The Art of Parting

Woman putting out a fire with an extinguisher

This is going to come as a huge shock to you: I’m a fairly saucy woman. Spicy. A firecracker. A real pistol. An over-eater…wait, no, that doesn’t belong there.

I enjoy myself very much. I kick ass, take names, make sure those names are kicking ass, and make sure those asses are kicking names. What can I say, I’m thorough.

Being this way has its benefits. I set my mind to something and just…go. If there is something I want on the other side of a mountain, give me a shallow spoon and watch me tunnel, baby.

There is, however, a dark side to combining ambition, intense love, and brutal honesty.

The arson in me recognizes the arson in you

This post is for my warrior women. My Xenas. My tough mothers. Damn, you are sexy AF. I love powerful women. You bitches aren’t to be trifled with, and I couldn’t be a bigger fan. But chances are you aren’t being nearly as effective an ass-kicker as you could be because of one thing that often befalls the feisty:

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It’s called bridge burning and I am pretty sure we are all guilty of it, or have been at some point in time.

You might have a slightly different style than me, but bridge burning usually goes a little something like this:

“I don’t need this shit! I don’t need you/this job/these olives! You have betrayed my loyalty/trust/tapenade! After all I have done for you! You know what I think of you/your job/those olives? I’ll tell you!”

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Ah, to be twenty again.

Let’s get cookin’

I was bullied a lot as a kid. I grew up in the foster care system and I experienced a lot of abuse. When I did live at home, I saw my mother experience a lot of abuse. My mantras were always, “One day I will have cookies all the times!” and also, “When I am an adult, all of this will end.”

And it did. My ability to say “HELL NO! NOT IN MY HOUSE, MOTHERFUCKER!” has delivered me from the path that I was set up for. I didn’t stand for any kind of mistreatment.

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I had made a life for myself with almost no conflict.

But I soon discovered the difference between being a warrior woman and a powerful woman. After all, it was one thing to dump my boyfriend who gave me a swift slap, but was it really necessary to kick over the garbage can and walk out of my job because my boss wanted to cut my hours?

When my friend decided to get three male pit bull puppies (even though she worked sixty hours a week and lived in the city), and decided that getting them fixed was cruel…was it really necessary to say, “NOOOOO! YOUR LIFE IS EFFECTIVELY OVER! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?”

I was without one very important filter that really kept me from accessing the extent of my power.

Real fire power

Bridge burning is seductive because it gives the illusion that you aren’t taking shit. It might be the first experience you ever had with self care. Bridge burning allowed me to set fire to the paths that I had not formed on my accord.

Abusive step dad: Burn.

Members of strange religious cult that wouldn’t let me cut my hair or speak unless spoken to: Burn.

Hordes of drug addicts and abusers my mom introduced into my life: Burn, baby, burn.

But once those bridges were burnt, well…it kept going.

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Oftentimes bridge burners are just trying to take care of themselves. And I respect that. But if this is you, I want to make sure that you are getting everything that you want in your life and you are harnessing that fire power and not missing the point entirely.

 

Gather ’round the campfire

Obviously, there are things that you shouldn’t tolerate. Toxic people and situations should be avoided.

Usually, however, what you need is a gentler perspective. We all go through phases that sometimes do not coincide with the phases of the other people in our lives. We all make mistakes. This is natural and perfectly OK. You want to make sure that if and when your priorities and interests do align, you have a solid reputation and good resources.

That’s right, resources. People may be the world’s most valuable resource. I’m not trying to de-humanize anybody or say everyone is just there to serve you in the future so you should keep them around to see if they can be of use. But the fact remains that no woman is an island and that you will be awfully glad when that friend you stayed on good terms with is your new boss, next door neighbor, or landlord. So get your shit together and part amicably.

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Stay tuned every Thursday for more unsolicited advice about shit you didn’t know you were doing wrong, and follow DGGYST on Facebook for more musings!

155 thoughts on “The Art of Parting

  1. Just spend a good long time reading this/yelling YASSSS at my computer. I am SO eager to know more about your journey and the resources that have supported you in being so interpersonally effective. My job focus is all around trauma and in the groups I run, my students call the skills you’re talking about being “a classy badass.” I couldn’t agree more. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I so look forward to your comments every week! I’ll try to drop more personal stories in the posts, you are so sweet, I just love you. Classy badass, that’s the best!

      Like

      1. This is such an important perspective! It is so true that sometimes approaching a shitty situation with kindness is exactly what is needed in that moment and it doesn’t make anyone less of a badass for it. I am eager to learn more about your personal story – it sounds like an amazing one!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! You are dead on. I have…well, had a friend who needed to embrace your philosophy. She was an amazing, strong, fierce independent woman. She was amazing in how she had overcome the difficulties of her childhood and the way the ran her house and raised her kids.

