Why is it so hard to 'let go'?

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    Hello – I’m a 41 yr old female who has struggled with this issue my whole life, with pretty much all my relationships. I am a fairly confrontational person. If my feelings get hurt, I want to strike back and hurt that person. Problem is, my feelings seem to get hurt A LOT, and the more I care about someone, the angrier I get with them when they’ve done something that I find hurtful. It’s almost always about them not responding to my email/text/phone call fast enough. I end up feeling like I don’t really matter. Right now my favorite niece (who is 36) has promised to write me back “the next day” for about a month. Her dad (my brother) is currently not speaking to me, but she and I are still on good terms (I think). It’s driving me nuts that she hasn’t responded and I nudged her a little yesterday by asking if I had missed her response to which she told me “no” and that she’s been busy. I’m trying not to be pushy about it. What I REALLY want more than anything is for it not to bother me. I want to just enjoy my life and not care when my friends and family ‘snub’ me. I’ve done years of therapy and take anti-depressants. My actual life is mostly good – just got engaged, have more friends now than I have in a long time, good job….but I am constantly unsatisfied with the reciprocity of my friendships. I feel like I go out of my way for them all the time with very little effort on their end in return. Any suggestions on how I can not let these sort of things get under my skin?

    Rock Banana

    What I REALLY want more than anything is for it not to bother me.

    The big clarity you have around how you want to be around this is an awesome start!

    It’s almost always about them not responding to my email/text/phone call fast enough. I end up feeling like I don’t really matter.

    There are quite a few interesting things here. For one, how fast is “fast enough”? Is there a set time that elapses for their response to be “fast enough” for you? It’s interesting you’ve been attaching a very specific and narrow meaning to this behaviour you are seeing in others. Can you think of any other reasons why they might not be replying “fast enough”? How many different reasons can you think of?

    Who would you be if it didn’t matter how long it took somebody to respond to your email/text/phone call? If it didn’t bother you? How would you feel? How would you act? What would that be like for you and for the people around you?

    It’s worth asking yourself those questions and really imagining it, as it’s funny how imagining things like that can influence the present.

    For me personally, if I send somebody a text and they don’t reply, I don’t think anything of it. I might wait a few days … then send it again. If they still don’t reply, they don’t reply. There’s no reason why anybody “should” be replying to anything you send at all, let alone within a certain time period that you have created in your mind as meaning “acceptable”.

    Also … why do you need to matter to other people? Do you matter to yourself? 🙂


    Dear Scarlet:

    In years of therapy, did you not learn a new way of thinking and behaving (maybe in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, what I attended and found most helpful) in the circumstances that trigger your hurt and anger?



    Hi Scarlet,

    Here’s an idea (to get you through, not a solution):

    Don’t email/call/text other people. Only email/call/text when someone communicates with you first. But then assume that’s the end of the conversation. And don’t ask anything of anyone.

    Example: If you have to call someone leave a message like “I’m having some people over on Friday, swing by if you’re free anytime!” like you’re not expecting them to call. Be all “whatever”-y.

    Then you won’t be disappointed.

    In the meantime, work with your therapist about your current belief systems (“I don’t matter.” “If I matter people would get back to me promptly”.)

    Good Luck!


    • This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by Inky.

    Hi Scarlet,

    I will try to answer simply to your question ‘Why it is so hard to let go’. Its very simple for past 41 years of life, the experiences you had, the situations you faced, you practiced ‘how to not let go’. You have 41 years of conditioning with you that makes you react to things rather than respond. I am the same, trust me ( 31 years of conditioning).

    So, to break this conditioning/habitual pattern will require some time and alot of effort. What you have to do is simple see any difficult situation and then see what you are feeling and then do completely opposite to it. Easier said than done. But this is how you will slowly start breaking this habit.

    For instance, the situation with you and your niece. She acted differently and you were disappointed. So, you felt anger and hurt. But then you identified yourself with anger and hurt. You didn’t see them as emotions/feelings that passes on its own. Your conditioning kicked in and you gave her call and then got further disappointed. All you have to do is see your thoughts and feelings as just ‘ thoughts and feelings’. A very hard thing to do because of poor old habits. You will see them disappearing and then you will respond rather than react. Its called ‘ Seeing the waterfall’.

    Hope it helps.



    Hi Scarlet,

    It takes so much clarity and courage to be able to put our thoughts and feelings into words…I often find it so difficult and you have explained so well.

    I am reading about abandonment issues these days…esp those stemming from childhood…the examples you have given…were stated as classic examples in one site and also that those with childhood abandonment attract more abandonment….meaning expecting response from.a from a person, who you intuitively know wont give it.

    I hope this helps…and if it does, you can check resources on abandonment issues.



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