Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When to Let Go....

My first year in high school, I quickly found out who my friends were.

And I went from being super outgoing to shy, timid, and generally scared of my peers (among my close friends, however, well...let's just leave it there...). People younger than me, and people older than me I had no problem with. People my age...well...That was a whole different story.

I will give my peers credit, though. They didn't abuse me like they did some others I knew, and they pretty much left me alone. Maybe it was Dad's imposing height, or maybe it was my goo goo eyes, I don't know. Whatever the reason, I was blissfully off the radar.

It wasn't until I graduated that I started coming out of my shell. My dental hygienist at the orthodontist's office commented on it. I had been in college all of like 4 weeks when I came in to get my retainer or braces off or something (it was a LOOOOONNNGG time memory is shaky). I chattered and gesticulated and was generally happy and friendly, and Pat (I think her name was Pat...I'm pretty sure) sat back and said, "Wow! You've blossomed!" It was true, except it was more like I had removed myself from the toxic wasteland and replanted myself in nourishing ground, causing my wilted petals to spring back to life.

 Even though I managed to spring back somewhat from the semi-awful experience that was high school, I carried with me a suitcase filled with self-doubt and beleaguered self-worth.

It caused problems with my interaction with people, and everything usually fell apart after I entered the "Nobody Likes Me..." phase. People get really tired of that. Just sayin'...

Anyway, the result of my hang ups was that I latched on to people who appeared to like me (not in every case...I truly found soul mates along the way, and I, to this day, cherish their complete acceptance and love of me). I would give my heart and soul to the friendship. This was a bad idea when it came to some people, namely boys, but that didn't stop me. I liked boys too much. And people in general. But mostly boys.

Unfortunately, this led to a cycle of being hurt, used, and generally abused by people. And even when all hope was gone in a relationship, I would try my darnedest to fix it, patch it up, make it better, anything, ANYTHING to keep whatever shred of hope there might be alive.

Yeah, that didn't work. EVER.

But, I kept doing it because I thought that maybe someday I would be rewarded for all that hope. still hasn't happened.

It wasn't until things got really bad that I started to notice the tell-tale signs of bad relationships. The Ensign came out with an article that asked some questions that startled me because of how I answered them.

• “Are you turning to your friend for comfort rather than turning to your spouse?”
• “Do you find yourself thinking about your friend even when you’re at home?”
• “Do you seek opportunities to be with your friend even when work doesn’t require you to be together?”
• “Do you e-mail and text your friend when you’re not together?”
• “Have you told your spouse about these messages?”
• “Does the relationship with your friend take more of your time and energy than your relationship with your spouse?”
 • “Do you compare your spouse to your friend?”
• “Would you be uncomfortable introducing your spouse to your friend?”

I found another list that sent red flags up all over the place. A few that stood out were:

You feel afraid or unsafe with this person.
Your friends/family don't like this person or don't think s/he is good for you.
Your thoughts, opinions, accomplishments, wants and needs are devalued.
You never know who is going to show-up, "Dr. Jekel or Mr. Hyde."
This person does things for you and then uses them to make you feel obligated.
This person constantly puts you down verbally, in private or in front of others.

Another one I read somewhere warned that bad relationships will make you feel like you aren't good enough to be friends with someone else, or to be in a relationship with someone else. This is something I have felt often, hence the "Nobody Likes Me..." periods of my life.

Both articles specifically addressed these issues with people of the opposite sex, but I think they apply to any relationship you may have.

They certainly have for many of my relationships with people.

(I often marvel that I ended up with Jeremy, since he's not my "type," in the sense that he is actually nice to me. Ha ha ha!)

In any event, it has taken me almost twenty years to finally decide enough is enough, and the funny thing was that it wasn't necessarily from my own experiences. Someone I know and love is currently going through this, and it was watching them, and the hurt they are dealing with, that made me reevaluate my relationships, and make a change. I deserve to be friends with nice people. I'm good enough to be friends with those people I admire. I don't need someone telling me what is wrong with me, I can do that by myself, thank you very much.

And while my brain tells me all these wonderful things, putting them into practice is harder to do. But, I can tell you, it is worth it to remove yourself from situations where you are undervalued and abused. You deserve to be with good people! You deserve to feel happy, and to make friends with people who will lift you up, and accept you for who you are!

If you find yourself in any of these situations, please find a way out. It might be easy, it might be hard, but your well-being is worth it in the end! And you'll always have me rooting for you. ♥

1 comment:

Katscratchme said...

Good for you!
"That's wonderful. Go and love some more!"
Maude is the crazy voice of reason in my head... just sayin.

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