Content Warning: There are mentions of bullying, abuse and sexual abuse in this text
I’ve mentioned it before: I’m a spiritual person. Loads of my decisions are based on emotions, on what I sense to be the right choice. What I’ve read about forgiveness is that it’s obligatory to apply in your life. Do not hold grudges. Forgive others and accept the lessons you learned from the experience. But you know what? I’ve considered it, and I’m not that big. I do hold grudges, and I wish people had treated me differently.
As a kid, I was bullied in both primary and secondary school. At nine years old, I moved across the country. I moved to a town near a big city, and people were different from the rural part of the country where I had grown up. I was younger, smart, and I dressed differently. Do I forgive the people who bullied me there?
Ah well, they were kids. That doesn’t make it any better, but I don’t really hold it against them. They didn’t know any better.
What I do hold a grudge against, is how my friends dropped me. I’ve talked about this before. I don’t mind it when people grow apart, get new interests and thus leave each other’s lives. That’s fine.
Looking back, though, I see there were inequalities in these friendships long before we broke up. I was the only one travelling to the other party. I was the one who had to make the phone calls. I had to keep it all up or get berated for doing it wrong. This is unforgivable in my mind.
Another situation that I have been taken advantage of, big time was at work. I know it’s easy to ask the submissive girl to work late, or to take another shift at an impossible hour, but it’s not fair. Especially management should have been wiser, instead of leading the train towards ‘ask Liz, she’ll do it.’
Yes, I did learn lessons from my time with them. I should have shown more backbone and resisted more, but it’s not that easy. And yes, I still hold it against them.
One major grudge that I’m still holding on to is against my first ex. Just the other day I came across a thread on Reddit where they asked young people who had been seduced by older men what had happened. I cringed reading it. It was precisely what had happened to me.
I met this man for the first time when I was sixteen. He was thirteen years older than me. Nothing happened then, he was smarter than that, and he waited until the day of my eighteenth birthday to seduce me. This is the legal age to have sex in my country. Reading the experiences of others, I felt even more duped than I had already done. He had made me feel special. He had told me I was so mature for my age. I was enthralled by having conquered such a grown-up and sexual man. I was in love.
Do you know what the worst part is? Just the other week I was talking about him to a friend of ours. You should have heard me talking about my former lover. How attractive he was, why all women fell for him, what a charisma he had. Do you believe that? Almost twenty years later, and I still sounded like a schoolgirl in love.
So no, I have not forgiven him. He knew I came from a broken family. He knew I was vulnerable. He should have respected me and taken care of me, instead of only coming by when he wanted a quick fuck. He broke me, and I have not forgiven him.
Not a Saint
See, I’m not a saint. I do not have the goodness of heart to forgive everyone who has done me wrong. And yes, this is probably stilting my spiritual development, but I don’t care.
I appreciate the lessons I’ve learned. In a way, I’m glad I’m not as trusting and in good faith as I once was. In all honesty, people don’t deserve it.
So when you meet me today, you will have to prove yourself first before I open up. I have set up a defence line that you will have to break through before you get to see the real Liz. You have the people who came before you to thank for it.
I sometimes feel like that sort of advice is meant to placate the masses. I mean, forgiveness can help you to move on and let go of negative emotions, but to let people off the hook for the hurtful things they have done isn’t really right. I guess we have to strike a balance. Also, it’s a personality thing. Some of us are better at it than others. My husband forgives little and forgets nothing. He holds grudges like nobody’s business. I tend to forget and let go of things. Most things. But these things you describe have been pretty defining moments, and therefore hard to let go of. I’m not sure you should, either, because being hurt in these ways…well…they weren’t right. And if you forgive and forget, you might continue to let these things happen. It sounds like you are stronger now, and I’m sorry you’ve had to go through any of these things.
Thanks Brigit, that means a lot to me.
My husband is the same way. He never forgets. If a company has wronged him once, he will never do business with them again. Whereas I forget, or attribute it to some minor fault or mistake.
I do try to learn from my mistakes, however difficult that may be ☺️
Very relatable – someone once wrote a helpful comment on a similar blog of mine –
“Forgive but never forget”
Forgive yourself- neither of us knew we were “groomed”,
Never forget – learn from those times.
Thank you for writing this blog and posting , we are not the only one’s that have similar life experiences.
Thank you, Swirl.
I should forgive myself, you’re right there. I was young and very impressionable. And no, I won’t forget.
Ps it was “Modesty Ablaze” that opened my thoughts.
Love how honest and straight you are in this post – well you usually are anyhow 😉 But you are right we can try to forgive but sometimes it just does not happen. I think that is being human. WE are not saints.
Thanks for linking up Liz
Thanks, May ☺️
I have forgiven quite a number of things in my life, but there are some things I will never forgive. Absolutely never. I should be more like you are, build a fence around me and not trust so easily, but after all that has happened in the past 6 months, that might just be the case in the future.
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