How DO you break up with a friend?
I recently read an article in the Huffington Post, written by Jackie Morgan MacDougall, How To Break Up With a Toxic Friend. It was an interesting read, informational and I believe, for the most part, right on spot. But it started me thinking.
It doesn't take much. Why are kids so fascinated by frogs? Why are ladybugs cute but cockroaches disgusting? What if they switched colors?
In any case, what if your friend wasn't toxic? What if the relationship wasn't toxic? What if it brought you a measure of joy but for some reason, a disagreement comes about between the two of you that destroys every previous moment of joy? How does that happen?
I had a relationship, a blueprint for all the questions ruminating in my heart. There was a point in our friendship that we promised honesty. We promised that we would not let other people's problems or concerns come between our relationship. We would be faithful to try and work out what ever situation came up.
I trusted her with my family. I trusted her with my own life and concerns. I was assured that the feelings were reciprocated. We loved and laughed together, sharing our worries and concerns with one another. Entrusting each other with our hopes and dreams.
Honestly, I have nothing but wonderful memories of our times together.
Then, one day, in a moment forever frozen in my mind, everything changed. I'm serious and literal when I say it was but a moment. A conversation on a phone.
A situation occurred, here I will say, I don't even know what the situation was. If that confuses you, imagine my bewilderment. It involved both of us but was brought about by other people. Accusations were made concerning my integrity. Accusations I was assured by people involved were not true but for the moment were being allowed to let stand. No one seemed to take any responsibility but plenty of blame was thrown around.
My self confidence was bruised and battered. Very rarely did I allow other people's opinions to cause me self doubt. This incident struck at the heart of who I believed myself to be.
I begged and ultimately broke down crying asking my friend for information, confirmation, anything that would give me proper perspective, thereby putting my heart at rest and my mind at peace. I had no intention of sharing the situation with anyone. I only needed my own opportunity to think the situation through and come to a place of rest and possibly growth. For her own reasons, be they right or wrong, declined to answer any of my questions. I've tried to not to pass judgement and have apologized publicly when I believed I had stepped out of bounds.
The relationship died, quicker than I've seen my cat eat a bug. All the promises made were gone in an instant. One day we were best friends, our homes open to one another and the next moment there was no communication. None. Everything that we shared was severed and life went on as if the time we spent together never existed.
I loved her and I miss her but I don't know that bridges burnt can ever be rebuilt. I'm not sure why she chose to throw our friendship away and the complexity of that situation makes it almost impossible for me to learn or gain any insight from what occurred.
This is the only time in my life I've had this experience. 50 years of life never prepared me. It's ironic, in a certain way. When you divorce someone, at least you argue it out. You state your reasons. You try to make sense to your partner. It's a shame not to honor what went before without explanation of why it has died.
I suppose I'm still looking for answers. I suppose I'm still grieving the loss of something I valued. I suppose I'm confused how after 50 years of life I've found myself in the 7th grade.
For whatever it is worth, she was funny, gracious, lovely and I enjoyed her company. And it has shown me, that even fifty years later, I can still learn, I can still become confused. I don't have all the answers. Maybe I have none but...., then what would be the point of menopause??
If you have any direction, feel free to sock it to me. If it really hurts, when I'm done rolling into my fetal ball, I'll kick a cat, take a Valium and hopefully learn something new.