In a previous post about forgivenessI mentioned that I spent years holding onto anger toward someone who hurt me repeatedly years ago. I eventually realized that forgiving this person was the only way to set myself free.
The resentment, bitterness, and sometimes pure rage were slowly killing me. They manifested in emotional and physical illness, constricting my life so that I was little more than the sum of my grievances and pains. At many points I strongly believed my emotions would consume me, bit by bit, until I was nothing but the memory of my overwhelming, righteous fury. But if you choose not to for whatever reason, if you feel that this is worth fighting for, these ideas may help you stay—and stay happy—in this relationship as it is:.
You need to be honest with yourself here: In my case, I created space to heal and then rebuilt a new, healthier relationship after dynamics had transformed.
Though I knew this relationship could enhance both of our lives, I also knew I needed to be mindful of my expectationsas there are certain things it may never be or provide. You may feel that you can only forgive if this person fully acknowledges everything that hurt you and then takes responsibility for all of it. You may need to go to therapy, either alone or with this person.
Or it may be sufficient for you to recognize remorse in actions and then work, on your own, to release your feelings. As with most emotions and choices, forgiving is something we may need to do repeatedly. You need to ask yourself if something needs to change in order for you to feel safe and happy in the relationship as it is. Do you need to spend less time together? Do you need to be clear that certain topics are not open for discussion?
Do you need to assert yourself when the other person starts talking to you in a certain way? If you suspect that someone may physically harm you, I strongly suggest you consult a professional who is trained to assist with domestic violence cases. This is a far different situation, as one slip-up could cost your life.
This is the most difficult part for me: Generally, the present moment looks nothing like the past, but a word or a look can sometimes remind me how angry I felt back then. I suspect this may be inevitable in situations like this. Over time the memories become far less frequent, but they always have the potential to pop back up because we are only human.
Still, we are far more than the sum of our emotions and reactions. It means we can identify our emotions, sit with them, and then choose to challenge the thoughts that might exacerbate them. It would be far kinder to just set this person free than to stay connected by a pain you refuse to release. People make mistakes, but even the deepest wounds can heal and the most strained relationships can transform.
Her latest book, Tiny Buddha's Worry Journalwhich includes 15 coloring pages, is now available. This site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice.
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Click here to read more. But if you choose not to for whatever reason, if you feel that this is worth fighting for, these ideas may help you stay—and stay happy—in this relationship as it is: Determine what you need.
After your needs are met, do the work to forgive. Open up to joy! See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
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