How do you move on from something that happened a long time ago, but still feels emotionally fresh? When the person who hurt you will never really know how you felt and it’s impossible to confront them? When you are doing well without them, you live a full life, but there’s still a cove of bitterness inside you, echoing with old conversations and emotions. Even though this person no longer has power over me, they have power over my past, over my memory of the relationship. I’ve let go of them, I don’t miss them in my life, but I still can’t quite get free. Their name is like a trigger and the bullet is anger.
I’ve been talking to my counselor about this for two weeks. I was a little reluctant to bring it up, I mean, it’s been YEARS, I’ve talked to other counselors about this, shouldn’t I be over this by now? The thing about letting go and moving on is that there isn’t a “should,” there isn’t a timeline. It doesn’t even matter if it seemed like a little thing, one friend in a score of relationships, one breakup, one hurtful conversation…if it feels like a big deal, it is a big deal, and should be dealt with as such. Otherwise it’s just delaying the recovery.
This person made me feel crazy and as if they didn’t care about me. I spent years going over every exchange, every memory, trying to achieve clarity, but when another person besides oneself is involved, it’s impossible to know anything for sure. Their intentions will forever be shrouded in mystery, and my counselor has told me again and again that I can’t feel responsible for their responses. “Their reactions were about them, not about you,” she says. “They made you feel like you weren’t worth it, but that doesn’t mean you weren’t.” That I have always known. People have rarely been able to make me feel as if I’m not worth loving or worth the effort. It’s not so much about needing the person to validate my worth. It’s about meeting my aggressive need for them to know that I don’t need them to validate my worth. If they don’t know that, I get angry at them. How dare they possibly think that they still affect my well-being? How pretentious.
I just really, really want certain people to know I’m doing great without them, because deep down, I care about what they think of me. I’m still assigning them credibility. Moving on is stripping away that credibility. Moving on is sometimes perceived as being flippant of that entire person. Oh, them? Pff. They’re a jackass. I’ve moved on. Hmm? Have you? I want my moving on to be gentler, but still complete. Oh, that person? Yeah, I used to know them, but now I don’t. Simple. Not mean. Not bitter. Just simple.
I just want to let you go.