(Photo courtesy of depressionam.com)
Not feeling terribly good about myself tonight.
Several months back, the new wife of an old friend confided in me that things weren’t so hunky-dory in marriage land. I told her that if we were going to talk about it, I would need to let him know we were communicating, which I did. But I didn’t tell him what we were talking about or ask his side of things and that was wrong. He feels betrayed, and I can’t blame him. I’ve seen this guy at his best and at his worst. I’ve been on the receiving end of both from him, but I didn’t give him a fair break and I didn’t question the authenticity of some of the things I was being told (which, it turns out, were not altogether accurate).
Suffice to say it blew up in my face. First the new wife got mad at me and cut off all communication. That, of course, has led to a rough time between this friend and me. Today I sent him an apology. I’m grateful that he was kind enough to write back right away. We haven’t returned to our old relationship (and might never — thanks to me — which, if we don’t, will be all my fault and a source of deep regret), but at least we’re talking.
I’m embarrassed. I’m regretful. And I feel like an ass. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching recently over why I did what I did when I did it and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s no fun shining a bright light on some of the darker, uglier parts of my psyche. Some of what I did has its basis in the past. I know we don’t altogether ever “out grow” our past (I mean, it’s part of us forever, right?), but I need to work on not having such a knee-jerk reaction to things. I need to not feel that I must be accepted and liked by everyone I meet. I need to not try to be there for everyone who needs a shoulder. I need to be able to offer sympathy (or even empathy), but let other people work out their own problems. And I need to learn when to just back away gently.
As I told my friend, I am a work in progress. Some days, the sculpture looks pretty good. Today, I wouldn’t mind taking a hammer to it and starting all over again.