Excise the Cancerous Relationship

nearly finished

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”–Albert Camus

I’ve been quiet as of late, but my mind remains in a state of unrest.  This disquiet has been building for a while, layer upon layer of negativity casually drifting in and weighing me down.  It flows into my life from quite a few people in my atmosphere who chronically complain about their relatively good lives.  I’m not talking about the occasional venting of frustrations or even an off week or two; we all need to release our feelings of disappointment in the presence of those we trust and we all experience ups and downs.  We all experience times of imbalance in relationships.

The negativity I speak of seems to be cemented at the cores of these individuals, and they carry with it a flagrant lack of responsibility for their own actions, which in turn causes more drama and more reasons to whine.  This continues for years.  Should you try a “first-world-problem” joke, they brush it aside.  Should casually attempt to point out that a misstep at point A led to the issue at point B, but their problem can be fixed (usually in a very simple manner), your advice is ignored and they carry on down the road of blaming everyone else.  Should you continue to open yourself up to them and merely listen, they mistake you for a dumping ground.  They deplete you of your energy and joy.  There is no win/win.

Their continual pessimistic views settle into my skin like poison and worm their way into my veins, flushing the lightness out of my system while planting seeds of irritability. I try to let it roll off me the way rain washes down a window pane, but my shield can only withstand so much.  My usual defenses- meditation, exercise, fresh air, funny movies- haven’t been enough lately.  When I’ve left their presence, whether it’s in person, email, text, or phone, I have always felt drained.  Empty.

I’ve spent some time examining my reaction to the negativity; not reflecting on the reaction itself, but the “why” behind my internal response.  Am I unable to sit with someone through their own suffering and offer gentle support?  Do I have unrealistic expectations?  Am I seeing parts of myself in other people and it annoys the hell out of me?  Does my patience “muscle” simply need a rest?  I mean, it has been one hell of a trying year.  Am I hypersensitive at this time?

After much consideration, I acknowledged that this time I couldn’t solve the issue entirely from within; I had to examine the outside source.  I needed to politely eject myself from relationships that are not (and have not been for a very long time) basically uplifting and supportive before I started to view life as a dark shadow and infect others with a jaundiced outlook.

“With some friends, the three poisons keep growing,
Study, reflection, and meditation weaken,
And loving kindness and compassion fall away.
Give up bad friends — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.”Tog-me Zong-po

If you have a cancerous growth, you excise it before the cancer spreads and destroys other parts of your body.  I think that sometimes you need to do the same with ongoing bad relationships before they contaminate other areas of your life, before you turn into someone you don’t want to be.  I decided to completely remove myself from the life of one person and maintain a polite distance from a few others in order to save myself from drowning in their unhappiness.

Distancing myself has helped tremendously, but there’s a slight residue that has yet to fully clear.  The energy of the people in your life can have a profound effect on you, and it is not easy to dispel the negative vibes.  I thought it best to allow some time for contemplation and mental clarity before fully engaging in the world again.  I suppose I liken it to getting the flu: get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and try not to spread the illness to others.

It’s taking me a bit of time to return to my previous level of mental well-being and overall happiness, but I’m nearly there.  I feel lighter.  I sleep better.  I’m taking better care of myself and I’m smiling much more.  The weight has been lifted.

Josh Emerald Pools

Be careful of the company you choose.

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201 thoughts on “Excise the Cancerous Relationship

  1. Thank you so much for writing about this issue, I struggle with this constantly with certain friends – I’ve noticed they seem to be old friends, as if more recent friends I’ve been drawn to for their fun-loving, playful, generous, positive spirits, but some of the older friends are from a time when maybe I too was more negative.
    But I feel disloyal to let them go…and I struggle with this…

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    1. I understand how you feel. What I noticed was that during periods of my life when certain people were noticeably absent, I would feel better about life in general. Lighter. Happier. When they slid back into my life, I found myself heavy. I completely understand the feelings of loyalty. I suspect that with time some of the old relationships will naturally dissolve if you no longer share common ground.

