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On Letting Go, Forgiving, Forgetting, & Why I Am Done. 
14th-Sep-2006 07:33 pm
So. I've had to make a difficult decision about someone whose motives I've held in question for a long time now. The decision was whether I'd allow this person to remain part my life, or whether I finally had enough reasons to conclude that keeping them part of it was doing me only harm, because no good was coming to me from it. Christi, Maggie, and myself have long held to the notion that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. This particular case was clearly a reason. It was to teach me that a door that sometimes slams in your face does so because it is actually a gift and not a wound - it's sometimes the best thing a person can do for you and borders on the only act of love they're capable of. Sometimes people who hurt you so callously actually do you a huge favor in driving you to the point of unforgiveness, it may well be the only way you're going to learn that you shouldn't trust them, let alone engage them in anything - least of all yourself.

When someone wrongs you, there are really only two choices to make. First you must make up your mind that the decisions you need to stick with are made in an intellectual context as opposed to an emotional one, otherwise you run the risk of caving in later and renegging on your choice. You can either decide that the person's transgression(s) are beyond forgiveness, and be completely done with them, walk away, and never look back. Then there's the other choice, where you go through the processes most people commonly perceive as letting go, forgiving, and forgetting. I'll address both of these in this post, though my reasons for writing about this in the first place are because I've recently been tasked with figuring out several things about a relationship I've invested a lot of my time, energy, and considerable patience in only to feel that it is a big mistake to have given of myself. I feel cheated and completely scammed, lied to hand over fist, and robbed of all this energy - which has been substantial. My trust hasn't been violated this time, my trust was lost with this individual last summer and getting that back with me is a lot like getting one's virginity back. It was my choice to give and I did so of my own volition, so I'll own that and it's fine. For the record, it's not D - no worries, things between us have been tense lately but that's just a fact of life and we're able to handle it. Relationships like ours are built on strong foundations and are able to weather a lot, fortunately.

I have deep reserves of patience, but like everyone else I do have my limits. If I'm going to write someone out of my life and cut them off, I have to know that I have exhausted every possibility with them. I can walk away if I know I do so with a clear conscience and the satisfaction that comes from knowing that I did everything I could do and gave every benefit of every conceivable doubt and still I'm left with no choice but to walk away. Some people are just toxic, and in the end you have to weight out what D calls a cost/benefit analysis within the confines of your relationship to them, face whether or not what you give and put into a person is given back to you in an equitable manner benefitting you both collectively and individually, and conclude that this person is a compliment to your life or a complication. People who only complicate your life do not deserve to be a part of it, but making that a reality in practice is merely an act of will. You have to decide that you've finally had enough of being shit on and dragged down into their bullshit when it's theirs and not yours. You have to decide that no matter what you do for a person, all they do is take and never give anything substantial back just for you. You have to decide that having your emotions manipulated and your better judgement exploited for sympathy is no longer tolerable, and you have to decide that you are not responsible for fixing anyone else - that's their job and their job alone, and furthermore you're not responsible for explaining to them what it will take to earn back your trust. A person who truly cared about you would never give you reasons to not trust them in the first place, but should it happen then it is on them to figure out how to earn it back. Don't give them a manual on you, don't give them examples, don't make it easy for them. That's no way to get someone to prove themselves, if anything it enables them to take the most simple way out and get off far too easily.

If you decide that you need to keep this person as a fixture in your life, you begin the forgiving process by first letting go of enough anger or resentment or bitterness that it just doesn't matter enough to justify holding on to it. Letting go is a long process and it requires consistency. Letting go is not something you do all at once, it is something you do every day until you no longer have hurts to let go of. Then comes the forgiveness part. For me, forgiveness means essentially that I choose to let whatever initially happened that put me at odds with a person not matter enough to prevent them from sharing in my life. Here's the difficult part, the part that trips most folks up. You'd think it was the fact that letting go is a process that requires you do it every day, but it's not - it's the part where you're supposed to forget that X person ever hurt you at all. Yeah - that's some bullshit right there. You don't ever forget that a person hurt you badly, it changes your entire outlook on so many things that it changes you as a person, so fuck forgetting. In most cases for me, fuck forgiving too - if they'll fuck you over once, twice is a guarantee 99% of the time.

