December 14, 2023
Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty for Pushing Them Away
How your perspective changes when you choose growth and healing.
The first piece discusses the idea that depression is a biologically programmed reaction to an unrewarding environment that encourages the individual to “hibernate” and stop wasting energy when they encounter repeated failure. The second one is tangentially related in that it discusses giving up and walking away when it’s clear someone is declining to level up in relationship with/to us. Definitely the case here. Mission accomplished: the person in question did come by and read my apology. When you’re dropping a relationship forever, it feels best to know you tried your best, you understand the person, you forgive the person, you know why they won’t be coming with you, and you honor the person they are and don’t blame them in any way. It feels even better to know they understand that, too. That’s where we’re at. If a person will passively receive messages from you on social media but doesn’t block you, it stands to reason they’re not angry at you. If said person is married, it also stands to reason it’s probably still unhappily, and chances are they still never told their spouse about you. However, if said person will still do nothing beyond reading anything you’ve put up for public consumption even when they’ve been repeatedly invited to make contact, it stands to reason that personal growth has effectively (and at this person’s age, permanently) stalled in the water. Anybody else would do something to remedy the situation if they’re still unhappy, especially when there’s a very good person who’s sort of been on hold for nine years they could have been with. Other people don’t seem to understand or care to understand the situation; all they seem to care about is that their carefully ordered worlds stay the same, and that someone they perceive to be a wonderful spouse (largely because the person in question has acted and portrayed that over decades in order to preserve a pleasing image) isn’t left and upset. These other people are all adults at, exceeding, or approaching midlife, who have their own, probably happier, homes and marriages themselves. Why should someone endure a roommate relationship (or worse than a roommate relationship) to please them? Anyway, someone stopped in their development doesn’t see things that way. Ostracism and family strife looks like a towering wall they don’t know how to get over. I guess I shouldn’t point and laugh. My own situation was different in that, by the time I chose to bail out on my mentally ill mother, that relationship was SO BAD there literally was not one good thing left in it. I was leaving NOTHING good behind.
I felt sad about my grandparents, whom I also felt I had to leave behind, simply because they were still in contact with my mother. My mother is extremely competitive with other people; if you greet someone else with a hug and don’t hug her, she’ll talk about it later on for two or three weeks. If I saw or spoke to my grandparents and I didn’t see her, it would just make the fact that I wasn’t speaking to her worse. My brother, I didn’t worry about. We’d never been close anyway; the children of a borderline seldom are. Childhood in the home of a borderline mother turns into a competition over Who Got Treated Better; and anyway they were stuck together like two peas in a pod.
Nobody asked where I was or why I wasn’t speaking; nobody cared. Instead, people made up their own stories, one of which, particularly unflattering, I found persistently plastered all over Facebook years later, even when I asked for this to stop. My grandparents passed away in due course; I only hope that from wherever they are now, they understand what happened. Aunts and uncles just drifted away; we could never really be close anyhow, due to distance and the constant family squabbles, always involving Mom, over who said what about whom. In the end, I wasn’t leaving much behind. I haven’t missed anything. I’ve gained peace and quiet, and it was more than worth it. I am alone in life now; but anything is better than what I left behind.
I know things are different when one has children and grandchildren with whom one is close. I know expecting these people to get their mind around how deeply unhappy and lonely one is, is asking quite a lot when their poor little brains are still rooted half in childhood and the security of a family home they graduated from some twenty years ago … especially when someone who didn’t pull their weight in the marriage is screeching the place down about how they just don’t understand.
I know enduring a period of friction and coolness from these people while they get their minds around reality, hopeful that relationships will be mended but mindful they might not, encompasses more stress than most people want to deal with. Not to mention the dividing of the things, the financial losses, the lawyers, the house. Age. Oh, well. So I know, nothing is ever going to happen here. It’s time to give up. If you’re around, at least I know you’re alive. But I know you’re never coming back, I know why you’re never coming back, and I’m just moving on from the whole thing. I understand and no hard feelings, but we’re fifty-five and sixty-five. Any good years we might have had are just about gone. Next stop: Nursing home. What would be the point? I’m just going to dodder on down my road as best I can, and you dodder on down your road as best you can. At least you have kids, grandkids, friends, and family. Enjoy what there is and forget what there isn’t. We’re too old now anyway, and we let that pass us by so that others could remain happy. It’s okay. All I’m doing these days is trying to batten down the hatches and prepare for the nursing home myself anyway. Not much is left ahead in life. I hope I will be comfortable and not poor, and that’s about all anyone can really hope for, anyway. It’s a far cry from that stupid idealistic little child who wandered into a writer’s group at age thirty, thinking she would be a bestselling author with a stupid fan fiction like A. C. Crispin. I’ve spent most of my life a stupid little child. The only real goal was to grow up before I died. I think I’ve gotten there, and that is enough. Take care. You’re a good, good person who really did deserve much better at the hands of both parents and spouse. You did a great job raising your family. Your children and all your grandchildren from here on down the line will be much healthier and happier because you found the strength to raise them much better than you yourself were raised. I hope you know that before you die. It’s okay if you hang around, but I really don’t expect it. It’s the end of our road. Fare thee well.