Never Can Say Goodbye
Never Can Say Goodbye
Never can say goodbye
No, no, no, no
I never can say goodbye
I keep thinkin’ that our problems soon are all gonna work out
But there’s that same unhappy feelin’ there’s that anguish, there’s that doubt
It’s that same old dizzy hang-up can’t do with you or without,
Tell me why is it so?
“Never Can Say Goodbye” by The Jackson 5
The other night in our Women’s Group, we did a simple exercise.
We closed our eyes and surveyed a line of people that had played various roles in the movie of our lives. They were our bosses, co-workers, lovers, friends and family. We acknowledged them and the part they played. We took responsibility for our role, in order not to have to repeat that shit again. We blessed them and honored them for the lessons they imparted. We offered an apology or forgave them as needed. We wrote down their names.
There were no running tackles, no hands around their necks, or endless strings of curse words.
It felt solemn and sacred. It was an exercise in clearing our pasts, in order to be free.
But something unexpected happened.
As we perused our lists, several of the suspects kind of stepped forward, in that criminal line up kind of way. One of the women looked up, amazed. “Can I just say something?” she asked, “There’s five or six people here who ALL have the same thing in common.”
“I struggled with endings………I never can say goodbye.”
She elaborated, “None of the endings were elegant. Nothing was easy. Either I’m afraid to end the association, or I’m the one that won’t let go.”
“One man napalmed our life, just to get out.”
All our mouths were hanging open. Another woman shook her head, “Me too, I don’t know how to end a job OR a relationship.
I stay in them wayyyyyy past the expiration date.”
I could relate.
I remind you all how my therapist cautioned me back In the day: “Janet, you don’t love, you take hostages. Watch that.”
Obviously, I wasn’t alone.
There are some people that cut and run at the first sign of trouble. I’ve dated them.
The opposite is true here. Trouble comes, sets up camp, builds a house, and stays………with a very convincing argument as to why we can’t kick them to the curb.
We buy the seat next to them on the GUILT TRAIN, listening to them explain how their “will to live” shall evaporate when we leave. Soon we can’t imagine our lives without this long expired person. They have become a bad habit.
A spiritual teacher back in the day, “T”, gave me stink eye as I whined about canceling dinner plans with a friend.
I wasn’t feeling it. It was a “school night” and I was just too tired. I worried that that wasn’t a legitimate reason to cancel. My friend would be mad at me for leaving them high and dry without dinner plans.
T} “That’s all ego, your friend will be fine. They’ll probably thank you.”
J} “Hey, thanks pal.”
T} “Your ego tells you that you are so important to the other persons happiness, that their evening will be ruined, when quite the opposite is true.”
J} “Fuck you.”
T} “Call her”
So, I called and sheepishly canceld. I may have even coughed, hinting at an oncoming cold. She was relieved. She’d had a hell day at work and all she wanted was a bottle of wine and a bubble bath. We cheerfully rescheduled.
T} “Works for relationships too”
J} “Don’t be a smug know it all”
But he did know a lot about this subject. And I slowly learned.
That ego is a shifty character.
He can show up in the disguise of kindness and loyalty. He convinces you to ignore your feelings, to be the people pleaser. He tells you you’re not a quitter, that you’re in it for the long haul. Sorry, but if it feels like a long haul to you, it does to the other person too.
Even if they’re begging you to stay, you’re just THEIR bad habit.
If you stand in your truth, that truth being that the relationship or job or whatever has run its course. If you use loving vocabulary, and come from the heart, an ending doesn’t have to be a cut that never heals. They will be fine. They will find someone who’s a better fit. And so will you. It’s the more loving act than “going for the long haul.”
The same holds true for anyone that you have handcuffed to a chair. If they want to go, let them go. Don’t even take it personally. It’s about them, just like you wanting to leave was about you.
Say goodbye…..so you can both regain that forward momentum in your lives, and break that bad habit.
It’s a Win/Win. I swear.
Do you have trouble saying goodbye? Have you stayed too long in a job or relationship because you were afraid of hurting the other person? Do you believe that it’s the ego at work? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.