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  2. What a wonderful and uplifting chronicle–it made me feel better myself. It is true that you can be poisoned by others as I have myself and may have spread it; I think it’s time to take this view and not let others penetrate our well being to our very souls. I, in particular, have so much to be thankful for and need to realize it a lot more often!

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  3. youknowho

    Wonderfully said. Reminds me of a week one summer when I invited a grammar school classmate to our home in Waterloo for a week to play golf. He was a professional. All he could due was find flaws with my wife. It got old, draining ,and at the airport I was relieved to see him gone from my life. He continued to send negative texts and advice until he realized he was never going to hear from me again. People like that who have no boundaries and believe they are entitled to continue to share their negative opinions in order to get a reaction either think they are funny or evil, but to me those are one and the same, if it hurts.

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    1. That was just plain rudeness–especially when you both invited this person into was your home..Another person can’t know if you are under stress or perhaps going through personal issues you would rather keep to yourself. This is your other half you love and it would be best to not say anything at all if you can’t be gracious.

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  4. Your blog reminded me of the movie Marty. If you have not seen it, I recommend it. Marty is surrounded with nay sayers. He brakes the mold through frustration with his life and a phone call. It is a great movie. Once you see it let me know if you agree.

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  5. It’s always so difficult when you come to realize that someone in your life is actually one of these “cancerous relationships” but you are very right about the need to remove them from your influence… We are most certainly affected by the company we keep. I’m glad you’re feeling lighter– I hope you continue to feel that peace.

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  6. Great post.

    I cut two former friends from my life a few years ago because of this. It was painful because making friends isn’t that easy and I enjoyed them in many ways. But both were married to/partnered with men they whined about constantly (hey, you chose them! you choose to stay with them!) and how “broke” they were — when they had far more income than I could imagine. It was boring. When I challenged each of them, as politely as I knew how, to re-consider this attachment to their position, they dropped the friendship.

    As you point out, it’s a choice. I won’t waste life energy around whiny, negative people. I have tremendous compassion for illness and issues beyond one’s control — job loss, often — but I expect healthy people to take responsibility for their lives.

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    1. You’re absolutely right about circumstances that are out of one’s control, such as illness or job loss. Although, most of the people I know who have experienced those issues at least try to remain fairly upbeat about their situations. Regardless, they can gnaw my ear any day.

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      1. I think resilience is a tremendous quality and one I look for in my friends and partners. Unless you’re in the direst of financial and/or physical straits, you can get through a lot more than you think.

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  7. Good read. It sucks when your friend is like cancer but even worse when it’s a family member that drags you down. Family is a whole other bag of worms, especially during the the Christmas/ holiday season.

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    1. Thank you, and I agree. I would love to recommend a glass or two (or three?) of strong alcohol during family gatherings, but that only seems to exacerbate the issues. Stay stone sober, take deep breaths, and pour a tall one when you’re finally alone…

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  8. Bravo – no need to endure first-world-problems-celebrations. People who do not know anymore that there is happiness even when having problems can indeed drain your energy. Run, don’t walk to the nearest desert island.

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  9. This is so relevant.
    I just made the active decision to politely distance myself from this girl in my life who was just always so self-absorbed and unhelpful. She would constantly use me for things and I started to see her as what she was, and people would tell me, a user.
    It got to the point where everything she did just annoyed me to no end, so I’ve just taken a step back. It was really hard at first, like you pointed out, but I feel a lot better doing it. Happier and more in charge of my life.
    Wonderful post!

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  10. This is just spooky. I follow WordPress on Twitter and they freshly press this at the exact time in my life that I’m doing this exact thing and now feeling the exact emotions about it. Are you my spirit guide? Haha!

    I write every morning and lately my morning pages have all been about letting this one friend go for the exact reasons you named in this post. Just this morning I had to write myself out of feeling obligated not to abandon her. No no no I wrote, you already feel better, lighter, happier, no no no.

    We both have very serious chronic auto immune diseases so for a long time we bonded over that but I am a silver linings girl and she isn’t. That’s the main difference and my silver can’t keep her steel afloat any longer.

