by Madeline Laughs
There is an odd feeling of relief one gets when they finally know the truth about a situation. No one ever talks about feeling it, but it’s there. It’s not a smug or satisfying feeling, but rather more like a deflation or a lowering of the blood pressure. You feel clean, like you can move on now. You aren’t stuck in that place of limbo anymore, wondering if what you suspect, is actually true.
Now I know.
Suspicion and confusion are tools used to psychologically abuse a person. As long as they can keep you off balance, then they’re in the clear. You will never figure it out and will always be under their control. Your brow will be forever creased in that questioning furrow, wondering if you’ve gone mad.
Until one day you aren’t under their spell anymore and the lies they told, the deception they used and the subterfuge they hid, are all exposed to you.
Now I know.
You had always wondered if that friend really liked you as much as they said they did, especially when they blow you off and aren’t home to greet you like they said they would be and you’re sitting on the curb with your luggage because they went to the movies instead.
You were always confused that “I love you” was always followed by an insult about the way you cooked something, or the way you filed a paper.
You wanted to believe this person was your confidante, your champion, but someone has just told you the awful things they say about you when you aren’t present.
You listen as they talk about how uneducated and backwards their own mother is, or of the audacity of their drug using cousin. You listen as they point out that none of those people are as smart and together as they are. But you know that your friend thinks you are just as smart and would never make these kinds of judgments about you behind your back.
Then one day it just all comes to you on a silver platter.
Now I know.
For me it’s a process. I go through stages with the NowIknows.
At first I’m shocked. In my head I try to sort through all kinds of reasons to explain it away, to make it go away. I don’t want to believe anyone would want to hurt me like that. I want it to stop!
Sometimes I won’t even finish exploring the truth of a situation because I just can’t bear to hear it, to read it or to listen to it.
That’s the second stage.
It’s called denial.
If I don’t absorb the truth, then I can go on with my life and never have to let that kind of evil in. I can remain clean, blissfully unaware and clueless. If I don’t know about it, then it can’t hurt me.
Curiosity always gets the best of me though and I end up finally taking that painful plunge to explore all of the evidence.
That’s when I get pissed.
That’s when I want to hit back.
Now I know.
Finally I just accept the situation for what it always was. It was never what I thought it was and when the smoke and mirrors are all taken away, I can see the truth.
Now I know.
What I have described is how I react when I find out the blackened truth about a relationship, a friendship or any connection someone has with me. When I discover it has been a lie all along. I know you’ve all been there too. The stages you go through when this happens is very much like grieving the loss of a loved one, because that is essentially what you’re doing.
You are accepting that this person, that you once cared about…has metaphorically died. They are no longer going to be a part of your life. They are now a part of your history and you are moving on.
Now I know.
What do you do with what you now know?
It is going to be a process. Take it slow and be kind to yourself.
There is no reason to keep going back for more proof that what you suspected all along was true. Once you have the evidence that shattered your image of someone, piling more on top won’t make it any more or less true than it already is. Walk away and start rebuilding your own life. You deserve to be happy and taking care of yourself and your needs is what your main focus should be.
Forget the person that set out to hurt you. They have nothing to offer you, but more of the same.
One of the stages I also go through is the guilt.
I know that sounds kind of silly, but it’s true. I feel guilty that I won’t be there to do the things for my friend that I know they’ll eventually need. I feel guilty that I won’t be there to support them anymore. They will need me! And I won’t be there.
The overwhelming urge to backslide into a toxic relationship has always been this stage.
I’m getting much better at letting that go.
I’m getting much better at not allowing the toxic friend manipulate me with guilt. I am getting much better at putting myself first and finally accepting that they never really needed me at all.
They merely wanted to control me and they used guilt to do it.
Now I know.
Now that I know, it’s not all about the solemnity of being aware. There are more upsides to knowing the truth, than there are downsides. The one downside is the hurt and the loss of the feeling of friendship that you once thought you had. That’s the only downside and it’s not even that true because in reality, you never had a friendship with this person at all.
