Something my therapist told me to try was this: You have memories of Person X. Remember a time when you were with that person, that you felt happy, warm and cared for. You still have those memories. That the time has passed does not change the fact that at one point you felt that way. Since your relationship has changed, you may feel a loss in the intimacy or the connection now, but that doesn’t change what was there before. You’re grieving and grieving is healthy. It takes time to get through. When you work through understanding your relationship with Person X, struggle with wanting to be around them or staying away, try this: Hold onto that feeling, that memory of when you shared good times, hold it close in your heart and continue to hold onto that, and then envision the paths that you could potentially take. Removing yourself from their life, even for a time to take space, walk through the possibilities of what might happen, how you would feel if this person was no longer around, how you imagine they will feel and react, but don’t forget that what you had was real. In many aspects is still real. Life may change, but it doesn’t change the fact that the memories you had were important to you. Imagine what it will feel like to be around that person, who is still a stable point in you life, the pain and comfort that you still find, but don’t lose sight of those good memories that you hold close. They’re still there, still real. Work through all the situations you can imagine and know that they don’t change what was once there. It will help you understand how to proceed with what is best for you.
Everyday, I need to work on this. Just because I can’t maintain a continuum of feelings and events, this is not how other people function. Holding onto those thoughts and memories that I have, holding them dear to me as I struggle with the changes that I am going through will help me stabilize and form a lasting bond to people.
The sum of my relationships are not based solely on our last interaction. It is all the things we’ve been through, done together, and shared.
As she was walking through this process with me, I could feel myself understanding what she meant, actually feeling it. It helped provide a sense of clarity and calm. Less alone.