When Enough is Enough

10 Nov

Before I pick up where I left off, I’d like to tell you all I’m sorry you had to wait so long for this particular post. This post has had approximately 40 revisions, and has been a labor of love for sure! Writing is normally cathartic for me; however, there is something that feels different to me this time, knowing that when I hit “publish” its there for the world to see. This portion of my story still has a sting to it for me. Writing about it, and essentially reliving and processing it all over again has been much more intense than I anticipated. The purpose of starting Soul Posts was to tell my story in hopes it would help others. If reading my posts does that, it’s worth the intensity I go through sometimes to tell it. With that being said..

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I was in an unacceptable living situation, facing the very real possibility of a foreclosure on my mortgage, and my optimism had gone out the window.  I felt hopeless, helpless, and alone.  I was embarrassed that I hadn’t yet found a job, and I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it with anyone; especially the friends I’d realized weren’t really there for me.  The last thing I wanted was for my feelings to be down played, or to be criticized for letting it bother me in the first place.  I’d spent enough time beating myself up over it, I certainly didn’t need any help in that area.  I felt like there were very few supportive people I could count on, and the ones I felt I could, I didn’t want to bother.  My husband was as supportive as always, but he was living it too.  I didn’t want to upset him more, and I knew he would get more frustrated that he couldn’t somehow come to my rescue and fix it. My good friends were only a phone call away, but I felt guilty calling them.  I knew they wouldn’t mind being there for me, but I didn’t want our first live conversation instead of email in months to be about my problems.

So there I was.  I had gotten myself into quite a pickle.  On one hand, I was living with an increasingly unstable house guest, and on the other I had a former friend I hadn’t confronted yet. I woke up one morning and after dealing with yet another of my Aunt’s outbursts, I decided I’d had all I could take.  Enough was enough.  I’d reached my breaking point.   I was tired of being taken for granted and used.  Things had been building up for some time and what had been simmering below the surface started to boil and bubble over.  I made a decision then that if anything was going to change, I needed to take some kind of action.  I could no longer sit silently hoping that things would change on their own.

I have always been inspired by Maya Angelou, both as a writer and as simply an extraordinary person.  I have a site bookmarked on my lap top of her quotes, and I go there when I need a kick in the pants.  Her words give me courage and inspiration to do those things in life that I consider the most unpleasant. Looking for the courage to stand in my power, I found these:

  • “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
  • “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I don’t really think there really is any right or tactful way to tell someone you feel they’ve used you. I was worried about losing my friend, but I confronted her anyway.  I picked up the phone and dialed.  I got her voice mail.  I drafted an email and let it sit for a couple of days before sending it.  I worded things as carefully and as non confrontational as I could while still getting my point across. Email is never the best method of delivery for this sort of thing, but she wouldn’t pick up her phone, and I had things I needed to say.  I knew she was avoiding me, and I felt I had the right to be heard.  She reacted how I expected her to.  But…instead of denying it or justifying it, she focused on something much more petty that I’d mentioned during our conversation back and forth via email.  I mentioned how she came back into town and visited mutual friends, but never mentioned it, how she’d lied to me about her birthday only to have me find out from pictures posted on Facebook, and how hurt I was by it.  I also told her that I really didn’t care to be around our mutual “friend” anymore.  Every time we had made plans, it was like the two of them were a package deal.  The “other third” was always tagging along, even when I thought I’d made it clear she wasn’t invited.  I explained that the dynamic of the two of them together was unpleasant as they took turns taking pot shots at me and disguising it as kidding.  She defended her right to choose who she spent time with as well as who she chose as her friends.  By the time the conversation was over, she’d managed to use every nasty, vindictive tactic in her repertoire.  My gut had been right yet again and I wasn’t at all happy about it.

I grieved the loss of that friendship for quite some time.  I wondered how I could have allowed myself to be taken for such a fool.  I considered myself an intelligent, intuitive person and I couldn’t see at first how I had managed to get involved in such a toxic friendship.  After pondering it for a while, I had to admit that I’d allowed it to happen.  When I didn’t say anything after the first or even tenth incident, I created the situation.  I had not established any real boundaries in the beginning.  I feel that if I had, I would have discovered a lot sooner exactly what type of friend she really was. After I worked through my feelings and after I’d done my inner work, I was no longer willing to settle for that kind of relationship; whether it was a friend or family member.

The type of relationship I’d had with her and with my Aunt were toxic and depleting.  No wonder I felt alone and unsupported!  Picture yourself with a cup, or any other kind of container or vessel; a lovely, crystal decanter filled with your favorite wine; for example.  Now picture the people you interact with every day.  There are those who deplete you and take your wine, and there are those who support you and replenish your wine.  The goal is to spend most of your time with people who replenish you.  The ones who deplete you should be kept at a distance.   You can’t give anything of value to anyone else, if you yourself are empty.

After all was said and done, I realized the thing that pissed off my ex-friend was the fact that deep down, she knew I was right.  She had used me.  I knew when I confronted her that I wasn’t going to get an admission out of her that she was wrong.  In all the time we’d been friends, over six years, I’d never gotten even one apology from her.  I wasn’t expecting one.  I just knew I had to stand up for myself; otherwise things weren’t ever going to get any better for me.

It amazes me the lengths that some people will go to just to avoid admitting they were wrong.  To them, it’s perfectly fine to end a relationship to avoid admitting a mistake or looking bad. There’s something these types of people should know:  You already look bad! Just because you don’t want to admit you were wrong, made a mistake, or be real with yourself, doesn’t make it any less true! After all, being fallible is a part of being human. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. It doesn’t have to be the end of life as you know it. You don’t have to beat yourself up for it or judge yourself. You can never go back, so why spend so much time looking there? Admit your mistakes and failures, fix what needs to be fixed, and move on. If you’ve hurt someone, do your best to make amends and then get on with living your life. Anyone who cares about you is not going to think less of you if you do!

…next…don’t tread on me…

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