• DeAara Lewis

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“It’s Too Hard To Be Your Friend!” Why “Cutting People Off” Can Actually Backfire…

Of all of the manipulative tactics some folks try to use to control other people, cutting someone off, severing ties or holding grudges with someone has to be one of the most extreme and immature.  This is a tactic I know very well, I grew up around it, saw it demonstrated on a regular basis and before I came became conscious, used it myself.

The thing about cutting someone off that you consider close is, you have to really, really know their vulnerable parts or it won’t work.  I have a cousin who has made a living out of cutting people off when they do not do what it is she thinks that they should do or if they say something contrary to what she believes.   As a result, many people started to tip toe around her or naturally pull away from her themselves.  The result?  She lives a very secluded life, probably has to think about who she can and cannot call because she doesn’t remember who she is not speaking to.

And as I stated earlier, I have used that same tactic as well.  And over the years what I have discovered is, only save that for people who you really mean to cut off and really plan to unplug from, make sure there is a real violation where completely disconnecting is the best choice for you, otherwise, it is a method of control and rarely do you get what you want out of it.  And even though you have so-called disengaged from someone, they may be actually controlling you.  You have to think about what family functions or friend get togethers that you can and cannot go to because you don’t want to run into that person.  And if you do run into that family member or friend, you have to engage in extra concentration so you can appear to not be concerned with that other person.  Folks, from experience, that’s a miserable existence to live with egos grandly inflated.

One technique I use on people when they start hollering about, “I am cutting XYZ off!” is by asking them what is that they really want from that person.  Usually they just want to be heard, acknowledged, or an apology for something that was done.  However, sometimes even when they get this, they still do not reconnect because now they are ashamed or either feeding their fragile, insecure egos off of the fact that the other family member or friend is reaching out to them wanting to reconcile.

Now if you do finally accept their apology and you guys kiss and make up, more than likely that person is going to be on eggshells; uncomfortable to confront you about anything or to make a mistake.   Some people may think this is okay until you realize that people are no longer authentic with you,  they avoid you just as much as you avoid them because they don’t want the drama.  Suddenly, you are no longer invited to  family gatherings, outings or anything because no one really wants to deal with a controlling, sensitive, manipulative grouch.  And what happens?  You end up alone and isolated.  The only type of people you can attract are just as toxic and lost as you are.  There is no longer a person in your life strong enough to say, “Man, that was fucked up what you did.” and hold you accountable.

Relationships are the most important thing on this planet.  That’s really all life is about.  So be careful when you cut someone off, if you have to, make sure you have exhausted all other possible solutions first.    Because if not, it could backfire, you may find the person you cut off is not as emotionally plugged into you as you thought or hoped; OR they are aware and conscious enough to not want to deal with that type of destructive behavior and decide to cut you off as well.  In other words, sometimes some people may conclude that it may be too difficult to be your friend.


5 Responses

  1. Ms. Lewis I find your commentary right on the money; cutting people off or out of a relationship has life-consequences. I’m afraid that many people will continue in this vain until they do find themselves alone or surrounded by miserable people like they will become with time. I have seen this work within and without my family for a lot of years. There are family members who will not attend functions just because…and when someone questions where they are, we are generally dismissed with a “you know how what-her/his-name is!” Well I don’t know because whenever they have been around it ain’t been long enough to get to know them. Then that makes for others being cut off or out. I have noticed that there are a lot of secrets around my family that certain members know about but are remiss in informed the rest of us. So sometimes when I am around them it is hard to feel comfortable, knowing there are such secrets. Well, I just try to go on and not let these things bother me and try hard to not to without any connection with any family member. When it comes to friends I have always tried to be open and true, never having betrayed one unless I was betrayed first. When this has happened I’ve not avoided them but have made them know what my feelings are. I haven’t noticed anyone “not” being a friend after having a “fall-out” with me because as mature adults we have worked differences out.
    So your words are right on and I sincerely hope people who read it will reflex on it enough to feel differently about “cutting people off”.

  2. Dee. You said enough… Well said…

  3. I think this advice can work for some people, particularly those who value having a robust social life or at least a couple of acquaintances. For others like myself, who prefer their own company to that of others, cutting people off may be the best choice. It seems like many people can’t thrive without cutting others down or engaging in gossip, and just as many people only make friends to “get” something from it (sex, a promotion, favors, etc.). There is never any use trying to explain to these people what they are doing wrong or ask for an apology, and the older I get, the more it seems like hassle with very little payoff. So the minute someone annoys me, I get rid of them, with no regrets. I’ve always preferred my own company to that of others, and anyway, life is too short to suffer fools.


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