I've had to do this before in both cases. I've been hurt by people in one way or another, decided that I'd lost so much respect for them as a person and as a friend that I couldn't sustain putting any more of myself emotionally into them, and have written them off and cut them out of my life. Only once have I come later to rethink this and go through the processes I mentioned earlier, this rare 1% person in whom I now see one of the best decisions I ever made. Rebuilding that relationship and reinforcing what built it in the first place has been incredible. I've found what I missed for many years in that absence, and I realize just what a mess I would be without that source of love, strength, wisdom, and understanding of me as a friend and as a man. I've more often than not been on the end where there is just nothing there for me anymore, it's really all over except for the declaration that I'm done. You hit that wall where you realize that people in some cases are just not giving you what you need to sustain the relationship, and nothing you do is ever going to change this, and furthermore they either don't care enough about you to make the changes or they simply don't have it in them to make them. That's when you know they're toxic and the best thing you can do is to run a mile the other way from them.

It was with the best of intentions that I tried the best I could in my most recent situation, but I've had to face some very difficult realities and come to accept inevitable conclusions. If a person has wronged you, before you forgive them or even begin letting go you have to consider first whether or not they deserve your forgiveness. It may be an extremely difficult, gut-wrenching decision, but as I've come to realize in recent days there are really just some people that you have no choice with when your personal standards are incompatible with theirs. Sometimes - whether right or wrong - some people are just not up on your level and never will be, you have to cut your losses and be done.

I might forgive you once, but I won't forgive you twice. I never should have forgiven you in the first place for two reasons - the first, you never deserved it - the second, you're not really sorry for anything you did that got you into this situation in the first place, the proof of that is the fact that you've done NOTHING, not one single thing, to show that you've learned from any of the mistakes you made. If you had, you'd have stopped making them immediately. You're not sorry that you fucked everything up, you're only sorry that you cannot get back what you threw away like garbage - and you never will, not ever. That's the bottom line here, and nothing you've said was powerful enough to change my mind on this fact - nor anyone else's, for that matter, it's just that I'm the one who'll say it. I've heard the incessant cries of "WOLF!!" for the last time, and I won't listen anymore. What happens from here on out happens without the benefit of my love, patience, understanding, and support. I will never be victim to another emotional vampire. I was your strongest ally, thowing me away the first time was a big enough fuck up, but let's be really honest here - I didn't write you out of my life, you've spent all of this time and energy writing yourself out of it at every single turn. All I've done is taken away your pen so that you'll never have another opportunity to write yourself in again. And while that is really sad and pathetic, the misfortune is yours, not mine.
And the flame burned away
But you're still spitting fire
Makes no difference what you say
You're still a liar

- Sinéad O'Connor
15th-Sep-2006 12:03 am (UTC)
That was so very well written and is such good advice to follow to reduce drama and depression throughout one's life.

I hope it works out for you. *hugs*
15th-Sep-2006 12:44 am (UTC)
For me, this was a necessary thing - writing it, I mean. Her choices compelled mine, at the point I figured that out it was all over but the shouting and frankly I'm too tired for that. There's nothing to discuss anyway, it would be yet another waste of my time and energy and I've thrown away far too much of that as it is.

All I really feel now is bitterness and anger, but in time I'm sure that will fade. I think I'm also just mad at myself for allowing this to suc me back in against my better judgement, I really should have never given in again after the first time I had to go through this shit with her. I'll eat that, it was my choice to make, but I am extremely pissed off that I was taken advantage of emotionally here. That'll fade too though.

I'm glad you got something out of it, I left it a public post for the same reason - in the hope that it would serve to illuminate these things for someone else and that they may be spared a similar circumstance to mine.
15th-Sep-2006 01:10 am (UTC)
OMG AB, I feel like I have written this myself! I hope you are indeed able to move on from that negative person - they are clearly not worth your time. You certainly have inspired me to analyze a game player in my life too.

Thanks for this, and I wish you the best in moving on. :)
15th-Sep-2006 03:02 am (UTC)
Good for the both of us in that case! I do feel lighter, it's just adjusting to letting go of my anger and bitterness that's giving me a headache.
15th-Sep-2006 01:10 am (UTC)

I know I don't know your situation really, but I felt the urge to comment on this cuz I can relate a bit.

