Society has lead us to believe that we are obligated to engage in social norms and relationships. These expectations lay the foundation for people to feel guilty should there need to be a separation between two people. The reality is that people can just grow apart, and become different individuals who no longer have a string that connects them. When the string was nice and taut, and tight, there was a connection that was profitable for both parties. As an individual evolves and grows their strings can take on different shapes and sizes, and may not fit another person the same way anymore.
There is a need to discuss the reality that sometimes people cannot reconnect the string that once tied them to each other. This could be any type of relationship, and isn’t limited to romantic feelings. Friends could come to the realization that they no longer have any connecting points, be it from growth, or movement to another social circle. Lovers can come to realize that they’re no longer in love. Family members can finally come to realize that they can no longer handle the toxicity of another members actions. Any relationship has the potential to run it’s course and have no strings.
It is healthy to know how you would like to be treated. It is healthy to have boundaries, and it is healthy to enforce those boundaries. It is healthy to know how you do not want to be talked to, and if you ever find yourself in the situation where you have finally had enough, it is healthy to inform the person who has pushed you to your limit that you no longer wish to engage with them. It is healthy to respect yourself enough to walk away. It is healthy to know when it is time to close the door.
Recently I have found myself in the situation where I can no longer tolerate another person’s behavior. As I tried to reconcile the issue(s) that have been presented by this individual I came to the stark, and upsetting, realization that it’s built-in to us to feel guilty for doing what is best for us when it involves having to close the door on a relationship. Because I consider myself a work-in-progress and I am always trying to give people the benefit of the doubt I can openly admit I let this individual’s behavior go on for too long. Even as a counselor-in-training we have a hard time turning the microscope on our own relationships, which is why I put it to friends to help me work out how I was feeling. It was an eye-opening experience to have so many others relate their feelings on the subject and give me a whole different perspective.
I had to ask myself a series of questions: Do I have anything in common with this person anymore? Am I benefiting from the relationship? Do I feel like this person supports me? Has this person made me feel like they care?
Asking yourself these types of questions will give you the insight you need to make the final decision. When the majority of the answers are negative when you sit down and contemplate this decision, you can ascertain that there is nothing more for you to gain or benefit from having this person in your life. Run their most recent dialogue in your head and think about how they’ve spoken to you, or about you. How their dialogue makes you feel plays a very large role in how you hear them, or think of them, so if they have a tendency to rely on always being right that negative connotation will always be attached to them.
One element of closing the door on a relationship is to be aware of how you’ve been treated in the past. A popular method of manipulation in a relationship that has begun to run it’s course is gaslighting. I want to emphasize that gaslighting can happen along numerous different kinds of relationships, not just intimate. If you are having a conversation with someone and they are telling you a story about how another person has treated them badly, or how they wish they could leave someone, but when you suggest they move on the person starts to throw their support behind the person they were just bad-mouthing … you’re being gaslighted. They are trying to incite your empathy to feel badly for them, then turning around and making you question your intentions to help them by supporting the same person who they claim is making them unhappy. This is toxic behavior, and should be a red flag in ANY relationship.
It is very important to step back and come to terms with how you have been treated by someone. While there may be a few exceptions where they did something nice for you, be more aware of whether or not their actions benefited them in some way, and be honest with yourself. Don’t feel guilty for becoming aware and acting accordingly. Don’t feel guilty for finally realizing you no longer have any interest in being talked to in a negative way. Don’t feel guilty for no longer taking on the responsibility of defending how the person in question acts. It is not your job anymore, and by closing the door you are making a statement of saying so.
Now, with that being said, it is crucial for every person to be at peace with their decision. Don’t be angry, or pissed, or act out in an immature way. Know that this is the best decision for all involved. It is not beneficial or positive to try and force a relationship that clearly has no strings attached. It is just as healthy to limit communication, explain your situation and feelings, and simply just close the door and walk away. No harm, no foul. There is no rules or laws that say we have to endure trying to make a relationship work that even others in your life question. Plain and simple.
Find your center, achieve your balance, and focus on working towards your goals. Anyone who works to be part of your circle is welcome. Anyone who chooses to treat you badly or talk to you inappropriately have no place in your circle, and again I stress – THAT IS OKAY.
I wish anyone peace and prosperity who has been part of my life in any sort of way. If we grew apart and could not keep our strings attached, then the universe has other plans for us, and I wish you nothing but the best juju possible. I hold no ill will or bad intentions, and I hope that maybe we can reconnect another time down the road. – Blessed Be