Forgiveness Is an Open Door (for Crap to Come Back In)
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.
Forgiveness may be something I shouldnâ€™t do.
This has come up for me before. Iâ€™m often told that I see only the good in people. Not soâ€”which is something I work out in my journalâ€”but I like to believe in a personâ€™s potential and that they can change.
Iâ€™m told that I forgive really bad things that I shouldnâ€™t. Others like to lecture me on forgiveness and pull out the religion Â card, Â butÂ they Â have Â different Â personalities, and maybe thatâ€™s great for some personalities but forgiveness tends to put me right back into the old dynamics of accepting crap. Itâ€™s all about boundaries, and when I for- give, those boundaries soften and I donâ€™t realize it until itâ€™s back to repeat-land.
Iâ€™ve also beenÂ told that I just cut people off when thereâ€™s a break in the relationship, Â and how terrible it is that I wonâ€™t be all smiley and chatty with them when they want me to be and let them convince me Â that Â the way they treated me was okay and Iâ€™m making too much of it. These arenâ€™t small matters of a simple disagreement Â but rather a culmination of many, many painful moments, to the point where I can no longer bear it. No matter how many times Iâ€™ve said â€œdonâ€™t do thisâ€ or â€œthis hurts,â€ they persist and then seem shell-shocked Â when I finally say, â€œEnough!â€ Â And Â theyâ€™re Â shocked Â because Â Iâ€™ve Â always borne it before and now Iâ€™ve changed the rules on what Iâ€™ll allow.
The previous Â pattern in my life was to let too much go and take the blame myself. Or to try to make someone see how much they were hurting me, to little or no avail, but putting up with it myself because it was easier for me to bear the burden than to bear hurting them. Such was my codependent life.
As Iâ€™ve broken through so much of my old codependent nature over the past few years, Iâ€™ve cut off relation- ships where Iâ€™d been deeply hurtâ€”much Â to the surprise of the person hurting Â me, either Â because Â they honestly didnâ€™t see what they were doing or because they Â didnâ€™t think Â Iâ€™d Â do Â anything Â about Â it Â (which Â were Â the Â actual words spoken to me).
My most recent pattern has been to try to get to a point Â of Â forgiveness Â and Â â€œmoving Â on.â€ Â Iâ€™ve Â cut Â some people out that Iâ€™ve let Â back in, though not right away. Itâ€™s been little by little. Time passes, I forgive old wounds, hope theyâ€™ve changed, and gradually let them back Â into my confidence. Then the old patterns start to creep back in.
The lies, half-truths, omissions, little daggers of cut- ting remarks, the attempts to control…they all come back.
And then for me, itâ€™s, â€œOh, yeah, thatâ€™s why I stopped having anything to do with them!â€
Iâ€™m not saying that people canâ€™t change. Just that in at least Â 3 Â or Â 4 Â instances Â where Â Iâ€™ve Â culled Â a Â relationship from my life in the past few years, Iâ€™ve earnestly tried to forgive what caused the original break, and Â as Â time has passed and Iâ€™ve not seen those behaviors Â daily, Iâ€™ve for- gotten them and let myself slip into a comfort Â zoneâ€” each time abruptly ending with the realization that nothingâ€™s changed.
For me, forgiving someone whoâ€™s hurt me deeply after cutting Â them out of my life tends to lead to letting them back in…to just enough of an extent that they start treating me as they did before. Itâ€™s Â not Â working for me now.
But I suppose Â I should Â be Â grateful Â to Â people Â who show their true colors just often enough to remind me of who they were…and still are.
So maybe forgiveness is something I shouldnâ€™t do…or either there are some people I shouldnâ€™t forgive.