There is a segment of the population that, for whatever reason, views severing ties with someone as always the fault of the person creating distance. I say “whatever reason,” because you can usually figure out why if you dig a bit, but the reasons tend to vary per person and most of them deny it if confronted (at least they do in my experience). Normally, I’d list exceptions here, things that even these people wouldn’t argue with, but I couldn’t type out a single one without thinking of a time someone faulted me for ending a relationship with someone for exactly that reason. It is staggering, sometimes, to think about the number of relationship and abuser apologists I’ve encountered in my life, and how many of them were otherwise good, friendly, sensible people.
I’ll be the first to say that my situation is different and a more extreme example than the average leaving behind of toxic folks, given the distance I’ve built between myself and most of my family, and how many of my relationships have ended this way because I was raised to enable co-dependency and emotional abuse. So I probably get it a lot more than most now that I’m willing to say “I don’t talk to my parents anymore and, frankly, don’t want contact of any kind” but not willing to go into all the reasons why. The former is a statement of fact with little emotional impact while the latter is stuff I think I haven’t fully discussed with anyone other than my therapist. Not because I don’t have people willing to listen, but because it’s just so damn exhausting.
But I get all the usual stuff, too. I’ve been told before that it is my failing for giving up on a relationship with someone who was emotionally callous, horribly inconsiderate, and literally endangering the lives of others due to his lack of sense. I’d spent years trying to push this person in a positive direction, alongside our mutual friend who wound up giving me guff for my decision, and finally gave up when it because clear that they weren’t actually changing, just learning to act like they’d changed so we’d leave them alone. Which is long past the time to give up, you know? But that wasn’t enough.
It’s can feel very strange, when you see that so many people would rather insist that people they know aren’t horrible friends than confront the fact that they might be wrong to be putting trust in someone, or that their efforts might be wasted. But you if think of it in a broader sense, you actually see it all the time, especially on social media. Until the general perception of a moderately to majorly popular person tips, so that the majority no longer supports them, speaking out against them is a sure-fire way to be constantly attacked by their ardent supports. You even see it in politics, as people back deranged, horrible politicians and policies because doing anything else would mean admitting they were wrong or that they were tricked. It is so much easier to attack someone for a “failure” than to address the fact that what you’ve been doing is wrong or hasn’t worked.
I want to close with an interesting pattern I’ve notice: so far as I can tell, all of the people (specifically, the ones I know personally rather than the ones reacting to something I said online) being nasty to me because I chose to distance myself from most of my biological family do not, themselves, have good relationships with their family. A fun little factoid I like to keep in mind when I’m feeling particularly put upon for what is a healthy decision for my situation.