How TV friendships unexpectedly helped me understand to let go of relationships that no longer serve me

let go things that no longer serve you

@girlintherapy Instagram

You know when you come across “letting go of the past” quotes?

And you see something in the likes of:†Letting Go of Things That No Longer Serve You?

I went for my 3rd session of art therapy. And this is my main takeaway from it: Whatever relationship that doesn’t serve you, let it go.

The art therapist did not phrase it so succinctly though.

This is how it unfolded…

I have no friends

We were on the topic of friends.

I told her how I have “none”.

I don’t have anyone I can call for dinner last minute. I like to go out for drinks, but there is no one I can ask out for drinks (except my husband, but he doesn’t really like to go out these days), nor coffee, dessert, etc. I mean, I don’t mind going to a bar alone, but those types of days for me are over. And so now I drink at home, by myself – which I don’t mind. But yeah,†it does get lonely without company.

The only person who I can ask out has moved to another country. And I can’t say I’m that close to her, though I do care for her as a friend.

I basically lead a very lone existence day to day. Since I am self-employed, I have no colleagues. I don’t have much opportunity to make real connections with people.

Fictional friendships

I told her I’m watching New Girl now, and one of the reasons is I really love the friendships that the characters have with each other. They are roommates who are a very tight-knit bunch, like a family. They hang out inside their loft, at the bar where one of them†works, wherever else… always have each other’s backs despite all their individual quirks and amidst all their screwball shenanigans.

New Girl - let go things that no longer serve you

I also told her I envy people who have gal pals, because I have none.

Jess and Cece from New Girl are†BFFs. And so are†Meredith and Cristina in Grey’s Anatomy.

I gave the example of Grey’s Anatomy where the infamous TV series quote, “You’re my person”,†was coined. Meredith is Cristina’s person, and vice versa. I wish I have someone to call “my person” ūüôĀ

You're My Person - New Girl - let go things that no longer serve you

Non-fictional friendships

But, the seedling of a friendship that started to grow (since March) was my friendship with my CoDA friend, JF. She said my friendship with him shows me that I am capable of†starting relationships with new people (yes, it was me who approached him first at a CoDA meeting), and I’m well-able to†maintain them like how I have with him†ó with respect, with boundaries, with spontaneity, with safety.

While we were wrapping up, my sadness started tumbling out of me and I began rattling off†a summary of all the friends that†I’ve been disappointed by and left me high and dry… Before I could finish, she aptly used the analogy of TV shows since we talked about them earlier.

She said JF is my Season 1, Episode 1.

Healthy relationships: Season 1, Episode 1

When she said that, it all clicked in my head. I immediately got it.

JF represents my first friend that I made while in recovery. Whoever else who came before this part of my life doesn’t matter, does not “exist”. There are no episodes that precede Episode 1. Like all the other friends who have disappointed me, have not been around for me, left me, etc. They belong to Episode 0.

And there will be Episode 2, 3, 4 and so on…

I mean, what better place to foster new – and healthy – relationships than at support groups? Up till now, I have felt pathetic that I have no other friends outside my recovery circles. I really really wish for some. But I realise now that I may not be ready. Since Codependency is about an unbalance in relationships and interaction with people. So, it’s perfectly alright that it starts where it’s the healthiest and the SAFEST. And then things will expand from there. Trust that my recovery is in perfect timing. Trust in the process.

It became clear to me. Crystal clear.

And then this phrase flashed across my mind: Whatever relationship that doesn’t serve you, let it go.

Unhealthy relationships no more

I know there’s the teaching that the people who “don’t belong” in your life will fall away during recovery. And I saw that happening. At the same time, I felt sad at seeing it happening for real. I guess I was in mourning. But now, with this new understanding, I am no longer sad.

There are relationships (or shadows†of relationships) I’ve held on to longer than I should’ve. They have stopped serving me a long time ago. There are people who have not talked to me in more than a year, and I’ve been carrying this disappointment and sadness toward these “unavailable” people. I stopped taking the initiative with them, and they stopped communicating with me. Such FRIENDS, huh? It has always been me initiating texts, me wanting to stay in touch, me wanting to meet up. Don’t they want to see ME???

