Where do we go from here?
Once you’ve fully understood that the relationship with the disordered character was never going to be a happy one because it was all a lie and they are a giant ass-hat, you get to make the choice to give yourself permission to wave it away because now you know that it was all nonsense.
You accept that this was a painful lesson that you never should have learned in this way, but it really was the only way to finally learn it. The person who so carelessly discarded you does this to everyone. It was not personal, even though it felt incredibly personal. Their callous and capricious behaviors are absurd. Go ahead and evict that person from your life forever, it’s really ok in this situation. Then grieve the parts of you that were harmed. Then get back to being fucking awesome.
Now that you have gotten your education, you get to make informed decisions about the kinds of people and activities you allow into your life and at what levels they are allowed access. There’s no need to be nasty as you define and defend your boundaries. Simply say “no” to the things and people who don’t feel right for you and fearlessly say “yes” to the things and people who contribute to your joy. I don’t mean to suggest that you should go around only seeking pleasure and say “fuck off” to anything else, I am suggesting that you learn to form bonds that fulfill you and allow you to fulfill others. What does that mean? It means taking time to actually listen to what your mind, body, and intuition is telling you. To integrate the parts of the whole so that you can quickly analyze your feelings and thoughts in a way that tells you what’s what. A little bit of critical thinking mixed with some limbic intelligence. Joy and pain are polarizing forces. Joy is awesome, but should not be blindly followed. There are consequences, good and bad. You can feel joy in the act of rescuing a rabid puppy, just don’t let that puppy get too close because if it bites you, you’re fucked. Conversely, you can feel pain at the loss of something, but know that with a little bit of critical thinking, you may come to realize that the loss almost always leads to some kind of gain, whether it be via the lesson in it (what did you learn and lose, really?), the fond memories and growth that was gained prior to the loss, or the strength and self-awareness you’ve acquired because of the experience.
Take care of yourself first. Buckle in, get your air-bag on, then take care of those who are deserving of your care. Those people will reciprocate your understanding, acceptance, and support. They will help you in loving ways, even when you suck. The lessons you learn from and with them will always be underpinned with genuine caring. These relationships will allow for growth and deeper connections over time.
As I finally say “goodbye” the last 11 years on this last day of 2016, I appreciate the lessons I’ve learned in ways that are almost indescribable, but I will try:
I appreciate that I am not meant to love unconditionally. Boundaries are key to loving with self-respect and dignity. It’s ok to say “no,” even to someone I love.
I appreciate that I am allowed to demand respect for my autonomy. Duh.
I appreciate that while I may love someone, if they do not love me I have no business getting involved with them. That only hurts everyone involved. Loving all by yourself is not love. It’s a recipe for senseless confusion and wasted time and energy.
I appreciate that I am allowed to walk away from harmful people or situations, unapologetically and forever, if necessary.
I appreciate that I am not bound by the opinions of others and they are not bound by mine. I used to know this, but I somehow forgot!
I appreciate that I am allowed to have fears while I am also allowed to be fearless. Fears are there to protect me, within reason, and fearlessness allows me to explore new experiences and people. The trick is to recognize when you are swimming with man-eating sharks when you initially thought you were swimming with dolphins.
I appreciate that I am allowed to say “pffft” to any notion that I am beholden to behave in ways that others expect of me based on their uninformed decisions about who I am. I am not responsible to fulfill who they think I am. All I can do is show them who I really am. If they don’t listen, that’s not my problem and it’s not a good fit for me.
I appreciate that I have the right to make informed decisions about any situation I am considering becoming involved in. This means I have the right to ask questions and have them answered honestly.
I appreciate that I am going to make many mistakes in my life, but those mistakes do not define or own me.
I appreciate that I am permitted to say “goodbye.” Finally. And forever.
I appreciate that there are many “hellos” in my future.