Knowing When to Step Out of Painful Relationships

Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together.” ~Unknown

There was a time when I was quite black-and-white with relationships. I either trusted you implicitly, assuming you’d never intentionally hurt me, or believed you wanted to cause me pain and questioned everything you did.

Once you moved yourself into the latter category, there was no going back.

Eventually I realized I was limiting my relationships by not recognizing the grey area, where people are human, they make mistakes, and they need forgiveness and understanding.

From there I swung the pendulum the other way—I trusted everyone. I refused to consider that someone’s actions might reflect that they didn’t truly care. And I stayed in a lot of unhealthy relationships while making excuses for people.

I wanted them to care. I wanted to believe they valued me—that it only meant I was interpreting incorrectly if their actions seemed to suggest otherwise.

But this is where it gets confusing. On the one hand, we often create a lot of meaning in our heads that isn’t really there. We may feel convinced someone intended to be rude, inconsiderate, or thoughtless when really that wasn’t the case.

On the other hand, sometimes actions speak louder than words, and our interpretations may be accurate.

Sometimes someone is knowingly hurtful or neglectful. We need to be able to recognize that or we’ll end up feeling disempowered, disrespected, and stuck.

So how do you know when to stay and when to walk away? How do you know when you’re not reading into things too much, or being too paranoid, or making mountains out of molehills, but rather simply seeing things for what they are?

Read more: Lori Deschene, Tiny Buddha

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