I think it takes a lot to break a relationship. I think most situations can be overcome. I think most problems can be resolved. I think forgiveness can go a long way. I think most people just don't try hard enough.
I understand not wanting to invest in a difficult relationship. Especially if the relationship isn't a crucial one such as a spouse or a family member. It's easier to just avoid the person, than to work things out. I have to admit that I do have some of these relationships in my life. There are people who wear me out. Or they, in themselves, have so many personality issues that they probably won't be able to change, and I get tired of tolerating those traits. So sometimes I do just try to keep some distance. I would never totally write someone out of my life, but if they wear on me, I don't have to make myself spend time with them.
One time I had to spend some time with a difficult person in a situation that couldn't be avoided. I decided right then that what I would do was to only focus on the positive traits of that person while in the moment. I decided to not let myself think about their faults. That was a positive moment for me, and I think it actually strengthened our relationship. I would like to say that I always do this, but unfortunately, I don't always follow this. But on the occasion that I can, I think I grow as a person.
However, I do think that even though we may forgive a person, and even though we may be able to let go of issues, I don't think we have to put ourselves in a position to be abused. If someone is unkind, or treat us badly, we don't have to tolerate it, and we can stand up for ourselves. Like Dr. Phil says, "You teach people how to treat you." Sometimes you have to draw limits, and then stick to them. That doesn't mean you write the person off totally, you just limit what kinds of behaviors you will accept. I'm not talking about things like chewing with their mouth open, or burping in public. I'm talking about abusive type behavior such as verbal abuse or criticism, physical abuse, or any other emotional abuse. We don't have to tolerate it.
Now here is where the "breaking" comes in. If the person is not willing to respect the boundaries we have set, we don't have to continue the relationship with them. That doesn't mean we hate them, it means we separate ourselves from the abuse. In fact, it isn't helping them as a person to allow them to continue the bad behavior. If they can't stop the abuse, we can, and should stop the relationship. And I don't mean that we keep the relationship based on promises of future behavior. Dr. Phil also said that "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior." When the person starts acting, then we can continue the relationship. Promises are just empty words if they aren't backed up by behavior.
One last story before I stop. Years ago I met someone who really irritated me. She was whiny and annoying. I decided that I wanted to try to learn to like her. I offered to teach her piano lessons so that I would have a chance to develop a relationship with her. I can honestly say that I did learn to like her through the experience. She isn't my first choice of a friend, nor would I look forward to spending time with her. But I learned to like her. I would hope that those who don't like me would give me as much of a chance.
I have an interesting relationship with the other members of the consortium. I'm still getting to know many of them. Want to see what they have to say about this topic? Check out their blogs!
Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, , Padmum, Magpie11, andAkanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit, Black watertown, The Old Fossil, our newest member MAXI! and last, but not least SHACKMAN! :)