I’m sorry this happened. I’m sorry we couldn’t be friends, that we couldn’t forge the relationship both of us dreamed of.
I know why you ran. I know it’s my fault. I cannot tell you in person how sorry I am, because you couldn’t put your finger on what made you bolt from the relationship. What would I even say to you? “I’m sorry for putting you in a codependent relationship?” “I regret having destroyed something that could have been lovely and enriching?”
I wouldn’t be able to explain. And you, you wouldn’t be able to understand. So, I’m writing it here.
The environment I grew up in, my abusive family situation, the lack of love and healthy relationships, meant that, as a child, I learned to rely on myself. I kept to myself. My hunger for love, compassion, understanding, and validation only grew. It had to emerge one day. When it did, everything collapsed.
I wasn’t even aware of the damage I caused. I could not understand why my relationships seemed to move so fast and then blow up — and why this cycle repeated itself so many times. Sometimes, I’d be stuck in a relationship that I knew wasn’t quite normal, though I couldn’t explain why. I just knew that it consisted of constant fights and then short periods of relative calm, during which we had long, intense conversations that could last for hours.
Maybe things weren’t that intense. Maybe they just progressed too fast, or I said things I shouldn’t have at the wrong times. No matter, it took a crazy chain of events to figure out what I was doing, and why it wasn’t good. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I just wanted some love. Someone who cared about me.
It’s been around seven months since my last unhealthy relationship. I pride myself on the supportive friends I’ve had for the last two years, who are aware of my streak of unhealthy relationships, who coached me in the art of healthy relationships, who demonstrated creating boundaries, and who aren’t afraid to say no.
Not to run, but to say no. Because they knew that under it all, I just wanted some love.
I didn’t know what I was doing; no one told me. I was blinded by my pain. That doesn’t make me a freak, or a dangerous person. Wanting love — it makes me human. Making mistakes — it makes me human. Learning from them and changing — makes me human.
And forgiving, not judging, and not spreading lashon hara — that’s what makes you human.
I thank Hashem for bringing me here. For getting me out of the destruction I caused, for helping me heal, for helping me find healthy outlets. I thank Hashem for helping me slowly learn the art of boundaries, and for the understanding that I can share without disclosing every deep, dark part of my life. That I can help validate myself, and that I don’t need admiration from a random acquaintance to feel good about myself. I can get what I need in different ways now.
I’m still learning — I do slip up and find myself wanting to dial your number for a conversation that’s a bit too intense to be okay. But I really am someone different now.
You’re an old friend. You don’t know all this. You just know I’m bad news. The word is out, everyone knows — “Don’t get too close to her.” I pay the consequences of my past actions every day. But every day I consciously monitor my interactions with the people around me, hoping that with self-knowledge, skills, and understanding, I can nurture healthy friendships.
So, if you’re reading this, I ask you, please don’t judge. I know you feel it’s your duty to warn others to stay away from me, but please, please realize that people can change, if you let them.
That’s a hope I carry with me every day.
I still care about you and want the best for you, even if you don’t understand, even if we can’t have a relationship right now, or ever again.
That why I sign off as…
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 595)
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