How many times have you found yourself in a relationship that was just no good for you? You are attracted to this person for all the wrong reasons, your heart is telling you one thing but your head is screaming at you that the relationship is doing you more harm than good. But still, you can’t leave it behind. Unfortunately, it’s a common trait of human nature that can happen not only in relationships, but also in friendships.
I had a friend a few years back who I treated as a sister. I met her in my thirties and I thought our friendship would last forever. We were so similar, in our thoughts, our values, our views on raising kids, heck we were even asked on many occasions if we were sisters because apparently, we even looked alike! She had been through a nervous breakdown a few years before and to her credit, had managed to get through it. She told me that the anxiety she felt would never go away, but she had learnt to live with it and control it.
I met her at a stage in my life when my children were young and quite a handful. We would see each other almost every day at school drop off as my eldest was in prep. Some mornings, I don’t know how I got there. My son hated school, cried every morning when I left him (which made me cry all the way to the car and then some!), my daughter was attached to my side 24/7 (I have a bung knee to prove it from holding her all the time!), and I felt like I had not slept in years. That was ok though, to me it was just another stage in life. My friend however, thought differently. She would look at me and say, “What’s wrong, I can tell by your face, you have anxiety!” This went on and on, we spoke openly about it and she shared her experience with me. I was at a low point, I was totally exhausted and soon enough, I started to believe her. I don’t know if this was intentional on her behalf, I hope not. I’m sure, well I hope, that she didn’t mean to drag me down, she was probably so in tune with what she had experienced, that she thought I was the same. But I wasn’t. The look on my face was not anxiety, it was exhaustion! The kind of exhaustion you tend to feel when your kids are young and not following the “perfect child” textbook procedures! I started to change, I was convincing myself that I had a problem. I was in a downward spiral and I couldn’t see my way out. My husband and my mum saw what was happening and tried to tell me that her friendship was no good for me. I couldn’t, or should I say I didn’t want to see it. I felt like I needed her and her friendship, after all she had been here before, right? Eventually, I started to see that they were right. I felt like crap, and I hated it. Her friendship was negative, her “help” was somewhat selfish, and her understanding of me was warped. I was angry at myself for letting this happen. I had always been a strong, confident, independent person with a mind and an opinion of my own. How could I let someone else infiltrate me with such negative thoughts? I soon understood that when you surround yourself with negativity, you start to believe it, and even worse, you start to live it. It hit me all at once, “What the hell!”, I thought, “How did I get here?” Her story was not mine. Her journey was not mine. This had to stop. And it did. I took control back, I realised that negative people have no place in my life and I moved forward, never looking back at what I left behind.
The same story happens in relationships. For some strange reason, so many strong, independent women find themselves weak and fragile in the hands of some men. They feel they can’t live without them, even though their families and friends try to convince them otherwise. They get angry at their loved ones because they are saying what they know is true, but just don’t want to hear. It is often our families and friends who can see a situation for what it really is, well before we can. We need to listen, listen to them because they can see what we can’t, and they only speak because they love us, unconditionally. Our emotions and fear of being alone don’t allow us to see the truth, that the relationship is toxic, that the person has a negative effect on our lives, and that they are killing our spirit.
It is so important to realise, that before we can give ourselves wholly to someone else, we must first be at peace with ourselves, and understand who we are. We need to understand that it is ok to not be in a relationship, and it is ok to be alone while you figure yourself out and understand why you are attracted to the wrong type of person. Often, our childhood fears, if not dealt with, have a huge influence on who we become. If we never had a father figure, we may look for one in a partner. If we had a parent that made way too many mistakes, we may try to unconsciously seek those same traits in a partner, because we are familiar with them. We all have a story though, and no one’s past is perfect, dwelling on it only creates a vicious circle of helplessness. This however, does not have to be the case.
We must realise that we are responsible for ourselves, for who we are and for who we aspire to be. Our past is our past, and our future is as wonderful as we want it to be. It is in your hands, you can continue along the path of self destruction, or you can listen. Listen to your family, your friends, but even more important, listen to your inner-self. Not the one fueled by your fear of being alone, but the one deep down inside, the one who had so many plans for you and so many dreams of what you could be. That person is still there, all you need to do is find it. Peel back the layers of hurt and insecurity that have accumulated for so long, and look for that excited, innocent little girl who thought she could conquer the world!
When a person no longer makes you feel loved, wanted, important, respected, special, and doesn’t let you be who you are, it’s time to let go and walk away. It will not be easy, it will be hard, no doubt, but you will thank yourself for it. It will be ok, it will be worth it. You need to understand that it is time to live your life in happiness and peace, because you are special and you don’t need the dramas, but what you do need is to be treated with respect and love. You owe it to yourself and to the little girl deep down inside of you, who can still conquer the world, if you let her.