I had this completely raving post written and sitting in my drafts folder, and I have deleted it. Because it served no useful purpose.
We all have toxic people in our lives. How we deal with them seems to be a quality that defines the rest of our lives. I doubt anyone goes into relationships hoping to evolve into the equivalent of a dump truck full of painful negativity, but it happens. Whether we let it or it just evolves from a relationship based on affection and trust into something else, there are people in our lives who are hurtful and destructive to us and should be distanced as much as is necessary.
In my life, I have a childhood dominated by the actions of a sexual predator, an alcoholic father too drunk most of the time to take me seriously, and a mother so deeply in denial it was simpler to accuse her daughter of deception than to accept the reality happening in her own home. The resulting mess of an adult person has been through a lot of counseling, therapy, and support groups to be relatively functional. I have made too many poor choices in my life to described in a mere blog post, yet I have an amazing family and close circle of friends. Obviously seeds of the good, the positive, the hopeful and uplifting aspects of life were planted, took root, and flourish in my life.
Today I have been mired down with problems related to my mom’s estate. It brings me back to the discomfort I have with my mother and our relationship, and how any true reconciliation from that feels like a real resolution with her is completely out of reach. The effects of the mother/daughter relationship can unpredictibly undermine the skills and coping mechanisms I have acquired to make me a calm, rational, and objective person. Under normal circumstances I am compassionate and caring. In a weakened state, pushed too far, too hard, too long, I become what feels like a bat-shit crazy raving lunatic.
One of my oldest friends chose this moment to try to return to the friendship fold after several months of no communication. She apparently needed to talk about her soon-to-be-ex-husband, the evil one who cheated on her in a drunken one night stand while away on a business trip. They have/had been unhappy for years, and to his credit he came home, confessed his indiscretion, and took it as a sign that they should act upon their unhappiness and separate. My friend was the wronged party in this situation, yes, but her anger at her husband quickly morphed into a situation where she was “right” in being wronged and he should be punished by her and anyone else who ever knew them by becoming a social outcast. Anyone who disagreed with her and dared to retain him as a friend was to be cast out as well.
I have known this woman for 50 of my 53 years. I have watched her grow up and harden into an angry, bitter, and unpleasant woman. Through the years we have had our differences, many times strong differences, and frequently I would be on the receiving end of her life’s garbage. My upbringing and experiences made me feel as if I “deserve” to be dumped upon. Somewhere in my journey I gained more experience and wisdom about myself and the people in my life and have developed the skills to erect and maintain boundaries and stay sane.
We have not communicated at all in a few months. Tonight she came back seeking sympathy, and I had little sympathy regarding her marriage/divorce to share with her. I feel sadness that she is this unhappy. I feel sympathy that she is suffering during her present treatment for breast cancer. But I am not going to villianize a good man for a bad mistake.
When her voice began rising and the unkind words flying, I lost my patience. I told her to go pound sand and never communicate with me again. I want nothing to do with her angry bitterness and self-pity. Then I hung up. And I did not answer when she called me back. I blocked her number from calling or texting. I will delete her emails unopened.
And I feel utterly wretched about the entire conversation.
Tomorrow, this weekend, I will write an apology for my short-tempered meanness. What I said to her needed to be said, and I know in my heart I meant every word of it. The apology is genuine … I could have and should have handled it differently and with much less emotional venom and frustration. The apology is also at least as much for me as it is for her, because I am a bigger, better person than the behavior exhibited and the crass phrasing used. I deserve to terminate a long-term friendship for the right reasons and in a self-respecting way.
Sometimes the most difficult relationship to have and maintain is an honest one with ourselves.