I just recently gave up on someone who I had forgiven over and over thruought the years...For awhile it would be okay and things would be good, and then of course they would display their true nature again....etc etc. I think I knew deep down that I never should have forgiven them in the first place, but part of me just wanted to block out the whole thing and have things be good. Well it took me 3 years to realize that my first instinct had been right, to block them out of my life and not forgive them. I think that if there is so much doubt about someone for an extended period of time, its best to act on it rather than do what I did and just waste my own time and prolong what had to be done.

*another country heard from*

I also will say that although I felt sad at first, now I don't miss them at all, and feel a huge sense of tension gone and a weight being lifted. HOpefully this will be the same for you.
15th-Sep-2006 03:03 am (UTC)
I don't feel sad, I feel pissed off. I'm definintely resolved, though - that much is a given. The other stuff tends to work itself out, so I know it's jus the skin I'm in for now. And I definitely feel lighter!
15th-Sep-2006 01:35 am (UTC)
Amazing post. I will say that I am big on forgiving and forgetting, and by that I don't mean letting people like that back in. It's more about letting go of the anger, taking the the lesson learned and then moving on. Forgiveness isn't neccessarily at all about letting someone back into your life.
15th-Sep-2006 03:05 am (UTC)
Glad it resonated with you, that makes me glad I didn't lock it to friends only so other readers may feel similarly.

If anything, the only forgiveness is for myself in making he original decision to get back into this bullshit against my better judgement.
15th-Sep-2006 02:04 am (UTC)
Amazing and very, very powerful.


15th-Sep-2006 03:05 am (UTC)
Thanks, sweetness!
15th-Sep-2006 02:23 am (UTC)
I totally identify with this.. had to cut out a friend after 2 years of listening to him bitch endlessly about his abusive relationship and trying to help.. he'd say the same things, i'd do my song and dance, every week like clockwork..

Eventually i was so stressed i couldn't sleep or concentrate on anything else. Cut him off and told him I couldn't have him in my life till he left his abusive partner.

Sometimes you gotta cut them off, it's just necessary for your own health.
15th-Sep-2006 03:13 am (UTC)
It got to the point where I went from feeling like I was walking in circles and rehashing the same bullshit over and over, or I was getting frustrated because nothing mattered or made a difference.

She's THE most selfish person alive, she wants what she wants and there is nothing else (least of all empathy) and she'll stop at nothing to make herself either a victim or an attention vampire. It doesn't matter whose life gets ruined in the process or who gets left a casualty, it's al about placating her and giving her what she wants. The minute you call out the lies and inappropiate behavior, you become a threat and must be eliminated. You get reduced from ally to enemy when you call her on the carpet, but it's not just me who knows this - all paties involved know this - so I'm just being responsible for myself and no one else.

Bottom line, I'm done with feeling that nothing I ever do, nothing that any of us do, is good enough. If it's not giving in to her wants and needs, then it's just not good enough. And she'll never change, so for my own sake I have to be done with her or I'll only end up making it hell for the other innocent casulaties left in her wake. I love them more than I dislike her, so that's my choice.
15th-Sep-2006 02:56 am (UTC)

You know I got you, honey.

And I love noodles.
15th-Sep-2006 03:14 am (UTC)
I know you do, you're partly responsible for getting me to this point, this point that is the best place for me to be with her, and I love and thank you for it.

Noodles? WTF?
15th-Sep-2006 03:04 am (UTC)
I can barely begin to put into words how much all of this is on my mind lately... and letting go, & forgiveness, seem to be skills I need to work on improving. Perhaps reading this through a few more times will help :)
15th-Sep-2006 03:16 am (UTC)
I hope so, I figured this would resonate with others and that's why I left it public. If you need me, you let me know - I'm always there for those who deserve it!
15th-Sep-2006 03:44 am (UTC)
Jude, I think you write about things most of us can relate to. I could have written much of this post.

One of my daughters has not spoken to me in a year. Why? Because I got tired of her one way relationship and spoke up and finally said I was hurt, after she totally blew off Jillian's birthday last year. It was the last straw in a long series of blowing off important days in her families lives.

We were so close until she met her husband. She did a complete turn around and his family became more important than her own to the point of basically excluding us from their lives.

When I pointed this out her answer was "you should just be grateful when we do come".

