This is an old post I brought over from my other site, from August 2018, edited with some current information.
Forgiveness is something I’ve had a hard time with my entire life. I find it easy to forgive little things – saying things in the heat of anger, forgetting to meet me somewhere, cancelling plans, changing your mind, etc. Betrayal takes a lot for me to forgive. You’d better be really, genuinely sorry for whatever you did in order for me to even think about forgiveness, but it is possible and it has gotten easier for me over time. However, saying things with malicious intent, trying to control someone, intended manipulation, any form of abuse unless the person recognizes it about themself and goes for extensive therapy – those are the kinds of things I can’t forgive, even though I should. I shouldn’t say can’t because you can always do whatever you put your mind and hard work to, so I’ll say I find it seemingly impossible.
Maybe that has to do with being adopted and the initial, primal wound of being separated from my birth mother at birth, but it it still valid and this reason is and always will be a part of me.
Keeping things inside is poison. It builds and spreads and festers, and no matter how strong you are or how much you believe you’ve let it go, that’s unfortunately not how that works. Bottling things up is different from processing, getting through, and letting go. Putting pain, anger, resentment, sadness, and whathaveyou in a bottle and shoving it away will only affect you in negative ways, and it will eventually explode.
This is why I was such an angry person for most of my life. Bottling is what I was taught to do. It’s how I was raised by my dad and even though my mom did her best to combat that and teach me otherwise, fear of my dad ruled me. Love is stronger than fear, yes, but fear can rule you if you let it. As a kid growing up with an emotionally abusive narcissist, I lived my entire life on high alert. I never knew that my adoption played a part in that until last year. These are part of why I have been so cut and dry with friendships, and why I clam up and get defensive when people don’t like something about me. Instead of just letting it be and accepting that not everyone will like me and those who do won’t like everything about me, I push those people away.
However, though I have been working on this, on myself, I still to this day (May 7, 2020) believe that if people don’t like certain things about you that you are not willing to curb or change, especially if those things are important to you and things you like about yourself, then they are not people you should work hard to keep around. You should never sacrifice who you are for anyone. But that’s a whole different article I’m going to write.
Whenever I used to cut someone out of my life, it was hard to do so without retaliation, without making them hurt like they hurt me or someone I love. But that’s not how you heal. It’s not how you grow. You will just attract negative karma to yourself and remain within your bubble of anger. This was a very hard lesson to learn. I don’t do that anymore and, if I have to say something, then I do so with a great amount of time, energy, and care to my words. I am not at all saying don’t defend yourself. If you need to speak your mind, by all means – speak your mind. I find that if I don’t have my say, it makes the healing and mourning process worse for me.
I’ve had people tell me that it’s too harsh to cut someone out of my life for something they did, whether it’s for a few weeks or months or forever. My mom used to tell me I would end up with no friends. I disagreed then and I disagree now. I think it’s healthy to cut out toxicity, and unhealthy to an extreme to keep someone in your life just because you think you’re being too harsh, or because they are ‘family’ or for whatever other reasons you may have. People may call you selfish; they certainly have called me that. They will retaliate, they will judge, they will try to dissuade you. But if you know you are doing what you need to for yourself, your sanity, your mental health, then do it. Sometimes people need space. Sometimes you’ll learn something about someone that is hard to accept or swallow, and maybe that person needs to be cut out forever. Whatever you do, don’t let the opinions of others coerce you into changing your mind if you are sure that what you’re doing is right for YOU.
What’s right for me is space. Many times that’s just temporary, but many times it is forever. I’ve been called a coward, I’ve been told that I’m good at running, I’ve been bashed repeatedly for going silent, I’ve been told I’m too defensive and cutting and even uncompromising. But I know that isn’t me, though it took me a long time to see that. And, if I didn’t “run”, I’d create a much worse situation for both myself and the other person. I can be volatile. I can get ferocious and mean. I tend to say things in harsher ways than I would if it was a normal conversation, though I am still careful with my words. Some things I’d never say at all, because some things are better left unsaid. I know my anger and I know what’s best for me.
In the past, I haven’t been the best at expressing this, or other things about me. I was raised to believe that anything other than confidence and ambition is weak. I have seen my dad ruthlessly cut people out for a wide range of reasons, so I have mimicked that and I know I’ve hurt people. I expect things from people now that I didn’t do as a friend in the past. I expect people to not do things that I have done in the past. I am forgiving, as long as the other person can grow with me.
I have grown. Though growth is a constant journey.
I have been working and will continue to work on letting go of my righteousness and feelings of unfairness when in conflict with someone. Things aren’t always fair. Life isn’t always fair. I know this but feelings are feelings, emotions are emotions. Stomping them out will never work so I work with them to better myself and my mental health.