This morning, I had a client confront me about being uncomfortable with me in the room. It was so hard for them to do this and they spoke in a roundabout way that it took me a minute to realize it was about me. I had the utmost respect for them that they would confront me in this situation. I began to realize how terrifying it was for them to say this. I acknowledged all of this and set about to make the situation more pleasant for all. I was successful because I approached them with respect and honor. The interesting part of this is that the person was not even going to come in today. They told me that they had planned to just run away and hide. This made me even more grateful to know that they were so brave to come in to session. We ended with both of us having a renewed respect for each other. I could see they were very grateful for having taken a stand as well.
The most horrible thing a person can do, to themselves and their partner (or any type of relationship), is to engage in the silent treatment at the end of the relationship. Blaming the person for things they did not do and not listening; just focusing on your own insecurity. Running away, once the damage was done or not even telling the person why they were leaving; just disappearing. It is traumatizing to the victim of this silence because there are so many questions left unanswered.
It is actually worse to run away, for both people, than to say “I want to break up with you,” in person. A break-up should be handled “in person” so that each party can say goodbye to the other. This is the mature way of handling an ending to the relationship. Questions can be asked, tears can be shed, and plans can be made for going forward. Young people like to “just be friends,” which is not really the best way to handle things. The “friendship” becomes awkward as there is always going to be sexual tension on someone’s part. It can also make things difficult moving forward. A break should be an ending, though in some circumstances it doesn’t mean it is an ending forever. Often a break-up just means that one person needs time to reflect because they are confused. More often than not, it is “forever” though. I say this in quotes because sometimes circumstances have brought people together at a later time in life when they are different people. Don’t hope for anything though, just let go and move on – when you are ready. Easier said than done though if someone has abandoned you and left you feeling rejected.
When a person just runs away or doesn’t allow questions to be asked after the fact – being stubborn or rude or disrespectful, it causes the ending to take much more time. It causes heartaches, confusion, trauma, and hopefulness. The latter comes from assuming things and imagining that the person is going to come back and apologize. We are not programmed to accept someone ignoring us or just disappearing.
For the runner, it puts a dark energy field around them that they must endure. This has to do with integrity and ill intent toward others. If we do something mean, intentionally toward another, than we are setting ourselves up. Whether you want to call it being a sinner or bad karma or bad juju, you have just stepped into a volcano that will erupt one day against you. Also, you have just ended something without learning a lesson from it. Speaking to a partner, when you are ending a relationship, allows each person to understand one another better. How can you learn a lesson if you walk away with assumptions? If you walk away thinking badly of the other but not talking to them? How will this serve your highest good? What do you think will happen in your future relationships? You will keep carrying the weight of what you did forward.
Even if your last talk was an argument with lots of bad thoughts and feelings expressed, there should still be another conversation at least a week later. Why? Because then you have both taken the time to “chill out” or calm down and have thought thru everything. It doesn’t matter that the relationship is over, healing still needs to occur.
The fear of endings is common and it causes people, who do this, to go through life with chaos. A person can never feel balanced within themselves if they are out of integrity with a relationship somewhere in their life. The ending will haunt you until you clean it up. Just as people sit in prison having to think about the circumstances that brought them there each and every day with the closed and locked doors as a constant reminder. Your closed mind will lock you in place and hold you emotionally hostage.
Meanwhile, the victim of your damage is in pain and suffering from this confusion. They are wondering what could they have done differently, why this happened “now,” and/or confused about the sudden changes in the person they once loved. They are unable to learn and grow from a circumstance that came with unanswered questions. They are left feeling abandoned, rejected, hurt and bewildered. It could even set them up to go through this similar experience again. While the runner has no control over someone else’s feelings, you have a responsibility to the person you once said you loved, or cared about deeply.
Who gains here? Does anyone win? No.
The relationship issues during the time together should be discussed with each other. Not your friends and family but looking at each other in the face and saying “this is what I need you to know about me.” This should continue with and “this is what I want from you.” The person can agree or disagree and you can negotiate.
Whether married or not, entering into an intimate journey with another means that you are responsible for that person. You have opened yourself up to them, bared your soul, gotten naked and exposed yourself in ways you don’t do with the average person walking down the street. This means that you have to hold yourself accountable at the end as well. It is fun in the moment to play and have sex and pretend to be partners but this isn’t high school. Relationships are for grown-ups so act like one!
Many people who run away have had a history of someone doing this to them along the way. They have grown up in an unhealthy family in some way that made them anxious or avoidant toward others. A resentment or anger can develop in regard to intimacy. It can cause the person to shut down emotionally. This is generally translated into behaviors that can show up in the relationship, such as being an introvert, not opening up to the other person or lacking in self-awareness. It can take on traits such as narcissism, addictions to mask the pain, or other mental health disorders. It isn’t as simple as this though because we aren’t counselors and even when we are, we are not always able to see what is right in front of us – until it slaps us in the face.
No one wants to be the bad guy. However, you end up looking much worse to others when you walk away in a very nasty and childish way. If you have done this to someone in your life, it is best to consult with a therapist and get support on doing a better job with endings. Then, to ease your conscious, contact that person and apologize. It will change your life for the better. Cleaning up your integrity is never a bad thing. Communication is never a bad thing when two people are respectful and listening to the other. You will be glad you listened here and took my advice. Ending with communication and answered questions is a very loving way to say goodbye. Don’t be the bad guy who runs away and becomes fodder for social media. Be a grown up and leave with a clear conscious and a healthy mind!