The challenge of forgiveness

I recently came across a link showing an indigenous tribe who DID NOT discipline their tribe members with ridicule if there was any wrong doing, but with praise instead. The accused person would stand in the center of a circle and for two days the tribe members would tell this person of all his greatness to realign him with good. They believe that they are brought into this world for good and when a mistake is made, guidance back to the better good is done in the form of affirmation. The group takes on the responsibility to hold this person up. I can only imagine how humble and loved I would feel under these circumstances.

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I was victim of an unfortunate betrayal this past summer. It took great tolls on my relationship with my love. It challenged EVERY unresolved betrayal and abandonment issue that sunk way, way back into my childhood and created some new wounds. I felt old wounds as if they had just happened on top of the recent misfortune, jumbled all together, causing self-doubt, confusion and disbelief.  Imagine trusting someone with your most intimate stories, confessions and life challenges and then be betrayed with your very own words. It’d be hard to trust that person again huh? Though I still try.

This situation has left me quiet, more reserved, reclusive and definitely less trusting.  All things I do not want for myself and those I love.  It’s daily subject matter that I have now embraced as part of my growth.

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I decided I wouldn’t let it get the best of me. But our friendship circles collide and in fact are intertwined. Apologies were made, hugs were exchanged and we tried to move forward.  Social media brings this person to my face almost daily. When my love did the “unfriend”  thing for this person, because the daily reminder was painful and distracting to move on, things got pretty tense again. We were met we “that really hurts my feelings” then social blurbs accusing us of being hypocritical for sharing the happy/good yet setting boundaries and not being able to forgive stuff. Judgment.

If you don’t want to deal with the consequences of your actions DON’T betray people. And certainly not those that are in your immediate friends or chosen family circles.

If you are hoping someone will forgive you for hurting them, here’s some things you might want to consider:

  1. If you hurt someone, it may take a while for them to process the pain to a full circle of healing and forgiveness. You have no idea what other hurts you unearthed with your actions. If you want healing to take place with that person, your patience, kindness and compassion is all you have to offer that is of any value. You just hurt someone, now you have the choice to embark on the journey of forgiveness together, or sit quietly until permission is given to go through that door together. My daddy always said, “With friends like that; you don’t NEED any enemies.” They may even decide to tank the relationship. So don’t be shocked if this happens.
  2. Just because you think enough time has passed does not  mean the other party is over it. When encounters occur and everyone is doing their best to make it like “old times” to avoid the public discomfort; don’t say that the person you hurt is being  passive aggressive if they realize later the sight of you is too uncomfortable and triggering.  After all, we’re talking about breaking a huge element of trust here. You really have no idea what the other person is battling. Your patience and compassion shows worthiness to be forgiven and trusted again.
  3. Saying things out loud on social media to get the attention of mutual friends is just another form of manipulation that adds to the hurt. Social media isn’t always a positive thing. Maybe like the indigenous tribe you (as the accused) need to be realigned with good. So in order to get the affirmation and support you need for your actions, you post things through social media that the associated parties will see and understand to be directly related to private conversation. Doing so in this way might seem as a back hand toward the people or person you hurt. If you need support do those a favor that you have wounded, do it privately.
  4. Don’t be surprised if those you hurt are angry. Being intentionally injured is a form of abuse and manipulation.  Just because you see yourself as a “good” person full of love doesn’t mean that your actions always prove it.  Be gentle on those you have caused great pain to, it’s quite possible you may have stunted their growth, you have definitely created an obstacle for them to suddenly deal with!
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I try to be strong and “good” at all times, but I have a mean streak. It’s the type of thing that happens when security is threatened, sanity is challenged, and situations seem to be manipulated as if I’m not doing enough to heal or I’m doing it wrong.  Don’t challenge my well-being if YOU are the person that caused all this pain, some things go beyond the Live and Let Live motto. If you meddle in my life and then chastise me for not being able to move past the pain fast enough, you’re in the wrong, and I WILL get defensive.

I’m not proud of the anger when it emerges. For me it’s the combination of fear, “When will I ever fully trust again? When I trust I get hurt.” Heartache,  losing the connection with someone you worked so hard to develop and build. Self-doubt, “Why would someone do this to me? Do I pick unhealthy relationships?” Protection, ” I’ll be damned if I am going to let this happen again.”

When my love recently unfriend-ed a few people from Facebook. The main person sent him an email. He wasn’t ready to reply or give ‘reason’ why he unfriended her.  Should he have to under the circumstances?  Is it hypocritical of him to one day be sweet and kind to her face and then later realize how uncomfortable it was? When he didn’t reply to her email, she emailed both of us as a couple. After a few exchanges, I lost it. I admit. Ape shit crazy said “Back the fuck off.”  ALL summer we had to deal with this. At Burning Man, during October, Thanksgiving, etc. This is a person that was FAMILY, CHOSEN family. SO the absence of her presence is reminder enough that now we can’t trust her.

Honestly, I thought it was completely uncalled for that I would be included in an email. I had been dealing and coping with the situation just fine, and this challenged it for me all over again. And I failed the test, gloriously.

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I am sorry if you are affected by our hurt and this circumstance. We did not ask for it. We lost many precious relationships due to this person’s betrayal.  I am asking that if you are aware of the details or even have a small hint of what has happened, that you use compassion when dealing with us.  In our past, those that have betrayed us, we left behind. Now, as we grow, evolve and we challenge ourselves to heal past this, looking back on our own mistakes, bad choices and those we asked to forgive us. We want those around us who will honor our efforts with love and encouragement. Not judge us and speak secretly behind our backs.

Be true to yourself, to us and others. If you have judgments about us, we aren’t the friends for you. We aren’t perfect, we never pretend to be, in fact we take great effort to live humbly and vulnerably out loud so others will see the value in being authentic, transparent, letting evolution take place. Realizing mid-life that you want to change EVERYTHING you believe in entirely,  relearning it all on your own, choosing people around you to help guide, usher and mentor you through this… very humbling.  Yet having someone disrupt relationships we worked so hard to nurture, devastating. Especially by someone who was so integral to our growth.

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So before you judge those you hurt, before you cast opinions of someone’s circumstances, before you self-righteously claim that you understand what someone else is going through… walk in their shoes and above all else have compassion for all humans.

Consciousness Explorer, Love Gifter, Dreamer and Bad Ass Facilitator of Awesome. I started BattyKitten to document my life's adventure.

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