I’ve been having an internal debate lately. Is it better to forgive and forget or will those who truly need your forgiveness never be forgotten?
Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you. Sometimes someone you think has walked away for good makes a sudden reappearance. There’s never a good time for this to happen, let’s be honest and get that out of the way now. Normally, this will happen at two possible times: when you are very happy or when you are very low.
For me, it happens to be a low point. I’m dealing with lots of stress from school, being away from my family for the holidays, living further than ever from home, and just general frustration with life.
I suppose there is a lot to be said for forgiving someone who has wronged you and then proceeding to forget about them. But if you forget about them isn’t that sort of like pretending what they did never happened? On the other side of that, does the wound continue to fester if you forgive but don’t forget?
I think that if you can forgive and then proceed to put it behind you without ever forgetting what the person did but trying not to dwell on it and let it color everything else in your life, then you’re doing okay. And that’s what I had been doing.
Forgiving wasn’t easy and moving on was even more difficult. But you hit the point, the wall, where you just can’t take it anymore, where the person has hurt you so bad or so many times that it becomes hard to look at them, let alone interact with them in any significant way.
So when they inevitably come waltzing back into your life in one way or another, what is proper protocol for dealing with that? Is it easier to tell them you forgive them but don’t want them in your life? Or if you’ve truly forgiven, should you allow them another chance?
What if they’ve already had a bunch of chances but they kept destroying you every time you held out a hand to them? Is it okay to tell them they are forgiven but no longer have a place in your life? Or is that petty?
Those closest to us are often the best equipped to cut us the deepest, hurt us for the longest, and turn our emotions back on to ourselves. Which brings me to the second point: if you’ve forgiven the other person, does that also mean you’ve forgiven yourself?
In my case, this person had several opportunities granted to them and I practically fell over myself to offer those every single time. And every single time, without fail, the person turned on me, made me feel guilty, that it was my “fault” for ruining things and became a source of anguish, anger, and tears. So I put my foot down and after the last time, over a year ago, decided that I didn’t want to deal with it anymore, that I knew I deserved better than what I was getting. Which is now pretty much shot to hell.
I’m the type of person that is loyal to a fault (one of my best and worst qualities), even to the point where I am getting kicked like a dog. I have a hard time letting go of people I care about, regardless of how they hurt me. But I felt something break the last time and now I don’t know if it can be fixed. This person tells me it will be different, but haven’t we all heard that time and time again? How can you ever know if that’s the actual truth? How can you trust someone who didn’t have the decency to not treat you that way in the first place?
Forgive and forget. Forgive but not forget. I’m still not sure where I fall. Probably more on the latter side. Not to hold a grudge but to remember the pain and use it to make myself stronger. To build back up the walls I let fall time and time again.
Can you move on when the past keep pulling you back? I’m not sure. Sometimes it feels like I have elastics glued to the back of my shoes. I keep walking forward and they keep stretching out. Eventually they will either break or yank me back. I don’t know which I’m hoping for at this point.