    I am so glad you wrote this and eternally grateful to WordPress fore tweeting it. Wow. I really am just in awe at the universe sometimes and how it throws us just what we need. That’s the silver linings girl in me.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

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    1. I think that when we sit down to write a post such as this one, we do so with the hope that someone else out there will understand and connect with it. Sometimes I feel isolated on a planet that has over 7 billion people, so it helps to know that other people experience the same issues and conflicting relationships. I know that feeling of receiving just what you need right when you need it- especially when it comes to reading a post that resonates so deeply. I am so glad you paused to read my post. Thank you.

      You sound like a strong, positive person. Keep your beautiful silver linings!

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  11. Thank you for this post.. at least I amono longer feeing alone in this situation. The ones I cut out are now stalking and its becoming ridicuals. I am glad I have removed them from my life it has brought much peace to our home that’s for sure. Now to rid the family of the rest 🙂

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  12. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    I’m aware of this issue. My circle of friends have dubbed these people ’emotional vampires’. Their eternal complaints serve as a ‘raison d’etre’, their meaning of life is to sour other people’s joy and suck up their energy.

    You don’t owe anything to the emotional vampires, they are best exorcised by confronting them and telling them their gall is poisoning your joy, and you need to surround yourself with positive people to recharge.

    Thanks for this great article. Think like a proton and stay positive!

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  13. I have a few good friends whom have had some serious issues. I choose to remain friends with them and help them. Today they are functioning citizens and in return have helped me.

    I think the overlooked key in your story compared to mine is not the “first world problems”; it is the fact that you try to help them and they never change or take your advice. My friends wanted to change their life and realized what they were doing was wrong.

    It’s like a person who takes swim lessons but refuses to kick their feet to try to get themselves to shore. Then imagine rescuing them and they want to jump back in. Over and over and over.

    That’s not what I want to be around.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head: I am more than willing to help anyone so long as they want to change. You can offer wonderful advice and be supportive, but if someone chooses to repeatedly drown in their own despair, I won’t let them take me down with them any longer. I’m glad your friends wanted to change their life. I wish I could say the same.

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      1. I think the willingness to change is the difference between those who are temporarily in a bad place, and the emotional vampires. The emotional vampires are not looking for a fix or a solution, the ‘despair’ is what they feed on, what they identify themselves with. They enjoy poisoning your joy until there’s nothing left, and then they leech onto their next victim.

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    1. Oh, I know there have been times in my life when I’ve expressed negativity due to depression and I was clueless about it for a while, but the negativity wasn’t who I was at my core. After a while, I felt it and needed to expel it from my system. I sometimes wonder if people are stuck in their mental and emotional mire and don’t know how to escape. I feel for those people. I have very little compassion for those who make others miserable on purpose (yet I do have a little because they must lead an absolutely miserable existence, and how awful must that be…).

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  14. I ended up having to back away from several friendships all at the same time when they basically revealed to me that the whole foundation of what I thought was our friendships had been a load of bullsh*t. 😦 I question myself about it from time to time as well, but like you, I could not stand the idea of the person I would have had to become had I just swallowed it all and brushed it off. Because of this, I have indeed “turned away” from the world lately, mostly out of a skittishness about letting other people in my world when my judgment was so badly flawed before. In the meantime though, the peace and quiet is nice. 🙂

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    1. I figured out one of the reasons I sometimes exercise bad judgment when it comes to all forms of relationships: I always want to believe that people, at their core, are truly good and decent human beings who are fully capable of and want to be a part of trusting, supportive, healthy relationships with other human beings. It is that continued belief that made me hold on to relationships when I should have let go.

      Taking time for reflection and healing yourself is good, but at some point, you step back into the world before you become a hermit. This is a big world with so many wonderful people to meet.

      I wish you the best.

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      1. For me, it was more simply thinking that if someone SAID something — especially if they said it over and over for over a decade — that that meant they actually thought it. I stupidly imagine that people use language to communicate information as accurately as possible. Clearly, this is not at all the case.

