A few years ago as I left college several of my very close friends cut off contact with me completely. I struggled in my head to figure out just exactly why for quite a while. Why friends of that long would simply walk away from our friendship. Eventually, while it still hurt my feelings, I managed to carry on with my life and focus on new things. This past week I cut off several people completely and I think I’ve finally come to an understanding as to why my friends did the very same thing a few years ago.
There is such a thing as having too much patience and some people don’t benefit from constant attention or being coddled. Unfortunately, those people don’t quite understand the strain they put onto their friends and acquaintances when they act a certain way. Sometimes the “tough love” approach really is necessary if you see that your friend simply isn’t understanding how much they’re harming you and others just with their attitude. When it reaches a certain point, and when you’ve been dragged through the mud enough with them, all you can do is cut yourself off and hope that they somehow get the message.
Am I saying that this was the only option? No. Nor was it the friendliest, but as selfish as it sounds, and it is, you have to take into account your own well being. There is a limit to the human will and I’m not saying that you should just not help people. I’ve strived for years to help people, but the key is knowing HOW to help people. Not everyone responds the same way and methods used on some can harm the well being of others. Most importantly though sometimes you just can’t help. Sometimes you yourself are too hurt to do so or sometimes you’re just not the person for the job. In those cases where you’re not then you may very well wind up being rejected or taken advantage of.
I’m not saying that my actions several years back were the same as those I have severed contact with now. In a way they were similar, but it was definitely two different kinds of problems. It was hard for me to change and being honest with myself I’m not sure if I have completely. I do still work everyday to better myself and a lot of that is thanks to the shit I went through with my friends. They laid it out for me and really didn’t pull punches and while at the time I felt betrayed I now understand how much I hurt them and how much their patience was depleted because of me. I learned a valuable lesson from that and while I won’t go out to them and say “Hey I understand now lets be friends.” I do still in my heart feel a great amount of appreciation to them for helping me realize that. Even if they had to hurt me to do it.
In the end I can only hope that the message someday sinks into them. I’m not going to bullshit you and say that I did it for solely their benefit, because that just isn’t true and it wasn’t true for my own friends. I do still hope though. I do still wish to see people happy rather than sad and the harm done is not just a one way street. Were my actions bitter ones? No, I had my reasons and I can assure you I don’t just cut people off for being clingy, whiny or annoying. There were major causes to this. Am I hurt? Yeah. Are they? Yeah, I know they are. It needed to happen though, just like it needed to happen to me those years back. I can only hope that one day the people I’ve just hurt understand themselves a little bit more to see why someone would do this to them.