Catharsis: all about being dumped

[This post has nothing to do with medicine. If you have had your fill of self-pity, go ahead and skip this one.]

There have been a lot of comments about the dumping post. I came up with it while driving. I carry a voice recorder with me. My exact quote: "If I ever get into a relationship again, and it goes south, I'm going to dump her before she can dump me. I'm never going to be the dumpee again."

For years, I've lived in a self-imposed emotional isolation, content to say that the risk of loving was far too great, and it was better to be alone. This was a pretty stupid decision, but I certainly can see the reasons behind it. The problem is that rather than take steps forward, I've gone backwards.

If you want to know why I'm so vicious about being dumped, I'll provide you with some context. One episode that jumps to mind was in college. It's classic soap opera. Girl dumps me for my best friend who was seeing her behind my back. It should speak volumes that I blamed myself for this entirely, and rather than get angry, I tried to keep a friendship with them. Part of my motivation was that my entire social circle was tied into these two. I wasn't about to make all my friends pick sides. So, we tried to be friends still. It was almost unavoidable. My friend lived in the same apartment building.

Friday night came, and I waited to hear from the grapevine what plans for the night would be. And I waited, and waited. My roommate was out on a date, so I was in my apartment alone. I sat by the phone for a while, then started calling around. Finally, I went up to my friend's apartment. One of his roommates was there. They had all been there, my friends, and they had hung out for a couple hours, and then left for a bar or club. Due to some circumstances I won't go into, I was physically stuck at home. Even if I wanted to follow them, I couldn't.

The most absurd part of all this was that in order to get to my friend's apartment, you had to walk past mine. So all of my friends had walked right past my apartment to my friend's, and then later walked past again. And at no point in time while I was less than 100 feet away did anyone think to call or even knock as they walked by.

I think what hurt most was I couldn't figure out if it was out of spite over this breakup stuff, or out of sheer apathy, that I mattered so very little that it had not even occurred to them to see if I was in. Despite several phone messages on a variety of answering machines, I never got a call back or an apology. When I confronted them, they said they thought I wasn't in. As if I had somewhere better to be.

I was so angry that I was throwing things all night. Some things are surprisingly sturdy! I am not an overtly angry person. Most of my friends have never seen me angry, but that night, I was furious. And which was the better option: was it better to have friends who were so cruel or so utterly thoughtless?

I made a resolution right then. I would learn to be happy on my own, because it was clear to me that I could not trust other people to be there for me. It took me a while, but I burned those bridges and left all those people behind. And looking back now, I can see what a terrible resolution that was, and how so much of my unhappiness with life was self-inflicted. It was as rash a reaction as possible, but not a surprise. They abandoned me.

Just last month, I realized that my life is governed by an utter fear of abandonment. It scares the crap out of me. I made a list of all the horrors of my life, and when I looked down the page, it was all the same: abandoned by family, by friends, by lovers. And so, that one night in college, more than anything else they had done (and let's see, dumped, two-timed, ridiculed, mocked... the list continues), spelled the end of my friendship with them, because they had done the only thing I couldn't forgive.

And I'm trying now to forgive, and to let go of all the emotional torture I've self-inflicted. And that hurts, but what options do I have? All this time, I have burned with furious indignation. But there is no reward in that. There is no comfort. My anger will not change the past, and very likely has made absolutely no difference whatsoever in the lives of the people who have wronged me. I can keep holding onto my anger, but for what purpose?

And so, I've decided it's time to move on, and that means facing all this fury and quenching it. And at least acknowledging it is a start. And as angry as I seem about this one Friday night, it is only a crumb in a life full of being left behind. And as much as I am trying to grow as a person and move on from all this turbulence, I know in my heart one thing: if given the choice, I would rather be the dumper than the dumpee.


Yo said...

I think you should develop a more proactive approach to dating. You need to find ways to meet women and ask them out.

incidental findings said...

[I receive some comments that are more personal than commentary since I've taken my e-mail address entirely off this site. I've removed any personal identification, etc. Please keep in mind that I cannot edit comments at all, so best to leave out e-mail addresses, personal info, etc. -IF]

You have quite nicely written down my own feelings and sentiments. Though my experiences are quite different in context than yours, they are along the same wavelength and I feel for the anguish you have suffered.

In the end though, you said it quite poignantly yourself: "My anger will not change the past, and very likely has made absolutely no difference whatsoever in the lives of the people who have wronged me. I can keep holding onto my anger, but for what purpose?" You can certainly continue to clutch that anger close; use it as a crutch or a begrudging friend but in the end what purpose does that anger serve you? It's not making things better.

You've made, I feel, the right decision in moving on. I had to make that decision too only I had to make it in the seclusion room on the psychiatric ward when I was 15 after I tried to kill myself over 15 years of wrongdoings. I had to let that anger go just like you have to.

It's not easy. Seven years later I'm still letting go. I still find things to be angry and hurt about; I've still be "left behind" and I've still had wrongdoings done against me even after the seclusion room epiphany. But you take it one day at a time and you learn how best to move forward. You learn how to pick up the pieces of your shattered feelings and put them back together again. They may not be perfectly matched, but eventually - they will be stronger for it.

I've been reading your blog since about October last year; that's close to a year now and in that time I've seen you grow more. You may not give blatant details to your life but the glimpses you give show me that you are, in fact, growing and that most certainly is a good thing.

You're one of my favorite reads, and many of these meaningful, deep posts you have touch a part of me that I've tried to forget about, evoking emotions I haven't felt in a while and reminding me of how far I, myself, have come.

Thank you for that.

And in commemoration of Free Hugs Day, I'm sending along a cyber hug for you; because I really think you could use it; and even if you don't - a hug can't hurt much.

Best wishes IF. Keep up the good work; both literarily and otherwise.

Anonymous said...

IF, I have jsut discovered your blogging site. Must admit, I've never visited one before. A search for information led me here. I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts! Confirmation for me, and I can't wait to read more.