I wrote this post a few months ago. A month after my previous post and definitely more than a month ago from today. It’s the way of grief. Takes a while to process and a little longer to admit it, even to oneself. I’m in a better place now, but past Roze needed to write the below to get to today Roze. So here it is, unedited in all its rambling, sad self-pity party version.
I have been thinking a lot about grief this past month. My last few book choices have unintentionally landed me in the midst of characters dealing with mental health issues or facing growth due to changes in their relationships. As much as I’ve tried to avoid the topic, I was disturbed by and I keep revisiting in my mind a relationship break that happened to me last year. A very good friend, one my closest friends of the last eleven year decided to cut ties with me via text message. To say I was shell shocked would be an understatement.
As we aren’t in contact and I can’t seek her permission to use her name or discuss this in more detail, I’ll provide general facts and my reactions here. I’m hoping this post will help me make sense of things (I mean how many people actually read all of what’s written in a blog post). The entire event was definitely not easy for me to deal with, I’ve struggled since to let it go. My mental health enjoys a problem and this is an event I revisit daily. Essentially, I’ve been miserable since and I’m hoping this post will be the end of it for me.
My friend, let’s call her MF and I. She’s based in a different state to mine for the last few years, so we’d been texting, calling and snail mailing each other.
We were having a back and forth over texts. It began as a conversation, but over a few weeks, I think hurt feelings on both sides, with the added spice of everyday problems the other wouldn’t have insight to, fuelled anger and frustration. In retrospect I’ve felt that I was at fault in not putting enough emoji’s into my messages. We would normally include a few to indicate tone and or jest but the entire last slew were without. Which left tone open to interpretation.
The final message I have from MF states she feels we’ve had a good run but we’re no longer healthy for each other. She says good bye and good luck, the final sentence is Please don’t contact me again. I can’t imagine what she would have gone through in writing such a final message to someone she was very close to. I do know that reading the message was like having my insides turned out. It was shocking and my reaction was to call her. I know right, disregard the last thing she’s asked of me. I just didn’t understand how a friendship could be ended via text and I thought if we just talked about things, we’d be okay.
She didn’t answer my voicemail or the last text I sent her. My last text is an apology to her for hurting her feelings to the point that she felt ending our relationship was the best way forward. I offered my friendship to her whenever she’s ready to reach out.
I’ve always prided myself on being a good friend to my circle of people, I thought I was the sort of person others could count on and trust. MF ending the friendship made me question all of those things. I have been down about it since. I’ve struggled to find enthusiasm for my other friends. I developed this fear that I’ve been hurting people’s feelings all around me and no one else has called it out. I found myself unable to sleep or eat for a long while after. As a fellow lover of books and flicks, I constantly found myself having to refrain from texting her news or quotes that I knew she’d appreciate.
The worst feeling was the sense of shame her text re-awoke in me.
Some years ago, I saw a psychologist regularly to talk about the feelings of abandonment I had after my father left and cut ties with me. It has taken me literal years to learn that my father leaving was his decision and not one I could control or can take ownership of. That decision lay with him. MF’s text sent me straight back to the beginning. I felt just like I did all those years ago, crying on a stranger’s couch about how I must be doing something wrong if people keep leaving me. It has taken me months, this time working with a supportive partner, to understand that MF’s decision to cut ties was hers. I can’t control her choice. I can do as she asked, and never contact her again. I can accept responsibility for the breakdown in our relationship and communication. As one of two people in the relationship, she will also need to own her part and her choices.
It is one thing to understand facts and quite another to ingrain that into your mind and sense of self. I still feel like something must be wrong with me that I couldn’t make a friendship work but I’m conscious I can only control my response.
The responses from other friends were interesting. Most were of the opinion that it takes two to tango (their words), others felt that ending a decade long friendship over text says more about her than me. The more harsher opinions felt I was better off. The kinder thoughts were that she must have had other things going on and an argument with a close friend would have been too much.
I think a combination of these things was the cause. Some days I’m upset with her for not actually speaking to me. I feel sad that working on our relationship wasn’t important to her. Other days I feel that I’ve obviously hurt her feelings and she must have had other life things going on that I wasn’t aware of. I imagine the truth of it is somewhere in the middle.
I’m sorry for the way things ended, a lot of history and memories now cause hurt. I am disappointed for the things we won’t get to do, the things we won’t share. I wish her well in her life. I hope one day I can look back fondly on the things we shared.
If you’ve also had a sudden friend break it off with you, Google gave me some very helpful articles when I was first looking for a way out of the confused and hurt feelings.