    However, on the occasions when she disagreed with someone about anything, she brought a firestorm of hatred down on that person and wouldn’t let up trying to make their life miserable for weeks. And if anyone dared call her out on her behavior (I made this mistake once) then we were accused publicly of being a masochist who just doesn’t like assertive women.

    She was an amazing woman when she was happy, but got crazy if she was having a bad week. She wouldn’t even allow her husband to associate with me if she was upset that day. She was one of those toxic relationships you just have to get away from, but we lived in the same apartment complex and our kids were in the same classes. It was difficult. She slowly alienated all the friends she had there and eventually moved away to everyone’s relief.

    Finding that balance would have done wonders.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My summer of discontent did have some friendship bridges collapsing…don’t know if it was from burning or just too much water under it…😧…And to cap it off…Irma…ending my summer of discontent…I think the follow up post to this should be ‘Grace under Fire’….nice read, great message..

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This post hits home in so many ways. I was bullied from age 10 to my 20’s. I always felt different than other people even my twin sister. She had many friends, went to parties, college, dated, while I had 1 friend and started drinking at 16/17 to cope with what I was feeling. I drank with people who were older and cruel. They took pleasure in humiliating me and on occasion there was physical abuse. I drank more and thought I deserved it. I didn’t know I was Bipolar at the time. A few years went by before I started to change. Maybe it was a form of self preservation but the bullied became an out of control bridge burner. A flip was switched and I wasn’t taking it anymore. I was out of control many times which only made my situation worse. I was court ordered to see Psychiatrists and Therapists many times over the years and each time all they saw was “a young girl with an alcohol problem”. Not one of them asked why I was drinking daily they would give me a 6 month supply of antidepressants and send me on my way. They never worked and I continued drinking for over 20 years. I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Conversion Disorder about 9 years ago. As soon as I was diagnosed and understood why I was drinking it made it easier for me stop because I knew why. I’ve been sober since my diagnosis. I had tried every available program, therapy, medication, but the things that keep me going are knowledge, advocating for yourself, if you have the ability to help people going through a similar situation DO IT! My blog gives personal stories and recent scientific information. Sometimes I get carried away and rant but I’m always honest. That’s why I started my blog, I couldn’t find one where someone was truly open about their illness/addiction. If you would like to check it out it’s insightsofabipolarrambler@wordpress.com Thank you so much!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Darie, lovely, thank you so much for sharing your story. Bridge burning and a history of abuse usually go hand in hand, and I am so sorry for your suffering I would love to check out your blog, thank you so much for leaving the link

      Liked by 2 people

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

    I couldn’t relate more! I can’t tell you how many times I have written out emails then deleted them and wrote the more respectful way of what I was trying to say. Sometimes I even send those nasty ones to my friends just so someone reads it (obviously stating what and who it was originally written for). That really helps calm me down and get the anger out before actually having to communicate.

    Also I have sent this to multiple of my hot headed friends because it really is well written!

    Love reading as always!
    xoxo autumn
    thedysfunctionallyperfect.com

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Goodness, as I exit my twenties, I had to learn this the hard way. I try my best to keep the “fuck this job” thing to a minimum but it’s hard, I try my best. With everything else, I smile a little to keep it smooth. Still learning tho.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You’re a rockstar! This was very insightful, & relatable. I look forward to hearing more from you.
    PS. THIS (praise hands emojoi) “We all go through phases that sometimes do not coincide with the phases of the other people in our lives.”

    .xo.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. DG, you are refreshing to read! I have industrial filters from my brain to my mouth… I have filters on my filters. Those break down at inconvenient moments sometimes, I’ll admit. Thank you for checking out my blog on WordPress, or I might not have had such an enjoyable time reading yours!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I was bullied as a child and teen (or dismissed and ignored as if I were nothing and didn’t exist) … not all the time but enough to have an impact and enough to escape into fantasy and SF novles, and then send me into the U.S. Marines right out of high school so I could be programmed to be a bass ass too.

    Being programmed to be a killing machine on command works and after Vietnam I also have to deal with the fight or flight nightmares from the combat-induced PTSD that followed me home like a second shadow. The bullies tend to shy away from me now. It must be that killer stare that also followed me home from Vietnam.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I can totally relate to some of your experiences & have always lived by a similar mantra to ‘Classy Badass🍸’

    I guess making the final decision to ‘burn a bridge’ gives you your ‘control’ back.

    Thank you for this new and ultimately necessary perspective

    💛

    Liked by 2 people

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