When it’s Time to Let Go

I have been dealing with a situation in recent months which involves the deterioration of a friendship I once held very dear.

I watched when he had a job and was going to school and was happy and fulfilled and moving forward with his life. I have never seen him so positive, optimistic, and happy. He went through a break up and lost all forward momentum, decided his job was too hard and quit it, lost or gave up on job after job, descended into drugs (just weed, as far as I know) and copious amounts of alcohol. He lost opportunities. In that time, I and my friendship were nothing to him. I was all but totally abandoned in favor of the people he could drink with and be irresponsible with (who, ironically, were getting their lives together and being responsible and moving on). He dated and messed around and paraded this around in front of anyone who had eyes, particularly this ex he claimed to still care about. He was clearly acting out, whether it be in rebellion or anger or sadness.

I kept trying to pick him up, using any methods I could, some of which were awful and counterintuitive. I was an ass and would turn into a hateful harpy when he wouldn’t do what I wanted (which was more frequently than I care to admit). I got overinvolved because I couldn’t bear to see my friend do this to himself. On one hand I thought that he was just being young and irresponsible and better to do it now than when he is in his 30s and 40s. On the other, I thought that he’s at a time in his life where he needs to shape it into what it will become.

Most people would have abandoned him long before, but I am loyal bordering on pathetic and controlling. I kept hoping for him. He would ask for my advice and then do the opposite, though I doubt it was malicious or purposeful—it’s easier to stay in the mess you’ve made than to climb out of it. He asked me for help and would then abandon me when it was offered.

He has left his home place (not coincidentally where I also reside) and is now being coddled by his enabling family (or it’s all a lie and he’s with his partying friends). Regardless, they know him, know his foibles, his shortcomings, his weaknesses, and are doing everything they can to help get him on his feet again. They are probably the support system he needs (even though they give him no room to mess up, so I am wary of the real lessons he will learn). Frankly, I should be happy that the burden is taken off my shoulders. He has repeatedly claimed that he is doing better and will come back home to think and be a better person. Instead, he lies, he abandons, he chickens out, and (once again) he completely disregards my friendship and takes my loyalty for granted.

I’m done now. It is no longer a matter of loyalty, but rather sadly clinging on to someone who doesn’t want to learn or grow. He clearly doesn’t want my help or my friendship. It stings…hurts, actually, but it’s probably for the best. I have made myself too available, put my life on hold to help him sometimes. But it’s over now. I’m not saying we are not friends, or that I’ll never speak to him again, but things will have to change, and I don’t know that this will happen, or that I will be around when/if it does.

At the end of it all, I realize that you can help and be there, but when you are no longer valued, when you are taken for granted, the situation rarely gets any better. I’m ashamed that I have been so pathetic until now, but I have come away from it smarter, wiser, and more aware of the signs that I am being taken for granted. And I will not tolerate it anymore.

I was once told something which rings especially true now: You can never control someone else’s actions; you can only control your own.

And sometimes, it’s just time to let go.

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~ by Darren Endymion on August 25, 2014.

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