Well, It’s Been Real. Have A Good Life.

I have a really hard time letting go of people – even when they hurt me over and over again, or I feel that our friendship is extremely one-sided. I am always looking for the good in people and, in a way, I collect that good. I hold on to people based on the good I see in them, not the bad.

Sean says that it’s a really refreshing quality, because even though I’ve been abused, lied to, pressured into things, cheated on, and abandoned, I still greet every person I meet with the same enthusiasm, still open myself up to them, and still forgive them. Hi, you’re new, I want to know you.

I guess I just can’t bear the idea of missing out on someone amazing just because they could maybe be the next person who hurts me. I think people are worth that risk.

I think that’s part of why I’m so forgiving as well – I want every person I meet to be amazing, or at least have the chance to be. I see something good in them, but we’re still young, still rough around the edges. Sometimes we need to be forgiven so we can become smooth and shiny.

 

At the same time, I think this forgiveness is part of why I have so many one-sided or lackluster friendships. Because I forgive so completely that I open myself to possibly being hurt a second, third, and even fourth time, by the same person. And instead of finally saying “y’know, I’ve had enough,” I try to talk to them, and tell them what they are doing hurts me.

That’s what I did with Haley a few months ago, actually. Only I gave myself an ultimatum this time – I told myself if she didn’t respond within three days, I would force myself to give up.

 

Short version:

My abusive ex messaged me on facebook to let me know he’d be in town this summer, to visit Haley and Noah. After having a panic attack at the prospect of seeing him, it occurred to me how hurtful it is to know that he and Haley are still friends. She was there with me through our relationship – through mind games, lies, sexual pressure; when a majority of my classmates thought I was having sex at 14 because he told people we were, she was one of the few people who knew the truth. She was the first person to tell me he was abusing me. But the moment he and I broke up, I felt as if she took his side. When he moved back to Florida, and I was trying to pick myself up from the self-loathing he had left me in, she would call him and tell him things I said about him, because “he deserved to know what I really thought.” And now he’s coming to visit her?

What hit me even harder was remembering how much she disapproved of Sean and I, as friends and as a couple, because the two of them dated for about a month during our sophomore year of high school. Their relationship ended when another girl kissed him, after which he ran home and called Haley. I remember her being very angry at me for being his friend after this point.

When I messaged her, all I really wanted to know was why it was okay for her to still be friends with a boy who abused me for 8+ months (probably closer to a year if you count the months after we broke up, when he practically stalked me), but it wasn’t okay for me to be friends with a boy who she dated for not even a month, who didn’t mean to hurt her. He didn’t seek out this girl, they were hanging out with a group of friends and she turned and kissed him.

Haley read my message the same day, but I still left it for about a week, longer than I said I would, hoping she would respond. Finally, I did it. I unfriended her, and the same day I blocked my ex-boyfriend.

 

I took a huge step forward and the only time I looked back (more seriously than missing) was when I talked to Noah. That was tough, because he clearly didn’t understand, or was not told, the entire situation. He informed me that Haley was hurt that Sean and I were dating, something she never told me. The last time she and I talked about Sean and I before we started dating, she gave me her blessing. He then said that from Haley’s point of view, if my ex hurt me so badly, why did I keep talking to him. Because they’ve both been abused and clearly understand the complex emotional relationship between an abuser and the abused. It’s more complicated than “you abused me, I’m going to ignore you.”  I cared about him despite the abuse, I stayed with him when he threatened to kill himself, to kill others if I left. I loved him even when I said no and he pushed forward anyway. Not to mention how worthless I felt, to the point that I thought I deserved to be controlled and hurt, to be made fun of by teachers and peers after we broke up (true story).

The conversation ended with Noah telling me he wasn’t going to stop being friends with Ryan, something I never asked him or Haley to do. It also ended with me feeling very hurt, because I knew Haley was talking to me through Noah, but wouldn’t have an actual conversation with me, and because I felt the abuse I went through and what I was feeling overall was being belittled. I guess I thought, even if Haley didn’t care, this guy who I’ve affectionately referred to as “big brother” for years would at least show a little emotion.

 

Why does this matter?

A few nights ago, I dreamt that Haley and I were living together, with her parents and Sean, in the apartment she grew up in. We weren’t really talking at the beginning of the dream but ended up bonding by the end, because we were both constantly in the kitchen together cooking (separate cooking, but in the same vicinity it’s hard to completely ignore someone?) (that part made me laugh because I’m pretty sure she and I have both actually been cooking constantly this summer).

