Goodbye and endings are hard to accept and process in a healthy way. At least this has been true for me at the ending of relationships and friendships. I usually use my anger and rage as a tool to move on or I'm in denial it's over as I try to grasp of what's left of the relationship. Neither of these methods are healthy and definitely doesn't equal closure. It creates more anguish.
Something I began to learn last year was that good byes aren't horrible. They are apart of life; more complicated than black or white.
Last year, I had all this pent up frustration and disappointment at a friend. It had been building for awhile as I first began to see her true colors. The friendship began to change when I wanted her to be there for me, to listen, to advise, to care; she didn't show up. Often times, she would change the subject back to herself, unnecessarily challenge my views (and then turnaround and agree with that exact view weeks or months later), and show up when she wanted to ramble or vent what was on her mind. That one-way relationship became so tiring for me, but I took it, hoping that it would change around. I never brought it up to her because I didn't have the tools to express what I felt. In theory, opening up to someone about your disappointment in them should be simple and easy. Being vulnerable as mentioned in earlier posts, is what I have to work on.
The tension came to head when she came to the conclusion that I purposely excluded her from an activity. She channeled all the tension into what felt like an accusation. I exploded at being accused. I exploded with all the anger of disappointment that this person who was suppose to be my friend showed no curiosity about my life, no care, no love for over a year.
I was angry.
I said some things I could have phrased a hella lot better.
This is a recurring pattern in my life. (Find the patterns, and you can break the pattern eventually.)
I reached out a few days later to schedule a meeting in person to clarify things. When we met about a month later, I
apologized but she refused to accept it. She instead wanted to hurt me by saying she didn't care about me anymore, had moved on, and would not change her mind about what happened. So what can you do when someone is set on their version of their story?
I tried, and a part of me rested that I did my best. A part of me hoped that time would soften both of our pride (because really I don't think this is something I will be reflecting on when I'm 70 in the grand scheme of things). I think a part of me was also in denial that the friendship was over. A large part of me felt like it was my fault it was over. I often self-blame for a lot of situations that I have no control over. And we don't have control over another person.
Months after and some actions she did on her part (like defriend me on every single social media platform including goodreads), I realized the friendship was indefinitely over. I had a good cry. I cried because I had been so stressed being in the grey with this ambiguous person in my life who on one hand would invite me to events on facebook after our fight, but then refuse to look me in the eye or make light conversation when I tried to talk to her. I came to realize even without my explosion, we had grown a part in values, beliefs, and priorities. That the person who she truly was, was incapable of the type of friendship I want in my life and that in fact, I should be grateful that she ended the ambiguity.
In that gray, we don't always get the goodbye we want to move on. We have no control on other people. So how do we navigate in this gray?
I propose having your own goodbye ceremony. An idea inspired while reading Esther Perel's A State of Affairs?? is to write a goodbye letter. Ideally in this goodbye letter, you acknowledge both the fond, happy memories as well as the disappointment of the relationship. You can say all the things you wish you said or never said.
I do this for myself so if you chose to give your goodbye letter, you can. But I have often found that the things I was saying, were things I needed to hear for myself.