When Saying “I Love You” Means Getting A Restraining Order


Setting boundaries with someone close to you is super fun.

That is if you think conflict and hurt feelings are super fun. And if so, WTF?


A friend of mine has a complicated relationship with her father. She has a highly scheduled life, he hops a plane and shows up at her door with exactly zero warning and stays for a week. She’s brutally honest, his version of truth is whatever sounds most impressive at cocktail parties. Then there’s that thing where he turned a blind eye to my friend being emotionally abused by her sister because that’s no fun to tell at cocktail parties.

Ah, family. Good times.

His last surprise visit resulted in my friend locking herself in her room for three days. She didn’t pee for over twenty hours. No en suite bathroom. Total bummer. Why such drastic measures? Well, aside from the unexpected call to come get him from the airport, he spent twenty minutes explaining to her how clever he’d been about lying to her her whole life.

And if you think I’m going to leave you hanging about what he lied to her about, you’re absolutely right. None of your business, y’all.

I guess you’ll just have to trust me that it’s a doozy.

I don’t know what he thought he was going to happen, but if it was having his daughter try to throw him our of her house for three days? Mission accomplished.

When she and I ended our conversation, the restraining order hadn’t been filed yet, but she was seriously considering it. With the full blessing of her mother, by the by.

Sometimes the people who are suppose to be our protectors, our most trusted place to land, our confidants, our unconditional love, totally shit the bed. And that betrayal is profound. It is deep. It can be life-altering.

That’s when you have to say, “enough”.

But, that’s the easy part.

The hard part is putting “enough” into practice. To cut someone that close to you out of your life hurts. A lot. And the desire to cave because “maybe it will be different” is a powerful thing.

But you can’t. Because it won’t.

That doesn’t mean it will never be different. It could, eventually, if that person does some hard work to fix the busted and proves it.

But Sharideth! He said he was sorry!

So what? They all do. You have to remember that an apology is only placation if there is no real change behind it. If you never do hear an apology, that’s easy. Bye bye.

Protecting yourself is not a crime. It’s healthy. Not just for your own peace of mind, but also for the protection of current or future relationships.

And that hole left behind by the person who took a dump in your heart? Fill it with people you actually can count on. Create your own family of friends who have your back. Those who understand your value.

Don’t mourn what you don’t have. Raise a glass to what you do have.

Let’s face it. Some people suck. Hard. Surround yourself with those who don’t.

What say you? Ever had to cut someone out of your life?


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11 comments on “When Saying “I Love You” Means Getting A Restraining Order

  1. Matt says:

    I don’t think twice about cutting someone out of my life and I in fact have a pretty strict rules set that u abide which dictates who I should remove. It has led to me being perfectly protected but I do fear I am now perhaps too clinical and callous towards my existing relationships.

  2. J.Mill says:

    I’ve cut people out of my life for a time period, but not forever. I usually try to reconcile after I put a safe distance between us and establish boundaries.

    My husband, however, is in an opposite situation with his father. His dad has the audacity to straight-up-ask for grandchildren when he was MIA during my husband’s childhood. He’s even distant now and has never once invited my husband and me over. We always have to invite him or make plans with the rest of the family. Even when my husband’s paternal grandparents have died/fallen on ill health, it’s his uncle who makes the call to my husband – not his own father. My husband has offered to pay for a trip away with his father, a new car (so his excuses for skipping Christmas are no longer valid), a better phone plan (to take away his excuses for lack of communication), etc. to try and improve their relationship.

    I am about ready to cut this man out of our lives for the both of us. I think he needs to feel what its like to be on the outside so that he knows he has to make an effort with his family.

  3. Jason says:

    Relationships like this, are similar to those with a drug addict. You know what their behavior will be so you protect yourself. Keep the person outside of the house. That is your castle so don’t open the doors to be raided. Meet only when it is scheduled, because this is demanding respect for your time. Meet only in public settings where things can’t get overly verbally abusive, though this doesn’t protect from emotional abuse. And always have a designated driver who is allowed to pull the plug on the meeting.

    You still want to love them, so you hold out hope, but there needs to be a time when more than all you can do will avail nothing and that’s when you have to walk away.

  4. “You have to remember that an apology is only placation if there is no real change behind it.” That’s one line that every abuse victim needs to take to heart. Every counselor, Christian or not, who deals with abuse victims needs to remember it too. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to let them back into your life before they’ve changed in a way that makes them able to be a healthy part of your life.

  5. maura302 says:

    Well said! I never have had to shut the door on an abusive friend or relative. But I have had to let friendships slip away when I realized that I was doing all the supporting and never seemed to get any in return. It’s a duller kind of ache, but still difficult.

  6. Suddencheese says:

    Good job! I know of several people with a similar life crisis. It’s a tough choice.

  7. I would add that the toughest in cutting someone out of your life is not the actual gesture of closing the door. It’s the day and days after when the empty space left by the freshly absent relationship overwhelms you. You cannot ‘unlove’ or ‘uncare’ somebody who was populating your existence (be it in an abusive way). You need to learn to love again and allow this new love evolve. You do not replace feelings… you need to reconsider them from a different flight angle.

  8. cyndy2 says:

    Bravo! It’s hard when you love the person you need to get rid of. In the early 80’s, it was still legal to beat your wife in Washington State. So who do you think left? He only hit me once and then I got a restraining order & a lawyer for divorce. I didn’t divorce him then. I wasted some more time giving him another chance to just find out he found more ways of abusing me. Enough! I moved him out lock, stock & barrel, changed the locks, gave him “a” spoon, fork & knife, one plate and a mug. The only thing he brought to the marriage was a microwave; I kept that. Too bad he didn’t have the cajunga’s to keep up with his son who still loves him but doesn’t like him.

  9. Totally. Whether it be crazy ex-boyfriends or friends who only need you for a sounding board to their own drama filled life, I’ve cut many people out that it was made clear to me by their actions that I was merely an accessory to their lives instead of a main character.

  10. Taylor Smith says:

    Absolutely. Two people distinctly that I can remember. My ex of 4 years and then my ex-roommate who allowed a random man to come in and take over $600 worth of my stuff. Weirdly enough, I don’t even feel bitter anymore at either of them, I just know that they aren’t the best option to have in my life anymore.

    Also, I started a blog and I’d love for you to check it out! It’s called Live By Faith at http://www.taylormoriah.com

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