        I suppose I will slowly titrate human interaction back into my life, but I’ll do it drop by drop. For now, too much of it is like nails on a blackboard for me. And to learn to communicate the way everyone else seems to do is just too alien and wrong to me. I really would rather be happily alone than to either turn into whatever I’d have to become (and leave my actual self behind) in order to fit into that weird universe or consciously choose to fake it for the rest of my life.

        Wishing you the best as well.

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  15. We can all get hypersensitive when talking to externalizers like these. If if is any consolation, I am impatient with them as well. My best tip: If it`s defense, just agree with them until the air goes out of the balloon. If this does`t work, you`r allowed to walk away. I am glad you already sleep better, and some day you will sleep as good as anyone, and feel you deserve it, too.

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  16. emiliadaffodil

    Beautiful piece, thank you for sharing. I have known several people who were negative influences on me and because I was so lonely I kept putting up with them. I am happier now to be in my own company. It is far better to be on your own than be around people who make you miserable and have a toxic effect upon you. Took me a while to realize that and I’m still learning but it’s better. I recently stopped seeing my father for the reasons you mention. It’s not easy to completely let go but I felt so much better for it and I felt so much lighter in my being. Good luck on your journey.

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  17. Thank you for this post.

    It’s been almost two years since I ended a 20+ year friendship. It came down to a constant negativity I felt from this person that I just couldn’t take anymore. I was miserable around this person and just couldn’t remember why we were friends. She blames everyone around her for her life and never looks inward. She blamed her own depression and “being ill” as a reason she wasn’t a good friend. I struggled with my own depression in the past and I put everyone ahead of my own needs. Her excuses wore thin. I realized I just didn’t have much in common with her anymore and that was really, really sad for me. It was eventually revealed to me just how little she thought of me and I had to say goodbye.

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    1. I’m sorry to hear that. I remember my mom experiencing the same sort of situation with one of her long-time (20+ year) friends. She had to end the friendship also. They did make amends shortly before my mom’s friend passed away, but their relationship was never the same. The person I had to completely cut off I have known for nearly eight years, which is long enough to know that they are never going to change, nor they do wish to change.

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  18. kajoemanis

    a good posting. I share your experience, but in my case my company looks shiny as long as we don’t involve or involve in a limited communication. But that’s not what I want for a healthy relation(ship). Regardless what’s best to do, I still find myself flabergasted at times.

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  19. Totally agree with you. Toxic people in your life can really drag you down. Sometimes I think it’s just that two people of certain types shouldn’t be together. Other times I believe there is just one person who is dragging the other down. Either way it is important to surround yourself with the right people. Great blog!

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  20. Wonderful post – in the past, I’ve been the negative person, but with a lot of work, have tried to get myself out of that mindset…and being around people that can easily drag me back there is tough for me. I’ve had to cut ties with people who are constantly negative, constantly drain my energy with that negativity…and it’s tough, because we’re taught to stick with people, that they’re just going through a hard time. But how long does that hard time last? And how long are we “obligated” to stick with them, and to what cost to our own sanity?

    Much deserved Freshly Pressed-ness. Very well-written. Congratulations! Happy holidays!

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    1. Thank you.

      It’s difficult to remain positive when we’re surrounded by negative friends and family. A few other people talked about the difference between “emotional vampires” and people who are temporarily in a difficult place, but who want to change. You just need to figure out in which category certain people live.

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  21. Hi again. I commented hours ago about how grateful I was that this post was Freshly Pressed. I’ve come back often to read the comments and I’ve bookmarked the post and left it in my favorites bar with the title, Strength. This is so I can reference it when I feel the urge to go back to the friendship my gut tells me is bad for me. I think the next step is letting her know what’s going on since as it stands right now, things are left in limbo and that’s not fair to her nor does it honor the parts of the friendship that were good.

    I’ve just read several more of your posts and notice you like to read and in one post you mention a squirrel being a protagonist and I thought hmmmm, I should tell her about The Grimnoir Chronicles. The publisher’s summary turned me off the first book but it was a daily deal over at Audible.com and a friend of mine raved about the trilogy so I took a chance. I’m on my second listen through the trilogy because it has gotten me through this last pretty awful month.

    And a squirrel makes an awesome appearance.

