Fighting for love

One of my longstanding assertions is that I would never fight someone to try and get them to stay with me. Not friends, and not lovers. Anyone who wants to go, I would let go. If I’m put in a situation where I need to compete to get someone’s attention, I don’t compete, I step back. If someone pushes me away, I go. If someone has something better to do with their time than spend it with me, why would I want to get in their way?

Sometimes it’s probably a good idea. This summer a person I’d thought was a friend blocked me on Facebook, after a few months of odd behaviour. I could have fought over it, emailed, phoned, said ‘why are you doing this to me?’ or ‘what did I do to cause this and how can I fix it?’ I didn’t do anything. I let go, and a few months on I don’t regret letting go.

Like any simplistic response, it’s too simplistic. It held up well enough in the situations from my teens. It held up with the kinds of lovers who play manipulative games and wanted me to ‘earn’ their attention. It works in the face of asshattery of all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t work when dealing with depressed people.

When depressed people go away, it’s not an act of rejection. I know this, because I do it. I retreat when I feel like I’m no good to be around and have nothing to offer. I quietly hide when I’m too difficult to deal with. People I trust to be there for me when I’m a mess, I can count on the fingers of one hand. When other people are depressed and hide, I infer that they wish to be left alone. I’ve done a passable job of mentioning that I can probably cope, but even so I don’t get this stuff right in any reliable kind of way.

I need to change some of how I think about this. I’m easily persuaded to go away, and that people have better things to do than spend time on me. I’m easily persuaded that I’m a nuisance and/or imposing, and the reasons for this run deep. I tend to focus on whether I’m being useful, and that can distort how I see things.

I’ve had close calls with giving up on several people this year. Feeling that I didn’t have much to offer, and that I wasn’t needed anyway have been a big part of that. I’ve been letting assumptions about myself colour my entire understanding of quite a few things. I’m trying to put down my beliefs about how other people may see me, which is not easy. I’m thinking there are times when I need to stand and fight, rather than quietly slipping away.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

8 responses to “Fighting for love

  • Christopher Blackwell

    In my case, I form few relationships of any kind. I rarely have more than one or two friends, and often go years without any. But that is my nature. I like meeting new people more than I like knowing people. I find many like meeting me, more than knowing me as well. I prefer to be alone most of the time. I know far more people quite far away, then I ever know close to me. That is as it has been since my letter writing days to the internet of today.

  • WitchHemlock

    I Do exactly the same thing…never realised it until you so eloquently voiced it. But how to move forward ?

    • Nimue Brown

      For me its been about stepping back and trying to see a bigger picture that isn’t just coloured by the biases of my experience. Trying to imagine what something would look like from a different angle – even if it’s not how other people see things, might shake up the story a bit, create room for other stories to emerge. Just considering the possibility that I might matter to someone else changes how things look – the idea that I probably don’t matter underpins that habitual way of looking. I don’t know if that helps at all, it’s where I’ve got to.

  • landisvance

    As a depressed person,or rather a person who is living with depression, I have to say that the most wonderful thing a friend has ever done for me when I have been depressed was to tell me to my face that she thought that my depression was back, that she thought I needed to see my doctor and that she would be glad to go with me. I have always had a problem naming the depression when it came on and this was a huge breatkthrough fo me to have someone stand in solidarity with me and proclaim that I was worth loving and worth fighting for – not for my love but for me as a person.

    • Nimue Brown

      These are the friends to have. Invariably with me, depression is triggered by things happening that I can’t cope with, or by combinations of pain, exhaustion and burnout. It means I have to stop, which works so long as I make sure there’s slack in the system such that I can stop when I have to. I suspect when it’s more about body chemistry, having someone who can see and say would be worth a great deal.

  • Leeby Geeby

    That battle is one I understand well. I am a lone wolf and befriend other lone wolves. Thing is lone wolves like to wander and be on their own. So I’m often faced with a choice to rethink my dependence and get on with my life. And when I do this I find that those other lone wolves have been there for me all along. If I howl long and loud enough they usually appear. Not always when they are expected but often when they are really needed.

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