Sunday, January 23, 2022

New year, new me. You hear that a lot, right? I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, so this isn't that. I left something behind in 2021. Not easy, especially for me, because I have a hard time letting go. By doing so, I passed the final test.

I think about these little sessions I've had over the past couple years and I can recognize what I was working through during each of them. Just processing different things by revealing them to the camera. This was my therapy. 

What do I feel now? Peace. I was looking for peace outside of myself; Chasing the proverbial carrot on a stick. Sometimes that carrot isn't even what it pretends to be. Vegetable metaphors aside, I think real peace is found in releasing your grip on what’s weighing you down. The things that were harming me the most were things I had allowed in the first I stopped allowing it. Sounds simple, right? 

Consider why people lost at sea end up drinking salt water. It can’t taste good, and it’s undoubtedly going to cause more problems. It comes down to “I have a need, and I care more about fulfilling that need right now than how harmful it’s going to be in the long run.” That’s what it’s like to abandon yourself seeking the approval of others. It's self sabotage. When you get past trying to be on everyone's good side all the time, you can see the truth about people. That's broad advice, so I'll be a little more specific.

So. I knew a person. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. Someone who did everything they could to hold me back, trip me up, make me doubt myself, and destroy my self-worth while disguised as a friend.

The poison is slow acting, and the effects are subtle, but over time it begins to work on you. You don’t even know it’s happening because your brain tells you it isn’t real.

Then, one day, you stop to check yourself and notice there’s a knife in your back and you don’t even remember how it got there. This was my friend who lied to me for fun? It was my friend who sabotaged me repeatedly? My friend who expected complete and blind loyalty yet returned none? My friend who skillfully used cycles of highs and lows – kindness and abuse – so I would overlook their mistreatment every time a breadcrumb was offered? 

What was my response to all of this? I tried harder. I thought “if I can be a better friend, maybe they will stop treating me like that.” That is how you get stuck in an abusive cycle. They will deny every last thing as they whisper in your ear that they're on your side, all the while driving the knife deeper. Friendship shouldn’t hurt, and they want to hurt you. You are a target. You are prey.  

What feeds a villain like that is the power they have over you; That they can control you and manipulate your thoughts and actions. Everything is power and control. Every lie you believe is a victory for them and they revel in the pain they cause. They have to convince themselves they’re superior to you. They have no remorse and they are always the victim, no matter what they’ve done to you. The way to win is not to play the game in the first place. Walk away, make your growth a priority, and slowly forget them.

Their cruelty will haunt you no more.