I was pretty pissed off earlier today. I was thinking about my recently-ended friendships, and I got mad that I wasn't loved by those people. Yes, I see the conflict. I don't want those friendships, and I resent that neither do they.
I spent some time thinking about how unavoidable it all was, and how disappointing. I tried to help them with their problems - problems big picture and the problems they had with me in the much smaller picture - but I came to realize that I can't help someone any more than they are willing (or able) to help themselves. And that I have limits.
I'd never really known that I have limits before. I am sensitive. There are so many things I am not afraid of. I can handle really heavy stuff - I've had to, to become who I am now. But I will not continue a relationship when there's unkindness.
I used to. Growing up, there was a lot of unkindness. It seemed my life really was a battlefield, with nary a word of love and encouragement. There was name-calling, there was anger and cruelty, there was humiliation and withdrawal of love.... and I suspect that the fact that I still want to mend a damaged, painful relationship has more to do with those youthful years than with the current friendships.
The truth is, I no longer enjoyed the company of my (former) friends. And so my good-bye is not bitter-sweet at all. The realization that my unwillingness to let them go gently, and my hurt feelings that they (also) no longer care, is me hurting myself... that's bitter-sweet. Good to realize, hard to learn from.
But I will.