There are those people in your life who you come across and despite the best of intentions, they are the ones you should avoid like the plague. They are the ones who are charming on the outside, but selfish and conniving on the inside. They are the ones who lay on the niceness to friends and strangers, but to those closest, their terror reins. It’s not always what would be classified as abusive (whether physically or emotionally), but it’s harmful nonetheless.

I’ve made some pretty bad choices in the past, unable to allow myself to see the terrible things that were in store, even when people pointed them out to me. I brushed them aside, claiming they “just don’t know him like I do.” I paid for that naiveté dearly and have learned so much from that mistake.

But what happens when people come in different disguises and you are not aware of their true nature until you’ve invested so much emotionally? It can be romantic relationships or friendships or even familial relationships. Through all of my therapy, I have learned to feel. Typing that makes my mind go feeeeeeeeeelllllings… bleck! But they’re good. They’re my warning signals. They’re my guard. I’ve always just let people in, trample everything I hold dear, and stand back bewildered, not knowing what the hell just happened. I give people the benefit of the doubt too easily. I trust them too readily.

And even when they hurt me, I have the hardest time letting them go. I feel for them, especially when their behavior can be traced back to a “disorder”– alcoholism, narcissism, arrogance, superficiality, etc. “They can’t help it. That’s just who they are.” Those are the things I say to myself to avoid having to face the hard truth that I need to LET THEM GO!

Saying goodbye has gotten really hard since I started therapy. I had a total panic attack about having to tell a guy I was dating a few months ago that I was no longer romantically interested– we hadn’t even kissed and I was a complete wreck about potentially breaking his heart and disappointing him. I no longer can say goodbye with the same cold, emotionless ease I used to (and trust me, I was an expert!). I actually feeeeel feeeeeeelings! I feel empathy. I feel heartbreak.

Feelings suck!

But as I said before, feelings are good. They tell me when things are not right, when things are amiss. And when I desire for everyone to be happy (or at least, not sad), I have to remember: ME! Just because someone is in a hard place, or is a certain way, I cannot sacrifice myself, my feelings, my happiness for the happiness for another. There should be a giving and sharing of emotions and happiness. I shouldn’t subject myself to unhappiness just so someone else can continue to take me for granted and be “happy.”

This is a very real and uncomfortable position I find myself in. I have to say goodbye but all I want to do is just hide from it. I want it to magically go away. But it can’t. They wont just disappear. I have to face them, face myself, and stand up for my own happiness. And I’m scared shitless. I don’t like being in this position. I don’t like being vulnerable and emotional. I like being closed off because it’s safer that way. But it’s not fair or honest– to myself or to the other person.

Standing up for yourself is a lot harder than it seems. But it is oh so necessary. Wish me luck…