Hold a goodbye card before you enter into any kind of relationship with a person. It’s a card I never held and it led to a decade of unhealthy relationships and an abundant serving of trauma sprinkles.
Friendship and love to me felt like once you built that with someone that’s it. It’s going to last forever and a day. Of course I knew things would change, get hard, maybe even ugly but it never struck me that I could end it. To me it seemed like once two people care about each other, they do everything to make it work. It’s like with your family. When things go wrong or get messy, you don’t just break up! (Unless it’s abusive, of course.)
I used to get so caught up in this idea of who this person means to me and what we share that the only card I was holding was enduring everything right to the very end. I could never walk away. I let them cross boundaries, violate me, gave them infinite chances, and allowed them to treat me like a doormat, pushover, or and worthless shit, whatever they preferred. It was all up to them.
I never left people. I was never the one to leave. I didn’t have the concept of leaving. I was all in. No matter how things progressed. I never realized I could use the goodbye card because I never had it in my hands to begin with.
Use other cards first
Don’t get me wrong. I still believe in trying to make things work. So there are other cards too. When things go wrong, the first card to use shouldn’t be the goodbye card. It’s the honest communication card. The listening skills card. The wanting to make it better card. But if despite using all these cards nothing from their end changes, I want to know that from now on I do have the goodbye card.
At that point the only thing I can do when people refuse to see how they are hurting me or doing me wrong is to let it go. I can’t change their behaviour or decisions. I cannot control their heart or emotions. And I can’t keep predicting their intentions. No matter how vulnerable and honest I am with them, there are people who will not respond to it. But more than anything, I cannot continue to stay and be at the mercy of their selfish, inconsiderate, and inconsistent behaviour. I cannot continue to ignore how their actions and words make me feel. I cannot continue to subdue my rational cells.
The best I can do is walk away. Understand that it is actually possible to go on living a happy and healthy life without that person who has been so precious to you for so long. Living without them happily may not happen immediately but it will never happen if I don’t get up from the landfill of their heart and walk out. So from now on anytime I enter any form of relationship, I’ll remember to hold the goodbye card. It will never be the first card I use but it will always be close.
What brought me to this conclusion
I mean, other than the shitty people I have dealt with? And other than the year 2021 which has made me take a step back and not indulge with people more than is necessary? This beautiful kdrama I am currently watching called Yumi’s Cells.
It has to be one of the most well written and executed kdramas of all time. It’s a little like a crossover between Inside Out, Lizzie McGuire, and a rom com Kdrama. It very beautifully portrays all the intricacies of why we think, feel, and behave the way we do, even if it’s sometimes counterintuitive. It shows how the different cells in our brain work to make our life the best it can be. And how different cells like reason, emotion, lust, love, fashion, frugality, etc. interact with each other. As a viewer, but more so as a writer, Yumi’s Cells has my heart.
Disclaimer for all my twisted peeps
Holding a goodbye card may sound like to some people that it’s something to use as leverage in relationships. Like if you don’t do X then goodbye. So you must do X if you don’t want me to leave you. That, of course, is not what I mean here. The point is to not manipulate people but to recognize when you are no longer cherished or respected in a a relationship and to know when to say goodbye.