Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To forgive or not to forgive, that is the question of the day

Yesterday I learned that a person who has spoken about in misleading terms, repeatedly insulted, occasionally verbally assaulted, treated me with borderline hatred and generally asserted her dislike for me wants to make amends. Said person has expressed this desire several times over the past 17+ years that I have known her. In fact she has acted upon this and I have forgiven her -- every time -- only to watch the behavior repeated almost immediately -- every time. After the last time, I decided that I no longer would expose myself to that type of crap, regardless of the relationship of this person to me...

I believe this person only wishes to make themselves feel better and that there is no real substance to this recent expression. I believe that, once again, this behavior will be repeated upon her getting what it is she is really after from me. As yet, what she wants has not been clearly stated. You see there is always this dangling rope hanging about after the forgiveness, just waiting to be knotted and noosed around my neck so that this person can do more harm.

Forgiveness is a big thing. Sometimes a very hard thing to do. As a parent I harp on it with my kids, because I want them to be good people with big hearts and not be so selfish that they cannot find room for the flaws of others to be tolerated. HOWEVER, I feel there is a limit for every person. Does any one person deserve a bottomless pit of forgiveness? At what point does the asking for forgiveness become a crutch for the person asking? Especially when the "crime" committed is the same every time! Conversely, at what point does the forgiver realize that no matter how many times they open themselves to this person, there will never truly be any binding atonement. Ultimately, for the forgiver, the question is, are they or are they not allowed to protect themselves?

I have a great capacity to forgive people. I have forgiven plenty of people plenty of times and have often not had the same kindness reciprocated quite a bit in my life. I find that I still want to forgive most of the time, even when it is really really hard to do. This time, I am  not getting that twinge that I always feel when I know it is the right thing to do. That is unusual in and of itself...

So my conundrum.... What do I do now??? I have looked at this in my mind many times over the years and honestly, I see no benefit for me to open up myself to the extreme likelihood that I will be trashed once again.

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