I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic this year. When you decide to end something – particularly a relationship – it’s natural to wonder if you’ve made the right decision. Should I have tried harder? What if things improved? Have I given up too quickly?
I know that I personally tend to torture myself with questions such as these. I hate to hurt people’s feelings, I try my hardest at everything and hate giving up on things.
Therefore when relationships – or even friendships – have begun to make me feel unhappy, stressed or anxious, I have often wondered: how do you know when enough is enough?
This was a subject in one of the episodes of Sex and the City (one of my go-to shows to have on for easy-watching). Carrie asked this exact question when dealing with one of many “Mr Big”-related dramas. At some point, if you feel you’re giving everything you’ve got and you’re getting next to nothing in return, you have to be brave enough to make the decision to walk away.
Any relationship is going to have ups and downs. That’s completely normal when so many factors are involved. When things get difficult at work, in your home life, or if you go through health struggles, it’s natural that some of your relationships may be under strain as a result.
It’s when someone is taking advantage, or taking a lot of from you without giving much back, that you have to start deciding whether or not it’s worth your energy anymore. This can be one of the hardest decisions to make – especially if you’re like me and always want to help and please people.
For me, the tell-tale signs that I need to walk away are:
- their life dramas start leaking into my life and prevent me from concentrating on my life
- I’m always helping them out or making the effort but they rarely do
- all we do is talk about them and their problems and they rarely ask about me
- I get knots in my stomach when I receive a message from them
- I begin to dread meeting up with them
It’s always worth speaking to the person about it. If that person truly cares about you and is someone worth having in your life, they will be understanding and probably won’t have realised that they were putting pressure on you or taking advantage.
However, unfortunately, you may encounter a situation where the person is not understanding and not apologetic. They might be the loveliest person, but if they are going through something, or if they’re lacking in self-esteem or confidence, their instinct will probably be to get defensive and react badly to what you’re saying. This does not make them a bad person, it just means that, right now, they aren’t able to think of you and your needs and may be a bit of a negative influence in your life.
At the end of the day, as much as you love someone or care about them, and as much as you might have good memories with them, the healthiest thing to do will be to walk away. It won’t necessarily be forever, but you have to look after YOU, first and foremost. If you constantly give to people who aren’t appreciating it and don’t prioritise your happiness and life balance, you’ll end up hurting yourself and you won’t have anything to give to the people in your life that really deserve your time.
Who knows, perhaps you walking away will be the wake up call that person needs to make a change in their life and realise that relationships work on give and take, not just take.
Keep your head up and stay strong to yourself. If you don’t look after you, you’re no good to anyone else!