05 March 2015

The Emotional Protection of One Self

Light shining through stained glass windows in Ely Cathedral. Ely, U.K.
I think it's safe to say that we’ve all known the type of person who wants to drag everyone else into their own personal hell. We’ve all experienced those whose actions may or may not make sense, but we forgive and forget. Deep inside we hope that they will soon see the fault in their ways. So we try to move on, thinking that our presence alone will make that person feel loved, understood, and not abandoned. Even though we forgive, they still repeat their actions, and each time a little piece of ourselves is burned as an effigy to what loosing ourselves in an attempt to save someone else feels like.

I’ve dealt with this dynamic enough times in my life that I have learned to eventually walk away because I’ve lost myself before and I refuse to let it happen again. So, when someone repeatedly makes me feel like shit for no reason other than their insecurities, I have learned to shut down my emotions in regards to the other person. It may sound cold or cruel, but the part of me that cares shuts off in an attempt to preserve my sanity. I have never done well with self-pity that is extended to others, or those who try to bring everyone in their world down with them. It's a selfish and destructive act that makes my skin crawl.

I have always been, and will continue to be, the girl who easily forgives, but that doesn’t mean that I will always stay steadfast in that person’s life. Especially when I am being made to feel like shit through no fault of my own. Forgiveness does not mean I will continue to go through hell because someone refuses to become aware of and augment their toxic behavior. For me, there will come a point in time where repetition of actions, even if they are followed by apologies, will become more than what I will choose to be apart of.

To me, self-preservation equates to upholding a sense of sanity in one's life, as well as the act of self-respect. Even though that was something I didn’t give myself when I was younger, I’ll be damned if I don’t allow myself that luxury now…

Have you ever experienced anything like this in your life? How did you handle it?


  1. "Forgiveness does not mean I will continue to go through hell because someone refuses to become aware of and augment their toxic behavior." Oh, my soul. Stitch this shit onto a pillow and let me buy it from you, PLEASE. It's insane to me how certain people are so incredibly devoid of any kind of self-awareness. My better self feels deeply for these people, and for their seeming lack of ability to untangle themselves from themselves. But my regular self? She has to keep re-learning that she can choose not to take responsibility that doesn't belong to her anyway, that that isn't what forgiveness is at all, like you've said here.

    Perhaps this is a little bit true for you as well, so I'll add: Part of the reason it grosses me out so much when people "drag everyone else into their personal hell" like it's their full-time job is because I am so on the opposite end of the spectrum. I mean, I am 100% positive that I am way less than sunshiny plenty of times and I'm 100% positive that that affects other people's moods sometimes. Of course. But to me, dwelling in self-pity just seems 1) ickily self-involved and 2) counterproductive. If there's a reason you're feeling sorry for yourself, do something to make a change, right? (This is obviously excluding, like, refugees et cetera - and even folks in horrifying situations they have absolutely no control over aren't as mired in self-pity as the person I mentioned, I guarantee you.) And when I am feeling sorry for myself, and I just HAVE to dwell a little, I batten down the [expletive] hatches and do it in the privacy of my blankets. Now, here's the half-baked theory I have for myself that maybe applies to you too: Maybe these types of people are drawn to people who seemingly have their shit together, either because 1) it seems like the people with their ducks in a row have no problems of their own to worry about and therefore more time for the self-pitier, or 2) the self-pitier is genuinely an emotional wreck without any coping mechanisms and so they are drawn to/rely on people like yourself for… whatever it is they get out of the relationship, because I'm with you on the whole "Um, I'm here and I'm your friend so why do you keep crying about how desolate and wretched and alone you are? Am I not sitting right here!?" thing.

    THIS IS SO LONG. Sorry. Also though, what is that picture! And I want to go to wherever you're taking photos because you always catch such lovely light!

    (Also also. I posted this with my other account so I changed it in case you didn't know who I was. Ha!)

    1. Elle,
      You completely made my day.
      First of all, if I could stitch - I'd totally put my quote on a pillow for you.
      Second of all, the idea of people who do not posses self-awareness is a sad, sad fact. It is almost as if their are automatons to their own version of narcissism. If that makes any sense, and in my mind, it does.

      I agree with you that life is about re-learning to not make the burden of someone else our own is key. Yet it is something that I struggle with as well. I have a weird aspect of guilt deep inside me, so a battle of that stature is to be expected.

      OH! And your statement about how people using their own personal hell as a full time job? I COMPLETELY AGREE! If they put more time into augmentation and self awareness, perhaps their trivial bullshit will cease to exist. I have found that it is mainly people who are dealing with trivial bullshit is more vocal about it than those who are dealing with actual, horrific problems. With that being said, those with horrifying problems do not even fit into the self-pity box.

      Don't apologize for the long comment. Long comments are my favourite.

      To answer your question, I took that photo inside the Ely Cathedral in the UK when my husband & I went last Spring.

  2. I think I go through this a lot, I forgive the person & let them treat me like crap again. Really need to put my foot down.
    I know in my life, I had someone very important in my life & had to let her go based on her own personal decisions that I could no longer back her up on. And it was effecting my life & family.
    I don't know if she sill ever be in my life again. Since after 10 years just made up with her family.
    We have to choose what is best for us. And go from there.

    1. I always forgave and forgave and I noticed that it wasn't really getting me anywhere. I ended up starting to feel as though I was respecting myself less. Sometimes we have to walk away. It doesn't mean that we don't care or that we are cruel, it just means that our level of self-respect is remaining intact.

      I completely understand where you are coming from though. I had to distance myself from a once best friend years ago. It was sad, but I knew I had to do it.

      I'm glad you feel as though you stood up for yourself with your old friend. I bet you are happier because of it.