Isolation & Self Punishment

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This is a topic I suddenly feel the need to write about. I did address this a bit regarding relatives a few posts back, but nothing too specific. I’ve been called a burden, disappointment, a wet blanket, etc. I am not these things! The me inside dreads having to cancel whether it’s an appoimtment, dinner with friends or even going grocery shopping. I’m never late, in fact, I’m always ready to go somewhere way too early and end up sitting around for an hour on average! I beat myself up for having to “bail.” Even when it’s with someone who I know is understanding and/or flexible.

I ended a friendship last year over my illness and disability. I’d put up with digs and comments from her, but thought she ultimately “got it” and hey, she was habitually late and cancelled plans for dumb reasons. I’d even sit in her car in the driveway whilst she went inside to use the bathroom in the middle of our day out! On more than one occaision, her mother would see me there and stop for a fairly long chat (I always liked her mom, so that helped pass the time). This is the chick who brought me a card after my major surgery (that was nice of her), but the card rambled on about how bored and lonely she was, so I better be able to get off bed rest soon. Based on her previous comments and actions, I took this exactly how it was phrased, not as a friend who just missed me. I was right.

There’s a lot to the story, but toward the end of our often one-sided friendship, I was coming off a strong medication and had awful withdrawal symptoms and from day to day, never knew if I’d just feel tired and nauseated or all out vomiting with vertigo, muscle aches and migraines. I had to play life by ear for a few months of detox hell! I was miserable, but thought getting out with a friend I knew from back in elementary school would be a nice distraction and of course she’d understand that lunch or a movie is all I could handle rather than our usual marathon hang out days. I was so very, very wrong. She called and blasted me! Among the things she called me were a burden, unreliable, uncaring and selfish. I was so taken aback. This is the girl who cried on my shoulder, asked me for dating, sex and workplace advice, etc. When I say one-sided, I mean it. I either couldn’t get a word in or she just seemed to not be listening or undertanding what I would say. On this phone call, I tried in vain to defend myself and not turn it around on her. Then it hit me! I often have fun going out to do things with her, but she’s such an emotional vampire, I’d come home depressed and depleted.

Since “breaking up” with her, she’s tried to contact me three times despite my request for no contact. The first attempt actually creeped me out! She left a gift bag with a card on my front steps late on Christmas Eve (she lived one street over). This even creeped my parents out! After a few weeks of internal debate, I read the card, which was generic and written as though nothing had transpired. Several months later came a series of texts. I read the texts which included her version of an apology and again tried to defend her words. I eventually replied, deciding it was necessary and said “I appreciate that, but I no longer wish to continue our friendship. I wish you well, but please respect that and please do not contact me again. Take care.” Then, just a month ago she left me a voicemail. Immediate delete!

There is nothing she can say to fix things and I don’t want her to even try. She made it very clear how she feels about me and how bad a friend I am. I moved on that day of the phone blast and hope my silence finally got through to her.

Realizing my value as a friend, not taking certain comments to heart and not beating myself up every time I have to make a change in plans is something I’ll have to continue to work on, but ending this friendship taught me a huge lesson and I’m proud of myself for how I handled things. From now on, I just have to guard my heart and realize not everyone will accept me as a disabled person and that does not reflect on my ability to be a really awesome friend. I struggle with these changes and it’s confusing, sometimes scary, inconvenient, uncomfortable, etc. and I can’t let the judgement of others affect me as well. This is a difficult adjustment for me and I’m working day by day to adapt and accept and realize I am still the same good-hearted, loyal and responsible person and nothing less than I was before.

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2 thoughts on “Isolation & Self Punishment

  1. All of this is too real for many of us with a chronic illness. Your last paragraph though…hell yes! I am so happy you realize you ARE worthy of being treated well and having respectful friends. You are very wise and full of good things. Those two traits will always take care of you so long as you let them.
    <3,
    Rae

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    • Rae, your words touched me so deeply, I needed to gather myself before responding to this! I’m glad to know it’s so relatable. It’s my hope we can somehow be there for each other since the rest of society isn’t going to be supportive and accepting any time soon. I do hope we see more acceptance in our lifetime! ❤ Dani

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