Friendship

” A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
– Arabian Proverb

As hard as it is to reduce something as large and deep as friendship down to one concept, if I had to, this is the one I would choose. I’m sure that has something to do with my openness; I wear my heart (and my crazy) on my sleeve. I have a sky high rate of self disclosure. So this is one of the most valuable gifts that my friends give me- their acceptance and understanding. It’s a gift I try to give back to them.

I’m having a hard time right now with some people who lack acceptance and understanding. (They are, ironically, in need of both of those things in bucketfuls.) People to whom I’ve bared my soul and not hidden my struggles and flaws, who have turned around and harshly judged me. People I trusted that cannot bring themselves to invest in me what I have given freely. That rejection, like any kind of rejection, stings with a fierceness.

Under that surface sting lies a deeper ache. When you allow someone to see you as you really are, and you’re met with judgement and rejection, it makes you question your own self worth. If the people who know me best decide that they don’t love or can’t trust me, something must be wrong with me. Even if it’s just a matter of taste, of preference, of growing out of each other and growing apart, that kind of wholesale rejection generally brings me to my knees.  When it’s not that simple? When it’s not that innocent and straightforward? When the rejection is mixed up in dishonesty and spite, it’s more than I can really handle.

The shame and pain of being unwanted is too much for me to bear. If I’m not loved, if I’m not welcome, if I’m not wanted, then say the word. Just tell me, so I can do you a favor and leave you alone, and do it with my dignity still intact. But to pretend to love me, to pretend to want me around, to pretend to accept me and understand me when you’re really judging me and questioning me and wishing I wasn’t around is unforgivable.

At that point, you’re using the guise of friendship to know, hear and see things that you don’t deserve access to and justifying it to avoid your own discomfort. I pay for that. I get to find out that you didn’t really love me, or trust me, or probably even want me around. Which means I then get to spend days, weeks, months wondering when you started to hate me, when I began making a complete and utter fool of myself by believing in you.

What it is about me that you find so distasteful and why the good things about me and my friendship don’t overcome my faults and flaws? Why you are unwilling or unable show me enough kindness to blow away that chaff of who I am and the mistakes I make. Then I start to think about you, and your mistakes, and your faults, and how stupid and silly I was to look past them, to forgive and overcome them. It makes me angry that I did that for you while you were making a fool of me.

Generally when I have a falling out with someone that centers around these issues, I can’t reconcile. I just can’t ever trust them again, can’t talk to them honestly or show them affection without wondering if they are secretly judging me, secretly recoiling at my touch or advance, wondering who they will vent and complain to. Any overtures of affection from their end are summarily ignored- for the previous rejection and dishonesty steal all their value.

Normally, when I lose a friendship this way, it only affects me. I have to mourn the loss of a dear friend and try to look hard enough at myself and the situation to analyze it without being obsessive. I have to fill the hole left in my time and in my heart. I’ve done it so many times that I know the process like the back of my hand.

Now it’s more complicated. Now it affects other people that I love, and their friendships, and their happiness. Now those things hinge, possibly, on my ability to forgive the unforgivable. I know I should be better at forgiving. And I know that when MH reads this post, it will make him angry.

Because he hates this part of me- the part that burns bridges with napalm and scratches them off the map. Because he doesn’t seem to understand that it’s the only way I know to heal a hurt that deep. Because, honestly? I feel that he belittles my hurt. Mountains out of molehills and all that, and 98% of the time when I’m accused of being melodramatic, it’s spot on. But this? Even if it is melodramatic, it’s because I feel the pain and shame with such intensity. I wish he understood that. I wish he gave it more weight and cared more about it. Maybe he does.

I have a sinking feeling I’m about to find out.

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7 Responses

  1. 😦 I am saddened reading this post. All I can say is “I am thinking of you.”

  2. Whenever I have similar issues, I try to remind myself that we have certain friends in our lives at certain times. Unfortunately this does not lessen the pain or hurt. Being someone who wears her heart on her sleeve, I can empathize. Hope you feel better.

  3. i’m sorry your friendships have not all ended pleasantly. ideally, friendships shouldn’t have to end at all, but in the end, you need to handle this in the way that best suits you. you’ve gotta be true to yourself, trust yourself and your own instincts, know when it’s time to fight and when it’s time to let go. you’ll be okay, the people who know and love you will understand, or at very least try to.

  4. Look, I love you and I’ve never even met you! You are a kick-ass person with a wicked sense of humor and a deep sense of loyalty. My wish for you is that everyone in your life sees you for the amazing person you are…

  5. Most people, unless they have felt this kind of betrayal, cannot understand why one would refuse to “forgive” or “let go”.
    For me, I’ve made a choice to separate myself from the group of people I felt wounded me.
    Dramatic? Oh probably. But I don’t care. Yes, I did distance myself from others but since they haven’t made much of an effort to stay in touch, I don’t feel like I lost much.
    I’m sorry this is happening to you. I hope MH understands.

  6. damn… I hate it when this happens..
    And I hate to have to say again: I know the feeling…
    I am becoming sort of an expert in losing friends and alienating people. 🙂
    Anyhow… we’re here for ya kitten! 😉

    xxx

  7. OMG I feel like you took a walk around my brain and heart from last week. I’m going through the exact.same.thing.! And I, too, obsessed about it past the point of any sense. IT SUCKS. I finallyjust told myself – look, they obviously don’t care. They aren’t trying to contact me to sort it out, so fuck it. Wow. This was spot on for me….100% spot on. Hurts just thinking about it.

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