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    1. Listen to your gut always! Man, there are so many times I wish I would have listened to my gut. And you are right to let her know where you stand and why.

      I added The Grimnoir Chronicles to my Amazon list. I will check it out. Thanks!

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  22. darknesslites

    I call them vampires. They’re dead inside and drawn to the life in others. They will bleed you dry if you let them so even if you find them sad and rather pitiful it’s best to keep them at a safe distance.

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      1. darknesslites

        Maybe if every time they start the whine you ate garlic and lean in very close for the sympathy listen it would do the trick?

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  23. You address this matter with such grace. It is difficult to step away, but in time one feels relief (I speak from experience). Negativity is infectious. Love and support are infectious as well. Part of enjoying life means choosing one’s company wisely. Wonderful post!

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    1. Thank you. It took a over a month to really step out of that negativity, and only just this week am I feeling that “residue” bid farewell. Regaining control of my mental and emotional well-being is the best Christmas present I could give myself.

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  24. Thanks for a very thought provoking article.

    Often we know when we are in that negative friendship but often we guilt ourselves into staying to ‘help’ rather than saving ourselves.
    I know it’s a conversation I’ve had with my kids … At what point do you just have say I can’t be your friend for my own mental health?

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  25. aimeem

    This is my life to a T! Thank you for posting and making me feel that my decision to distance myself from a particular person was not selfish. I felt guilty about it for a long time.

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    1. I understand the guilt. Interestingly, since I’ve regained much of my inner strength, the guilt is not there. I don’t feel guilty for wanting to be mentally and emotionally well (not only for myself, but for my daughter), and that’s what it comes down to. By glancing at the comments, it seems there are a lot of people who have experienced this same sort of situation and generally had the same selfish/guilty feelings at first, too.

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  26. Yay more comments haha. I have a secret. I am hooked on your blog! I had insomnia lat night so I’ve just ben reading your posts. I also drafted an email to “the vampire”. Haven’t sent it yet.

    Have you read the book, “The Artist’s Way”? It’s all about getting your creativity back, for all types of artists. In that book, she refers to the people we’re all trying to distance ourselves from as crazy makers. When I read that I immediately thought of my friend. This was years ago.

    Anyway, I think you are me but sighted and with a kid. I’m blind and with a guide dog. Jayden and Maya are about the same age haha! Ok I’m rambling. I just sooooooooo relate to you and your posts kept me company while I couldn’t sleep. Someone earlier mentioned stalkers, but that’s the crazy makers not the readers, right? 😉

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    1. You know, I’ve been meaning to read “The Artist’s Way” for years and haven’t yet. I think I need to. I’m pleased my posts kept you company during your bout with insomnia. I’m sure they helped put you to sleep.

      You have an upbeat, light nature about you. We will keep in touch.

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      1. M. R.

        But WHY? – everything has its philosophical aspect. Especially farts, which are so important to us all, especially to babies! [grin]

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  27. So maybe you writing this post and WordPress freshly pressing you so I’d read the title and open the link since I’m going through the same thing is the universe’s way of nudging you to read “The ARtist’s Way”. I’ve been thinking I need to read it again so maybe the universe is nudging both of us.

    I sent that email today. *deep breath*

    Your posts most certainly did not put me to sleep! They made me laugh and nod my head a lot and generally feel happy. I live in Arizona so I also really enjoy how much you love Sedona and Flagstaff. I’m pretty sure I stayed at that same KOA years and years ago.

    I’m so glad you sense my upbeat nature! I was losing that, believe me. I’m so glad it’s coming back!

    Wow I have a very heavy cat on my chest who wants some love.

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    1. I put it on my Amazon list for after Christmas. Start off my new year right. I hope all goes well with the email. It’s such a challenging situation.

      btw I love the Flagstaff KOA. I’ve stayed there a number of times over the years and it’s always been great. Can’t wait until the weather warms up to go back again with my daughter.

