Time has a wonderful way of changing our perception of certain points in our lives. I ran into a person yesterday and just the slight glimpse of that person reminded me of a decision that was basically made for me many years ago, but it was a decision I should have been wise enough to make myself.
I was a participant in a friendship I knew was toxic. So many of the things this friend did should have been glaring beacons that the road we were headed down was hazardous. We had navigated the small bumps along the way but, when the test car picked up speed towards the wall, I should have hit the brakes. Instead, the car ricocheted along the track towards its inevitable end. Thankfully, this third-party I saw yesterday unknowingly shoved me out of the car just before it hit the wall. Although this gesture was not made with any concern for me, it nonetheless saved me from years of invisible pain.
Somewhere during our friendship, I had taken a back seat. I had ignored my inner voices and let the reckless driving continue while I did nothing to stop it. When I did finally speak up, the third-party had accused me of being unfair and told me my actions were very disappointing. The only thing that was disappointing was the fact that I had not spoken up sooner. Narcissism aside, some of the things I bore witness to could be a plot in a soap opera. The lies were just the beginning. There were threats, blackmail, an exchange of money and flagrant manipulation. It was incomprehensible.
The fact that my friend seemed unconcerned about the atrocious behavior and the third-party seemed to condone it through their ignorance and unwillingness to hear the truth was enough to make me appreciate the fact that they pushed me out of that relationship. The betrayal had caused enough of a divide in our friendship that I was able to stand on one side of the chasm that divided our relationship and truly see what was on the other side.
Every so often, circumstances make me look backwards into that void. Life has marched on for the three of us, some lives have been looked upon more favorably than others, but we all still bear our own scars of that crash test car.