Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Forgiving ain't all its cracked up to be

1. It takes time to let go of what hurt you, what became a life-changer for you but hardly touched the person responsible.  In order to do that, at least for me,  I need to understand the why of all of  it. Im like that.

2. It isn't enough to just say "I forgive you" and walk away.  Partly, I think, because when someone has pulled your own rug out from under you for their own reasons, they tend to see nothing wrong in what they did. Justify, justify. They feel better, and that's all that mattered.

3. The fact that the innocent victims have been laid waste by those actions would have surprised them.

4. You might say it's a lot like an arsonist setting fire to the house across the street, his reasoning being, it blocked his view of the sunrise. Never mind that he displaced an entire family, cost the town a bloody fortune to put the fire out, and sent two firemen to the hospital.  He could now see the sunrise.

5. It's a very selfish, narcissistic POV,  and a true narcissist has learned from birth how to justify almost anything (at least internally) by placing blame in all directions.

6. My mother gave it away inadvertently, one day, when she said "grampa always told me  my mouth would get  me in trouble." and she looked a bit puzzled by that, and rueful.

7. Obviously she had no idea what he meant.  Grampa was  a smart, observant dude.

8. I wish I'd known him.   I think he could see how she always manipulated  people, playing one against the other in a manic game of 'she said/he said" and then backing away while the two of them duked it out verbally.

9. and to be fair, it's been a good life.  Not easy, not simple, but fulfilling.  I feel like I've made a difference in ways that will matter for a few generations to come.

10.  But (and this is important) it was not my choice.  When you remove the possiblity of choice from someone's list of things to do, it's no longer their choice, is it. It's yours.

11. Terry Pratchett has a phrase to describe it, he calls it the pantlegs of Time. Once you start down one you can't change your mind and try out the other one.

12. All you can do is wonder at the kind of life you would have had if you had chosen differently.

13, And since my choosing will always impact someone else's choices, in an ever spreading  ripple, no matter which pantleg I picked, the ripples would have been (and are) eternal and endless.

Thursday 13


  1. Strong analysis, JT. especially admire the arsonist and pantlegs analogies.

  2. I have been known to overthink stuff, and in writing this it was a way to see it out loud, as it were. sometimes it helps to spray paint the wall thoroughly, it shows up the cracks in the cement. Ok, I'll stop. One more strange metaphor and I shall self destruct.

    Terry Pratchett some day will be anthologized for his pithy asides. Guarantee. As soon as someone starts culling them.

  3. You're right forgiving is hard, but it's worth it.

  4. good. I hope.

    I have little or no patience with people who insist that once you forgive someone it's all better. It really does depend on the circumstances, doesn't it.

  5. Eventually someone elses pant legs will cancel out your ripples, but it's not as if your ripples don't count.

  6. oh, I agree. And I don't feel like it's been a waste.

    I've had the chance to do things that will have very positive effects for a long time--speculation as to "what if" and "maybe" is fruitless and gives me agita =)

  7. To me forgiving is simply not wishing harm on the abuser. I did that many years ago. But that doesn't fix the damage. And there's no need to put yourself in harm's way just because others add the rider "and forget". I forgave and quietly deleted from my life some rels,despite great pressure from others to whom they had not be a threat or a bully.

    And then I see that the person I am is the result of all these competing pressures, and tbh, not too shabby a result!

  8. absolutely. "Forget" says you are leaving yourself open for it to happen again. "Forgive" if you can, but don't turn your back on them.

    I'd say we both survived, perhaps a bit sturdier for the trip. There is that. Not shabby at all, lady.

  9. Forgiveness can definitely be difficult to offer, depending on the offense. My T13

  10. exactly, Heather. And how do you forgive someone who doesn't even know there was anything to forgive?

  11. Heavy stuff. Some people never realize what they do - it never occurs to them that you matter. Hard to forgive that.

  12. You got it in one; her comfort zone was compromised, and she reacted to that.

    It seems even sillier--as someone suggested-- to march down to the cemetery and forgive her headstone. =)

  13. Nothing like some personal drama to bring out the good writing. Excellent post.
    Forgiving is a misnomer. They should make a word that describes "being able to let go of my resentment over the horrific stuff you've done to me." Mostly because the forgiving isn't for them, it's for us. Living in a state of resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. If we could punish all our offenders would it really be satisfying? I don't know the answer to that one.
    Breathe. Wooosah woosah, grasshopper. :)

  14. and thank you; I agree, it's always seemed that it you forgive someone you're telling them it's okay, now. I got over it. And that's the biggest misnomer of all.
    And it's easy to forget that two people were damaged here, not just one. So it's really never about just one person, it's about the rock in the calm pond. The ripples.

    Not punishment, no. It was the way she was, which excuses nothing but explains a lot, lol.

    Breathing deeply, of course. Slowly. Woosah woosah, indeed. Smiling.