Brad Smith (jesus_h_biscuit) wrote,
Brad Smith
jesus_h_biscuit

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On Letting Go, Forgiving, Forgetting, & Why I Am Done.

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
Tags: forgiveness, introspection, letting go
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