The Emotional Confusion of a Toxic Relationship

How we feel about relationships we’ve had for a long time can be complicated. If we think about them logically, it’s easy to sort out.  If we think about then emotionally, it becomes more involved. 

Emotionally means there’s a lot more at stake.  It keeps you awake at night.  A toxic relationship – a once solid relationship gone bad – can be your best friend—someone you grew up with, a sibling, your spouse, a high school or college chum, your kids or grandkids, a coworker, someone you bowl with, a poker buddy, a business associate, or perhaps a neighbor. 

What to do about a relationship that has gone off the rails?

It depends on what the relationship means to you.  More importantly, what the relationship means to both of you.  It is challenging to be in a relationship alone and rather pointless if you ask me. When it is one-sided, you’re in it all alone. If you find you’re the only one reaching out, the question answers itself.  Time to pull back and see if they even notice. If they’re unresponsive, you’ve got your answer even when it’s not the answer you wanted – then – it’s time to quietly move on.

Less said – the better.

Moving on can be painful. It means what you once had is gone and not likely to return, especially if you had a bad falling out. Losing a friend who has moved on tends to be worse than if they had passed on.

When someone passes, there’s closure. When you’ve both moved on, it becomes all those things you wish you’d said and didn’t – especially when there’s unfinished business – which makes people crazy.

I’ve found some friends – acquaintances – ebb and flow in and out of our lives. You were friends – but never really close. Or – you thought you were close and – in reality – you weren’t. The neighbor you were close to and barbequed with for years who moves away and is never heard from again. Someone you worked with closely for decades. A buddy you fished with for years. Sometimes – it’s your baby girl who grows up and moves away – leaving you wondering what happened to the closeness you once shared.

Relationships that drift apart aren’t always personal, but a life changed -with circumstances in the person’s life that require their every attention. These are the elements we don’t always think about when someone goes away.

Each and every human life is a unique thumbprint. What goes on in one life affects the lives around it. This is true of families, workplaces, and circles of friends. When one relationship goes sour it affects everyone who lives around it. The best you can do is reach out, let someone know you are there, and let it go.

2 thoughts on “The Emotional Confusion of a Toxic Relationship”

  1. “…and let it go.” With death you know it’s final. When it’s simply “over” the old phrase “It’s so over you need to throw dirt on it” is handy. The saddest thing is we only know how others impacted us, never how (or even if) we impacted them.

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