I've been thinking about this a lot lately: "Be brave enough to break your own heart." (from Dear Sugar, linked below)
And can I tell you that for some seemingly simple advice, that sh*t is HARD TO DO.
It's one thing when someone else does something to you that hurts. You can righteously rage at the injustice of it all and direct all the ire inside you at the person who broke your heart. But when your pain is a direct result of a conscious decision to remove yourself from a situation that you could have stayed in and would have been welcome to stay in, it becomes that much harder to externalize all of the feelings that come along with a heartbreak of such magnitude.
Breaking your own heart means stepping out of something (it could be a relationship of any kind, intimate or familial or even a friendship) that is not serving you but isn't going to change unless you change it. You may be leaving something familiar and comforting, because not everything that is bad for us feels bad all the time. In doing so, you may feel unmoored and adrift, and it may seem easier to just swim back to that dysfunctional shore because it would be so easy to do...
This is where the courage factor comes in. It requires deep self-love to refuse to agree to a half-lived life, or to settle for less than what you know you deserve.
To walk away from someone (or something) you love in order to save yourself sounds like a rational, logical move…but who among us loves with their brain? I can assure you I do not. And so. You take a deep breath, and you cut the cord, and you step away to nurse your wounds and grieve for as long as it takes. You have to trust that "the universe is unfolding as it should" (Max Ermann "Desiderata") and that your courage will be rewarded later when you find yourself in a better, healthier, happier situation.
I am thinking of this while watching a dear friend struggle with whether to stay or go from the mostly-harmful and yet somehow-love-filled relationship she is in. To her I would say the same thing I say to myself: it is hard and it sucks and you will grieve. But there are times when it is the highest expression of self-care and self-respect to be brave enough to break your own heart.