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 shouldn’t do.
This has come up for me before. I’m often told that I see only the good in people. Not so—which is something I work out in my journal—but I like to believe in a person’s potential and that they can change.
I’m told that I forgive really bad things that I shouldn’t. Others like to lecture me on forgiveness and pull out the religion card, but they have different personalities, and maybe that’s great for some personalities but forgiveness tends to put me right back into the old dynamics of accepting crap. It’s all about boundaries, and when I for- give, those boundaries soften and I don’t realize it until it’s back to repeat-land.
I’ve also been told that I just cut people off when there’s a break in the relationship, and how terrible it is that I won’t be all smiley and chatty with them when they want me to be and let them convince me that the way they treated me was okay and I’m making too much of it. These aren’t small matters of a simple disagreement but rather a culmination of many, many painful moments, to the point where I can no longer bear it. No matter how many times I’ve said “don’t do this” or “this hurts,” they persist and then seem shell-shocked when I finally say, “Enough!” And they’re shocked because I’ve always borne it before and now I’ve changed the rules on what I’ll allow.
The previous 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 I’ve broken through so much of my old codependent nature over the past few years, I’ve cut off relation- ships where I’d been deeply hurt—much to the surprise of the person hurting me, either because they honestly didn’t see what they were doing or because they didn’t think I’d do anything about it (which were the actual words spoken to me).
My most recent pattern has been to try to get to a point of forgiveness and “moving on.” I’ve cut some people out that I’ve let back in, though not right away. It’s been little by little. Time passes, I forgive old wounds, hope they’ve changed, and gradually let them back 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, it’s, “Oh, yeah, that’s why I stopped having anything to do with them!”
I’m not saying that people can’t change. Just that in at least 3 or 4 instances where I’ve culled a relationship from my life in the past few years, I’ve earnestly tried to forgive what caused the original break, and as time has passed and I’ve not seen those behaviors daily, I’ve for- gotten them and let myself slip into a comfort zone— each time abruptly ending with the realization that nothing’s changed.
For me, forgiving someone who’s hurt me deeply after cutting 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. It’s not working for me now.
But I suppose I should be grateful to people who show their true colors just often enough to remind me of who they were…and still are.
So maybe forgiveness is something I shouldn’t do…or either there are some people I shouldn’t forgive.