I spent the last few days trying to think of how to write this. It has been a major roadblock in my recovery process. It was something that I have been putting off for years.
The past few therapy sessions over the last month or two, the subject of forgiveness kept coming up.
Most were in the agreement that in order to truly heal from trauma was to forgive those that hurt you.
In concept this is a promising idea but in reality it is more difficult than you can imagine.
In my case, the thought of forgiving the people that hurt me spans back to when I was a prepubescent child, long before I could understand what was occurring to me. It was something that changed my world view, forever. It made understanding having trust in others was a good thing because to me trust was just a word and it was a negative action.
A few years ago, I had to stay with the people who hurt me for about a month due to being in the process of moving. It was hard for me to be back in that environment every day. All those old memories kept coming back. It made sleep impossible and I felt nauseous every day. I stayed secluded and would stay out as late as possible after work to avoid interacting with them.
It was during that time that the revelation that I would never get an apology from them was revealed to me. I had to accept that and let it go. That was the first step in moving towards forgiveness.
I asked the universe to help me forgive them. The answer came back that just because I forgave them that I did not have to forget what happened to me. I needed to set up boundaries between us.
I moved on and kept pushing forward.
Then almost two months ago and incident happened between us that made me realize that no matter how much time has passed, they were never going to change. They were still the toxic part of my life that I had to let go. In those moments after the incident, I cut ties with them.
The relief that I was looking for did not come as expected. There were still nagging thoughts that needed to be addressed.
Then a few days ago, a realization came to me that it was time. It was time to confront them, face to face, and stop being mentally at war with them. Why? I realized that the battle waging in my thoughts, was just me going at people, who did not care, and they still remained obstinate to their position that nothing was wrong. They still would not admit any wrongdoing. It was the one frustration in my life that has always been there. It was that part of my thoughts that still wanted an acknowledgement of my pain.
I picked up my son from his work, had him go into the grocery store, buy a small cake, and we headed to their place. At this point we had no contact with them for over a month.
I was slightly hesitant at what I was about to do but I found the confidence to just push on.
In some Indigenous cultures, when you are no longer at war with someone, you make them a peace offering, then state your terms for peace.
I brought them a cake. That was my peace offering before I gave them my terms.
It was nerve wracking driving to their house and I kept thinking over and over again to “Just go home.” I could not turn back; it was something I had waited to do my whole life. It needed to be done.
The only way I was to find and keep true happiness in my life was to let that part of my life, my thoughts, my depression, my anxiety, and my trauma, go.
As I walked up to their house, I realized they were in their back yard. I went to their back deck and they were sitting there, drinking. A slight panic was starting to arise, it was bringing back the memories of when I was a kid and dreaded seeing beer bottles in front of them. It meant, to me, they would soon start taking their frustrations out on me. It was a long ago reflex but I continued on.
I stood there, before them and told them what I needed to say.
“I am here because in my group therapy we have been talking about forgiveness.” They both just continued looking ahead, not at me directly, and nodded yes.
“I have come to realize that my own happiness in life will never be met unless I forgive you.” My mother said yes in agreement.
“I am here to say that I forgive you. I forgive you for all the hurt, pain, and trauma that you inflicted on me.” Her husband turned away and looked at the ground.
“I am here to say that I forgive you, not for your sake but for mine, you have to ask for your own forgiveness.” She stopped nodding and looked away.
“I am here to make peace with you.” I handed her the bag with the cake and told her it was for them. She took it and still would not look at me.
“I am releasing the negative energy that has been directed at you by me, back out into the universe.” They still would not look at me but she nodded in agreement.
“I also came to realize that even though I am forgiving you, that it does not mean that we need to be in each other’s life.” She agreed and briefly glanced at me.
“This is the last time you will ever see me again. We are parting ways. I wish you both the best of luck.” They both remained silent and just kept staring off into the distance. She nodded in agreement and said “Yes” when I mentioned the parting of ways.
“My kids already know this, they are grownups, and I am leaving it up to them how much interaction they want with you, that is not my decision.” She just kept looking at the bag and said “Okay.”
I walked away and back to my car.
In those moments walking away, my whole body started to get this tingling sensation, it was a weirdly freeing reaction. I felt like there was this massive light surrounding me and everything seemed briefly brighter. It was the negative energy finally being released.
The heaviness that has always been in the pit of my stomach was instantly gone. My sleep has been more restful and I am sleeping a little bit longer.
In all my life, in all the things that I have encountered, that was the hardest thing to do.
To let go of four decades of hate, mistrust, pain, and anger.
To confront the ones who caused me the most trauma.
To finally forgive another person fully and truly.
To just let it go and move on.
To know that it was the right thing to do for my own happiness and my future.
To know that I finally cut some of the biggest ties that were binding me to the depression, anxiety, and previous suicidal thoughts.
I do not know where I go from here.
I just know that I will be ok
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Have a wonderful week!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always!