I recently had something happen that has happened before, several times in my past. It brought up a lot of old feelings and left me confused and a bit hurt.
I seem to attract the crazies. Maybe it's my own fragile mental status that leads only the similarly fractured psyche's to my doorstep. Maybe I just dig the drama, or perhaps it's just more fun being friends with people on the fluffy side of "normal".
Several times in my life though I've had friends that have just kind of disappeared from our friendship without any real explanation. The space that comes after these kinds of break ups is an ugly one. The self loathing and loss is cruel. Since I tend to be much harder on myself than anyone else can be on me, this particular kind of break up is like a slap to the face. It's even worse when it's a repeated slap. I replay every one of our conversations over and over and over. Searching for things that could have been misunderstood. I try and figure out what I did wrong, what I could have done, how I could have done better.
Sure I've been the dumper before. In fact, one of my friends that has recently come back into my life is someone I dumped in fantastic (now humiliatingly so, as I see how immature and small it was) fashion 10 years ago. It took 10 years of growing up to realize that things got out of hand and we had let some really petty things come between us. I'm so glad that it has worked out the way it has, because it's nice having her in my life again.
The situation at hand is that I was the dumpee. I was left wondering what happened. Did I say something that was misunderstood? Did I inadvertently hurt their feelings? WHAT HAPPENED? A good friend who I love just stops calling. Didn't return my calls and just disappeared.
So... I get an email from a friend who "ding dong ditched" me. She's sorry. She has been doing lot of thinking and misses me. She realizes she was wrong and that she foolishly stopped talking to me because she thought I said something hurtful. Now that she's cooled off - she realizes what I was saying and that she feels terrible. I was being kind and she just didn't want to hear me. She can't believe she took it the way she did. Her other friends pointed out at the time that she was wrong, but she was just so sure.
What do you do? In the past I've been so touched that I've rebuilt friendships. Sadly, these often end the same way again and even more sadly, again and again, because I really should learn. Right? I mean come on already. Do I really think this time it will be LESS painful???????
Someone told me to not respond because we obviously weren't really good friends to begin with.
Except she was.
I thought they all were, that's been my problem.
So after insanely defending these friendships, I had a perfect moment of clarity.
That "smack your forehead", proverbial light bulb turning on moment.
It's not me. It's them.
In each of these scenarios I don't know what I did. Why? Because I didn't do anything.
I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!
It wasn't my fault. I'm not a terrible human being. I'm worthy of being some one's friend. I am a good friend. I have many good friends to show for it. People who haven't just up and disappeared.
Now. I'm not saying that I'm not at fault in any of these situations. Strangely enough, I'm sure that it was probably my fault. I mean come on, this doesn't happen to people over and over if they don't do something to make it happen, right? Right????? People make mistakes. I make mistakes.
My problem comes in the fact that these people who I thought were my friends thought I meant them harm. If I said something that hurt them - they automatically thought the worst of me. I mean come on. If I was going to do something relationship ending worthy - I'm pretty sure I'd remember. So, that said, whatever it was that ended these friendships came from someone completely misinterpreting something I said. If they really knew me they would know that I would never want to hurt my friends.
In the situation at hand, I couldn't believe that was why she stopped talking to me, for over a year. Trust me. I wish I could share the details, but first of all it's insanely personal and I don't want to dredge her personal issues here, and second, I just don't want to go through it all. Again.
So, here I am. Email in hand. Wondering. How do I respond? Do I respond?
This time, I'm going to be kind to myself.
I'm not going to do this again.
I am a great friend who would do just about anything for someone. I LOVE my friends. I feel like I go through their shit with them. I want friends who will go through my shit with me.
I deserve friends that believe in me. That know I mean no harm. I deserve real friends who come to me and make sure there wasn't a mistake. Not 6 months later. Not 2 years later. Friends who don't think our friendship is easy to throw away. Friends who are at least kind enough to say goodbye, because sometimes friends grow apart.
I will continue to miss her.