Gretel Killeen

Relationship winter is coming: I’ve just put a friend in the freezer

Sometimes a toxic person just needs to be frozen out of your life. To do it you simply write their name on a piece of paper and pop it in the freezer. It sounds ridiculous, but I don’t care.

 

I’ve just put a friend in the freezer. I’ve put ex-boyfriends in the freezer before, but this is the first time I’ve put a friend in there.

Obviously, I don’t mean literally. ‘Putting someone in the freezer’ is both part a desperate cry for help and a metaphor that relates to the freezing of someone out of your life. To do it you simply write their name on a piece of paper and pop it in the freezer. It sounds ridiculous, but I don’t care. Sometimes when sheer logic, willpower, self-discipline and repeated heartbreak are not enough to restrain you from continuing to keep someone in your life…then you simply must rely on the supernatural.

I didn’t invent this technique. Many people I know have done it. Strangely I’ve never heard of a man doing it, but lots and lots of balanced and seemingly sensible female friends of mine have done it, often more than once. But to be honest they haven’t all succeeded in freezing the ‘freezee’ out.

But then again I’ve had a few failures too. And they were from lack of trying.

Each time I popped every one of those names in the freezer I was determined to delete them from my life, absolutely rock solid adamant…but then I’d start to blame myself for their behaviour, or get scared of being alone, or there was nothing good on TV and voila! The freeze was out of the freezer and back inside my life.

It’s very, very hard to stick to your intentions. Particularly when the freezee isn’t always an arse. Oh yes, occasionally they’re nice, and when they are it feels more than fantastic. Like when you stop banging your head against a wall. It’s true, when an abusive lover or friend or boss is nice, even for just one moment, we give it far, far, far more weight than if any normal person did exactly the same thing.  That’s how they keep you in their orbit of course.

But I’m hoping I grow up this time, stop asking someone else to change, and actually change myself. I hope I manage to keep this friend in the freezer even though he’s been in my life since I was a teenager and until now I’ve persevered with the friendship, sought it, chased it, even though it made me unhappy since …well… since it first started. In fact, it was only after I spoke at a fundraiser to assist the victims of domestic violence that I began to consider what other forms abusive relationships can take. And I realised one form is friendship.

 

‘Putting someone in the freezer’ is both part a desperate cry for help and a metaphor that relates to the freezing of someone out of your life.

 

Of course, not all would describe this friend or friendship as abusive. I didn’t previously. Now I do. He would be cruel, inconsiderate, dismissive, humiliating, treacherous and relentlessly dishonest. And what did I do in response? I’d ring and see if he’d like to catch up for coffee.

Like a lot of girls, I had low self-esteem plus my generation was raised in a time when it was an absolute given that men were superior to females. This unkind combo pretty well made all us girls sitting ducks for dickwits. But with or without this background, male or female, some of us are just sitting ducks.

So what about you?  Sound familiar? Maybe you need to put someone in the freezer too. It might not be an easy decision to make. You might be the only one dissatisfied with him or her. Not everyone is going to agree with your experience. Sometimes a freezee can be nice as pie to absolutely everyone, except you!

I tried to work out how you can tell if someone should be frozen from your life. An equation, a theory, a telltale sign… but you know, the only constant I could come up with was if they make you hurt to get rid of them. Physical, mental, emotional, even financial pain, if you sense any or all of these from a relationship then you should have a think about freezing them out.

It won’t be easy. Cause sometimes we’re kind of addicted to these relationships. So maybe think about it this way: that as long as these people are in your life then you’re the one who’s actually limited.

Kind of like being stuck in a freezer.

 

 

 

 

Gretel Killeen

Gretel Killeen is the author of more than twenty books. At various times she hosts radio and television programs across the country, works as a journalist, stand-up comic and voice artist, and writes and directs feature films and documentaries.

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