“Like many people, I tend to get frantic when I think I might be abandoned again. I do destructive things: I hold on too tightly to whoever is in my at the moment; or I offer them a means of escape over and over again until they think I’m pushing them away. I’m so terrified of being left, and my core belief in that eventuality is so strong. When I realize how precious someone is to me, I give them every out I can think of. They’re going to leave anyway, I reason, so I might as well feel the pain now instead of holding my breath waiting for it to strike in the future.
And all the time, I’m longing for them to stay with me, understand and forgive me, love me in the midst of my fear and despair. Only someone who has experienced abandonment can make sense of such senseless behavior. And I’m afraid of myself. I live on the lip of insanity, and there are times when I feel myself sliding into that dark maw. I’m terrified of what I might become and of how I might appear to the people I love. Would they recoil from me at the moment I need them the most?”
- Elizabeth Kim, Ten Thousand Sorrows (pp. 214)
for some reason this quote really speaks to me. i have not read this book, nor do i intend to. from amazon, i learnt that the author was an orphan and her feelings stem from the abandonment she suffered during childhood as she was shunted from orphanage to various foster parents (i think).
i’m not an orphan but the fear i have and what i do when i feel it is strangely similar. i’ve been doing it since my teenage years and it seems i still do it, judging by recent events.
yet another friendship ended. of course i am partly to blame. it takes two to tango, right?
in the back of my mind i knew the friendship would not last long, it was just a matter of time. i thought we would just drift apart, as most dying friendships do, an unexciting ending.
instead, it was the opposite of unexciting. absolutely, unnecessarily dramatic. tears and anger and storming out.
i should have handled it better. we both should have handled it better. i guess we bring out the worst in each other.
the next day, i felt numb, hurt, wronged, betrayed. how could she do that to me? and put all the blame on me?
the day after, i e-mailed my apology, which was a little too late. she had removed all connections to me. and naturally did not respond to my sorry.
usually, at this point, i would feel angrier for being rejected. a convenient emotion to mask my pain.
this time, i didn’t. when i think of her, i don’t feel angry. i still feel hurt and wronged and betrayed.
i think it’s because i understood how my behaviour contributed to this ugly ending and by saying sorry, i took responsibility for it. maybe she felt it wasn’t good enough, but it’s more than i can say for her.
and it feels strangely liberating.
in all my previous endings of friendships, i never said sorry (even though i felt it) because i was too proud and hurt by what i felt they did wrong to me. this time, i did it differently and i’m so glad.
i’m not holding my breath that she may change her mind after cooling down. if she does, cool. if she doesn’t, also cool. we’ll both move on.
all that matters is that i know i tried my best and if that isn’t good enough for some people, then they’re just missing out.
when someone does something wrong, don’t forget the things they’ve done right. (read this somewhere.)