Okay, so maybe the emotional side didn’t move you, or maybe you’re just reading this because you’re curious or maybe just because it’s the next damn post.
Regardless, let’s explore the other reasons as to why ‘the friendship breakup’ affected me so much.
I was incredibly sick. I mean, I couldn’t get out of bed for an entire year without vomiting multiple times every single day.
Not even exaggerating. I have permanent damage on the enamel of my teeth as a result.
As a result, I was constantly being left behind and watching my friends participate in all the things I wanted to, but couldn’t. (I think some of it was just unfortunate chance, and some of it would later become happy coincidence as those that wanted to found a way to use my illness against me.)
Because I was sick, I think I was more confused than normal – and it was harder to trust my thoughts than normal. Before I considered that anything that was happening was ‘real’, I had to remember that I was sick, so had it happened when I was sick? Or been because I was sick?
At the time, I was living in a small town, and I was incredibly isolated.
There’s so many things that I love about small towns. Honestly. But, when you’re eight-nine hours away from everyone you’ve ever known, in a small town with a tiny airport that pretty much exists because you live in a mining community, it can become pretty lonely – especially when you’re sick, and you’re in desperate need for friends because you feel like you don’t have any.
And lastly, if those first two reasons didn’t make sense, it was because they made it clear the friendship was over, but they never made it clear as to why.
I’ve talked about this a lot, about why it’s so important to actually ‘break up’, and I also think it’s a key piece into why all of this mattered to me for so long. (Trust me, I’ve thought a lot about the answer to this question, and I don’t think there’s one answer. I don’t think it was just how close I thought we were, and I don’t think it was just because I was sick or just because it was a small town. I think it was a chaotic mixture of all of those things that caused the perfect storm.)
However, I think not knowing why – but knowing the friendship was over, instead of the friendship fading into the background, forgotten – caused a lot of anxieties. I kept wondering what I’d done wrong, or what was wrong with me, and the less answers I was given (whether out of kindness to keep the cruelty from me, or out of malice), the more I’d panic because the more I’d fret over what was wrong with me.
And I think that’s important to note as I’ve had plenty of friendships fade over the years. To be honest, as I’m writing this, it’s quite possible (and likely) that at least some of my friendships are fading right now, either naturally or naturally-with-a-slight-nudge.
But that’s the thing – by the time you’ve really noticed someone fading out of your life (again, this happens all the time naturally so don’t feel bad if you’re starting to think of all the people you started to forget more and more), you don’t really care that Debbie from Accounting doesn’t do chai lattes on Thursdays anymore. Instead, you might lament a little that it’s sad you haven’t seen Debbie from Accounting, or reminisce the office-gossip-drink-catch-ups you used to share, but it’s a different pang. That’s the kind of pang you get when you miss someone, but time has moved on, and not only have you moved on, but so have they. It wasn’t a break up – not necessarily – it was just life.
When someone dumps you, it’s different. You immediately feel rejected, and as a psychological result of the rejection, you immediately start to question what’s wrong with you.
So, if you’re ever wondering, ‘Why do you care so much?’ there’s your answer:
A relationship of two years ended, and I found that devastating. I was sick, being bullied, alone, in a town eight-nine hours away from any friendship or family support network. My illness meant that I frequently questioned if I was paranoid (at least, more than I normally would have) and I didn’t understand what was happening, or why. I felt like I’d failed, and the more I heard rumours about what I’d supposedly done, the more I was convinced I was seem evil she-demon. Over time, that becomes a touch intense. How long could you go? Isolated? Sick? Alone? Bullied?
Whether a friendship break up happens to you or not, I hope that you can at least piece together it all and understand why losing a friendship can be just so damn painful. And hopefully, if you’re ever in a similar situation, you’ll consider what the other person might be thinking and feeling.