The Pathway of a Brokenhearted Friend – Linda Stoll

A relational breakdown starts slowly, almost imperceptibly. Something isn’t right but you can’t quite put your finger on what’s out of kilter.

A dark cloud drifts over the friendship and refuses to leave. A subtle shift emerges, its unspoken message rather clear. Idle words cut deep. Eye contact becomes non-existent. Texts go unanswered. Plans get cancelled with the wave of a hand and vague, hurtful excuses.

Something disquieting is floating in the wind and right before your very eyes, what has been so safe, strong, and comforting is morphing into a relationship you can’t even recognize.

Any conversations that do take place find you walking on eggshells, weighing your words, your eyes brimming. That wonderful easy freedom to fully be yourself has vanished and you feel, well … unsure, unsafe, unwanted. And oh so terrified.

You choke as you experience betrayal. Exclusion. Abandonment.

Blinded by loyalty or familiarity or fear of stepping up and speaking out, you stay silent. Left unspoken, all the accumulated hurt, frustration, and grief gather ’round your heart and clutch it tight.

You’re afraid to address the elephant in the room.

For who would you be without that person in your life?

The pathway of the broken-hearted is uneven and messy, strewn with tears …

Betrayal
Repeated disrespect, dishonesty, and disloyalty serve as warning signs that there are huge issues that must be addressed. Shattered trust is difficult to mend. It can be done, but only with a commitment to the value of the relationship, prayer, and honest, grace-filled communication.

Conversations where truth, love, and respect mingle are the only hope of salvaging a dying relationship. And forget about texting and email. These are dead ends that only lead to more misunderstanding. Don’t go there.

Denial
An inability for both friends to each own their own responsibility for where they find themselves leaves no future hope for the relationship. It takes two.

The continued refusal of one friend to acknowledge the other’s heartbreak and the stark reality of the deteriorating situation halts any kind of understanding and reconciliation.

Abandonment
Shattered trust, denial as to the damage done, and unwillingness to commit to the hard work of healing close the door to any kind of deep, authentic friendship.

Grieving
The death of a long time relationship is akin to a divorce, a death. This is a loss that deserves to be acknowledged and mourned.

Forgiveness
To wish the other person well, to allow her to move on without you in her life, is a beautiful gift you give to yourself. And to her. This most likely won’t happen quickly … and it doesn’t mean reconciliation.

But it does lead to peace.

Growth
Hitting bottom as you lose someone valuable allows you to focus on the only One who’ll never change like shifting shadows, who won’t forsake or abandon you. God is always inviting you to something deeper and more substantial. A renewed passion for your faith in Him is able to redeem all the heartache you’ve experienced along the way.

For He specializes in restoring our seasons of brokenness {Joel 2:25-26}.

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Let’s talk about how you’ve survived the death of a friendship and what you learned in the process …

 

 

 

Must Reads …
Necessary Endings
~ Henry Cloud

Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend
~ Irene Levine

The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving It
~ Leslie Vernick

Linda Stoll is a pastoral counselor to women in Cape Cod, Massachusetts where she lives in a little town tucked between the ever-changing bay and the ocean deep. Married for 41 years, she’s celebrating faithful friends, a decade of blogging, and the simplest daily joys. Her greatest claim to fame is her seven grandchildren, one who now lives in heaven.

She’d love for you to share this post with your social media tribe because she knows that everyone’s been wounded along the way. And she invites you to get to know her better right here.

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More about Debby Hudson

Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showing me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.

18 thoughts on “The Pathway of a Brokenhearted Friend – Linda Stoll

  1. Linda Stoll

    How fun to be here today with your people, Debby! Thanks for the invitation, friend …

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      And many thanks to your for graciously accepting the invitation. You are appreciated and valued, Linda.

      Reply

  2. Mary Geisen

    Thank you Linda! Each point that you outlined above do point us down a path but the way to the end is difficult. I think it’s important to share that when losing anything important their is grieving. It is a component that we many times overlook. And yet it is part of our healing and growing.

    I have experienced the loss of friendships. Sometimes they were mutual but other times they weren’t. I have learned that God was part of each breakup even if I didn’t see it at the time.