Anyway, I woke up really missing Haley, someone who has been in my life for about 8 years, but who I recently “unfriended.” This happens sometimes – I’ll see an elephant, or something bright orange and interestingly shaped, and I’ll just start to miss her. It’s been particularly bad recently – I miss how we used to share our novels in 7th and 8th grade, how we used to get in physical fights for fun, swing dancing in the halls at lunch, the time we went dress shopping together, the annual musical. I know that she would be enthusiastic about all the cooking I’ve done recently, as well – making a full (and new to me) meal every evening, baking my first cake from scratch. She would share that excitement with me.

 

So I guess this post is really just serving to remind me that, as good as those times were, if she can’t have serious conversations with me about things that hurt me, if she can’t be there for me and with me emotionally, that good stuff isn’t worth it.

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3 thoughts on “Well, It’s Been Real. Have A Good Life.

  1. So, there’s something I want to at least get into writing after reading what I read. This feels like the very last step in shutting the door between you and I, so please don’t respond back, and please try to take everything I say to heart. Any message apologizing to you that I’ve sent before had some sort of love for you, and hope that you’ll get better after what I did, and maybe some hope that I could one day be called your friend. This isn’t the case. I can see now that after 4 or 5 years, I’ll never be forgiven for what I did all those years ago. And if after all this time, after the apologies and the changing myself so I could never do to someone else what I did to you, that you still see me as the monster that I undoubtably was back then, then there’s nothing I can do. And if that really is the case, then I’m not going to try to fix the unfixable. I’m sick of feeling like there’s a hole in my chest because you’re still angry at me. Ya’ know, hope is a true hell, because as slim as the odds were that we’d someday move passed this, I still wanted so bad for us to resolve it positively. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to take it back, but that doesn’t mean anything to you. And you’ve finally killed that hope. I see now that you want to be angry, and you want to hold onto this, and that’s your hang up. So go ahead and wallow. Or don’t. Do what ever you want. Because for the first time in a long time, I don’t care about what you do. I couldn’t possibly care about someone who is as shallow to cut friends out of their life because they’re friends with your ex. After all this time, I finally see you turning into the monster. If I’m the cause of it, I apologize one last time. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that you have the capability of not acting like this, the same way I’ve changed in my life. Goodbye Jackie.

    • There is a big difference between forgiving someone and giving them the chance to hurt you again. I forgave you a long time ago, over and over both during and after our relationship; I’m not mad at you anymore, but that doesn’t mean I want to risk you hurting me again, or lying to me again, or lying about me again. I forgave you, but I still feel dirty when I tell people some of the things that happened between us, and still have mild panic attacks at the thought of running into you. I forgave you, but you have lost the privilege of my friendship. It just took me a while to build up the nerve and self-confidence to know that my friendship is a privilege.

      [And, as for you, I had to resign myself a long time ago that I cannot control how you feel. If you still have a hole in your chest after 4 or 5 years, that is NOT my fault, and I will not take the blame for that. Just as I should have never taken the blame for how you treated your body or how you acted 4 or 5 years ago.]

      But that’s beside the point. This post had nothing to do with you. It had to do with my friendship with Haley, a friendship that has been one-sided for almost as long as it’s existed. No, I didn’t go through and list every single thing she’s done to hurt me. I didn’t talk about how she used to listen to me hurt after you and I broke up, then turn around tell you every word that I said. Or how she once started talking to a boy I was kind of dating and somehow convinced him to break up with me for her. Or all the times she’s lied to me, double-crossed me, or made me feel small. Instead I talked about the kind of person I am. I chose to focus on how my personality leads me into these one-sided, lackluster, hurtful friendships, and how I finally decided to do something good for myself and get out of one.

      I am NOT wallowing, I am growing as a person. I am saying no to people who hurt me and have a different set of standards for how they treat me than how I treat them. AND I never asked any one to stop being friends with you. That wasn’t the point. I don’t know how many times I am going to have to say that. The point is that there is a double standard in this particular situation that hurt me, deeply, and I just wanted to talk about it. But Haley can’t be bothered to have real conversations with me, and even if she did, it would be full of reasons why me staying friends with Sean was so much worse than her staying friends with you. Because that’s the kind of friend she has always been to me.

      Wanting friends who care about me and are willing to hear me out when something they do hurts me is not shallow. Wanting friends who I can talk to without worrying about who will hear what I said second-hand is not shallow.

      I won’t apologize for finally taking charge of my happiness, Ryan. I was a doormat during our relationship, and I was a doormat during most of my friendship with Haley. I let you both walk all over me, pushed all of my feelings aside and pushed down all of my pain because I thought I had to. And I loved you both so deeply and whole-heartedly the entire time, because to me true love is putting someone first even when you’re falling to pieces inside. I’ve just finally grown-up enough to realize that people who truly cared about me wouldn’t want me to do that.

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