I’ve been thinking about all the people in my life I’ve ever had to walk away from.
It’s not an especially long list but it’s powerful in how sad it makes me. I’ve never been particularly good at good-byes or giving up or putting myself first. I’ve never walked away from a relationship with someone I care about lightly. Quite the contrary. The decision to go was agonizing each and every time regardless of how smart, how logical, how right the decision to remove myself might have been.
Abandoning people opens my guilt flood gates.
I think about my MIA friend from time to time and how she removed me from her life via text after twenty years of friendship. A person I had loved for years, stood by, championed, leaned on, laughed with- she was my sister in spirit- but there came a time in our journeys where we could not be there for each other. And while it still pains me to swallow that truth, I know its weight as fact.
I think about other friends whose paths have taken them down roads I was not willing to travel- either again or at all. I’ve traveled Self-Destruction Road and Deniability Drive and Passive Aggressive Place and ohmygod I do not want to revisit those. I couldn’t go with them. I could not watch. I chose myself and my own emotional health and I waved adios. But I still feel bad about letting them go alone- probably because of my rescue complex and my control issues and my infinite sadness over the biggest good-bye of my life- my father.
It always comes back to him, doesn’t it?
I think about every guy I’ve ever left and how it tore me open to say they were not enough for me. Because that is what I was saying with my actions wasn’t it? I was implying: I give up on you. And who am I kidding? I did. Because if I didn’t give up on them I would have given up on me. AND I REFUSE TO GIVE UP ON ME. Some people are just toxic to me. Many of the men I have dated were that- self-loathing, narcissistic, angry, depressed, passive aggressive, manipulative, needy, and sad. I have realized, though it took me longer than I would have hoped, that there is no amount of being good or loving or forgiving or patient that will make that person someone positive in my life. I cannot change anyone. I cannot control anyone but myself. The emotional fall out is mine to deal with.
Just because it is painful to do doesn’t make it not the right choice.
Because, fuck it, I do not have to keep punishing myself for not being there for my dad by finding relationships that play out that similar scenario. I was a kid. He was supposed to be there for me. I don’t have to watch people self-destruct. It does not make me a better person to endure repeated triggers by keeping toxic people around in my life. I do not have to stand by someone that I no longer respect or understand or who sucks every good feeling out of me. Even though it feels so uncomfortable (like really really really uncomfortable) to behave differently than my old twisted emotional habits I am trying, day by day, to let go, to leave the guilt, to move on, to heal. Myself.