    Reply

    1. Linda Stoll

      Sometimes it’s hard to see God in the middle of the messiness, isn’t it. But in the end, He’s all we really have. And in the process maybe He somehow protected us … or perhaps protected our lost friend? Or had lessons for each of us that we never would have grabbed onto if the friendship had lingered?

      mmm …

      Reply

  3. meganchildofstarbreather

    Ladies you have got to add “Never unfriended,” by Lisa-Jo Baker to the list for friendships and for relational issues “A family saved by grace ,” by Gary Moreland. They released earlier this summer and are spiritual guides if you must leading the way towards healing and rebuilding of community. Thank you for your post. I will read the books you’ve mentioned. Jesus lived and breathed in His relationships because it’s in community we get to develop the outer image of the Jesus inside each of us.

    Reply

    1. Linda Stoll

      Hi Megan … thanks for the shout-out for the books by Lisa Jo and Gary. In this world of disposable relationships, every resource that points us in the right direction is a potential lifeline.

      So good to connect with you today!

      Reply

  4. betsydecruz

    These are beautiful insights, Linda. Sometimes moving on is so hard. But I love how you say that releasing someone is the best gift we can give to them (and to ourselves) when a friendship fades.

    Reply

    1. Linda Stoll

      There’s something about releasing, isn’t there … we set our burdens down, we stop fighting for our rights, we wish another well, we give them to Jesus.

      Reply

  5. Betsy Cruz

    And Hello, Debby! What a beautiful idea for a summer blog series!

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Hello to you Betsy. Thank you for your kind words and for your presence. We’ve been blessed by the four women sharing their words and stories of friendship this month. It adds so much to community.

      Reply

  6. Kristi Woods

    And yes, He does specialize in restoring seasons of brokenness. Thank God for His ministering, heart-changing love. Good to see you here, Linda. Thanks for sharing your space, Debby.

    Reply

    1. Linda Stoll

      I’m so grateful for His healing touch in my life … and in the lives of the women I connect with. Forgiveness can be chosen and sometimes reconciliation is possible. Miracles do happen!

      Reply

  7. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Linda,
    Your post speaks to the loss of friendships but also to the loss of relationships with family members. Like any other loss their is a period of grieving that must go on. All the feeling and emotions you mentioned are right on point. So thankful for the ultimate truth that faith in our Father redeems ALL the heartache we feel along the way. Beautiful!! And thank you so much for your comforting words on my blog – you are always a breath of fresh air and comfort!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Reply

    1. Linda Stoll

      You make a great point, Bev, that this applies to family situations as well as friendships. It is a searing loss to have your own flesh and blood turn away from you. Only God’s grace can offer the hope and grace needed to survive this terrible kind of disconnect.

      I highly recommend Leslie Vernick’s book listed above. Outstanding, practical help for those who are entangled in emotionally destructive relationships, particularly in the family.

      Reply

  8. Brenda

    That forgiveness (for both yourself and your friend) makes all the difference, doesn’t it? Being human is such a fickle state of being–so easy to accidentally hurt and be hurt. Oh, but one day. One day we’ll be serving one another in heaven, free from all the tethers of humanity. Beautiful post, Linda. Thanks for bringing a little heavenly perspective while we’re yet here. ((xoxo)) (And, hey Debby! Thanks for sharing Linda with us this week. ((hug)) )

    Reply

    1. Linda Stoll

      Refusal to begin heading down that forgiveness pathway only serves to keep us under lock and key in a jail of our own making. We think somehow that we’re punishing the one who did us wrong, but in reality, we’re the suffering one.

      No wonder we need God’s help to head down that daunting road.

      Reply

  9. Chris Malkemes

    So powerful and true. God is a God of relationship. It can be messy, heart wrenching and hard to define, but we are to move in it. You’ve given us just what we need to remember that. Thank you.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      I like what you’ve said, Chris, that God is a God of relationship. How it must break His heart when they are torn apart and left in shambles. His intentions are always for our good. He loves us so … – Linda (sent via Debby)

      Reply

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