For the last couple of years, a Facebook “friend” has been quite passive/aggressive with snide comments whenever I post an opinion. We differ politically and she simply can’t let those differences alone. Here’s the thing…she was one of the first people who knew about Will’s deception. She’s an attorney who had gone through a divorce and recommended a good divorce lawyer to me. Unlike others, she was quite stoic about what had happened…no tears, only advice. Of course, she had never gone through this type of betrayal. Her divorce was due to her husband leaving her for another woman whom he had known since childhood…his first love. I get that it hurt her, but to be honest, I always got the feeling that it was her pride that was damaged, not her heart. Anyway, she had re-married and was very vocal about sharing how amazing her life was. We were never close…she knew about Will as a bystander as I was confiding with a friend. In the year following disclosure, we never spoke of it again and as far as I know, she never gossiped or spread rumors etc. She did pointedly ignore Will whenever they happened to run into one another where they both worked downtown. She was, however, one of those who avoided me when I made the decision to reconcile rather than divorce. She avoided me at church, at social events and stopped posting or responding on Facebook. Meh. No loss, really.
Well, things changed when her second husband got cancer. She publicly disclosed every aspect of his battle but mostly her feelings about how it affected her. When her husband passed away, her FB feed was an open, mournful, grieving, dialogue of her pain. Pictures of them and their combined family over the years, memories that popped up and the inevitable sadness that they brought. It was understandable. She had suffered a loss. She was devastated. I was consistently supportive. When I first heard of the diagnosis and prognosis, I texted her and offered support. I continually offered a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. And then an odd thing happened. About a year after her husband died, her posts began to change…dramatically. All of the sudden, she was positive and began posting pics of herself in the gym. Pics of before and after when she started to lose weight and get fit. Her doom and gloom grieving posts about her deceased husband all but stopped. I wondered what had changed but, was positive and again supportive. Then, it all became clear. She announced that she had met someone and would soon be remarried. Ah….I see. As one part of me was happy that she had found a new man in her life, another part was incredibly sad that her life seemed to change based on whether or not she had a man in her life. It all seemed so superficial.
I got it. I had been there. I had been that person who had lost myself in a relationship. And I grieved the loss of myself once Will’s betrayal was discovered. I lost a lot of respect for her at that moment. I felt sorry for her. Despite all of her pain and her public grieving and her TMI about her sadness…followed by her TMI about her new fiancée, then husband…I remained FB friends with her and was congratulatory and supportive. Because that is who I am.
Over the next year or so, however, she became more and more passive/aggressive in her responses to comments I made…usually on someone else’s posts. She attacked my opinions on social issues, she was verbally derisive regarding people I supported politically, she ridiculed my posts on depression, addiction, recovery etc. In short, she was clearly not a fan of me or anything I found important. Even though I had publicly and privately supported her through her struggles, her grief, her questionable motives regarding fitness, her newfound love and happiness, her own political stance and her family circumstances. Through the years, I was supportive and happy and simply there for her…regardless of how I felt about her decisions and choices. After a comment I posted on one of my daughter’s posts (yes, she is friends with one of my daughters) she posted a particularly nasty comment about selling one’s soul and being a traitor because of a political opinion. This was directed at me. I was hurt. I tried not to be. I tried to shrug it off as I had so many times before. I mean…it was only FB…right? No. This was a wake-up for me. This was another betrayal. I had stood behind this woman through her own trials, her bereavement, her challenges, her grief, her recovery, her pain and her joy. And in return, she had shown her disapproval of my own choices. Her anger at my political opinions. Her dismissal of my own journey through grief and pain and loss. Her ridicule of my newfound joy and happiness in marriage. I realized that she was a person who could only find joy through her own selfishness. She found her fulfillment only in being tied to a man who completed what she perceived as a FB perfect life. She was definitely an image seeker who needed the attention which social media fed. She was, indeed, incredibly shallow.
So, despite the many ties that we have together (church, friendship circles, children, history) I unfriended her on FB. This may seem trivial to some, but for me, this is not something I did lightly. I actually prayed over it and meditated through it. This is normally just not who I am. I am not a bridge-burner. I am not a friendship-ender. But, I (again!) realized something very important. I am not willing to be abused any longer. This is a lesson I keep teaching myself. I learned it early on in my trauma with my mother and sister. I learned it with my daughters. I learned it with Will. I am continually becoming stronger about who and what I will allow in my life. I haves freed myself of yet one more toxic person in my life and it is very liberating.
I am sometimes a slow learner and it sometimes takes my awhile to identify the toxicity a relationship is bringing to my life. But, I can say that I am not afraid to rid myself of the bad and welcome the good anymore. I am so willing to embrace the happy and leave behind the harmful.