emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Ember ([personal profile] emberleo) wrote2012-09-01 12:33 am

Loose ends and burning bridges

For years I've had nightmares about being on a bridge as it breaks, or is flooded, or just goes somewhere I don't want to go. I have no idea if that's at all related to my current emotional dilemma.

Life is going quite well for me, overall. I'm happy with what I'm doing, the relationships I do have time for are working quite well. I have a sense of clarity about where I'm going in many ways. I feel like I've come through a year of tremendous change much improved, and am still making progress, though at less of a breakneck speed.

I've made a lot of deliberate changes, and been shoved through quite a few more, picking up some new things and letting go of a LOT of old things. I know I still have a fair few loose ends to tie up, some debts to resolve, some tasks left undone, sure, but overall I feel very strongly I'm on the right path. I'm trying to be as responsible as I can about not making new promises, keeping as many as I can remember, or clarifying at least what is within my ability, and tying up the loose ends of responsibilities I can or should no longer uphold. I'm trying very, very hard not to burn any bridges in this process, just to cross them with care and keep moving forward.

Unfortunately, my anxiety disorder makes it very hard to tell whether I'm actually torching everything behind me all willy-nilly or not, and I frequently find myself sinking into a feeling that everybody I don't have enough time or energy for anymore must be angry with me, or otherwise very unhappy, because I have failed to be enough to go around. I fear that some of them are thinking "After all we've done for her, she just disappears when we need her? Harumph, what a horrible friend she turned out to be!"

I'm sure, intellectually, that any one of them, even if they say they miss me, would disagree with that statement, but that doesn't stop me from worrying about it. I've had too many people with abandonment issues move through my life, I suppose, and I'm too deeply convinced of my own incompetence and irresponsibility.

So lately I find myself wanting to make a list of all of the individuals I feel guilty for not seeing (and in most cases helping) more often. I'm not sure why I think that will help me. What am I going to do? Manufacture more time and energy for them? Send them email telling them I love them dearly, but have no spoons for them right now, as if they didn't know? Maybe I'm hoping I'll realize it's a short list, and I can actually just go through and make time to see each of them over the next howevermany weeks, to at least say "Yes, I still love you, but my life is changing and I can't keep being as close as we once were" - again, as if they didn't know? I still feel guilty that I don't have more time for my childhood best friend, who I haven't seen on a frequent basis since we were both in highschool, for fuck's sake, and it's not like she hasn't moved on with her life and gotten used to my non-ubiquity or lack of helpfulness long since.

I've tried, with some of them, to explain how I feel about it, about them. Mostly I get that it's fine, and people miss me, but everyone understands. Sometimes I get that I haven't actually conveyed what I was trying to convey. Once or twice I've gotten that they don't have the bandwidth to address me. Overall I feel like I'm making my problems theirs in the process of trying to resolve any problems either of us may have with the recent changes in my life.

Maybe it's just to get the reality check from each of them, for however long it may last, that no, none of them are righteously pissed at me?

What if some of them ARE?

This whole thing feels so stupid, but I can't seem to get any gauge of where to draw the reality line internally on it.

jensurvivor: One for Jen (Default)

[personal profile] jensurvivor 2012-09-01 02:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't see any harm in writing things down, seems it might push amorphous worry-space into a more rational frame. If some of them *are* angry, at least you'll know (thought I doubt they will be), and if you've told some people several times what the situation is, if they're your friends they'll forgive you for that.

Other than that, i think this will get better over time. If you've made big changes it's reasonable to expect they will take several months to take hold entirely.

Also, is school starting soon?
camillanightshade: (Default)

[personal profile] camillanightshade 2012-09-02 11:47 am (UTC)(link)
I find that writing things down can make it clearer. As Jen said if some people are angry then you know it, and they dont seem to have much concern and care for you and what you have been through and are going through.
jcalanthe: 2 women holding hands and walking away (friends)

[personal profile] jcalanthe 2012-09-05 05:14 am (UTC)(link)
When I've gone through periods of withdrawal, the people in my life have ended up in two major categories:

1) The people who care about me & want me to take care of myself, who miss me & have whatever emotional responses about that & still support me in taking care of myself.

2) The people who are grumpy because they're not getting something from me like they used to. This is very useful information to have (though often painful to receive) - if someone cares more about what they get from me than me being OK, they're not actually a friend (in my unkind moments, I would call them parasites but that's probably too strong of a word in most cases).

The people in group 1 stick around. They may ask for the occasional signal flare while I'm withdrawn to let them know I'm OK, and there may be some readjustment when I re-emerge, but these are the true friendships. The people in group 2 largely peel away. I of course have my emotional process around this & grieve the loss of them in my life (and my illusions that we were better friends), and when this passes, there's more room for new people in my life who will hopefully end up in group 1.

Which is my longwinded way of saying that we your friends support you in taking care of yourself. We miss you while you're withdrawn & we'll be happy to welcome you back when you're ready (and to support you along the way if there's ways we can). The work you're doing is important, and I suspect a piece of it is valuing yourself enough to prioritize it over supporting other people. I cheer you on in doing this.

[personal profile] pearlshadow 2012-09-05 09:33 am (UTC)(link)
do what you need to do to take care of yourself and move on with your life. it really is.. take care of yourself.
songcoyote: (Default)

[personal profile] songcoyote 2012-10-09 11:00 pm (UTC)(link)
The thing that really struck me in reading through this is the term "...as if they didn't know". It seems to me that this could be a bit too much assumption on your part. Perhaps because you have been a bit disconnected they don't really know what's going on, and letting them know would really help.

Also, even if they do know what's going on, it could be really nice to hear from you that you care but are just too lacking in spoons right now. That's something understandable, not angering (at least in my book) and communicates the important thing: that you care.

I think it might also help you let go of your anxiety about it by making a connection that you fear is damaged and by making it manifest rather than theoretical. Those darned theoreticals can really clog up your brainmeats ;)

And as others have said, take care of yourself. The good people will understand once you get your head back up and find / regenerate / recreate / spawn the spoons to reconnect.

Light and laughter,
siriciryon: (Default)

[personal profile] siriciryon 2012-10-26 12:22 am (UTC)(link)
Came to this from much-more-recent post. Haven't read all the comments yet (likely should). Seems like a list might reassure you about who you're actually worried over - no matter how long or short, having the list means it is finite.

Might not be a good thing. But, it's a thought.