I’ve droned on and on about them to my husband for the longest time. And he’s sick of listening to this broken record. I stopped talking about it, because I honestly thought I was over them since I’ve been struggling with this foryears now.

I never knew what “serve” meant

I have heard of this phrase before, but I never knew what “serve” meant.

Now I know.

It means whatever that doesn’t support you, whatever that is not of service to you.

Funny, how the right analogy can really turn on the lights up there. And illuminate the darkness. Not to mention the sadness, which I’ve been carrying around for such a long time. I†thought I was over them but the fact that I still talk about them tells me I’m “not over” them.

But now, more than ever, I’m ready to be over them.

She also taught me everyone fits into my life like a big jig-saw puzzle. Everyone has their role and purpose. I’m†the one to choose if I want them in my life, or not. So not everyone will fit my exact criteria of a “friend”, but they may fit in however else. This too made a lot of sense.

Let go of things that no longer serve you

I thank the Universe for this enlightenment.

It gives me hope for the future where I will meet Episode 2, 3 and 4, etc…

So, in conjunction with my previous Instagram posts about surrender, shoo-ing away thoughts that I don’t need, my quote pic was born:

For thoughts that don’t serve you, for relationships that don’t serve you… let them go.

 

Do you have trouble letting go of people, of the past, of things…? Go ahead and share in the comments below. I’ve love to chat more about foregone friendships for sure.

 


Bonus notes: You can watch free episodes of New Girl Season 5 on FOX here and this is the clip of the first “You’re my person” on Grey’s Anatomy (Season 2 Episode 1).

16 comments

  1. Shirley says:

    Letting go is something I struggle with – I think we all do to some degree. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a friend who drifted away when I stopped initiating contact and how cruel that feels, but after reading this I see that I need to let go of that feeling. The friend is already gone, grasping on to the thought – any thought – of her will not make it different. Thank you for such a thought-provoking post.

    • Girl says:

      Thanks for sharing a bit of your story, Shirley. Letting go is a process. And I’m still learning how to surrender, how to accept, instead of negotiate with myself, with life, with the Universe. I’ve experienced a greater sense of serenity with learning what it means to let go ūüôā

  2. BabyTuque says:

    Life is too short to spend it with people who don’t value and appreciate you. My mother learned that lesson the hard way by spending 30(!) years with someone who she always knew wasn’t right for her.

    Fear of being alone was the driving force. But just like Elsa drives the ice and snow, if you’re in a bad relationship, “let it go!”

    • Girl says:

      Thank you for sharing… There are many reasons why one isn’t able to let go. Though our brain/mind logically knows, our heart seems unwilling.
      The 5 Stages of Grief comes to mind, especially Negotiation…
      How does one “let go”, and learn to let go? I’m grateful that I’m now learning how in the program of Codependents Anonymous, which I attend regularly.

      Nonetheless, I still struggle with this today. Letting go is a process. Baby steps, I say… ūüôā

  3. June Danks says:

    I really needed to read your wonderful post today, I too off load to my Husband regarding a lack of friendships. I have found that over the years I have trusted so called friends and invested my time and energy only to be let down and hurt. I watch TV and feel a sense of loss that I have no one to call up for a girlie chat over coffee. Your “to let go of relationships that no longer serve me” has given me the strength to understand that it’s not me but those I invested in and to be happy with who I am! Letting go is hard but not impossible. Thank you, your post has helped my Son also.

  4. LDStudio says:

    The concept of this article is great! I’ve watched countless TV shows over the years and found myself jealous of the friendships. At the same time, it highlighted what lacked in my own real life relationships. When it’s time to let go of toxic relationships, it’s difficult but necessary. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Johnny says:

    Thanks for your great post! I agree with you that we should never keep friends and relationships that don’t serve us. I have also lost friends over the years for various reasons, and sometimes it can be hard to move on .I believe if you stay true to who you really are, the right people will come in your life that you can trust and be real and serve you in a positive manner.Bottom line, be yourself! Thanks again! Cheers!

    • Girl says:

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Johnny! Indeed, I’ve learnt in recovery that this is one of the things that will happen as we walk the path. It’s supposed to be inevitable, whether we like it or not ūüėČ Change is always scary, and uncomfortable – change in friends included. As you’ve said, I’m learning more and more how to be “myself” and not be ashamed of who I am, how I am, what I am… It’s definitely a process!

