I’m not the best at holding relationships of any kind.
Friends, lovers, family; I’ll write them off, take it back, and then rewrite them off consistently. It’s not really a good and healthy practice, but it’s just something I do. Don’t be like me. Once you start writing off people, it becomes a bad habit. You start writing people off for stupid reasons and stop working on repairing relationships until the only “real” and good relationships you maintain are in video games, where you’re looking up cheats so you can say exactly what they want to hear and your approval rating goes up.
That being said, sometimes you need to let go of a person. Sometimes, that person is so toxic that they’ve seeped into the core of your very being. Sometimes, it’s healthier to say goodbye.
I’ve gotten a lot of grief for writing off members of my family over the years. I wrote off my mother time and again, but my love for her family has brought us back together repeatedly. She has done some truly messed up things over our lives together, but we’re in this weird kind of shaky friendship at this point. I am re-learning how to love my mother, and it terrifies me, but I am actually trying to make this work between us.
My father, though, is a different story. My family understood how I could write off my mother like I did (like I said, REALLY messed up things she did), but they’ve been on my case about my father since I took that step and officially kicked him out of my life a year ago. I wasn’t able to talk about it before, but I’m finally ready to now.
My father was the most toxic presence in my life. It wasn’t entirely his fault. When you love someone as much as I loved him, you take disappointment a lot harder than you would for anyone else. You take their criticisms harder. You take everything they say to heart and it becomes a very unhealthy version of you.
I want to say the fight at my brother’s graduation caused this whole mess, but I knew the night before that I was done with him. I was done being hurt by him. After years of dealing with his verbal abuse and constant let-downs, I’d finally had enough, though it wasn’t entirely my decision. A lot of my other family wonders how I could just kick him out of my life like I did. A lot of them think it was about the fact he wasn’t going to help me in school after promising he would.
They’re wrong. The truth behind it is that he got rid of me first. When he returned to his almost-ex wife this last time, he stopped talking to me. He chose her over me, and that hurt more than anything I could ever imagine. It still really fucking hurts, because I did love him more than anything, but he chose first. I went from seeing him once a month to not at all. And each month, I got angrier and angrier. And then promises he had made while he and the wife were broken up were null and void, and I. Just. Lost. It.
I left the day after graduation and I haven’t reached out to him since. My brother has, and good luck to him for it, but I won’t continue to be around someone who would choose his third wife over his child. I won’t be around someone who could never respect me as a person because I’m a woman. I won’t be around someone who would abandon his own son.
I won’t say that it was easy, and it’s still not. I have dreams of him trying to apologize, to try and fix this. I went through that deep, deep depression this whole winter and some of spring. He texted me during the Baltimore riots while I was on the phone with my mother, and I burst out crying. This hasn’t been easy, but you know what? It’s been worth it.
I can make a list of at least ten good traits about myself now. I’ll catch myself saying that I’m stupid or crazy, and forcibly correct it. I’m learning to love myself and for that to be okay. I’m learning that being a woman is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is having people think that you’re gay (even though I’m not). I’m learning that it’s okay to have feelings. Having feelings doesn’t make you crazy. Being a woman doesn’t mean you’re crazy. I’m learning how to actually channel my anger into more constructive means. It’s okay to talk well about yourself. It’s okay to eat what you want. It’s just goddamn okay to be me.
I had a realization the other day, and I texted it to my brother. I don’t know if he got the sigh of relief that I received when I thought it, but wow, it was such a powerful thought. By removing my father from my life, I have years of hurt and pain and damage, but it won’t continue past 2014. He can’t hurt me anymore. The hurting has stopped and everything past that point where I cut him out of my life is healing. There will never be new wounds.
You might be wondering why I’m sharing something this personal. I’m sharing it because you have that toxic person in your life that you’re scared to get rid of, and I want to help. I want you to read this as a success story. I want you to be able to read this and finally get the courage to remove them from your life. It won’t be easy, but if you ever need help, you can talk to me about it personally. Do this for no one but yourself. Do this for a better, happier you.