Let Go or Be Dragged

Dear friend, for the next few weeks I am going to repost some of my more popular newsletters, the ones that had the greatest response from you, my readers. I hope you enjoy revisiting these timeless themes as much I have.

Let Go or Be Dragged…

I’d like to take my thought from last week (episode 156), about givers and takers, and go one step further and encourage you to start on a more level emotional life path, and here’s my thought for this week–some of you need to let go or you’ll be dragged.

Seems simple enough to let go, but–oh my–how many times have you given someone just one more chance? In reality, their 54th chance, but not like you’re counting or anything. And you–by constantly caving in to their emotional outburst or hurtful words or accusations–you let yourself be dragged through the emotional pain that you promised yourself you’d walk away from last time, and yet here you are…again. Simply put, they got what they wanted and that is all that matters to them, because you don’t matter, and they don’t care how you feel. You’ve been their verbal, emotional, and in some heart-breaking way, physical punching bag for so long that, now, my friend, you’ve grown numb to the pain. And for so many good-hearted people, it just seems easier to be dragged through the ups and downs than to let go.

I have to ask, why?

Are you mesmerized by them in such a way that you can’t see through their actions that continually hurt you and break your heart? Are you just a hopeful person who, by faith or belief, thinks that you’ll be rewarded one day with their return to the fold (that’s a hard one…I know)? Or are you just bull-headed enough to believe you can actually change the mind of someone else?

I know I’m probably going to hurt some feelings today, and please know from my heart to your eyes and ears, that it’s not my purpose to add to your hurt and pain, however, it is my belief that someone needs to dust off the mirror or open a door or crack a window so you–good hearted, kind, loving you–can see what is waiting on the other side when you finally let go and stop being dragged.

Many of you wrote to me about my theme of, givers need to set limits because takers never do. Without a doubt, we all have friends and family members who push the envelope of our goodness and generosity and then scream when they don’t get their way, blaming us for their misfortune. How crazy is that?

In thinking about today’s theme, “Let Go or Be Dragged,” the idea that keeps rolling around in my head is the thought of boundaries, and I like the quote that “a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.” The same is true of my theme for today…because it seems to me that some of you need to consider when you will put the final boundary into place.

I believe it is important to spend time thinking about the next outburst, when those you love purposefully cross the line of decent behavior that would be expected of any adult. You need to consider when enough is enough, and then you can make the well thought-out and, for many, the prayerful decision to finally let go.

Because, friend, if you don’t consciously ready yourself for that day, you will no doubt go back on your resolve and be dragged down the road of emotional pain, hurt and turmoil for another year or five, or until one day, when you least expect it, you will react in anger with all the frustration and hurt that you’ve been holding back, and then you will regret (or be made to regret) the decision for the rest of your life. Because, goodness knows, those who use you will always hurl your emotional reaction back to you with a vengeance that carries the full force of their deep-seated anger, fury and wrath of having lost control over you to do what they want you to do, which is what you’ve been doing for years–covering for them and paying their way until they tire of you or leech on to someone else.

When you think about it reasonably, it’s not about you, but what you can do for them. Because, by now you know they don’t really care about you; that emotional tie or bond is broken, and they had to bury it and convince themselves that it didn’t matter. And the hardest part is that you’ll never know how the bond broke so severely that they refuse to recognize it.

They have said that they don’t care about you a hundred times, but you refuse to hear them because never in your wildest dreams would you not care about them, and the idea of not caring is such a foreign thought to you, that in your emotional exhaustion you’ve missed the signs and are continuing to be dragged along…alone.

So to save a piece of your heart, pre-planning is the key when it comes to letting go. When you love and care about someone, letting go is NEVER easy, but this isn’t about easy–it’s about healing and rest and being settled as best you can with the decision that you’ve made, because it is the right thing to do for you and perhaps the rest of your family, no matter how loudly and bitterly and tearfully the other person reacts. And let me warn you now, they will either fight you or forever walk away from you and the family, and they will justify their walking away because they have convinced themselves that, since you won’t give in and do what they want, you don’t love them, forgetting that they damaged or broke the bond years ago.

So how do you move forward now that you’ve made the decision to let go? I have three ideas I’d like to share, and I am basing this on the assumption that you are dealing with an adult–someone who is at least in their twenties.

Probably, the most important thing to understand is that the relationship has changed. Friend, you’ve got to accept that. Many times you cannot put a finger on the exact time you felt the shift happen, but by their actions, you probably sensed that something had changed. And what makes this hard is sometimes you feel like you might have caused the commotion, but since they won’t acknowledge it, or worse, they make up some silly reason to blame you for their actions. If this is the case, then you need to know that, since the relationship has changed, you need to let go or you will be dragged along for years.

I know that’s hard. In my own life, I’m sure I’ve misplaced some friends along the way, and I really don’t know what happened, but when I look back on the relationship and really think about how they always interpreted actions and reactions to suit themselves, at the expense of others, I had to understand that the relationship changed… by their own doing; not mine. You’ll see this with friends who always want to give you advice or challenge everything you say, but when you give it back to them, they are offended. Or when friends and family are doing something wrong, don’t be surprised if they drift away because they don’t want to hear your admonition to get back on track. Consider yourself lucky if they walk away without the drama an accusation would cause. I know it’s tough love advice to believe that, but, since the relationship has changed, you’ve got to accept that and move on with your own life, and, friend, that is the best advice I can give you for understanding the new dynamic of your former relationship.

Once you accept the idea of letting go, make sure you let go with love. This is more for you than about them. I know I say it a lot, but you can love someone from a distance. It doesn’t mean you don’t care, because you probably always will, but, due to their actions, you’ve chosen to guard your heart and mind. When you let go with love, you free yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. Carrying around the burden of a lost relationship is hard–it’s hard on you and those who love you because we’re seeing the weight of the burden on your life. I don’t think life was meant to be so sad for so many people who refuse to accept that the relationship has changed or ended. By letting go with love, you’ll be able to keep the good memories in place and protect yourself when you to set the boundary of your love and affection–even if from afar. Remember, you most likely will never be in a position to change their mind, but that doesn’t have to change your love–it just gives you some space to protect your heart and mind from the coldness of their attitude towards you.

Finally, consider your boundaries and set limits on what you allow others to take from you. I’ve used this quote before, but it rings true, and it’s this, “Give the gift of absence to those who do not appreciate your presence.”

I have to ask, Why are you still begging to be seen by someone who is blind to you and your love and who has consistently proven that they don’t appreciate you?

Not to be overly harsh and unkind, but what kind of improbable odds are you trying to beat with your thinking? Do you really think that they will break down and come running back into the fold? Seriously, do you believe they will change with your tears? They’ve seen your tears and have turned away–cold, unbroken and uninterested. I understand this is not easy, and that in a perfect world love would last a lifetime; I wish it did, my friend, I truly do, but to protect you, and guide them, you have to set your boundary, because that is the most loving and fair gift you can give to both of you.

I’m writing this tough love message to you today because my wish for you is a big joyful and successful life that allows you the freedom to travel your path, to have the strength for your amazing journey and the blessing of your goodness and love for those who are fortunate enough to call you friend and family. To do great things, my friend, although it might be hard, you’ve got to let go so you can live! Because being dragged down the road of life is not living. It is a very slow and painful death…and you deserve better than that–you do! You owe it to yourself and others to let go and live big.

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