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I have to say, I’ve discarded a lot of things throughout my life, old books, clothes, shoes, all the typical things. Sometimes it’s hard to part with things you’ve had for a long time, other times you realize you’re not making use of things and they’re taking up space and you know they’ve outlived their usefulness.

I’ve never thought of people this way. Even when people aren’t communicating, aren’t actively part of my life, when they’ve hurt me or overstepped boundaries, I tend to find it very difficult to “discard” people. I’m someone who gives people second, third and fourth chances.

Social media seems to make it especially easy for people to “delete” other people from their lives, usually without warning, explanation or any provocation.

I recently had someone that I thought of as a friend, simply delete me from their list of friends and block me as well. There was no provocation, no disagreement, no angry words, nothing. This person and I shared a lot of symptoms and diagnoses, supporting one another with long chats, commiserating about how so many people in our families doesn’t understand, etc. I spent an entire day helping her with her child’s IEP, when we were relatively new friends. I thought we’d connected, understood one another, had as solid a friendship as two people can have via social media. She apparently deleted a lot of other people. A mutual friend shared with me that she’d been considering reducing her list down to only close friends and family, though she’d not shared that with others, before simply removing them.

Now, a lot of people would say, “it’s just Facebook, who cares, move on”, but when social media is your primary social outlet, you tend to connect and bond with people via the internet no differently than you would in person. You share personal things, spend time supporting one another, get to know each other fairly well, some might even say better than two people in person, because there are no barriers to sharing, no unintended facial expressions, tone of voice or inflection, no attitude, etc. There is a feeling of acceptance, it’s hard to explain.

I spent a lot of time recently, as I tend to do every holiday season, thinking about how fractured my family is, about all the people whom I’ve been close to over the years who are no longer present in my life. This reflection always includes thinking about why these people have departed, what role I may have played, how things might have been different. In many cases, I didn’t get an explanation for why they walked away, they just did. In some cases, there were colossal misunderstandings or assumptions that led to hurt feelings that resulted in them walking away.

There’s a meme that regularly circulates on Facebook that says, “Before you start blaming yourself, Remember, sometimes the people who are quick to walk away are the ones who never intended to stay.”

That sentiment would be okay, if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve experienced nearly every family member walking away.

I haven’t heard from my mother in 30 years, I haven’t heard from my Aunt or Uncle in 15 years. I haven’t heard from my sister in approximately 9 years. I haven’t really had any contact with all but one of my paternal cousins for 21 years (since my father passed, many years before that as well), I haven’t heard from my maternal cousin in 15 years.

I’ve tried to reconcile with all these people, some of them numerous times, to no avail. In most cases I don’t understand what it is they perceive me to have done to them, there was no communication, just the closing of doors and walking away.

I try to treat people as I’d like to be treated. A lot of people say you get back whatever you put out into the universe, that seems like a lot of ‘new age’ BS to me.

I’m really getting tired of reaching out to people, trying to help others, show I care, only to get tossed aside when they no longer have a need for me. Am I the only one experiencing this repeatedly? Please tell me I’m not alone.