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Posts Tagged ‘grieving losses’

It has been five days since a dysfunctional friendship of nine years ended. I won’t go into the details because why it ended really doesn’t matter. What matters is that a relationship I nurtured for almost a decade is over, and the real reason it ended was because it was dysfunctional.

I have no question that the relationship was long overdue for ending. I should have ended it a while ago, but I didn’t because when I love, I love deeply. I am also a loyal friend, so I have a habit of sticking with relationships long past when they should have expired. The relationship was once very meaningful and helpful to me, especially in my early therapy years. I don’t forget that and feel guilty about pulling away when the relationship no longer fits.

I have been grieving the loss, and I have had a bunch of different emotions swirling around my head. The primary emotion is anger because of the pointless way it ended. The other person tossed me away as if I never mattered, and that makes me angry – after all I invested in this person, it pisses me off that the other person so easily brushed me aside in one fit of anger. I am also angry about the other person’s alleged reasons for treating me this way. I accept that I need to let the anger run through me and out so it doesn’t turn into bitterness.

I am also sad and have done some crying over the death of this friendship. The sadness has been secondary to the anger, but I suspect as the anger abates, more sadness will follow.

The weirdest part is the absence of the friendship. I’ll watch something on TV and think, “I need to tell __ about ___ … No, wait, she isn’t in my life anymore.” She was such an integral part of my life for so long that it feels weird not having her to talk to about X, Y, and Z. I am not talking about leaning on her emotionally. I am talking about the fact that a TV show we both like will have new episodes airing next month or something funny that happened today. It’s just weird to notice the absence as I go about my day.

My therapist has warned me that I might have regrets about how long I chose to stay in the friendship, but I don’t know if I will. I made the decisions I did for the reasons I did, and those decisions led me to where I am today. I feel no need to beat myself up for things I did or did not do before today.

I also feel no guilt about the friendship ending. She blew it up, not me, and she blew it up over something so ridiculous that I think it was an excuse to get out. I don’t think this dysfunctional friendship was healthy for either of us any longer. I wish we could have parted amicably and downgraded to acquaintances, but it is what it is.

This isn’t my first dysfunctional relationship to end, and I am sure it won’t be the last. I’ll get through it just as I always do.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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As I shared recently, my beloved 16-year-old beagle passed away. I was heartbroken all that day and spent many hours crying and grieving his loss. By the next day, I was okay. In fact, I was even able to appreciate the ways in which my life was easier, such as not having to administer two pain medications and carry the dog in and out to use the bathroom all day.

Some people might assume that I did not love this dog because I adjusted to life without him so quickly, but that simply is not true. I raised him from an eight-week-old puppy. As with the book Marley and Me, his life story is the story of my family. My husband and I were newlyweds when we adopted this dog, and so many of my memories of my son are intertwined with memories of this dog. Yes, I loved him.

So, how can I adjust so quickly to his passing? I think this about resiliency, not a lack of caring. Many people believe that if they spend years in mourning after a loved one passes away, refusing to adjust to a life without the loved one, they are somehow proving the depth of their love. Instead, I believe this is just a lack of resiliency and inability/refusal to adjust to a new reality.

Those of us who survived child abuse also survived many losses. We learned at a young age that loss was a part of life – the loss of innocence, safety, loving relationships, etc. My life has been filled with loss, so why is it so shocking that I am resilient and can adjust quickly when I experience a loss?

I have only experienced two losses that I did not recover from quickly. The first was the death of my father, although even then, I did not understand why I should struggle since he was rarely around. I have since recovered the flashbacks of my mother starting up the abuse again. So, my issue was not with adjusting to my father’s absence so much as to the lack of safety that resulted from his passing.

The other loss was that of infertility. The problem with infertility is that there is a monthly hope followed by a monthly loss. It was the emotional rollercoaster of the ups and downs that really got to me. Once I accepted my infertility as a permanent fixture in my life, I was able to grieve my infertility loss and heal that pain.

My mother-in-law passed away suddenly a few months ago. Hub took my strength as a sign of not caring or not loving deeply enough. The reality is that I have become resilient in my grief. I have no expectation of those that I love being in my life forever. We will eventually part, such as through growing apart, moving away, or one of us dying. That is just a reality of life. Therefore, when a loss happens, I am not “shocked” that life can be cruel. Instead, I try to appreciate the relationships I have in my life while they are in it, knowing that they are a gift for now rather than a fixture forever.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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