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.