PREVIOUS: Forgiving others #5a
RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TSN) cont.
TOOL 5a. FORGIVING OTHERS (cont.)
(DEF. in Part 5a)
FORGIVING OTHERS is either:
1. for repairing relationships – to re-instate broken or lost trust, OR
2. letting go of the relationships because it cannot be repaired
NOTE: Forgiving in no way implies trusting another person, nor does it guarantee the continuation of the old relationship.
To repair a broken connection, both parties must participate.
• In some cases only one person has caused the problem – which they must own up to, & the aggrieved person will have to be willing to forgive. But forgiving a wound (to stop obsessing on the resentment) does not guarantee a reinstatement of trust. That has to be earned by the wounder, which is slow, & sometimes impossible.
Some relationships CAN NOT be fixed & some shouldn’t be. This is especially true when someone has persistently acted badly & continued to do so. Do not ignore this!
There are situations where it’s not worth the effort to reconnect. No matter how hard we try, it’s not going to work, because the other person is not willing to /capable of meeting us half way, not willing to consider what motivates their disruptive behavior. Without that, they will not change.
TOXIC people must be avoided whenever possible. If we’ve been exposed to one or more for any length of time, we need to get away from them as soon as possible, & then heal the aftereffects – using all our tools – so they don’t keep hurting us (inside) even once they’re gone.
• In other cases two people have butted heads, each hurting the other – reacting from unhealed damage. If the relationship is worth salvaging – to both – then each will need to go to their separate corners to figure out what in their own background set them off. Then eventually come together to share their awarenesses, using only ‘-I-‘ statements.
This too is usually slow. Sometimes each taking responsibility for their part will allow the relationship to continue – stronger – BUT it maybe not. While it means both know their side of the street is clean, which eliminates residual guilt & regret, the may rightly conclude they’re really not compatible, going forward. Then the parting can be sad, but prevents further hurt.
Letting go of anger (Es) & resentments (Ts) is internal, which must then be expressed externally by changing old patterns into healthy ACTIONS (As).
++ CHOICES – We’re responsible now for choosing to surround ourselves with people who are self-caring, positive & kind. Then there would be a lot less to forgive! Recovery means being much more discerning about who we trust. Since people tell us about themselves all the time – believe them!
So it’s not actually them we should trust, but ourselves. We can work our way out of denial by carefully listening to & observing what others put out & then admit what we see & hear – especially when there’s a persistent pattern to someone’s erratic / cruel / narcissistic / unavailable behavior
++ SPEAKING UP – As we outgrow P-P we can be much less ready to automatically ‘forgive & forget’ indiscriminately. It’s not in anyone’s best interest. Repeatedly overlooking bad behavior in others not only harms us, but can also seriously effect loved ones, friends & co-workers who are around the acting out, to everyone’s detriment.
Emotional maturity includes holding people accountable for their inconsistencies & incompetence, for not keeping their agreements, for the damage they create, for abusive or disrespectful things they say…..
++ SELF-PROTECTION – At the same time we can avoid blaming others. In the present, if someone hurts our feelings or injures us in some other way, we must ask them to stop. AND their reactions are their alone!
If they won’t stop, we can remove ourselves or at least keep a distance. We are not responsible for what the other person did or did not do – only for our Es & the way we handle it (As).
EXP: If someone steps on your toes, that’s on them. Definitely say OUCH! & move your foot. If they keep stepping on it, that’s on you, for staying close enough for them to do it again & again.
NEXT: Accepting ourselves – in Childhood #6a