What Leaving Leaves

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.


20 thoughts on “What Leaving Leaves

  1. “Just because it is painful to do doesn’t make it not the right choice”

    That is something I constantly remind myself of. I use different words but they mean the same exact thing.

    I know how hard this must be for you. We are both such caretakers that this kind of goes against everything we are. But definitely taking care of yourself first is the right healthy good thing.

  2. I love you, Sizzle.
    Do you know, do you REALIZE, how much all this talk shows that you(that we) have grown?? To have even arrived at this place where we can reason it out, see how we made deliberate choices for our own good? Yes. We are learning, and doing much better in life. I have to remind myself of that, when I berate myself for mistakes made, and selfish decisions. In the end, I really had to do what was best for me– even if it came out sideways or backwards. Self preservation and a chance to be happy in the future, it means everything.

    I had to let people go too. As a reader, you know sometimes it’s still difficult, because of the issues they represent. I too, do not like losing people… yet some people can not stay. That’s just a hard thing to swallow, when you apply it to RL. 20 yrs and good intentions, they just aren’t enough. Be strong, girly. You are doing good.

  3. Good for you. I mean, REALLY good for you.

    It took me a long time to realize that I was letting my bad relationship with my mother taint my view on what I would and would not tolerate from others. She was the Queen of the guilt trip and could somehow make you stay loyal to her even though she did not deserve it. Even to this day, I find that despite my rambling about toxic people, I tend to give them way more chances than they deserve which in turn, totally screws me up.

    I’m glad you are on this journey and are discovering what you truly need in life. 🙂

  4. It all comes down to believing in yourself.

    Believe in who you are and what you want, need and deserve.

    Never settle. Just this week I made a post where I question why women settle. Never settle, Sizz, never.

    Is the current fellow in your life a terrific person who is a really good fit for you? I have no idea. Only you can know that.

    Just remember one thing. There are two parts to that sentence. Just because he is not a perfect fit for you does not automatically mean he isn’t a terrific person. Don’t get those two things mingled together. There is no value judgment involved when you simply realize that the fit isn’t what you need, want and deserve.

    In lots of ways I hope your current beau is all those things. Only time can tell.

    Have a great St. Patty’s Day.


  5. I was a kid. He was supposed to be there for me.

    Ummmm, hello, yeah, your dad was supposed to be there for you. Whenever I’m reminded that not only was he not there for you, but that it’s manifested itself into this guilt complex you carry around as an adult, well, it makes me want to go back in time and give him a good tongue lashing on your behalf. You don’t deserve to have to carry that around as an adult.

  6. Last fall, one of my best friends basically decided to not be friends with me anymore. She never told me why or how she was feeling or anything. I found out because she had stopped returning e-mail, and I finally had to ask if she was ill or if something serious had happened. She replied and was (admittedly) completely cold and rude to me and said that she didn’t have time anymore (which is weird because we don’t see each other regularly anymore due to activities and schedules). I’m still blown away by it, and I still have no idea why it happened. I haven’t lost a lot of sleep over it, I guess because I feel like sometimes, it’s just time to …I don’t know, let go. It’s loss. It comes and goes. I’ve cried so much in my lifetime, I have to choose my crying battles now. 😦 But, I’m still pretty sad by it.

  7. I love this post. I recently had to make the decision to walk away from someone I love dearly and it was really hard.

    And I had my friend soulmate dump me over text messaging one day and couldn’t really explain other than, “I just don’t really like you anymore” and I’m still crushed about it.

  8. And you know what? Even if you weren’t a kid, there was nothing you could have done. I know you know this, but I’m going to remind you that everyone is responsible for their own happiness. All you can do is love them and know that you deserve to be treated well, no matter what they’re going through.

  9. Most Excellent. And good for you. Also something I’ve had to learn to do. I am now Very Careful about choosing my friends, and I like it and it feels SO good not to be around toxic people. Been there, done that, no more.

  10. I had a friend who I hadn’t seen for 10 years. She told everybody I was going to where she lives to visit. The day came when I arrived and she wasn’t there to welcome me.
    She never called me.
    She never had time to go out with me for coffee or drinks… Or just go out for a walk.
    The next day after our first meeting (@my parents’ house) she left a msg on Facebook telling me how happy she was I was there.
    After 10 years she leaves a comment on
    I did lose sleep over this and I ddnt know how to react to this. Finally last night I heard this song that says: ‘don’t look back, let it go’ and she was let go…
    😦 it hurts coz she was my best friend… But oh well.

  11. You are very brave. I’m sorry you’ve been hurt and I’m sorry people have left you; I’m thankful that you’re strong enough to choose to learn and grow from sad experiences instead of blaming and staying immobile.

    You are very powerful. I hope for much wonderfulness for you.

  12. I understand and I’m sorry. I have similar hauntings and those ghosts always manage to bite me in the ass through out life.

  13. Leaving leaves a ton and you’re really smart to recognize it, Sizz. It leaves a ton whether or not people know it, but you know it. And you’ve said it all in this entry – not only are you not giving up on yourself, but by letting those people go, you’re actually doing them a favor as well. I remember in an AA meeting I went to in Japan once a guy said, “I never would have gotten well if people would have kept helping me.” That made a huge impression on me. It’s tempting sometimes to “hang in there” and let ourselves diminish so the other person doesn’t feel abandoned, hurt, wtf ever, but it’s not real and it’s not helping. (And it’s not even charitable, really. It feeds some sick need in us, too.) Focusing on yourself is real and you’re learning the lessons, my friend. Clearly.

  14. I was steadfastly loyal for so long and not clinging to that title these last few years with people who can’t or won’t reciprocate… well, I feel like someone else. A loner to be sure, but less heartbroken*, except just now when I feel more so.

    *I don’t mean heartbroken romantically here. Those relationships could be folded into the context but I don’t miss them.

    Anyway, what you said. Though I wish I felt a bit more emphatically about not giving up on myself. Still love to read your evolution though.

  15. Although I didn’t go through that with my father, I feel the same way about the friends in my life that I have lost. It does hurt and I hate feeling like I’ve failed. But I have managed to find solace in a few different areas. Some friends have come back years later. Time can heal people. And for those relationships that just don’t work out, I fully believe that some people are only in our lives for a certain period of time. Maybe they were there to teach us something about ourselves, or to push us to our limits, or whatever. Half the time, it isn’t about you at all. It’s THEIR problem. Either way, you must believe in who you are. You can’t go wrong with being loyal and true and surrounding yourself with people that lift you up and make you a better person. xo

  16. Amazing post my dear. Your dad should have been there for you. Nothing you did or didn’t do could change him. He had himself had to change.


  17. wow, that was very powerful and exactly what I needed to read today, so I want to say thank you for sharing that

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