International women’s day was a few weeks ago and though I don’t scroll Facebook anymore, I do sometimes come upon the home page and inevitably see a post here and there. That day I saw something from a friend and decided to read it. It was a lovely post celebrating all the incredible women in her life and it was heartwarming…until it wasn’t.
You see, the first thing that stung a little was that I wasn’t tagged. And to be fair, we’re not super close so I really had no business to be hurt in any capacity about that. What did hurt though was that there was not one but two people tagged in the post who over the past couple of years have hurt me so deeply (multiple times) that I had to effectively end the friendship.
I think part of the grieving process of saying goodbye to someone who wounded you deeply, is the realization and acceptance that other people you know will still be friends with that person.
Other people will still be inspired by or look up to them and it’s difficult to see them held to a high regard when your experience with them was so disappointing. It’s especially challenging when the person has also hurt people you love deeply. You want to tell others the truth of your experience and warn them in a way…but is that up to you?
I don’t really have an answer here to be honest. I don’t think there’s a clear cut right or wrong. There’s a time and place for honesty and shared confidence within the confines of a trusted friendship. And there’s a time to stay silent and let people have their own experiences with others. A warning can come dangerously close to—or cross right into—gossip and that is something I do my best to stay far away from.
The truth is, my experience with those women is probably different from the experience others are having with them. I hope they’ve changed. I hope they don’t hurt people the way they hurt me.
Lord knows I’ve had my share of moments I wish I could take back.
So if you’re still reeling from the rawness of having let go of a toxic (for you) friendship, consider this a virtual hug from me to you. I know how painful it can be to see someone who deeply hurt you be celebrated as though they didn’t. It doesn’t mean that what happened doesn’t matter. It simply means that others are allowed to have their own experiences with people and we need to let go of the expectation that people need to respond the way we did. This takes growth and maturity and is honestly at times beyond me. But I’m a work in progress after all.
Meggan Larson is an award winning author (best selling on Amazon), course creator, wife, mom, and adoptee. She currently lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and three children. She helps women tell their beautiful, powerful, and authentic stories. You can connect with her at megganlarson.ca or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org