Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Olive Branch refused, and How you make a cynic

Sometimes in a relationship between two humans, one of them will do something that hurts the other. It may not be on purpose, not meant to hurt the other... well, hopefully not. But it happens. In making decisions for one’s own welfare or protection or comfort, one hurts the other. 

That one may not realize this hurt. Or they may. Or they may not realize the extent of the injury. One can, in fact, basically kill the relationship without realizing it. Not being the injury party, the one simply doesn’t notice the change. And meanwhile the injured other is hyper-aware of the change. 

After a time, that other’s pain may subside, and the other may want to explore the remnants of that relationship, in the hope that there may be something left, something salvageable, some ember, some flicker of life left. Just maybe there’s a change to rebuild – not the same relationship that was. That’s probably impossible. There will always be...scars...leftover weak-spots, perhaps. 

Nonetheless, that other once valued that relationship and decides to initiate contact, to extend a metaphorical olive branch. Sadly, the one whose actions caused this relationship-death may be unaware that the other still has this injury. And, sadly, this one may simply reject the overture entirely. Perhaps this one doesn’t fully understand what happened, how hurt the other felt. Or perhaps this one doesn’t care. 


That becomes a little cumbersome to write not using “you” or “he or she” or other such pronouns. 


That happened to me, earlier this year. And for some reason it came to mind while I was out taking a walk this evening. Someone had basically killed our relationship about a year before, and didn’t seem to realize it. We weren’t best friends or anything, but there are so few people to whom I honestly feel a connection that when I lose one of them, it’s so very obvious and I feel it deeply. 

But I wrote this person a few months ago and said that I still had these negative feelings. But I was trying to see if there was something there to salvage. This person’s reply was that they had not understood the extent of that “injury”, but that they only want to be around people that like them and make them feel happy. 

Now, this person isn’t dumb, but maybe they just didn’t get what I was saying. I don’t know. I’ve thought about writing them again to clarify that I was hoping to maybe reestablish some kind of friendship. Or maybe I should just take them at their word. 

There was another relationship of mine that “ended” similarly. But in this case, it’s definitely un-reparable, as the other person – who actually went out of his way to cut me off professionally, though, to me it felt very personal, and indicative of a personal weakness – that other person died. Yeah. So... No repairing that relationship. Actually, he got sick, and it became clear he was going to die (though, of course, no one used that word – but that’s another rant: our culture’s fear of and lack of relationship with death) “everybody” started eulogizing him. I just wanted it to be done; I wanted to stop seeing his name and face and all that. 

Then, after he died, everybody continued saying wonderful things about him, and meanwhile, my thought when I hear his name is, “Yeah, fuck him.” 

So that relationship is literally done. And I think it had some influence on my thoughts about this other relationship I was talking about before. Maybe it got me thinking that I don’t really want to go through whatever short span of life I still have with these limbo-relationships. Of course I don’t want that. But I have difficulty maintaining a relationship with someone who has hurt me. 

I’m actually very sensitive. Anyone reading this who really knows me would be aware of a certain cynicism and bitterness in me. But it’s mostly there for protection. I was a shy, scared kid, and maybe I still am. But I’m definitely an idealist whose hopes and expectations for people and society and the world have been crushed over and over. I have all these strong feelings – not strong in the sense that they can withstand a lot of injury or pressure, but strong in that there’s a lot of it and it can be extreme and just take over. So I protect myself with my cynicism and perhaps my aloofness. Of course, then when I do get brave (or just fed up with the severe loneliness) and I open up and let some emotion out people back off, or worse, they just step all over those emotions – all over me. And I try to pull whatever’s left of those feelings back inside my shell and nurse them. 

No wonder. God, that’s exactly how you make a cynic: find an intelligent, romantic idealist and crush them. 

Man, I have issues.