By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service.
We live in a world where people, even those we once loved, are treated as if they were disposable.
Without even talking about the issue, we move away from friends and family who disappoint us, and without so much as a goodbye, they are out of our lives.
I’m not saying this is an inappropriate response if someone has been abusing you. But being offended is different from being abused, and keep in mind that if your loved one did say something that ruffled your feathers, chances are he or she would be willing to apologize.
If you just disappear without saying what went wrong, that person won’t have the chance to make up for the pain you felt and may still feel.
These days, instead of making the effort to work things out, people just stop returning texts and phone calls. This may be easier than telling someone the truth about how you feel and why, but it will not give you the peace of mind and assurance you are looking for.
When someone does something inappropriate, it can trigger many unpleasant feelings and memories, many of which may have nothing to do with that person. It’s as if all those negative vibes were in one mental filing cabinet that you push on top of anyone who hurts you. It’s called projection.
Rather than push away someone whom you’ve known for a long time or someone you love, letting him or her know you’ve reached your limit can help that person change for the better, and it can save your relationship. You would be surprised by how many people can’t say they have old friends, because they have engaged in this disconnection pattern most of their lives, and it isn’t emotionally healthy.
Relationships and friendships take effort, and no one is perfect. Although it may be difficult for you to discuss your feelings with someone who has hurt you, and you may be scared to open the discussion, it is the only way to resolve your issues. A few well-chosen words and taking the time to listen to one another could easily save your friendship or your marriage.
People are not disposable. If you have ever had the experience of cutting someone out of your life, only to feel a great loss later on, you know what I mean. Family is everything, and for those who don’t have one, friends become that family.
Having people in your life makes you feel stronger and validated. If you push them away, you will feel a loss as soon as your anger goes. It is much easier to hold on to positive feelings about the people in your life than to harbor negative ones.
Walking around with anger and hurt in your heart does not make your life a better place to be.
So try some conversation before you say goodbye or stop texting. When you are upset, you may not realize the importance of old friends and loved ones, but in time, you always do.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” )