What is forgiveness to you?
I have a lot of forgiving to do. I know this. I had to work on forgiving myself for many things, many of my choices. I have had to forgive Aussie for some things. My sister spent a few years calling me names and being rude because she found condoms in my medicine cabinet. I never liked her much anyway, so, I need to forgive. I need to forgive my ex-husband. For the cheating and the emotional/mental/physical abuse. I need to forgive my parents, for the same abuse, for the lack of education… I’m sure they would appreciate it, but, I’m really being kind of selfish about that, I think I’ll feel better.
But, it’s a process. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be. I don’t know. Maybe some of you can wake up one morning and say “all is forgiven” and move on without another thought. But, I can’t. I actually had a class last week, where we had to watch a documentary about meth. They were talking to people trying to get off of it, and one woman said that she hadn’t quit meth, she was quitting meth. It was a process. Everyday she had to tell herself today she wasn’t doing meth. And, I oddly feel that way about forgiveness at this point. Today I forgive you for that one time. And, tomorrow, I’ll forgive you for that other time, maybe, I’ll work on it. I’m not able, at this point, to do just some big lump of forgiveness. Maybe that is a flaw in me, but, I think it’s progress.
I used to be so mad all the time. I mean, all of it. I was so mad about how life was so unfair. About how everybody was so mean. But, I’ve tried to stop that, I know that wasn’t good for me. I’ve tried to change what I could, and fix what I could. I try to count my blessing and realize that things could have turned out completely differently for me, but they didn’t, and I’m extremely happy with where I am in my life, I’m proud of me, I like me, and my husband, and our little family. So, I can accept that all the crap is what got me here, doesn’t mean I’m thrilled with it, but, I accept it. I accept I can’t change the past.
I spent years avoiding my dad, and making it very clear that was what I was doing. Part of me wanted to completely cut my family out of my life, but, I also knew I depended too much on them at that point. I played mostly nice and I avoided dad. Recently though, I’ve been trying. I really have. I don’t think we’ll ever be close, but, I thought I could stay for 10-15 minutes after he got home from work, say hi, ask about work before I left. When he wants to stop by for a visit, I make a fresh pot of coffee for him. I know it isn’t much, but, it’s what I could do today, you know? The relationship is quite superficial, but, not so angry anymore, so, it’s something. I’ve tried to do the same with my sister and my ex. I don’t think we’ll ever be friends, but, I can be kind when we have to be around each other.
Last week, it was a bad week. I had to go to court with my ex, thing one had strep throat, ex was over medicating him, telling me the divorce decree said differently than it did, just lots of little stuff. I had to leave the boys with mom for court. I went back to get them, and for some reason she started talking about how she’s learned to be a better parents and how she feels bad about the name she called us when we were little. She asks if I remember, then tells me not to say anything. I said I did. Then she starts pestering me about what I remember. I say what i remember her calling me, and she gets upset, spends 5 minutes telling me she never said that. So, I drop it. Then, she waits and asks again, then she says it. The whole thing was just bizarre. I say yeah I remember being called that, she says something about “why didn’t you say it then?” I said “because, honestly, the things you called us was eclipsed by the things Dad said and did.” Then, she tears up “Well, I hope one day you can grow enough as a person to find it in your heart to forgive him.”
It really felt like a slap in the face, I’d been trying. But, almost every time I see him, I have new things to forgive! I was trying, and it wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t enough. She changes the subject, but i’m fighting back tears. Finally I say I’m irritated, that I’d been trying. That maybe she should just tell me what forgiveness looks like to her since I’m not doing it right. Does it mean I can’t be hurt? Does it mean it never gets brought up again? Does it mean I have to pretend everything is ok all the time? For a MONTH my ex husband treated me like dad did for 25 years, and they want him arrested, but, I just need to shut up and forgive dad? And apparently forgive means opening myself up to constant hurt and pain from him, without another word of how he’s been doing this for almost THIRTY YEARS, so he and mom can be happy.
