Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why Friendship Break Ups Can Be Healthy

Almost a year has passed since our family experienced a devastating friendship break up.  It was emotionally draining and sad for all of us.  Through that process, I discovered that I have a limit that not even a long term friendship could bear.  Like a bridge under too much weight, I buckled and collapsed.  Then I made sure to seal the deal with some effective writing.

And several months ago, our regular Science Class ended when the teacher accepted a position at a public middle school.  This meant that we would see less of our friends. It felt as though we were in the middle of building strong bonds, then left the construction site unfinished.

In both cases, we've had to learn to stay open and to not cling.

In clinging to one particular friend, pouring all of our energy and time and love and frustration, it is dangerously easy to block out the light of new friends who exist on the perimeter.  Intense, close friendships have a tendency to produce tunnel vision.

It feels healthier for me, and for Elliot, to allow ourselves the space to see a bigger picture.  In this way we become more open to the natural flow of friends in our life.  Some are here for a little while, and that's okay.
The concept of "keeping" friends is not healthy.

Maintaining healthy, happy friendships does require some time and a little attention.  But not so much that the calendar only fills up around the other person's life.  The best friendships feel like freedom.  And this applies to family and spouses too.  Our families can make us feel like prisoners, or they can feel very open and light and free.   Captivity of the heart is a dangerous game.

It also takes a great deal of energy to maintain a thriving enemy relationship.  It would be better to focus on something else that restores the balance.

The middle is the sweet spot.  It's the place for giving and receiving in a natural way.  I'm not sure how to explain this to my nine year old son, who loves people so freely and with a passionate, deep heart.   Attachment has been hard for him.   He clings.  He feels devastated and separate when his love is not returned at the same level of openness and depth.

It's one of those long term lessons that we can only learn through time and experience.  New friends are arriving and older friendships are blossoming, and for Elliot this is a miracle.

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