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Become confident enough to say no to relationships that are not good for you.

Updated: May 18, 2022

Time heals all wounds. What a lie.

Sometimes things don’t get easier, you just get used to them being so hard.

I’m not supposed to say that as a therapist, am I? Well, like I’ve told you, I’m not your typical therapist. I don’t believe that everyone gets their happy after ever. There are many things in life that don’t get easier. I’ve been estranged from my family for over 5 years now, and it still hurts. I’ve spoken to people who have been estranged for over 30 years, and they tell me that it still hurts.

Speak to any parent who has lost a child. Tell them that time heals all wounds and see their reaction (don’t really tell them that). Speak to someone who’s partner has died before they really got to start their life together and see if their ‘wounds’ have disappeared. We need to stop this notion that we can get rid of negative emotions. Why should we get rid of them? We act as though if we are still finding things difficult once time has passed, that we are not ‘moving on’. Some things, we can’t move on from because they mean(t) too much to us and will always be part of us. The sadness we feel surrounding the loss of them is the reminder of how much we love them.

We all know that saying, it is better to have loved and lost, then to never have loved at all.

I have so many great memories from earlier times with my family. I wouldn’t give those up to get rid of how sad I feel about it all now. I’m fortunate enough to never have lost a child, but everyone I speak to says they cherish the times they had with them and despite the unbearable pain they feel about them no longer being here, they wouldn’t change those moments they spent together. Same with people whose partners have passed away. They might find a new partner, but they will always cherish the times they had with the person they loved. These people contribute to who we become. When it comes to love, the risk we take is the price of losing it. But if we don’t take this risk, we live a life shut off from the possibility of feeling love, and what kind of life would that be?

So what does this mean? Do we stay trapped, consumed by grief of losing something? No, we might not move on, but we can move forward. I still feel the loss of my family in my life. Every time I get asked for an emergency contact and I need to think about who to put down. When I have to go to hospital and I’m in the waiting room alone. I feel alone. But I keep moving, I keep living my life, in the best way I can.

I believe I have become a stronger person because of my experience with family estrangement. I’ve learned I must put myself first. I must show up for myself all the time, because if I don’t, no one else will be there to help me pick up the pieces of my life. That might sound like a bad thing, but it means I never compromise. One thing I’ve noticed about dating (I am a single lady), is that a lot of people make do with what they get. They stay with someone because they don’t want to be alone. But once you’ve been alone, and you realise you can get through life without a partner, you don’t make room for anyone who isn’t everything you want*. You learn that it is okay to be on your own, but this won’t happen if you don’t give yourself the opportunity.

I’ve had no family or partner in my life for the past few years and I am doing fine. Like I mentioned above, my social life is thriving, I have lots of friends and I have a great career. If I want something, I am in the fortunate position to be able to get it for myself. It would be nice to have a partner one day, but if I don't, it isn't the end of the world. I'm still living my life to the best of my ability.

*Notice I said want, not need. Once you need someone, you lose your power. Once you need someone, you start to make compromises. By compromises, I don’t mean where you are willing to give up both sides of the bed (although I would have to give some serious thought to that). I mean you put up with someone who you like, purely because you like them rather than if things are really working for you.

The problem that can happen in relationships is we stay in them because of how we feel. We think that because we love someone, we should keep them in our lives. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter if it is your parent, sibling or partner. You can love these people and still get very little back. You can love these people and still be abused by them. You can love these people, and still feel incredibly alone. You can love these people, and still wake up every morning wishing you weren’t here because of how they make you feel.

Choosing someone based on your feelings about them doesn’t serve you in the long-term. Sure, maybe you get short-term pleasure from being around them. But what happens when you notice they aren’t invested in you? Or when you realise that you care for them, but they can’t meet your emotional and/or physical needs? That there have always been things about them you don’t like, there have always been signs that they are not good for you, but you’ve let it go on for so long now that you find it hard to let go, so you stay stuck in a relationship that you’d probably have been better off ending in the first few dates. That, in my opinion, is worse than being alone.

One of my favourite movies is ‘PS, I Love You’. There is a quote that resonates with me, and maybe it resonates with you too.

“So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is if we're all alone, then we're all together in that too”

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