God I was mad. I went on, “No, I don’t remember, I don’t give a shit what names you called us. I cared that you’d get dad all worked up, and you’d get him mad, and he’d start screaming and breaking things and demanding we get up and scrub the house at 3 am, and you’d just walk out. But, not usually before making fun of me for crying because i was scared. You’d just leave, leave us with him, crying and scared, with me trying to calm down the 4 yr old on my lap crying and half asleep. Then you’d come home to a clean house, and a calmed down husband, and everything was fine. I care about that. But, you’ve never asked for forgiveness or even apologized for that one. I remember him throwing Bro’s little tikes tractor through the huge glass door, then demanding the 5 yr old clean it up all the glass. And you didn’t do anything! I remember him punching a hole through the wall on Christmas Eve, then throwing our toys away at 2am, and you didn’t keep quiet that time. You didn’t walk away that time. You helped him! You told us it was all our fault. I care that you didn’t stop it, that you didn’t protect us!”
What I want to say:
“You want me to forgive faster and i’m working on it! I have 30 yrs of crap to forgive. I have a father who was always harder on me than everyone else because I wasn’t his, he only tolerated me to get you! I have a father, who i called him crying…’daddy, he’s cheating and breaking things, Help me. I got to go.’ and my ex hid in the closet, and dad went and knocked on the door, and when Joe didn’t answer, he left. I said ‘break in the door! He’s there! It’s my house! break in the door!’ and he said “no, you aren’t worth going to jail over. I have a dad who rushed out to pick up his favorite daughter from her boyfriends or church or whatever, after she’d been sick and hurting all day, but she went anyway, then couldn’t drive home, the night i had surgery. He CARRIED her in the house, but, my kids toys were on the floor, so he kicked them, came back, dumped over the entire toy box, then made me clean it all up. 4 hours after I got home from the hospital. Because sister MIGHT have gotten hurt if he tripped. I married a guy you said I had to, then when I said thats why, you told me that you didn’t mean it. I had dad hit my kid in front of me, then, when I took the boy away, he came after me to scream and berate me for how i parented and how horrible my kids were. I passed out in the driveway once, from a panic attack I had while he screamed and trashed me, and he said I faked it! You stood by as he hit us with belts, not caring if the buckle got us! When he left a handprint bruise on my leg after I cried because he broke my bike, your only words of comfort were ‘go put some ice on it, you shouldn’t have made him so mad.’ You didn’t stop him from hitting the other sister with the vacuum cord! my 25th birthday was being taken out for lunch by my brother, followed up with him screaming at me, putting me down, calling me names, telling me I was a bad mom and my life would be perfect if only I would have done everything you ever said. When I pointed out I did marry dipshit like you told me to, it turned into, ‘we also told you not to have sex with him before you were married, so, that was your own fault.’ apparently, this plan only worked as long as I never broke a rule since birth, after that, I was all on my own. You know how that fight got started? I went out, to take myself out for ice cream that night, I had to borrow your car. I turned the key, and it didn’t start. And that was my fault. I destroy all your things, I don’t take care of anything, you guys are tired of helping me. Even though, I never even drove that car, the battery was just dead.
I hate being part of a giant family, and I hate that you always want to pretend our last name is Walton. I think it was selfish to have that many kids, when sister 2 could have used more time and attention and support. I hate that you had 2 more kids after i had mine, because you robbed my kids of having real grandparents, you guys are basically their friend’s parents. You punish them for things your kids did, you take your kids’ side. i hate that my kids can’t stay the night at your house, because they don’t want mice crawling over them when they sleep. I hate that you don’t see that this is gross and a problem! I hate that I get lumped in with everybody else, nobody knows ME they know me as part of you all, and i’m not. I hate that you get offended that I am not close to the 2 baby brothers, and you really hoped we would be. They are 20+ yrs younger than me!
I stay in your life not because I desire any sort of relationship with you, either of you, but so i can try to protect sister 2 somewhat. Because my boys consider brother5 their friend, and I can’t or won’t take him from them. And, really, I keep hoping I can show brother 5 that there is more to life than you teach him. I’m not writing you off, because I still have 2 other siblings living at home.
I hate that I can’t say I’m done with the drama, and I’m just going to keep to myself, because then you two make fun of me, you put me down, you roll your eyes and call me a martyr. Make snide comment about how i’m overly emotional and need to grow up. Because you guys need the drama. You pretend you don’t, but you do. How are you going to feel better than everyone if you don’t fight with them? If you don’t have drama going on constantly?