How To Let Go When You Don’t Know How To
It’s not easy to let go of someone you know you need to let go of. The knowing itself doesn’t give you a magic carpet express ticket out of the relationship unscathed. Quite frankly, to let go, is often riddled with hurt and procrastination because one, people think they must wait to let go until they no longer “feel” the love they once felt, and two, the other person is often pulling them in conflicting directions which keep them mentally hypnotized.
I work with people every day who can see abusive, destructive, or unstable patterns, yet choose to stay anyway, who wonder why they can’t let go, and even if they could, how to go about it emotionally speaking. To kick someone out of your house is easy, but most people who do under this circumstance don’t mean it because they can’t figure out a way to kick the other person out of their heart. All of their dramatic actions and empty threats are merely attempts to “change” their partner enough through the fear of their own absence, in hopes that they’ll finally choose to show up to their relationship fully in a kind of love that doesn’t hurt.
Don’t Convince Yourself to Let Go Yet
If you’re in the phase where you can objectively see the person you’re hoping to be stable with is using you, toying with you, not choosing you, and you stay anyway, I want to first, give you permission to not let go. Not right this second anyway.
You never have to stop loving this person. A therapist, friend, pastor, stranger who tries to talk you out of your love will keep you stuck in a greater resistance to letting go because they clearly don’t understand what it’s like to be a puppet for someone you deeply wanted to trust to be your master but who’s using you like a rag doll. Trying to talk yourself out of love is insanity. Here’s why:
Love is soul food. It’s the only true currency and the only sustainable human fuel. To cut ourselves off from it for any reason at all, is to separate a part of ourselves and if you’re so intertwined with someone you can’t leave even though you know they’re destroying your life, it’s because they’re one of the only people on the planet, as insane as it sounds, that makes you feel alive and connected.
Traumatic bonding is a real thing and for someone outside of your bond to imply you’re an idiot if you don’t break it, will push you closer to the person you know you need to let go of. This isn’t about breaking a heart bond, but bending a bit in the direction of healthy decisions for your three-dimensional life. Love them as long as you need but recognize that that love can be divided up and used to feed healthy relationships and life choices and this one, clearly isn’t the one you want to be feeding. Don’t cut yourself off from your love for this person, just change it’s focus.
The thing is, you stay because they want to keep you stuck. You’re plan B. Sorry, but you are, and I’m not sorry to say it because you deserve to be plan A. Let’s get one metaphor out there to wrap your head around so your heart can finally free itself into the arms of someone who actually wants to hold your hand.
Just Looking, but not in the Relationship
Imagine your relationship is a circle. It’s closed, has no end, is tightly bonded, will always be what it is whether you jump out of it or not. It’s not going anywhere.
At one point the person you know you need to leave was either two feet in, but most likely always one foot in, one foot out. Or worse yet, to keep things balanced, if they were two feet in and you were initially one foot in, one foot out, they put one foot out shortly after you were all in because it got a bit too crowded in your togetherness circle. It’s a doozy I know but when you know how mental structures and emotional bodies work, the image is much more clear. The problem is, you’re too close to it to see it for what it is, even though you can “see” what it’s not and what it’s not is the thing driving you crazy.
Don’t mistake their apparent emotional conflict they’re roping you into, their half-assed showing up, their “I love you, but…” as their confusion. I’m not saying this is always true but it’s worth a perspective take to consider the possibility that though they talk about their love for you, and tiptoe around why they don’t “actually” show up for you in the way you deserve but intermittently do, that just because they’re “looking” at the circle of your relationship, doesn’t mean they have one foot in at all. Maybe they’re just…looking.
Sometimes this kind of looking is only for pure entertainment and not because it means anything to them at all. It’s here when I watch people run circles around the inside of that circle, exhausted, imprisoned by what they thought was going to be, who focus all of their mental attention on figuring out how to pull the other person fully, back into their circle with them. Just because they’re “looking” at the circle, doesn’t mean they’re now, or ever going to be one toe, one foot, or two feet in, ever. Sometimes it merely means they’re watching for entertainment until their plan A (whatever/whoever that is) comes along.
Shift Your Attention Out There
The best thing in the world you can do for yourself when you don’t know how to let go of who you need to let go of, is to stay in the circle if need be, keep your love if you want, but whatever you do, don’t keep looking at the circle. Keep your gaze “out there,” into the world, into the facets of your life that “are” actually working. Practice gratitude daily for what “is” working in all of the other areas of your life rather than trying to train a person who’s a zoo animal on your periphery, to be in your love circus. If he/she wanted to be all in, they would be, with no excuses.
When you’re in gratitude for what exists outside of your circle, what’s “out there” will be the very thing that teaches you when, and how to jump out, for real.
It’s still not easy, but it’s definitely worth a look, “out there.”
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