I’m Done Feeling Guilty For Leaving You Behind

Maybe I couldn’t see it back then, but I carried so much weight on my shoulders for the sake of others. Including you.

I felt responsible for you in the most unhealthy ways. I look back now and see that I have been dragging survivors guilt with me like an anchor chained to my ankles. I went forward, and you wouldn’t do the same. Somehow it felt like that was my own fault.

If I could move on and be okay, why couldn’t you? Why was I so lucky? Was there something in your path that made it impossible for you to make a change in your life? I constantly wondered if there was something I couldn’t see that I needed to. Maybe there was more I could have done to help you and things would have turned out differently.

I did all I could to embrace my own growth, which meant there was no time left to stay stagnant in the life we were both accustomed to. I moved on, hoping that everyone I loved would see it and follow.

But they didn’t. You didn’t.

I was on my own, and that was scary, but also liberating. I broke free from everything I hated and grew into someone I can finally be proud of. It took everything in me, and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times I looked back and wondered if I was making the right decision. I know now that I did. It was hard to burn those bridges, especially because I had tried to leave them intact, just in case you changed your mind and decided to join me on the other side.

I’m done feeling guilty for the fact that you decided to watch it burn instead of fighting for yourself. I refuse to carry the weight of your choice to remain in the past. I will not allow myself to take responsibility for the resentment you hold. Those decisions, your own refusal to grow, it’s on you. For so long I felt like it was my fault. I kept throwing you a lifeline just for you to watch it drop in front of you.

I’ve finally realized that I can’t save anyone, and I can’t save you. Your happiness is dependent on you, not me. If anyone is going to fight for your freedom and growth, it has to be yourself. It was never my battle to fight.

If the day finally comes where you decide to leave it all behind, do it for you. Don’t do it for me. Don’t do it to please any else. You are the only one who can take ownership of your life. I’m letting go because I need to keep moving on instead of lagging behind in hopes that you’ll catch up.

There will never be a time where I don’t hold onto some hope. I will always be wishing to see you here on the other side. I just can’t let that keep me from doing what’s best for me anymore.

That doesn’t mean the love I’ve always had for you just disappeared, it just means that I’ve finally learned to love myself too. I am done feeling guilty for leaving you behind.

About the author
Colorado native, cult escapee. Follow Stephani on Instagram or read more articles from Stephani on Thought Catalog.

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