This is probably better for the therapist's chair, and I'm looking for one with my new health insurance, but sometimes being ignored hurts worse than being bullied. Being shoved or insulted is painful, yes, but so is being treated like you're not there.
I know some people I've kept in touch with loosely over the years. We've never been super close but I used to feel like I was more a part of things. The last few years, however, it's not the case. There's a queen bee-type in the group who likes the spotlight to be on herself. I'm fine with that. I don't necessarily want to be the center of attention all the time. I just don't want to be ignored either. I feel like a houseplant. Instead of ones that need hours and hours of sun and watering and fussing, I'm just some low maintenance bit of greenery that likes a little bit of sunshine and a splash of water now and then.
Some so-called friendships have me feeling like I'm a long-dead weed as opposed to something worth considering and nurturing, however.
I don't feel unloved or unappreciated, except by one group, and I kind of just feel like maybe it's time to move on, to devote energy on more productive pursuits.
Mainly it's because the queen bee ignores everything I say or do. If I see her in person, every time I speak she get up to go have a cigarette, go pee, or refresh her drink. She doesn't do it for any other people. She actually bothers to ask the others what's up with their lives, or to respond to them, to show interest. In those cases I listen and ask after things, but I also try and volunteer about myself a little tidbit now and then.
I didn't grow up so-called normally. We moved around. I was shy. My parents split when I was young. My mother drank heavily for years so for a long time I felt I had to watch out for her, to make sure she made it to bed okay, or that she didn't fall asleep with a cigarette in her mouth and burn the house down. She was in a bad car crash, too, and needed months to recuperate. I was 16 and would go home at lunch to tend to her.
I don't think I ever quite learned how to socialize with my own peers so much. When everyone else was curling their hair and squealing over boys I felt like a rejected square peg who never fit in.
Later on I realized I probably had severe depression because my dad died when i was a teen and I had no one to really open up to about it.
Least of all in school.
Instead of compassion I mostly got teased or mocked, possibly because I was different from the rest, and didn't have that shared history most people in my high school had. And you know, high school and junior high, where if you're different they let you know about it, and usually in most unpleasant ways. So I tried to fade and survive and hope for something better.
It did come along. Lots of good things, in fact. But one thing I still don't feel great about is often feeling ignored. I do have a couple good friends and a solid husband who make me feel appreciated. But I'm trying to move away from the people who make me feel less than. (Admitting maybe I'm responsible for it a bit myself, since I'm not sure I do the right things. I always have a battle in my head, a "they probably don't want me around" way of feeling. (And when people ignore me, that's exactly how I feel.)
But I'm conducting an experiment with this group. I'm just going to fade to silence. I've tried to speak up, share bits of my life. I've asked after people, after both good news and bad. Sent cards after a loved one died. Sometimes I've just randomly checked in to see how folks are doing. After so many efforts I feel like I'm a ghost in the room, conversation swirling around me. So, I'm going to become a so-called ghost, and just recede. And I'm curious to see if my absence will be noticed. Instead of burning bridges, I'm going to see if they crumble and dissolve.
I think that might be the kindest approach. No accusations. No questions. No rage. Just a simple shuttering. I'm curious to see if they'll notice.
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I'm Magenta Wilde, author of the Poppy Blue paranormal fantasy series, and the forthcoming Happily Hereafter series. Hint: It involves ghosts.