Self-Care Requires Distancing Yourself From Hurtful People in Your Life

Author: Valery B.

DSC_0384If anyone makes you feel inadequate, that person does not belong in your life.

Whether it is a friend, a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, uncle, cousin, a neighbor, a teacher, or anyones else, if a person brings you down, always looks for the things that are wrong with you, does not acknowledge that you are doing the best that you can, makes you feel less than those around you and like you will never be good enough, he or she should not be in your life.

I would like to share with you a current example from my life. My intent here is not to sound harsh or irrational or like a hormonal teenager, and it is not meant to be taken as advice on what you should do if you are in a similar situation. Rather, it is to direct your awareness to the fact that sometimes, those who are closest to us can be the most hurtful and harmful, not necessarily physically but more so emotionally and mentally.

My mother and I have a very tumultuous relationship, tumultuous to the point where I am barely able to breathe while I am around her: tears and heartache – physical heartache –, resulting from the relationship, consume me daily. No matter what I say or do, no matter how I act towards myself or others, I will never good enough. I will always be inappropriate, judged and ridiculed.

Yesterday, I texted my mother to inform her that I had left my job as a restaurant busser. I specified that I left because I needed to take some time to work on and take care of myself. I have been under immense stress and going through bouts of anxiety and disordered-eating thoughts throughout the month, and because of the Embody Love Movement workshop and training that I did this past weekend, I finally realized that the way I had been treating myself was ruthless, debilitating and inconsiderate. Throughout these years, especially when I became ill with eating disorders, depression and anxiety, I had not been kind, gentle, loving or accepting towards myself, and my lack thereof was leading me deeper into personal turmoil.

I knew that putting aside at least one of my obligations would allow me to take some time to heal and to start my search for life balance. My mother, however, may not have understood what my intent was, as I overheard her talking negatively and spitefully about my decision to my father. Her mockery made it sound like I quit because I was becoming “too ill” to work, when, in reality, it was my adult decision to prioritize my self and my wellbeing.

After overhearing my mother and father speaking, I went to confront my mother, trying to maintain a neutral and calm tone despite the tears and anxiety-driven hiccups that were interrupting my words. Because I had not spoken with her in weeks, I thought that she would give me an opportunity to speak my mind. But, I was wrong. She would not let me finish a sentence before jumping in with her thoughts, advice and judgement – though she did not see it as such. Even as I tried to explain to her my decision, she was trying to fix me, to find something wrong with me and point it out.

I left her room following her incessant interruptions, and I did not come back. Although I knew that the relationship between us was long over, I finally made a stern agreement with myself that I would remove myself from her presence completely. 

I forgive my mother for the way she has treated me. I neither wish nor desire to hold a grudge against her, for holding a grudge would be another big and dangerous burden that would stand in the way of my inner peace and happiness. I accept that she is who she is and that, perhaps, she will never be able to understand me. But, right now, my wellbeing is a priority. 

My mental health is a priority.

Finding self-love is a priority.

Becoming more kind to and gentle with myself is a priority.

Diminishing my illnesses is a priority.

Discovering what it means to live a balanced and happy life is a priority. 

In order for me to become the wonderful adult I envision myself becoming, I need to distance myself from anyone or anything that makes it impossible for me to achieve these things. I need to take care of myself. 

As a final message, I will leave you with this: no matter who it is that hurts you, whether it is someone close or distant, whether it is in a small or big way, he or she should not be in your life – at least for the time you need to heal. You have to take care of you, always and forever. This is something I am learning every day and something I hope and invite you to learn alongside me. 

-Valery B.


3 thoughts on “Self-Care Requires Distancing Yourself From Hurtful People in Your Life

  1. Clearly I’m not aware of your past with your mother, but is she at all interested in going on the healing process with you? Seems like she could use some too!


    1. We’ve tried family therapy, both my entire family and I and my mother and I, but unfortunately it did not help. Little can be done to mend relations between my mother and I. There is a lot that I did not write about – a lot that had happened in my past. For the time being, however, what I need most to take care of myself is distance.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sounds like you’ve had a extremely difficult time of it AND you’ve proactively tried to resolve the underlying tension between you all. I commend you for trying! It takes a huge amount if bravery and strength to invite your family to therapy, especially of there is a lot of resentment.

        I only hope that distance and time prove healers, although from what you’ve described, it seems unlikely!

        Liked by 1 person

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