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  28. Sometimes, it takes a friend to notify a person who is negative territory that they are there. Sometimes there is something physically wrong or an emotional issue that needs attention.
    Here’s to Your Health!
    evelynmmaxwell.com

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  29. Oh wow. This exactly explains what I’ve done lately and WHY I’ve done it. I call it “hibernating to get my soul right”, but your words say it so much better. Thank you so much for this 🙂

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  30. I also think that it’s time to let go of a friendship when it’s no longer nourishing. The person doesn’t necessarily have to be negative but there’s no more enjoyment in their company because you get the feeling that they see you only when they need something from you. I have recently let go of a friendship because the person always had to be right and would deny their responsibility in a very up mood. She was very able in the denial game and playing the victim.
    It took me awhile to let go because she was very good at putting the blame on me and making me doubt.
    It’s not easy letting go. A bit of mourning is needed.

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  31. This is very well written! It’s very difficult to distance yourself from others, because it’s as if you are giving up on them. Especially if you have known them for so long or for a period of time, it makes it much more difficult for you to say, “okay, I’m gonna move on”. So my question is, “would you ever step back in the relationship? if so, how do you know when to mend the problem?” Thanks for the post!

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  32. I have been struggling with negativity my whole life as most of mine is put there by family. It has gotten so bad recently that I have had to break ties with certain people in my family. It really hurts as I am left feeling like this is my fault, even though I know rationally that it is not. I just am tired of the pain. Until I can find a healthy way of dealing with this, staying away is my only solutions. Thank you for sharing your ideas on this topic. : )

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  33. Well-said, and a great reminder for this time of year. I have done this in my personal life, but struggle with it in my professional life, especially since I have jobs that involve customers and students, both of whom see those serving them as dumping grounds.

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  34. I have recently done this, but I felt so mean about it. I felt like I was ditching people and being impolite to them. . . but I finally decided that it’s okay to be a bit selfish in this department because it affects my whole life!
    Kudos for writing it out so beautifully!

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    1. I think with the advances in technology, we’re expected to be “on” and available all the time. Stresses me out. We should be able to take time to decompress and chill out by ourselves without feeling guilty about it.

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  35. originalwomanempowerment

    In reference to the questions in paragraph 4, the “answer” may simply be you are growing, and thank Him for that. Those same complaining, draining, lifeless friends are the ones who will never experience such a growth, thus making it inevitable that your Spirit will seperate itself from them.
    What a refreshing article, the first and only one I will read today, just so that I may meditate on its meaning throughout this day.

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  36. Pingback: Freshly Riffed 61: This Is It, Boys, This Is War | A VERY STRANGE PLACE

  37. I had a friend who would listen to my woes on my marital relationship. She laid it on the line. If it is that bad, why are you still with him. I left after 42 years, but actually he left me many years before. Mental cruelty and emotional torture. Why did I endure? I felt I must for the sake of family. Finally, it ended. I am now a free woman and I will never get trapped again.

    Thanks for sharing this article. I nearly commit suicide over this trapped feeling. Nobody could help me. I had to make the choice. I feel like a bird with wings. Hugs to everyone who feels others are dragging you down. Don’t, just don’t let it happen. We are born with choices, and if the choice is a mistake, cut the cord.

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  38. This post sums up my year, and I’ve been meaning to write a similar piece on it but could never put it into words, so thank you for lending a light to my thoughts.

    It can be quite the challenge to distance ourselves from negative influences and overshadowing energies, most especially when it is being emitted by friends we’ve known for a long time. These things can really suck the soul out of you, so much that I used to question my tolerance for people, which led to me doubt my own abilities to empathize and react kindheartedly, mainly because I’m not as blessed as most of the company I keep. We have to watch out for ourselves, or else we may not realize how much of the same bad habits may be manifesting in our own behaviors, or probably worse. Not only in relationships, but in other aspects of our life, there comes a time when we have to notice the things that aren’t working for us anymore and give ourselves some space to adjust to changes. Happy New Year! Sending my good vibes all the way from the Philippines.

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  39. I think a real friend would never put all the negative aspects to his/her life to your shoulders. We all have different moments in our life, both positive and negative and it is normal to share it with your friends, but when this person gives you only negative – in my mind this is a parasitism but not a friendship. They try to make you guilty if you have something nice in your life and suddenly you start to lose all your happiness about this..
    So I absolutely agree with you – it is such a great feeling to be free and to be only responsible for your own issues, and to appreciate your real friends!

