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Surprisingly I didn’t have a hard time with the Sandbox prompt this time. There is ONE door in my life I’ve decided it’s ok to close if needs be. And it’s been a huge step for me because I’m usually one of those people who hold onto relationships come hell or high water. But something happened with some long-time friends of ours five or so years ago that gave me some real food for thought that I finally realized the value of not long ago.

phone-answering-machineDawn and Don had been our good friends for years. In fact, Don was Drollery’s BEST friend. Then they moved from here in Utah to Oklahoma and finally to Ohio. We kept in touch with them through phone calls and Skype for years. Then out of the blue they dropped off the planet. My emails went unanswered, though they were never returned because their inbox was full. My cards went unresponded to. My phone messages were always accepted on their recorder, so I knew someone was emptying it regularly. Drollery and I were worried out of our minds that something had happened. In fact, I got in touch with the newspaper in the small town where they lived to see if there was an obit for either of them. There wasn’t.

Then out of the blue more than two years later, I got an “Oh hi! Sorry I haven’t answered. I’ve been busy,” email. To say Drollery and I were flabbergasted would be a bit of an understatement. But it gave me food for thought about relationships and what a relationship really is. I didn’t respond to that email. Drollery was kind of upset with me, but I had just spent two years of my life worrying about someone who couldn’t be considerate enough to send me an email saying they were well in response to my panicked voice messages saying we were worried sick. That was a first for me, that deliberately walking out of a friend’s life.

Fast forward to two years ago this month, I went to work for a friend at the tax office she managed. She’d been trying to get me there for years. It’s about a mile from our house. Seemed perfect. Drollery warned me not to do it. He and I had gone to college with her and we both knew how difficult she could be. She’d get angry at the drop of a hat over nothing and I wouldn’t hear from her for weeks. And it was always me that ended up calling and smoothing things over — for over 40 years. We had been there to support her through a divorce, the death of a husband, and several other major life issues.

And just as Drollery predicted, the aggressive side of her came out at work. It began with her upbraiding me in front of a client for something she felt I had done wrong. I kept my peace, but when the client was gone I asked her never to speak to me like that in front of someone again saying that’s not something I’d ever do to her. The situation continued to deteriorate, and by the end of tax season I’d had enough — period. Enough of her rants, enough of her anger, enough of always being the one feeling the need to fix things while she could never accept responsibility for her own actions.

88f376e53653df2a29813412c8427d8fI realized at that point that my relationship with her was toxic. She had a way of making me feel bad about myself that should never have been, and I was done with it. I did call and leave her a message three times asking if we could talk about what had happened. My last message said the longer the silence went on, the harder it would be to talk about. She never returned my calls. And this time I decided enough was enough. I walked out of her life.

It’s been two years now. She is a part of the group of women I’m close to and we get together a few times a year, so I’ve been in her company and I am polite to her. But there is nothing in me that wishes to mend fences. The truth is her attitude has been affecting me for years and I really don’t miss those conversations with her. I do feel bad about that, as if I SHOULD miss them. But I can honestly say I’m happier without having to deal with them.

So the door I am “beginning” to close is one to toxic relationships. Have I had a lot of them? No. A couple. Is that door going to stay closed for good? Well, that all depends if the person comes knocking and wants to change things in the relationship. Then we’ll see.

I’ve been having an email conversation with Spiritual Dragonfly this morning about not letting bad relationships define you. Talk about great timing! This is going to be a real year of learning for me in my journey.

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The Sandbox Writing Challenge 23 — Closed Doors

Picture Credits:
Phone — www.wnd.com
Quote — pinterest.com