      Blessings,
      Girl

  6. Entrepren3ur says:

    Your page is awesome! it kept me reading and reading through the whole thing. I never knew what codependent was until I read your story. Having to experience a counselor at age 14 just blew my mind! I always appreciate others life experiences and its amazing what you can learn from others. Stay positive and keep helping others get through experiences they cant control. Awesome website! ūüôā

    • Girl says:

      Hey Misa, thanks for all your kind words! Creating awareness of Codependency is one of the reasons I started this site. Not many people know about it, and don’t realise that they’re Codependent. Glad you like my site, do drop by when you can ūüôā

  7. shrey says:

    I really need to learn from this since i have the habit of holding onto something and really not letting it go even when I know that is the best thing that should be done
    I really can relate to this post and Like the way you explain things .I really think most of us undergo this and it just goes unaddressed .Thanks for bringing light ot this issue.

    • Girl says:

      Hey Shrey, thanks for stopping by. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what to let go of. We question if we should give something more time. Knowing when to let go, when to hold on, the actual act of letting go… all this is hard. I’ve also learnt letting go is a process, it’s not an immediate thing, no matter how we hope it is… May we see the light more and more and perfect the act of letting go, with time… ūüôā

  8. Marta says:

    Hey Girl,

    it’s sad that you have no friends. I have only a few good friends I can always count on, and many many colleagues and acquaintances. The problem is, everybody is so busy with his personal or professional life that people have no time for others. Except for my oldest best friend.

    Apparently, group therapy is an awesome place to make friends! During therapy, people allow themselves vulnerability and become more authentic.

    But sometimes I feel I just don’t understand other humans. Especially those who for some reason unknown to me choose to ignore me…. It happened to me several times with people whom I cared about very much, and I never got to know why…. I let them go, but it still bothers me.

    • Girl says:

      Thank you for your empathy, Marta. You’re the first person to speak my heart – yes, it is sad.

      And yes, you’re right. Steve, my therapist, wrote in his book Monkeytraps that trust is an act of surrender, and people in recovery need to learn to trust others in a good support system which combines authentic connection with emotional safety. Because healthy relationships help us recover, because “nobody recovers alone” (quote is from his book).

      I can relate:
      1. People not “having enough” time for others/you. I understand that!
      2. People have also ignored me, and even dumping me as a friend. Indeed, I cared about them very much ūüôĀ I wish they would at least give me the reason they’re leaving me and say a proper goodbye. Guess this may be difficult for people, but that would really help me get some closure. Again, people shouldn’t be made to do what they don’t like, i.e., confrontation/be vulnerable when they don’t wish to be, but sometimes I wish people wouldn’t be such jerks.

  9. Joy Healey says:

    Hi,

    That’s an interesting post, because I had a long-term friendship that turned VERY sour and I took a long time accepting that it was actually bad for me. Finally the friend and I split. She was very angry about it, but it was the best thing for me in the long run.

    I’m over the grief and anger that the split caused and I can look back in gratitude for the good things that came out of our friendship – because there were many. And I can forgive her for her anger because I see a repeated pattern where she loses friends over and over again.

    On the other hand I am really lucky to have some lovely friends of 30+ years (the one-time baby-sitting circle). We still meet every two or three weeks and I just knowing they are there for me is wonderful.

    I’m sure that in episodes 2 onwards you will find some friends as lovely as my “baby-group”.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    • Girl says:

      Hey Joy, thanks for stopping by, and thanks for sharing your story.

      In the past few years I’ve had a lot of inner turmoil with certain people in my life. They did not know that they were hurting me. On the other hand, there was also self-inflicted hurt due to my Codependent traits/behaviour.

      There are many reasons why I could not let go. As warped as it sounds (dealing with mental issues here, so maybe not really), one of the reasons were I care too much about what people think of me and I didn’t want them to dislike me. I’m shit at self-care, and have learnt that caring so much about what others think is due to my almost non-existent self-esteem.

      Thank you for your well wishes ūüôā Yes, I hope my Episode 2 onwards will be like yours, an evergreen type of friendship that can withstand the test of time. ~ yours, Girl

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