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  40. I adore what you’ve said, and I have to agree completely and utterly.
    I have a certain someone I need to excise and once I do I know I’ll be so much better for it.
    Thank you for expressing in words my true feelings on the situation, it’s helped me consider the importance of that I need to do!

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    1. Do consider it carefully. If you are close to them, I would speak to them about it first. However, if you find you still need to cut the ties, I think you’ll find yourself lighter shortly after doing so. I’ve even had some facial wrinkles diminish- especially during this past month. For real.

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      1. I was in love, it was one-sided. He kept me at arms length and it absolutely killed me.

        Eventually he realised I wasn’t right and stopped talking to me altogether. This was a year ago.

        But he’s back in my life and it’s reminiscent of last year, so I know it needs to end.

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      2. It’s weird because I watch myself wallow in it and I know it can’t go on but it does.

        Giving him one more chance and when he blows it this time it’s well and truly over.

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  41. couplestylo

    Thank you for posting this. Over the past year and in the process of my divorce (something I haven’t written about publicly as of yet), I have been blessed to have several of these “cancerous” people exit from my life (I live in LA, so there are plenty of cancers to go around). And you are so spot on to describe how at times it feels like there is a hole where they once were and at other times it’s difficult not to dwell in anger–but people are in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime–and we are so much better off when seasons sometimes change… Thank you again for sharing. 🙂 –Angela

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    1. I’m sorry to hear about your divorce. Even when it’s for the best, it can still be a painful, stressful process.

      Here’s to the changing of seasons and the beginning of new, beautifully symbiotic relationships. *Cheers*

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  42. zulaikhazainul

    Wow thank you so much. You’ve really opened up my mind. Being a teenager, it’s hard to let go of your friends, even if they’re poison to me, because well if you don’t have any friends at this age, you’re just a loner. Anyways, this coming new year, I’m gonna try to be more comfortable just being with myself. Thank you again 🙂 And if you want to, you can follow my blog: day2dayepiphanies.wordpress.org

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  43. Pingback: A long entry for an awfully long year. I am happy where I am. | defying the stars

  44. Thank you for sharing this. I had a friendship that I recently had to end. I felt like I failed despite the fact that I couldn’t spend time with her anymore without her trash talking another friend of hers or seeing her blow up in a defensive rage anytime she thought someone might be disagreeing with her. Then whenever I would share something new I wanted to do or try she would have some remark that was more of a backhanded compliment. I feel better overall not having her around anymore but when I think about her I still feel like there is something that I must have failed at. I guess I just miss the friendship that we had in the beginning.

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  45. CassieRae

    Awesome. I did this once, and it was as if a corner of my mind was cleared. It’s sad, but necessary sometimes. Wish I had read this back then!

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  46. Oh my gosh, I am SO with you on this! I have to remember to ask myself, after spending time with people, how I feel about things and about myself. It can be easy to feel a sort of kinship when one is focusing on negative things… as though we are helping each other through something. But it’s tricky. I am surprised to realize how much tolerance I had developed for people that tend to make me feel worse about things because of the dark cloud they’ve decided to carry. I was under some stupid impression that I could “help” them or that I would not be bogged down by their unwavering negativity. I feel it is something I will continually have to monitor. And it’s always hard to say goodbye to the good those people have in them because there is usually something really good in there too. Good luck! And a low-key but certain congratulations on your good riddance…

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  47. Good for you for noticing that the company you keep was hurting you. I’ve had several relationships in my past exactly like the one you describe. They are like cancers, and it is so hard to cut them out. You struggle with guilt. Shouldn’t you be there for you friends? How do you just end a relationship that has spanned 10 or 15 years? However, some people are not good for us. They aren’t good for themselves either, but we can’t fix them or bolster them on our own. They have to fix their own lives, just as we have to see to ours. All we can do is pray for them, send them healthy thoughts, and let them go.

