“I’m on the road to recovery and I can’t take you with me.”
How many times have we said this? In our actions, in our words, in our lack of availability, in our avoidance?
As cutthroat as I’m told I am and as I know I can be, I often choose the absent approach. Explaining myself to others has become a daunting task I shy away from. Perhaps in identifying my fear of rejection, I don’t want to be a source of rejection to anyone else. So I will skirt around an issue. Become reclusive. Sabotage a relationship. But I cannot say outright, that a person’s time is up.
We all can acknowledge there are friends for a reason, a season, and lifetime; yet when it comes to exercising our voice to express to the reason friend their time is up, we can’t. When it’s time to tell the seasonal friend we’ve reached the pinnacle of our friendship, we shrug away from doing so. We have been socialized to hold on to dead things and hope/prayer may revitalize it.
Or time will do what we won’t.
This fear or outright rebellion towards having this discussion comes from not feeling adequately prepared to have the “we need to go our separate ways” conversation. In our day to day, we see these breakup conversations almost always combust and end up causing more headache and drama. Let’s face it: many of us are not into unnecessary problems when adulting is hard enough.
Part of adulting is having the difficult conversations.
These conversations aren’t easy but they are necessary. The best way to have the conversation with anyone is to first have it with yourself. Why is this person’s time up? What have you stopped receiving or giving that warrants the exit? Is this from an objective or subjective place? These questions require complete honesty and transparency. If you aren’t ready to be honest with yourself, you will therefore practice dishonesty with the intended person.
We also need to acknowledge this conversation may not end in an exit the way we intended. Sometimes the qualms we have with a person remain hidden because we think they know better. We forget we have all grown up differently and have had different interactions than others, therefore if no one is actually talking beyond the surface, self improvement or improvement of any kind cannot and will not happen. I am guilty of just expecting someone to know better just because I do. The fallacy in this has proven to cause me to write off people I shouldn’t have. As a writer/spoken word artist, the paper is my safe place so I’ve immediately turned to that to combat my battles or write in excruciating details my issues, but I hardly have “the talk.”
In my household, talks weren’t open discussion. Meaning it was one sided. From a young age, I internalized that my issues had to be worked out on paper. So as I grew up, it became easy to create distance between myself and the person because I was working out my issues regardless.
I’ve gone through a period of silence. I literally will ignore the problem until I perceive it has evaporated into another world where it’s no longer my responsibility. The problem with this is, while I’m ok living my life, I’ve hurt someone with my lack of communication. Whether you or I want to accept it, we have a responsibility to others. And if we are leaving dirty tracks in their lives by creating memories, forging bonds, and maybe even soul ties, without the decency to clean it up, we are adding to the problems in this world.
When dating, how many of us have sworn off a race, a gender, maybe even a height because of that one person? We are emotionally driven creatures especially when our hearts are invested, so to cope, we begin to lump everything familiar about that person and count anyone else out who shares these same or similar attributes. At the time it makes sense, because we are wired to protect ourselves from a threat or perceived threat. This not only stunts our growth, but it keeps us from forming potential relationships that can help us. Since we are so concerned with the hurt aspect, we shun away and live in the past by punishing people in the present.
I write this to tell you, in a world that is rapidly offering ways to communicate indirectly, we cannot fall into this vapid pattern. We are made to thrive off of communication and interactions with people. Some will be bad, but it’s up to us in how we approach it, and handle it. If you grew up in a dictatorial environment as I had, it will prove to be a challenge at first but we only get better by doing better.
“I can no longer serve you in a capacity that yields growth for both of us.”
Yes, saying or hearing this will hurt. Honesty trumps dishonesty. Every time. You must trust that in taking this step, you will propel further as to where you need to be. And the receiving party will hopefully do the same. I wish you much success as you resolve to having the difficult conversations.
Just as an FYI, we don’t wait until we are fed up to have these conversations. Many times, we suffer in silence until one day we just explode. We can’t expect the people in our lives to be mind readers. Or understand our vantage points if we do not open our mouths. We have to have calibration talks just as we need to service our vehicles regularly. Just as we should have physicals yearly. We don’t wait until the fire is beyond putting out. Extinguish the small flames by conversing about the small things while they are small.
Happy conversing and growing!