Memoir Relationships Sadness/Anxiety

On Being Excommunicated

"sola" by Alessandro Pinna @

I am trying to understand disappearance. When a person chooses not to communicate, does it mean that person is busy? Could they be on a vacation overseas? Could it have been something that I said, or did I say nothing when I should have said something?

Because here I am walking around thinking everything is right in the world, that every baby born for the last six months has had ten fingers and ten toes. I thought the rain in the forecast meant the grass was growing, that the chill in the air meant pumpkins, not the end of something.

When a person chooses not to communicate with you, that person holds all the cards, all the power. There is little for the excommunicated to do but look at the sky but wonder and try to determine how it could be so blue, cry a little – alone, maybe – in the car, but put on a happy face, as if being forgotten does not hurt like a hundred bee stings, or the bloody scratch from the extended claws of a trusted cat.

Could it be that the person has decided that you are not, in fact, worth the effort – and has left you to figure it out? If that is the case, I am slug-slow at “figgering” and would prefer, like a racehorse with a broken leg, to be put out of my misery more cleanly. In this case without a bullet, but perhaps the words, “In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m already gone.”

How have you dealt with the loss of a friendship?

11 thoughts on “On Being Excommunicated

  1. Like so many things in our lives, friendships change and evolve over time. I try to never close a door, for it may open again in time, and for a true friend, I will always be there ready to walk through.

  2. Well…. A seven year friendship and loving her three children with all my heart, poof I was gone! We saw each other everyday and I had her kids with me all the time. How did I deal with that loss? It was like mourning 4 deaths at once. I know I did nothing wrong. I cried for many months, went into a depression and then I woke up, thanks to you. I still run into them after 3 years and it is strange. She has this look of total hate and the kids look uncomfortable. I finally found out why. She was threatened by my relationship with her children. They talked to me about everything. It was a hard cut off for sure. You learn to move on and focus on those that have made you a priority and not an option. I have learned not to give my heart so completely and that is sad. It is like I have to protect myself from feeling that pain again. It was deep and ever so painful. You just have to let it go before it eats you up. I don’t hate anymore, but I still wonder sometimes…

  3. I thought once I had children our friendship would only get stronger…afterall we now could bond over mothering. But that only drove a wedge between us for some reason. She had 4 children, the youngest being 8 years older than my child, so she had been-there-done-that (that is how she put it) when it came to the newborn issues I was dealing with. Turns out I was her “drinking friend” before I had kids. Now I was a mother and didn’t do much drinking. That changed the dynamic of the friendship. She liked me better drunk, I guess.

    It hurts to be rejected for doing nothing. I wanted to lean on her for support through the sleepless nights and breastfeeding issues. That didn’t happen. But you get over it by finding friends that you have more in common with at that moment in your life. If you can’t grow with that friend, it’s not much of a friendship to begin with. And if she can’t stand with you through change, change the friend. I still see her from time to time, and I feel stranded. And I do miss her.

  4. I have found that it often has to do with jealousy. Pure, unbridled jealousy. Sometimes, when nothing has occurred as a catalyst to end the relationship, the ex-communicator finds it easier to end the friendship rather than have to face all of their insecurities and jealousies.

    1. What if I said it’s not jealousy at all. What if I said that in trying to help, I think I said too much. That I may have overstepped. That I’ve tried apologizing and that my apologies have not been received or responded to in any way? What do you do with that? The silent treatment is awful.

      1. Holding a grudge is a problem with the grudge holder and I think there are deeper reasons underneath the grudge than just overstepping bounds. If a person sincerely apologizes, a real friend should accept the apology and move forward with the friendship. Perhaps that person needs more time to digest the apology, sort out their feelings, and maybe in time they will respond, when they’re ready. Or they may not.

        I had a person who I thought was a friend suddenly, without any reason, stop speaking with me. It took me over a year to get over the hurt of the sudden cut-off. I eventually recognized she had her own issues and moved on. Lately (over 2 years later) she’s been trying to initiate conversations with me. I’m polite and kind, but not inclined to get back into any kind of connection with her, now that I know what she’s capable of doing. No reason to get back into a relationship with her.

        If it’s any consolation Renee, it seems from the comments here, that excommunication by a friend has happened to many, many people, including the kind-hearted, well-intentioned, unconditionally loving ones like yourself. You’re not alone. Seems it’s just one of the trials of life.

  5. People change and their needs change….I wouldn”t lose any sleep over it. It isn’t worth it.

  6. Oh Yeah! Big time! Friendship with true friends are the best. They love you as you are and accept all your silly things. You don’t have to be worried what you say and do. The others are friends who come and go. And who needs people who don’t want to be your friend? Move on. It’s a big and beautiful world out there. Go find someone who yearns for a new friend unconditionally.

  7. Yeah, I get it…and the pain of lost friendships.

    I would frequently talk about the dearth of meaningful friendships on my blog. Heck…the dearth of any kind of face-to-face contact longer than idle chit-chat with people, since I left my field to care for my children.

    Every once in a while I meet someone I want to get to know better, then something just happens and the friendship never takes off.

    I have learned to accept this fact.

    It’s bewildering and painful for sure, until I realized that I, myself, have a lot of growing to do, and really, not having a real connection with friends forces me to connect with myself and rediscover who I want to become. I think when I do, I will find the friends I need when I’m ready for them.

  8. I’ ve been trying for a while to blog about the very same experience. Thank you for articulating your thoughts so beautifully. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I hope you don’t mind my posting a link to your entry from my blog. I think it’s worth passing along!

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