If you know me at all, you know that I have a hard time letting things go. When I feel I’ve been seriously wronged in some way, I have a tendency to take it to the nth degree. In short, I hold grudges.
Now I know this isn’t the good, or as my mother would say “Christian”, thing to do but I can’t help it. I usually get over it, but there are the times when I have been so wronged, so offended, so slighted in some fashion that I just can’t allow myself to forgive. That’s when I cut people out of my life. Doesn’t matter who it is: friend, family, whatever…if I get to “that level”, you are cut out. I don’t call you. I don’t write. I don’t send cards for birthdays or Christmas. You’re just snipped right out of the picture.
The amazing part? It doesn’t bother me one iota to cut people out. For example: a few years ago my mother and I had a major disagreement on the subject of disciplining my son. My mother took it to a very dramatic and completely uncalled for level and having had quite enough, I hung up on her. My husband, hearing this argument and seeing how upset she had made me, calmly walked into our den, took the phone from my hands, called my mother, and proceeded to tell her off in the nicest way possible. This appalled my mother, because how dare anyone tell her she was wrong. At that moment, I cut my mother out of my life until I felt she was worthy to be glued back in. This lasted almost five months. I didn’t call. I didn’t write. I didn’t return messages. Done. The only reason I lifted the shun was because my cousin was having a baby shower and I knew there would be drama if I didn’t suck it up and make peace beforehand. Had it not been for dear Maggie having her sweet baby boy, I honestly don’t think I would’ve glued my mother back in so short a time. But made peace we did and my mother hasn’t broached the topic of discipline with me again. I call that a lesson learned. She now knows that there is a line in the sand you don’t cross, and if you do, you know what will happen.
You see, there is one cardinal law in the land of Dizzy: Thou shalt not DELIBERATELY piss off or offend. People break this law in little ways every day and I let it go. It could be the snotty teenager on the cell who just cut me off in traffic. I can let that go. It could be the co-worker who won’t pull their weight. I usually say something to correct the situation and I let it go. It could be the fact that my husband blows his nose in the shower and I have to fuss before he comes to wipe his slimy boogers off the shower wall before I’ll step into it. He’s towing a very dangerous line into Cutville, but I love him and of course I let it go…but not before ranting and yelling about respect and threatening divorce if he ever does it again. You see, I can cut you out of my life and it doesn’t bother me. No seriously, it doesn’t. I don’t cry over missing you. I don’t get upset. Of course I still love you and think about you and regret that it has to get to this point, but cutting people out of my life doesn’t affect me one bit. I know this sounds cold, but you have to understand that this is my way of dealing with a stressful situation. It’s not right, but it’s the only way I can cope.
Why am I this way? One word: Dad. My father was the epitome of evil. Look up “bad father” in the dictionary and I’m sure there will be a picture of him. He abused everyone around him in the worst ways possible, especially his children. We were beat. We had bruises. I could go on and on with the horror stories, but I won’t. Growing up was not fun. It was not pleasant. None of us enjoyed it. We all couldn’t wait to get out. I speak for myself when I say that after enduring 17 years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of someone who was supposed to protect and love me, I made a concrete decision at a very early age that once I was on my own and no longer under his control that I wouldn’t allow anyone to treat me bad. And I’ve stuck to that. I don’t let people talk to me any way they want to. No-one has ever laid another finger on me. I have this tough outer shell from the scar tissue of years and years of abuse and I wear it as a shield to deflect the bad.
All of this brings me to a very unique and heartbreaking inhabitant of Cutville…a family member. I love this particular person more than words can describe. She’s one of my best friends. I adore her. I’ve always looked up to her. And while we’ve always butted heads, we’ve never gotten to the point where I won’t talk to her…until this last March. I won’t go into the sordid details, because I know she reads this blog and I don’t want to rehash anything, but I’ll just say that this person came to visit and left two days later after a huge blow-up. Things were said on both sides and we haven’t spoken since. I haven’t taken her phone calls. I haven’t responded to messages. Done. I don’t know if it would’ve gotten this far had she not said that she had nothing to apologize for and that she was not wrong. That was the kicker with me. How can you act really bad and not accept responsibility?
So I cut her out. With every snip it broke my heart. But I know me and I know that for me to forgive, she has to accept the fact she was wrong in how she acted. I want an apology. More importantly, I’m owed an apology. This isn’t just me being an asshole and demanding one. I’m owed it for the things said to me, the things said to my husband, the disruption of my household, and the general way she left things. I’m owed that. Did I say things I shouldn’t have? Oh yeah, I did. But the point here is that I never would’ve treated her the way she treated me and left the way she did. I can’t forgive that without an apology, regardless of who you are.
I will be the first to admit when I’m wrong. I’m constantly eating crow and apologizing for something I’ve said or didn’t say or something I did. I don’t mind apologizing. I know I’m a flawed human being. I own up to the things I do. But how do I deal with someone who is never wrong? Someone who won’t apologize, but know that they should?
Every day that I don’t talk to her has broken my heart. I feel like I’ve lost a best friend and a family member. I’ve missed calling her when her grandson was born, even though I desperately wanted to. I’ve missed calling on her birthday so I slipped and sent her a card…which in itself is amazing and goes a long way to show how much I love this person, but it’s not the same as picking up the phone and telling someone that you love them and that they mean something to you. Christmas is coming and I’ll send a card, but it won’t be the same as calling her and sharing the day. I’m too stubborn to make the first move and flat-out refuse to…and she’s doing the same on her end. We both need to grow up and make the first move, but we’re both so headstrong and full of pride that we won’t and with every passing day, we both continue to hurt one another.
So I’m asking you…how do I forgive? Should I just eat up all those things she said and call? If I do, I know another argument will ensue, because we’ve got to get this out. It’s not finished. So many things were left unsaid and we’re both so stubborn that we’ll both have to get them out to feel resolution and I’m afraid it will lead to another argument. But I have to be honest here, my walls are breaking down a bit and I miss this person in my life and I’m torn as to what to do. I love her so much and even though I’m still angry, I know that I can’t continue to not speak to her, but I can’t be the first person to apologize, especially when I feel I wasn’t in the wrong. My husband sees how the situation is paining me and is encouraging me to move first…but I won’t. My mother also sees this situation and how far it’s gotten and is encouraging me to move first…but I won’t. I can’t be the first person to move across that line. My pride won’t let me. My hurt feelings won’t let me. The principal of it all won’t let me.
And so here we are. What to do? :(