When relationships or friendships reach a plateau or fall apart, you go through a gamut of emotions. Rejection is typically the most prominent feeling. Rejection brings with it feelings of pain, hurt, embarrassment, and anxiety. And normally, we, as selfish human beings, tend to point to the other party as being the one at fault. We point out their faults, why we didn’t like them, their annoying quirks, and most importantly, why THEY made the relationship impossible to remedy. We do this as a defense mechanism to protect what’s most valuable to us… ourselves. Our pride. Our ego.
I am by no means a guru at all this psychological stuff. But after a great deal of soul searching and reading, I come to understand that any time we are cut off from a relationship or friendship, our own insecurities emerges and manifests itself in various shapes and forms.
I had a lengthy conversation with my cousin in-law regarding a dismissed friendship. She wondered what went wrong. I told her to dig deep and decipher where these emotions were coming from, because it’s really not the friend she should be focusing on. It’s her. Her issues. And the root of the matter surfaced during our conversation… she wanted to be liked. To fit in. To be accepted.
Rejection is never easy. The ironic thing is it doesn’t matter the situation… rejection is rejection and it doesn’t feel good.
My girlfriend, Jo, had built a picturesque life with her baby daddy. They built a multi-million dollar empire TOGETHER out of blood and sweat working together out of their garage. They married. Everything was great. She, then, struggled to conceive. Her husband reassured her he was fine with or without and was happy. She still wanted to try all that she could. And finally, she conceived a beautiful little girl. When the baby was five months, Jo discovered her husband was unfaithful with a mutual friend. This state of unrest went on for nearly two years until she decided enough was enough and pulled the plug by filing for divorce. Maybe in a last ditch effort to set him straight or really because she had no more to give.
I don’t like soliciting advice because I’m not in her shoes to understand, but she asked. I asked her what their communication was like. She said angry. I asked her what she was doing to make it better. She said “I stopped talking to him.” I asked her “what part of this is your fault? What do you own up to?” She said she’s tried everything… from being nice to being angry to being indifferent.
But here’s the thing… because I was the crazy person in my own relationship… I understand maybe what her husband is going through. He wants to be helped. He wants someone else to fix his problems and quickly at that. But until he fully accepts responsibility for his thoughts, actions, and perspective on life… they will keep banging on the same door that leads to the same exact chaos without fail. It’s up to him to decide what he wants out of his life, his marriage, and his relationship with his daughter. She can’t force him to love her or change. It’s up to him to have that epiphany where all of a sudden the lightbulb goes off and he fully accepts his own shortcomings. It’s also, I believe, extremely important for him to begin focusing on what was good about their relationship, what made him fall in love with her, and acknowledge her love for him rather than constantly focusing in on what is wrong. You speak a thousand negative words, then that is all you will hear and start to see as truth.
What I told her was… in the quiet before the storm, work on herself. I told her not to kill herself over thoughts such as “why weren’t we enough.” I suggested she think about what she could do to be the woman she needs to be in order to be strong enough to be all things for herself and her daughter, because she is not going to change him overnight or maybe ever. Show him by example. I also very blatantly told her that she may have made him feel rejected when she couldn’t accept him as being enough if they didn’t end up having a child. She admits their distance and his infidelity happened over the course of their fertility treatments. I told her to recognize and give credit to the fact that he told her she was enough for him with or without a child… and despite with his own hesitations, still went through with it FOR HER.
It’s always easiest to focus on what the other person didn’t do for you or hasn’t done for you. And as friends and outsiders looking in, it’s easy to judge and say… “that rat bastard, girlfriend, you are better off without him.” But this is real life. And real people. It’s not easy to just cut ties, especially when a child is involved.
Our childhood angsts resurface from time to time when triggered by a person or situation, I think the key to a successful resolution is realizing it’s not the person that’s the cause of a problem for you… it’s merely a trigger. You, yourself, have to discover why that “trigger” causes you pain, where it stems from, and how you can bury it or at least learn to recognize it and deal with it.
Jo, love, you will be fine no matter what. You are an amazing woman and mother. And I pray God will open his eyes, heart, and soul to see the truth.