It’s not you, it really is them

Something was off. I could feel I could not trust her. It was in the way she smiled at me: her eyes disagreed and showed some sort of vindictiveness instead. I could hear her think “I’ll make you pay for that”. The thing was and still is: I have no idea what she’s seeking revenge for. My mere existence seems to be a source of annoyance to her. I knew I wasn’t being paranoid when I felt it, I’ve lived enough to recognize the signs, but people in the group did not seem to realise. One of my friends even asked me “But do we really care what she thinks of you?” I didn’t have to ponder; I couldn’t care less. I did care about some of the people in the group though. The day she snapped and made it obvious she had an issue with me, I felt a pang of excitement: finally, it was out in the open! I did worry a tiny bit about the others but I assumed my poise was my best weapon; they’d see I’m a good person. I do know the extent of my linguistic power. Couple that with my understanding of the human psyche and I could turn someone into a pile of dust. I just don’t want to do that; I’d rather be nice. So, I did what I do best: I treated her with as much kindness I could muster without being a hypocrite. She slowly warmed up. I knew her “kissy kissy” were fake but I could see she tried to mean them; baby steps. Then one day, she lost it in front of all. I just stopped reacting. It tipped me over to my dark side: plain indifference. I knew that the ones I trusted were intelligent enough to know I did not deserve that treatment. I shared the whole story with a friend – because, I’ll admit it, it did hurt a little that that woman could not see me for who I am – and concluded:

– This has nothing to do with me though. I don’t know what she’s been through but there’s a lot of suffering where her reaction came from.

My friend burst out laughing and I scolded her. I was not making a joke or being sarcastic; people that mean have gone through sh*t we don’t know about. They still should be kind or at least polite; it does not excuse them, but we should not question ourselves for their overreacting and twisting our words or actions to suit their distorted image of us.


This situation was quite easy to deal with. I hardly knew her, she hardly knew me; we don’t really care about each other – she does seems to care a bit too much about me being disliked but that does not make me care more about her. Now, if you transpose this to a relationship – professional, friendly or romantic, where that person’s opinion is one I value… it’s a whole other ballpark. It is indescribably hard to be objective when you’re emotionally involved. It is impossible not to take it personally when your heart has been broken. I don’t love you anymore, I’ve met someone, I don’t know if I’ve ever loved you… How can you not feel unfitting? How can you not want to prove them wrong? How can you not take it personally and go “Meh… if you can’t love me, you’re not right for me; easy peasy.”?

I was thinking about that the other day and about the infamous “It’s not you, it’s me”. I started a mental list of the true meaning behind it.

I say “it’s not you, it’s me” – what I mean is:  

  • It really is you and your inability to think about anybody but yourself
  • It really is you and the fact you never suggest any activity but wait for me to plan everything
  • It really is you and the fact you’re not attractive anymore
  • It really is you and the fact you bore me with those great existential and/or philosophical debates of yours
  • It really is you and the fact you’re not making room for me in your life
  • It really is you and the fact you obviously don’t need me

But the truth is, there is another layer, one that not many dare confront, the layer of fear and responsibility:

  • It really is me and my need to please everybody and expecting others to be like me
  • It really is me and the fact I’ve bullied you into thinking you can’t make the right decision
  • It really is me and the fact I’m shallow
  • It really is me and the fact I am not interested in those matters or the fact I feel stupid when you speak of things I don’t know and I apparently should know
  • It really is me and the fact I had to fend for myself for so long I have a hard time believing somebody cares
  • It really is me and the fact I need my existence to be validated by others

I could go on for pages. I know, it seems harsh and it definitely is confronting but stop applying everything I wrote to you but to that person who hurt you. Take a step back, my broken-hearted dear ones, and look at it from an outsider’s perspective.
What they did says more about them than it does you. It’s not you, it really is them.

If you doubt it, please reach out; I’ll gladly demonstrate it to you.  Don’t let their trauma shape you. You are not inadequate. Their square did not fit your circle; you don’t have to grow angles. Remain that perfect line of infinity.

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