learning to forgive

i think when you are a parent or are in a relationship (or both), you tend to learn to forgive a little quicker. you have to, really. otherwise, you get yourself involved in a very bitter relationship.

but there are those really bad relationships from the past. the ones that’s the reason for your extra baggage. you know – the one that maybe even sent you to therapy.

i have one of those. my first long-term relationship. it was a beautiful first 6 months and then after the honeymoon ended, everything went downhill.

part of it was me, of course. i didn’t know how to be in a relationship. i was probably a crappy girlfriend at times, though i did really try my best. my intentions were always there trying to be good, but i had a hard time living up to his expectations. there were so many limits and rules. i think i fooled myself that if i loved him enough, i would be able to live up to all those rules.

unfortunately, he didn’t see it that way. he got nasty. really, really nasty. he put me down a lot, called me names and made me feel like i wasn’t good enough. not just for him. but for anyone.

the emotional abuse started slowly and then just built and built. by the time it became almost a daily thing, it was too late. i was too far deep to realize that what he was saying wasn’t true. that i was a good person and that i could do better.

near the end, he had malnipulated me in such a way that i was sheltered from my friends. he tried to even turn me against my own family. and, in the end, there was physical abuse as well.

for an adolescent, there’s already low self-esteem issues but being in a toxic relationship such as this kind just puts one’s self-esteem at an all-time low.

well… that was a long time ago. i was 17 when we first started our relationship. and about 21 or 22 when i finally had the guts to leave him.

still, i was his victim for many years after that. i was truly a lost person. and even for the first few years of my marriage, i think i still hung on to that anger. it was diminished but not fully gone. from time to time, he would even still visit me in my dreams. which was frightful. he did not harm me in my dreams but the dreams were never pleasent. i would always have this anxiety of getting rid of him so that he would be gone forever in my life.

if i had to guess, my dreams were telling me to let go of the anger. to find a way to forgive him.

for the longest time, i would imagine what i would say to him if i ever met him again. or a letter i would write to him if i ever found his address. i never got closure. i figured that getting closure might help me finally move on.

so recently, i did the old internet trick. it was a lot easier then i thought.  a quick google search and voila. his name came up in a directory. a directory that not only told me his current address, but who he was related to – a woman with a japanese first name. and while it gave me her maiden name, it also gave me her married name.

which was the same last name as his.

curiosity got the best of me and so i took her current name and did another google search. lo and behold – she has a facebook page. but of course, i had to be connected to her to see her full profile.

that didn’t matter, though. because the one photo of her, which was quite large, was of her and him standing together like a regular married couple.

the photo was taken in december of 2012.

he looked alright. a little older but aren’t we all? and he looked happy.

a gazillion emotions went through me and to be honest, i am still processing all of it. i am still trying to figure out what i’m actually feeling.

but somewhere lies a sense of peace. i don’t know if he is still the same a-hole that he use to be. i don’t know if their marriage is happy. but i do know that i can imagine that maybe he’s changed for the better. and that he’s also found peace with his wife.

it helps that he does not live in the same city anymore. nor in the same country, for that matter.

whatever feelings of wanting closure – at least by the way of a letter full of angry words – has completely disappeared.

and so while this sounds completely confusing (it should – because i’m still confused), i’ve spent the last day or two, thinking of all the things that came out of our relationship that i’m grateful for.

these are not deep or significant ‘relationship’ things. they are things i might have discovered even if i hadn’t even met him. but they are, at least, some positives that i can pull from those very dark and disturbing years.

i suppose, this is a very long-winded way of me saying thanks to him, for introducing me to the following:

  • david bowie
  • james (the uk band)
  • monty python and the holy grail
  • hitchiker’s guide to the galaxy
  • jamaican beef patty in a coco bun
  • anne rice’s interview with the vampire

that’s all i’ve come up with. at least for now. but it’s enough. enough for me to start my process of forgiving.

i hope this works. because it would mean that i can finally move on.


5 thoughts on “learning to forgive

  1. thanks for sharing. I’m so sorry for what you went through. 😦 Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do. While it won’t wipe away all the pain and suffering you’ve endured, I do believe it will be freeing. Hope you are able to forgive…one step at a time.

  2. I have one of those. Those dreams come at the strangest times, don’t they? My co-dependency lasted a long time, something like 8 years, even though the relationship really only lasted about 4 (counting the ins and outs). It’s complicated. Personally I don’t think I can forgive, and I don’t know that it would do me any good, either. But I think I’ve forgiven everything and everyone else that had to do with some of the bad stuff. Just not him 😉

    I don’t comment much, but rest assured, I lurk regularly. Your level of activity always amazes.


    • i’m sorry you had one of those as well. i think it’s almost impossible to forgive. even though i am trying, i question if i’m going to be successful or not. and the bottom line is that i’m not forgiving for him. maybe in the end, by forgiving him, i can also forgive myself for the choices i made back then (i.e. choosing him).

      i peek into your site all the time. you’re in my blog feeds! 🙂

      • This is a conversation we need to have over wine, or maybe Irish coffees after snowboarding (which I haven’t done since ’97)! You must forgive yourself for the choices, of course, but with some examination you might find your reasons for choosing him to be perfectly valid. What’s unforgivable is the other person’s abuse of power/trust. In my case, while I might forgive my weakness and inability to accept that things weren’t going to change and I just needed to move on completely, it’s harder to forgive myself for repeating the mistake down the line with a real loser. Finally getting my head straight enabled me to find my husband, thank goodness. But the “mean one”— he had so many good qualities that I couldn’t let go of. It’s monstrous that his bad qualities (which emerged when he realized women liked him and he got caught up w/some bad people) overrode the good. Some of my best memories revolve around him, and many of the worst. You’ve probably kept good, made sure the bad doesn’t happen again, and for that you can forgive yourself. Me – I find it difficult to forgive someone who deliberately hurt me by targeting what he knew was sacred and important to me. That’s hitting below the belt!

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