Abruptly, the shadows appeared.

Yesterday, the ghost of a past relationship came to haunt me from an unexpected direction. It’s the only relationship I’ve had where I feel it ended badly – however unpleasant endings are, I’ve usually felt that either things were mutual or that everything possible was done on both sides before calling it quits. I’d certainly have no qualms about running into exes – they’re all lovely people. But this one instance…

It’s fascinating the way that past pain you thought you’d dealt with still has the power to side-swipe you. I think in this case, the association of something that has been so wonderfully and unequivocally positive with one of the most difficult experiences of my life was so dissonant that it knocked me for six. Sleep lost, floods of tears – those still haven’t stopped – wondering if I’ll even be able to continue with the positive thing – the whole woeparty shebang.

All those feelings of realising I clearly hadn’t been as important to someone I loved as I had thought came crashing back. All the pain that was repeatedly poked as they ghosted me but tried to carve a friendship with my partner, putting everyone in a difficult position. All the things I should have seen sooner, the questions I should have asked, the ways I was misled, the inability to talk things through with a ghost. I felt stupid for trusting where I should have questioned, for not seeing what was hidden from me, and I felt unchosen all over again.

I didn’t handle it perfectly, I know that they also were hurting terribly, and I do have regrets, but I did think that I had learned from the experience and that it didn’t still have power over me. I guess the pit that I’ve been in since the conversation that brought it all back (which, incidentally, was a model of transparency and very much appreciated by me – I’d always rather know the difficult stuff than not – just tough territory) says I have more lessons to learn and more shadows to face.

I suppose there is always more to learn about ourselves, and plants grow back stronger when they’re cut. Time to get my emotional game face on and figure out which bits of my psyche are about to grow new shoots.

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