In the past I have been able to kind disappear out of people’s lives without making it seem personal. I thought that was the kindest thing I could do. But it appears I was wrong. I think the kindest thing you can do now is have someone you love hate you. And I can see this lesson in one of my closest and longest term friendships. I feel like I have the right to hate him, to despise all of this bad qualities, because I love him and will walk through fire to get to him. Even if he starts it.

That’s a vestige of a previous version of myself. Growing up in a war zone, with very little sense of what or why I was fighting, I would not let anyone without a squad get left behind. I developed extremely strong defense mechanisms. While they inhibited my ability to thrive they enabled a tougher-than-nails mindset. I am prepared for nearly every worse case scenario. What I am not prepared for -what I may never be prepared for- is the deep, unshakable way that these experiences shaped my beliefs about the world. It’s something that people from dysfunctional families tend to understand better than those from functional ones.

Let me tell you what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that people who think it’s okay to treat you a certain way need to be confronted directly, and a clear boundary needs to be set – regardless of if you have a desire to continue a relationship.

Today, for the first time in a long time I failed to use my words. And the reality makes the world a little bit of a colder place. But I take comfort in that I can do no real harm to anyone, and if there’s going to be an ending, it’s best to do it all at once.

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