The hurt is something that will pass and how you choose to move forward, will mean it’s passes quickly, or remains your focus for a very long time. I don’t know anyone, short of a masochist, that likes to feel this kind of pain for any amount of time.
I used to ruminate on dead or dying relationships. I would beat myself up again and again, wondering what I did wrong and how I could salvage what was left of the tattered and frayed remnants of my connection to this person. The truth is that there was nothing I could have done before the relationship died and there’s nothing I should be doing about trying to save it.
Once you find out that what you believed was all a lie, the only thing left there to fix it, are more lies. That’s ridiculous!
Today I choose to just let it go.
I focus on me, rather than on someone that never appreciated me. I appreciate myself instead. There are numerous upsides to moving on and away from a toxic relationship with someone.
I no longer have to comfort eat.
I never realized that I was a comfort eater until I had been so incredibly successful on my diet when I was out of town working for 2 weeks. I came home and all it took was one screaming, whining phone call and I was whipping the steering wheel of my car into the McDonald’s drive thru, ordering a happy meal. And I don’t mean the actual Happy Meal either. I was ordering food to numb the overwhelming despair of being trapped in a situation that was making me terribly unhappy.
I needed a happy meal to stuff my face with, so I’d feel better.
I have the time to actually spend on projects that mean something to me.
When I’m home, I never realized the amount of time I spent being controlled by someone else. My mornings were always interrupted with a phone call or an assignment. There was always something I needed to do for someone else and it was imperative that they come first.
Whenever I missed a call or didn’t answer the door, the crazy making phone calls and door knocking would start. If I wouldn’t freely give my time, then they would make sure they took their pound of flesh, whether I acquiesced of my own accord, or not. The frustration on their face and the guilt regurgitated at my feet was more than one person should ever have to manage, but I managed.
Now that my schedule has been freed up, I have spent blissful hours just doing something for me.
I am no longer torn by two sides.
I would listen to the one side “Where did I go wrong?” or “Why is she like that?” and I would know the answers, but instead of telling her the truth, I would pat her on the hand and tell her she wasn’t wrong and that I didn’t know why she was like that.
I would listen to the other side “Why is she so mean?” or “I can’t believe she’s so stupid!” and I would know the reasons, but instead of telling her the truth, I would issue promises of loyalty and support to champion her whenever I could.
Being caught in the middle of two women that authentically hate and despise one another takes a toll on the person trying to manage the feud. I do not recommend it to anyone.
Make no mistake. If they are quick to disparage each other to you, they are even quicker to disparage you with each other.
Now I have decided to let them work it out for themselves.
I am no longer the referee and feel total liberation that I do not have to know what they say to each other anymore. I already know all I will ever need to know about that. I accept the fact that nothing makes their kind of relationship work better, than the mutual hate they have for another. Let them wallow in the mud they create because the only way they can relate to each other, is by tearing someone else apart.
Now I know.
I have more time to spend with friends that actually are friendly, that want nothing more from me than a smile on my face and the joy of my company. I have made room on my own stage of life for the fabulous people I know, to stand. I have finally learned how to let go of the poisonous and toxic relationships that have kept me dormant and from being the person I could be, all along.
I can do that now, because now I know.
- I Don’t Need You, I’ve Got Me (wrongside.me)
- Why am I so comfortable with telling you everything; good or bad. I shouldn’t be sharing my life with you (fallenangelsbrokenhearts.wordpress.com)
- Value of Friends – Opinion Piece 5 (neomabiletsa1.wordpress.com)
- Truth (notjustanotherdigitalmediablog.wordpress.com)
- 10 Things Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You: Speak Your Truth – Part 8 of 10 Series (floatingfreedom.wordpress.com)
- what’s done is NOT done: whiskey, tango, foxtrot (alwayscoffee.wordpress.com)
- i want to die… (windwhisperings.wordpress.com)