When I go into overthinking modes now, I hear my online harasser’s voice in my head – I hear how he sounded when he’d come to me and go: “Oh, I see you’re emulating so-and-so now...” because he was jealous of my other friendships or he’d say “I just did this and this and this for you…aren’t you going to do the same for me?” (because he did a lot of score keeping) or “I think our nightly phone calls are really helping you.” (they weren’t helping me; they were helping HIM). Or he’d loudly boast of how helpful he was to someone, so everyone could tell him what a great, fabulous guy he is. He inserted himself as my mentor and advisor, once informed me he was my closest friend in the world. And lots of other emotionally manipulative things that would have creeped out any other sane woman with actual boundaries but for whatever reason I was too nice and stuck around until I absolutely no longer could. And then he went haywire.

I’m revisiting all that effed up effed upness because I want you to know: the absolute worst thing in the world right now is for me to look, act, or sound like that person on ANY level and I worry constantly, minute-by-minute, that I do anyway…I have a life goal of never ever being THAT friend to someone else now. Instead what I do now is I run, and I run by silence. If I even remotely SENSE you’ve changed on me, or you’re talking differently to me, or things aren’t the way they used to be, I am not going to keep coming to you and going: wait, I’m confused, what’s going on here? Because he said that to me a lot, or I had to try to help him answer that question whenever I’d help lift his fragile self-esteem up because he was confused by someone else’s sudden change in behavior (probably blocking him in favor of sheer sanity). I will not do this anymore. If you want to be friends, you’ll make the effort right? I make the effort. And in this day and age of friendships there’s really no reason for excuses – 21st century friendships actually don’t require a whole lot of work…it takes 10 seconds to send a thinking about you text, less than a second to hit “like” or a heart button, about 3 minutes to write a quick email or private message. Effort these days is minimal. No matter what you’re going through, how stressed you are, how busy…effort is MINIMAL. So I am not going to chase people. I am not. (And right now I’m on a social media break, so I’ve not received messages and notes on those platforms, but when I come back, I will carve out time in my day to respond to every single one. Because it’s really not that hard, and somebody showed they cared.)

You guys have no idea how much this person is in my head every single day, especially when I’m online; you have no idea how fearful I am of turning into him, of how scared I am that one day I’ll lose it and give in to being like him and just start behaving like an emotionally unstable, selfish cray cray on the Internet. I’m in a place now where, if I’m going to lose a friendship (I don’t want to lose any friendships), I’ve decided: there will be no conversation, no blockings, no unfriendings…I’m just going to hug your memory to me and let you go quietly, like a balloon to the sky. I’m not going to fight and keep coming to you to talk and work things out or beg you to care about me as much as I care about you. It’s either there or it isn’t. I am too sad, far too damaged at this point, and maybe one day I’ll be healed but I don’t think so right now. I’ve been damaged by too many men who claimed to love and/or care about me in the past, and this one was the absolute craziest, the one I will harbor more resentment to for a longer time than all of the others combined and I never even slept with him (thank you, baby jesus, for small blessings of sudden gut instincts). He angrily told me in emails how much I extremely damaged him, what a horrible person I was for not wanting what he wanted, for not doing what he needed, for not giving what he gave…yet I never asked him to do those things, and I was bluntly honest that I didn’t feel what he felt. And so what lovely revenge he exacted for himself – I wade through trauma he handed me, daily. I am angry and resentful on a daily basis, particularly when I’ve got nowhere in particular to be and have time to sit around and think about shit. Other people get to suffer for his sins now, too, and THAT pisses me off. But it’s all mine now, this special little box of black abyss I get to try to manage. Forever. And he’s got brand new friends and a thousand followers and nothing bad happened to him, nothing bad. Except I blew up with him publicly one night and he’s no longer allowed access to me privately.

I still believe love is gentle and patient and kind, and that if someone is truly your friend and meant to be in your life they’ll remember and come back if both of you are stable and capable of real love. And I don’t want to place unreasonable expectations on other people they can’t possibly meet. I can’t do expectations for even myself anymore in my personal life.

And today I have been pirouetting and I want off this carousel. I want off, I want off, I want off.