Recently, something hurt me so badly that I didn’t sleep for several nights. Technically, it had nothing to do with me… I was merely an onlooker. However, one of the perpetrators was someone who had been dear to me for many years, someone to whom I am grateful for so many things; but on this occasion, her behaviour was so… well, wrong, so unnecessarily unreasonable, it floored me. I could not reconcile the person I thought I knew with the person who was responsible for such blinkered, destructive behaviour. And it made me angry with her, and her co-conspirator, to the point I wanted to exact revenge; and now you know why I found it almost impossible to sleep: that kind of emotional energy is a killer. How can we sleep, with such pain and rage in our heart and mind? I knew that it was wrong, and that, regardless of the ‘crime’, this kind of mindset can never, ever create anything other than ‘bad juju’ (as my eldest daughter calls it).
As the dust settled, I realised that I was grieving. It was as if the person I knew and loved had died. And I felt abandoned by her… rejected. She had chosen to become involved with, and led by, someone whose intentions were entirely self-serving, who was lying, manipulating and continuously covering her tracks. Good, honest people who genuinely had my friend’s best interests at heart were treated with contempt and rudeness. I could feel the coffin nails being hammered in, one by one, and I just could not reach her.
Why? Because she was receiving something she (unconsciously) desperately wanted, from an unhealthy source, and she was not about to cut off that supply for anyone or anything. The pain of my perceived rejection led me to obsess over it, again and again. I went from wanting to save her before she fell (and fall she probably will, unless certain activities change), to wanting her to wake up and smell the coffee – to wanting to see her pay the price… and then back again. I considered giving it one last go, and even practiced what I would say, carefully wording it so that she would not feel that she was being attacked.
But, I realised that she is an adult, free to make her own choices, and that she would not be open to hearing what I had to offer, anyway. I concluded that if she wanted my input, she would ask for it. I really doubt we will ever be friends again, but who knows?
The point is, my friend is oblivious to my soul-searching, and the emotional roller coaster ride I have been on. It is my obsession, not hers. My own feelings of intense rejection led me to cause myself pain. I remembered a thousand and one good times, favours and laughter… and the memories kept me hanging on. It would have been easier not to have them, but thank God I did – and thank God I will always have them, even though they now need to be put in a box labelled, “those were the times that were”. If I keep revisiting them, I will hold on in the here and now, unnecessarily entrapping myself. Everything has its day, and the present is all we can work with; the present is where current reality always lies. I break the emotional craziness by accepting that that was then, and this is now – and releasing her, and myself, to live within our own versions of the present.
Tony Robbins said that if we are going to blame another for their wrong doings, we must also blame them for everything they did that benefited us. He spoke from experience, as he always does. I loved hearing that. It is probable that the person we are blaming also did good stuff, and loved us in their own way. It might be that, at least partially, because of our experience with them, we became who we are today. Their behaviour may have pushed us to grow in ways we would not have done, if they had not been a part of our life. I remembered how trapped we always become when we get into the cycle of blame, and how we literally cannot move on until we relinquish the desire and the need to blame.
And so, I suppose, that IS the way we break the cycle… by drawing a line between what was, and what currently is – and by looking forward, rather than backward. None of us have a God given, entitled right to keep things the way they have been, and the way that we wish they still were. We have to value the past, warts and all, and be open to the possibilities of the future.
After thought: some time has passed since I wrote this blog, and my friend and I never did speak again. I hear that some things didn’t work out for her, but I believe she can, and deserves to, rise again… on a pathway that is different to my own.