It's heart wrenching to break up with someone. Most of us have gone through the process whether it was romantically or in a friendship. We all have either rejected or have been rejected.
Sometimes it's for good reason, if the relationship was unhealthy, unsupportive, or dangerous to our self-esteem or life. Other times it's pure laziness. We get bored, our feelings get hurt, or expectations aren't met. It's much easier to check out, listen with glazed eyes and attention elsewhere than to communicate. It's much easier to find someone new and shiny than to work on cleaning up what's already there or making new efforts to change old habits. It's soooo much easier to impress someone new and present a pulled together self because your secrets and faults aren't already known.
I have an admission - I am a recovering serial breaker upper.
I find it much easier to break up with people than to admit there is something wrong or I need more.
My very first friend breakup at 13 or 14 was valid. I was the ugly friend, the butt of jokes, the one forgotten about or left out just because it was funny to do (no not an assumption, yes I was told this). It was a truly unhealthy relationship in which my self-esteem suffered and I knew I deserved more. But after that, my inner Gremlin (that protective inner critic that tries desperately to keep you safe and protect you from pain, by creating deep set fear), didn't even let me get to that point. It told me that a break up was in order if I recognized any similarity to previous hurtful situations (i.e. a joke that made me feel less than, getting left out even if on accident, etc). She said RUN! Of course, this was only if you had made it through the hugely thick wall I put up and we made it to "friendship".
I had my two favorite "go to" forms of break ups (notice how neither included honest communication):
You know the phase out, someone calls, texts or emails and you slowly stop returning communications (reply times get longer and longer until they just don't happen anymore). This is somewhat drawn out, but it feels natural and can easily be blamed on "we grew apart" or "I'm too busy". Oh, and you can believe I know when I'm on the receiving end of this. But if so, I am most of the time relieved because I didn't have to initiate it.
This is the drastic "I'm not speaking to you anymore" route and isn't communicated to the other party, it just happens. Typically due to a disagreement or hurt feelings and the other party being so obviously at fault. Unless the other party comes back with a sincere apology and makes it better. It's over. This can lead to confusion on someone else's end, especially if they have NO idea what the heck just happened.
I've gotten much better over the years since my first execution of The Freeze and now I have truly strong relationships. I've come to realize that friendships are an investment, we have put a lot of work, even true blood, sweat and tears into them. We share, we give, we take. We love.
Until I really started loving myself, it was hard for me to love others or truly appreciate what they had to offer. Cheesy, but true. The truth was, I didn't love myself enough to be honest or put myself out there because if I didn't accept myself, why the heck would someone else accept me? I was the epitome of selfishness because I didn't have enough inside of me. I looked for validation and love externally and if you couldn't prove your love for me by being exactly what I wanted and needed, my time was being wasted.
Enter consciousness. Awareness has played a huge part in my life. Now realizing this pattern of running away, I've really made an effort to:
1) Be honest with people and tell them what's bothering me. (Gasp)
2) Break-out the mirror and ask myself: What am I contributing to the relationship, good or otherwise?
3) Get clear on my intentions: What do I want from someone, what do I want to give?
I've decided that I want my relationships to enrich, inspire and be real. If one of these pieces are lacking, I need to look at myself first and foremost.
Life doesn't have to be about running away, it can be about running into with an open heart and just seeing what happens.
I'd love to hear from you in the comment section...
What has been your experience with the phase out or freeze?
What is your secret to being a good friend or partner?