, heartbreaking story, but I told my husband he just had to let this friend be, to change, to grow, to do whatever he had to do to get by, and my husband had to step back. That didn't mean the friendship was over and dead for good, it could just mean it was on hold, and in the meantime, I told him he should be thankful for what was, and for the good memories the friendship gave him, and that we should pray for this friend.
I don't know the details of your friendship or the hurts involved, but don't let it all turn bad, Gail. Keep the good and let go of the bad and the hurt.
And then it's just up to you, in the future if this person wants to step back into your life if you think it's worth allowing that.

Love to you,
Eileen

Eileen said...

I just read your 'over the fence' post, and to be honest, I don't much like to think about things like that much of the time. I always hope I'll be the type of person that helps another over the fence, but I'm deeply afraid that when push comes to shove, I'll high-tail it out and leave others behind. I pray not, but I don't have a lot of confidence in my good nature.

It also reminds me of my sister Diane who always says things like "If you were stuck on a deserted island who's husband would you want with you? I'd want Ray (my husband), because he's good at everything, and he's good-natured, and he's nurturing." And then she goes on to say she wouldn't want her own husband because she doesn't think he'd be good at surviving in the wild, and she wouldn't want my sister-in-law's husband because she thinks he would take the best for himself and look out for himself before others, and she definitely would not want Ray's brother because she thinks he would kill us for food if it came down to it! Ugh!

Suffice it to say, I don't like thinking of these scenarios at all!
(But I do kind of agree with my sister Diane, and I wouldn't want to be stuck with anyone but Ray!)
Love you,
Eileen
PS ~ You were deep from such a young age!

1022 Sea Shell Ave said...

Letting go is the hardest part about growing up. After a while we learn to plant our own gradens instead of waiting for someone to bring us flowers.

:)

Kim

Gail said...

HI 1022 Sea Shells-

I really like what you sid about planting our own garden instead of waiting for others to ring flowers. Wonderful analogy. Thanks

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI EILEEN-

Thanks so much for sharing about Ray's friend. The personal touch always helps to add insight and understanding.

And, I so see you as an "Over The Fence Person", and looks like Ray is the guy everyone wants on the island, huh? :-)

And I never thought about myself as thinking deeply back then - but you are right! That is/was a deep scenario that I created at five years old. phew.

Love you
Gail
peace.....

thailandchani said...

In reading this, what comes to mind is that eventually (the older we get), we realize that all of us are imperfect. We will always disappoint each other, one way or another, because of that. Intent means a lot. I have had to let some friendships go because they were unsafe, non-reciprocal or another reason. That has no connection to forgiveness or acceptance. You can accept and forgive without having a relationship. Sometimes we just don't do well together. Ending a relationship isn't always punishment or resentment. Often, it is just the natural flow of things.




~*

Gail said...

HELLO THAILANDCHANI and welcome.

I so appreciated your kind and lovely words to me. And it was so good to read that ending a friendship is not punishment/resentment. It is a natural ending. Wow. Thank you for your shared wisdom SO much.

Love Gail
peace.....

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I am so sorry, Gail...life and people can be so complicated sometimes...I've been thinking about this a lot lately...My heart is with you~Janine XO

Lola said...

Hi Gail,
I have a similar issue with a "friend" of mine and I have decided to protect myself instead of being close to her again.
Do I live better?
I don't know because she comes hauting me in my dreams. I dream of her every single week of my life. I know it may sound weird but it's undoubtely an unsolved emotional conflict.

Gail said...

HI JANINE-

Thank you" for your kind understanding. :-)


HI LOLA-

Oh how well I "hear ya"......this too is unsolved, a conflict of emotions. sigh. Gee, want to talk on the phone about all this??? hee heehee :-)

Love to you both
Gail
peace.....

souldose said...

I love your topic and especially now that I'm trying to let go of the person I love more than I could ever say... It's so hard but I'll get there.

Lola said...

;)

nooooo!!!

Gail said...

HI LOLA

"Thanks" :-)

Love you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI SOULDOSE_

I know, yes. Letting go is difficult. Take care of yourself,

Love Gail
peace.....

Margie said...

Hi Gail
Reading this post reminds me of a friend that I had many years ago that I had to let go of for a number of reasons.
I still think about her and sometimes miss her but I mostly just wish her well.

You did what you had to do Gail and let your friend go.
We must always honor ourselves and do what is right for us.
I sense you have peace over this decision and that is a very good!

A hug to you today!

Margie :)

Gail said...

HI MARGIE-

Thank you so much for sharing of your personal experience and for your kind and loving understanding and support.


And I am of the same thinking, after all is said and done I wish her well too.

Love Gail
peace.....

Children with out voices said...

Amazing the timing of your post, letting go is really difficult. Thank you for your concern. I needed time alone, time even from blogging to put behind for awhile the negativity that can and is at times overwhelming. You are still one of the most wonderful people I know. Your love flows!

Gail said...

HI CWOV

So nice to see you here too. It is good you knew to take some 'alone time'. :-) Blogging can be exhausting and given the sensitive subject matter you are committed to, even more so.
Love to you my friend
Gail
peace....

Tamarind~ said...

Ah, life!!