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  48. Wow Michelle! I just happened to check this post on a whim to see if there were any new comments haha! Look at all the people this post has helped, so cool!

    I haven’t heard back from the friend I ended the relationship with. I find myself wondering about her but then I remember the times I’ve caught myself dancing in the kitchen or singing random songs when no music is playing and I think, I’ve missed you. The you being me.

    I spoke with another friend recently who commented on one of my silver linings. I used to be famous for those! She said, “I’d missed your silver linings. I hadn’t realized they had left, but I’m glad they’re back.”

    I feel like a spell has been lifted and I’m lighter on my feet. Well, that lighter on my feet part could just be the pounds I dropped after oral surgery. 😉 Silver lining?

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    1. It’s really something how so many people all over the world relate to this post. I think many of us are growing tired of the negativity that permeates our lives via the television, internet, radio, friends, magazines, etc. We want change so badly that we are willing to walk away from those negative aspects in our lives and we don’t look back. I decreased my internet time because it seemed to bring me down and I no longer watch the news. I keep up on current events, but on my own terms; I refuse to swallow everything the media feeds me. Anyway, I started to email you this morning to ask if you had heard from your friend, but Maya decided to take over my computer to watch Thomas the Tank Engine, and then I had short-term memory loss and I plain forgot to get back online until now.

      That dancing and singing thing- I completely get that. I’ve started doing that again during the past month or so and it feels so good. I think the fact that a friend commented on your positive change solidifies your decision- if you had any doubts. You obviously made the right choice. Good for you.

      By the way, I’ve been reading that book and I was involved with a “crazymaker” for years- even still in communication until the past couple of months. Huge relief to adios that from my life. I’ve just been letting go all over the place… including my diet. Yikes! Gotta get that back on track…

      Talk to you soon!

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  49. So well said. I have two friends who always complain about their lives but never do anything to improve them. They’ve had all the opportunities but have chosen not to do anything with them. All I want to do when they whine on and on is slap them out of it. But that will never happen and I doubt they’ll ever change. The catch ups are becoming less frequent and some day they’ll stop altogether.

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  50. You have no idea how much I needed to read this ! Thank you for your kind words and advice ! I too am going through an extremely bad relationship that is doing nothing but running my life and allowing a side of me that I hate to come out ! Thank you thank you!

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  51. I really enjoyed reading this. I don’t know what blogging is all about but i’m interested in it. I have a lot on my mind and I go through so much so I feel like writing about it. Not really sure what to write and not write when sending things through the internet but I’ll figure it out. You became very inspirational after reading this blog. It was very sensitive and touching to me and I understood you completely. Maybe if you get this message you could give me some informative advice on how should start my blog. I write journals and poetry just for fun so maybe you can help.

    Kasi

    Have a blessed New Year 8)

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I appreciate it.

      You know, WordPress has a bunch of information on designing your blog. I would start here: http://en.support.wordpress.com/
      I think you’ll find a lot of support within the writing community. Check out some tags like http://wordpress.com/tag/poetry/ and see what you find.

      I look forward to reading some of your poems. Good luck with your journey, and Happy New Year, Kasi.

      Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

  52. I so agree with the post and can so relate. I have actually
    had to fully let people go that were in my life that were this exact way. I have a aunt who is somewhat this way, but not as bad as she use to be because we’ve had talks about it, but I still feel at times I have to distance myself from the her. I think we all have had experiences like this before. We have to take care of our mental and spiritual selves.

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    1. We do need to take care of all aspects of ourselves. As time passes, I realize more and more just how vital it was to my mental and emotional health to completely ditch that relationship. I wish I would have done it sooner.

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  53. Now that was a heavy read…and am so glad to have read it! Never heard anybody explaining it in such a clear and beautiful manner. You have a talent Michelle, although I doubt I’m the first person to have mentioned this. Brilliantly written!

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    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment. The past year was definitely one of inner growth and, especially from October forward, a time when I regained my self-confidence. I feel one hundred times better and I’m far more creative than I have been in ages. I dropped some useless luggage last year, to be sure.

      Here’s to the future. *cheers*

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