So here I am again... it is too early in the morning and I have something on my mind. Be ready for another late-night rambling, loaded with emotions and questions with no real answers. Here I go:
I was just on The Facebook (yes, I just called it that), and I saw my friend, Cole (pseudonym), post on the wall of another friend, Ryan (pseudonym), and Ryan commented back just a few minutes later. Whoa... profound, right? I know what you are thinking.... This is so intense! I am so glad you shared that with us, Adam!
Okay, so maybe you were not thinking that at all. In fact, you were probably thinking, Huh? What? Why is this significant? I have no idea what you are even talking about, Adam. Let me give you a little back story to help you understand.
When I first met Ryan, we quickly discovered we had a lot in common and became close friends, even though our age difference was rather large. In a lot of ways, Ryan was like a little brother to me, and he looked up to me in a lot of ways. Having never been appreciated like that before, I did not react well to Ryan giving me so much praise and attention. I had never really been taught how to take a compliment, and for some reason never felt appreciated at home, school, or with my friends (I don't know why; maybe I have a mental block or something). When Ryan started actually liking me for who I am, I ate it up. For what felt like the first time in my life, I felt genuinely loved and appreciated.
Let me clarify before someone reads this and gets all creeped out. When we think of "love" we think of the romantic type of love, and there is a love and appreciation that comes from a woman that a guy needs at some point in his life. That woman most likely becomes his wife and they share a love and appreciation on much deeper level. But for guys, we need to feel loved by other guys too. We need to feel accepted and appreciated as a man in front of other men. Men need to know they are a part of the pack. I felt like Ryan was the first young man to accept me as part of the pack and look to me as the man God had made me to be. Like I said, he looked up to me and admired me in many ways, as I cared about him and his general well being.
Consequently, because I loved Ryan, I wanted to help Ryan in any way I could. For those of you who know me, I genuinely love everyone and want to help them as much as humanly possible. You will may times find me saying, "Let me know if there is any way I can help you," "Call or text me and let me know if there is anything I can do," "I really do care and want to help, so don't be shy to get a hold of me and tell me what you need," "If there is anything I can do for you, let me know, whether that is money, venting, talking, counseling, etc." You get the picture. I love helping people.
However, many times I come across as over-eager and it creeps some people out. To some it just turns them off and they try to get away . Because I have never been shown how to accept praise and reciprocate love and appreciation, I tend to be pushy and zealous. I get in people's faces. I am nosy. I don't leave them alone. I don't leave enough space. I am always there, always asking, always waiting to help. And that disturbs people--with good reason! Nobody wants to have a person following them everyone wanting to know everything they are doing. As much as people want help, they want to be independent too and have their space.
This is what happened to Ryan (I think, I don't really know because he and I have not talked about this). Ryan thought I was getting too close and felt awkward with my constantly being in his business. He pushed me away, and asked that I not speak to him again for a long time. For six months we didn't say one word to each other. When I would see him at different places, he looked the other direction and ignored my existence.
Suddenly losing all the affection and praise you once had, only to be replaced by rejection and isolation is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. When a daughter yells at her mother, "I HATE YOU! GET OUT OF MY LIFE!" and then storms out, never to talk to her mother again, that hurts the mother on a deep level no body can describe. When a younger brother looks at the older brother he has adored his entire life standing behind bars, he shakes his head, walking away, planing on never seeing him again. The hurt the older brother feels from his younger brother's shame is worse than any punishment the government could inflict on him. There is no pain in the world that can describe the feeling of losing the affection you once held so close to your heart.
I love Ryan as if he was my own brother. Even though Ryan was not family, he was--is--my friend, and I hold certain friends to the same level as family. To see how I pushed too much and invaded his privacy, manipulating him to tell me things he wouldn't tell me before broke my heart. He didn't want to talk to me anymore. That killed me inside. It still does to this day.
Ryan and I have rekindled our relationship... somewhat. I did not initiate this rekindling--he did. I gave him space and backed off. I wanted to never be pushy again. While our relationship is somewhat back, it looks nothing like it did before. I can't really talk to him anymore; we can't have serious talks without him backing away and withdrawing, like I am going to hurt him again. It kills me inside, knowing I inadvertently hurt him so badly by being so intrusive.
When I saw Ryan comment so quickly to Cole's post, it reminded me that Ryan would never reply to my post that fast, if he ever replied at all. This distance between us now--both emotional and physical (since I have moved to college and he to another area)--makes it so easy for him to keep that distance between us. I send him a text once in a blue moon, asking him a simple, innocent question (such as, "What's up?"), and he never replies. He never initiates a text to me either. I would think it is because he is so busy, but when I send him Facebook messages informing him I will be in his area in the near future (not even saying that we should hang out), he never replies back. Yet I know he is online, because I can see him post statuses and comment on other people's wall on my News Feed.
Every time I see one of his comments on someone else's wall, it drives the knife of rejection deeper into my soul. I am reminded with every comment that I screwed up, that I hurt him, that we will never be close friends again, and that I will never be able to fully apologize for what I did. While my unhealthy attachment to Ryan is ancient history, the shame and hurt of what I accidentally did will forever live in me, being amplified with each ignored message and text. When I saw him comment on Cole's wallpost, I winced, because I had just sent him a Facebook message a week before asking when he would be free in the near future. In essence, he ignored my message, and responded to Cole's.
Have you ever been in a situation like this? Have you been totally rejected? Have you ever unintentionally hurt someone and then never got the chance to make it right? How do you deal with the pain and guilt of making such a mistake? How do you make the relationship right? Can you? How do you tell someone how sorry you are? How can you tell them that it will not happen again when the person doesn't ever want to talk to you? How can you understand what is going on in their head if the person doesn't ever talk to you about it?
These are questions I ask myself. They are not meant to be rhetorical; feel free to answer them if you so desire. I welcome any constructive criticisms or responses. I hope you all have a blessed day.
Following His Call,