Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Should I stay or should I go

This has been on my mind for a while and I just wanted to thrash it out and throw it out for some discussion / feedback.

How do you know when to stop engaging with negative energy, and when do you plough on through?
In other words, how do you know whether to continue fighting your corner, and how do you know to cut your losses and walk away?

This is a biggie for me. I suppose it comes down to boundaries. Growing up I was never very good with boundaries, and I let people walk all over me. I mean, I let a "friend" tell me how to wear my hair. I let the same "friend" dictate our social life. I let another "friend" tell me how to dress etc. Another "friend" was constantly uncomfortable with me in public (Yes, I want to go back and kick my ass out of that situation). I let way too many people try to put me in a box that didn't fit. Maybe this is common, maybe I was just a co-dependent loser, whatever. The couple of times I stood up to these "friends" they dropped me like hot potatoes, leaving me friendless and starting again to build up a network. Pretty typical teenage stuff, but devastating when you're in the middle of it.

Then I had some proper adult relationships and I realised, actually, real friends let you express yourself however you damn well want. Real soulmates embrace you and love you because of your quirks and not in spite of them. Enter unconditional love. Wow, that blew my mind! Looking back, all the others were just thrashing out their own stuff, and I happened to get in the way. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

So I entered into a phase of lovely acceptance, feeling like I had the world suddenly figured out. I made friends with like-minded souls, it was so easy. I found my "tribe" and discovered I was actually quite normal, even boring. Instead of sticking out like an eccentric, I could be part of a crowd and I actually loved it. My nightmares disappeared, I stopped comfort eating, I grew up.

Then things turned a bit sour. A situation got messy. What could have blown over was blown up to epic proportions and I was really shaken by it all.  Like the kind of shaken when your world shifts on its axis for a few days and you look at everyone and everything differently, wondering will things ever feel "normal" again. I recovered and acted on it, getting professional help and taking steps to rectify things, "cleaning up my side of the fence" to invent a metaphor. I used all my "adulting" phrases in our interactions, talking about how I felt, not placing blame, being understanding etc. It didn't work. Still the shit flew, more people were involved. I realised that months had gone by, this negative energy was taking up a lot of my time and headspace. It was impacting on my everyday life. I was having lots of those imaginary conversations, and way too many real ones. It was just huge.

So I walked away. Just got out and let it go.

I felt so much freer, I should have done that sooner. But I thought I had to stay there and engage with it all. Sometimes you will just be banging your head against a brick wall. And that gets bloody sore. Sometimes you have to stay and fight. But sometimes you have to let it go, because your peace is worth more than any redemption you might only possibly get.

My blood pressure has recovered, and I have learned another valuable lesson. I have learned it's ok to not be able to fix things. It's ok if people aren't on my side. It's ok if I have to leave unfinished business in order to stay sane and focus on what's important to me. I used the "in ten years will this really matter?" question, and the answer was clearly "no". Sure, I lost a few people along the way, but were they really "friends" to begin with?

I wanted to put this out there because I rarely hear anyone talking about these situations. I hear about lots of situations people aren't happy with, but I don't often hear about the times people walk away. It is scary, but it can be so worth it.

I know a couple of people who have been through similar situations and the feelings involved seem to be the same as bereavement: shock, denial, anger, sadness, acceptance, in any and all order. These feelings are huge, and I would recommend getting professional help or lots of real friends to support you through it.

Have you experienced anything like this yourself? Did you stay, or go? Are you still in the middle of it? My idea of hell is thrashing that shit out for years. I feel life is too short, and I will do anything now to avoid those situations. I think recognising it is key, and I find writing and talking the best ways to keep in touch with what's going on my own head. I am also now realising that some people bring me joy when I spend time with them. I leave them feeling refreshed, inspired and happy. Some people don't. I leave them feeling drained. So I spend more time with the former and less with the latter. For the record I have also repaired friendships with people after fall-outs and those people are dearer to me because of what we've been through. If it's worth fighting for you will both make equal steps to make it work.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this xx

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