I know why she isn't coming around but I can't change the situation as much as it tears up my heart.

Until then Larry says it is best for my emotional well being that we don't have any contact. I know that in my head but in my heart it's another matter.

We tried talking this out but she says *I* need to take responsibility for this. How do you take responsibility for something you didn't cause?

If it were anyone else I'd just walk away. As a Mom I just can't.

I do know what you're saying though and I think you're right to take this person out of your life. I wish it were that easy here. I keep the door open and hope one day my daughter will be a part of my life again. She is such a joy when she is just herself. I truly miss her.

Loss is never easy.

Hugs Ya! Christina
15th-Sep-2006 06:01 am (UTC)
My sister lived with a guy for more than two years when she was 19-21, and the only way she had contact with Mom was basically to ask for help when they couldn't afford to make their bills. Mom chose to maintain contact by helping every so often, her theory being it was better than refusing and not seeing my sister at all. I don't think it was my sister deliberately being that way, I think it was the guy's influence over her. When she finally saw him for the greasy scumbag he was, she reverted to some of her former personality almost immediately, and grew up pretty fast afterward. So now Mom talks with her all the time and I talk to her on the phone about every couple or three days, whereas there was a time I rarely heard from her. It can happen, you just have to both live long enough, I hope.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
15th-Sep-2006 04:32 am (UTC) - thanks
Your post came to me at a time that I needed to hear it.

Thanks for making it public.
15th-Sep-2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
It's interesting ... and saddening too that so many of us can relate to this post. I could also have written it myself ... the part about forgiving and forgiving and forgiving yet again (in my case). I've been in a situation like this for over a year now .. and despite me thinking and writing everything you've said to the person in question ... the situation is still going on. It is very stressful and emotionally consuming. My problem is that I promised I'd 'always be there' when needed, and I don't want to break my promise as I will just be one more person who has let that person down in their life. And then they can say ... "See I knew you didn't mean what you said, you broke your promise ... just like everyone else." The trouble is, people like this are emotional vampires and eventually they suck you dry. It seems to be fine when they let you down and make excuses all the time for their failings. I haven't managed to let go. Trouble is I can't see this person face to face right now either ... it's all on the internet ... which makes it a lot harder ... and time consuming.

Thanks for writing all that and reminding me ... that I do have a choice. Even though it's a hard one.
15th-Sep-2006 10:52 pm (UTC)
Here's the thing that hopefully makes it easier for you, honey - there's right, and there's wrong - and you have to do the right thing for yourself before you can do anything right for anyone else.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
19th-Sep-2006 02:06 am (UTC) - There is no other Troy...
I have to wonder... is the person who wronged you an alcoholic or a drug addict? I ask because I have been treated the same way by a person I love and care for deeply, but I was used time and time again because their addictions only made them aware of their own needs and they made sure their needs were met at any cost. You cannot reason with a person nor can you carry a mutually beneficial relationship with a person who has an addiciton at their throats.

Either way, I totally understand how hard it is to let go of a loved one. no matter how toxic the relationship. Addiciton or no, energy vampires and people who have you in their lives for the sole purpose of draining you and manipulating you must be cut from your life like a parasitic twin or any other growth that causes you harm and leeches off your life.

Well done.
19th-Sep-2006 04:27 pm (UTC) - Re: There is no other Troy...
She's addicted to many things, but as far as substances go, there's some speculation as well as confirmation there as well - but that's actually not even the core issue.

She's addicted to drama, and negativity, and making terrible choices. She's THE most selfish person I've ever met, she's two-faced, and she's intent on getting her way no matter whose expense it is at. She never earns anything she gets from people and is totally ungrateful for the things she does get. She has this insane sense of entitlement, even though no one owes her a goddamned thing. Completely untrustworthy, she has the opposite of the Midas touch - everything she touches turns to shit. To top it all off, she's most famous for hurting, breaking the hearts of, and incessantly driving insane the people I love. Need I say more?

She maintains that she's sorry for all of the damage she's wrought, but that's yet another lie - the only thing she's really sorry about is not getting her way anymore. She had a great life and threw it away, and now that she knows she'll never get that back she won't let anyone get a moment's peace until she breaks them down. It's the opposite of love, and that's really fucking pathetic.
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