To Be Unwanted; When your friendship is no longer required
This is a hard post to write. I’ve had it in me for a long while, but I’ve not yet really had the fortitude to put it down and make it real. But, if my goal is to empower and comfort women doing the hard yards, then I must be brave enough to really and actually “tell it like it is”. ALL of it. So today, I give you another particularly low point in my life… finding yourself no longer required by people you’ve cherished, and having your friendship terminated.
I think a major part of Post Natal Depression, well, at least it was for me anyway, is the isolation. You go from being surrounded by people, to stuck at home with a baby you have no idea what to do with. Friendships become a lifeline, and any loneliness is acutely amplified. Oftentimes when you are at home for an extended period of time, without your workplace, raising kids, it can be your friends who fill that void, helping you to forget it’s there.
In raising my children, I have been lucky to meet some spectacular people (and a few real dicks if we’re honest!!). In having three children under 4, and losing touch with both my work friends AND career, I know I have relied on these friendships to keep me distracted from my ever changing life. At least I did, until there came a time when I learnt I was either not enough, or perhaps at times too much, for a painful number of friends.
Several years ago, I watched on in horror as my circle closed in, squeezing me to the outside. The confusion and the desperation of watching friends back away until they were no longer there was, almost literally, breathtaking. I am not proud to say it, but I used to play a twisted game with myself, sending text messages to those friends to see just how long they would take to respond, if at all. Commonly they didn’t. Bizarrely I would become smugly satisfied when they didn’t, feeling vindicated that it wasn’t all in my head. Not healthy.
Looking back, I know there was a combination of factors at play. In some instances, I can see perhaps my unconscious neediness of them was stifling, in others though I was simply cast aside in favour of bigger, ‘brighter’ and ‘better’ things. I’m not going to lie, it really REALLY hurt.
Sadly, there are many of us who will know the feeling of being “let go” in favour perhaps of another; be it another friend, a partner, or a child who is more interesting, offers more, or is simply more demanding. No matter the circumstances it cuts deep to have your friendship thrown away like rubbish, and as yet I’m still to discover if that ever completely fades.
BUT, all those years ago, in the middle of a complete and panicked breakdown in realising how unwanted I was, I did have somewhat of an ephipany. Given my state I have no idea how I managed such a clear thought, but all of a sudden I realised that the only person I should truly be relying on for my happiness was ME. It sounds both twee and overly simple, but it was also patently true. Great, IF you do have others around you to lift you up, but as I discovered first hand, relying on others for your happiness was a flawed model.
To be unwanted in any guise is hurtful. But please remember, just because someone had the need - or the poor judgement - to let you go does not mean your worth to the rest of the planet is diminished. It is very rare that someone is wanted by no one, it can just be really hard to see it when you’re down.
SO, like I always say to my kids, you can’t control the behaviour of others, but you can control your reaction to it. Then and there, mid meltdown, I started to figure out what I needed in my life to make myself happy, and I’ve been working on bringing that all together ever since. My own self-worth now starts with me.
Ironically, this process has brought so many new people into my life and it’s enabled me to see that the other key to happiness is letting people go. Whether that is accepting that a friendship has ended, or actively cutting toxic people out of your life and mind without a further ado – it’s so important to recognise that the best way to do YOU…is absolutely without them, whether you wanted it that way or not.
Based purely on my own experience, I have complied a list below for anyone wanting to take back ownership of their own self-worth.
The Rabbit Holer’s 7 Steps to Personal Happiness;
- Recognise your happiness in fuelled from within
- Consider what changes you need to make to enjoy your own life more
- Let go of fading friendships; you don’t want to be where you’re not wanted
- Just say no to negativity. Cut it off, set it on fire, don’t look back. It’s dead to you.
- Do something altruistic – it’s great for the soul
- Remember people can add to your happiness, but don’t rely on them for it.
- Keep breathing. Seek help if you need it.