Forgiveness. I have literally touched on this in almost every past post, because it is honestly and truly something I struggle with… every day.
I wrote a post a while ago about accepting an apology that you never get. While I still believe in what I wrote, I’d like to say in this post, that sometimes, you don’t NEED to even accept it. Sometimes you have been so hurt, so distorted, so changed by someone else’s actions, that accepting their apology would be laughable. It would be doing a disservice to yourself. Sometimes, I believe, you have to forgive and then FORGET.
Accepting an apology, letting the person know that you forgive them, that you accept what they’ve said and you are willing to still let them be a part of your life, is absolutely great, if they add value to your life. On the flip side, you don’t have to accept an apology or keep a toxic person in your life, in order to forgive them.
I have had numerous “Toxic” People in my life. From Friendships, to Family, to Personal relationships, and in my late 20’s I started to notice a pattern… I am a fixer. I am the person who can look past all your flaws, see the beauty underneath them, and I can help you become a better version of yourself. The only thing is, its going to physically, emotionally, and mentally DRAIN ME. I am going to get physically ill when I cant control your blow ups, I am going to cry and yell, and I’m going to withdraw into myself, because I cant actually fix you, then, I’m going to let you go, you might be improved, but it will come at a cost to ME.
We all know that recognizing and admitting that you have a problem is the first step in overcoming it. I recognized this pattern in my life, I have tried to avoid it, and yet, I fall into it, every stinking time. Its an inerrant need inside of me. Its something I cant control, its a mothering nature that comes out in me, its because I try to look past imperfections and see the good person underneath…. its because I’m a frigin Pisces and its what we do. So I tried to stop. Then I tried again, and again and again and again.
Then I met a man, lets call him Max, there was NOTHING I needed to fix for him. He was mature, educated, funny, responsible, didn’t have a prison record, no kids, and was fun to be around. And I freaked ( Internally). At first it was great, but after a while, I couldn’t handle that there was nothing that he needed me for. I questioned myself everyday because he could and would ( and did eventually again), live WITHOUT me. He didn’t need to cling to me. He didn’t NEED me.
I’m a pretty rational person, and I get it that that sounds a bit dramatic, but to me, being needed is like being wanted. Being unwanted means I’m unlovable, and being unlovable means I will end up alone. And to me, that’s scary.
But this post is about a letter, and I’m getting to that.
This is something I DO NOT talk about. I don’t mention it, I try to leave the room when it is mentioned, I avoid it, and I detest the way it makes me feel. It hurts me. It’s ugly. It makes me feel vulnerable and exposed and naked. So that’s why I’m going to talk about it.
I grew up with an amazing family. I had awesome men in my life. My Grandad was one of my favorite people to hang out with and I was his “Babydoll”. My uncles were THE BEST! My Mom’s twin is like 6’5″, and he would turn me upside down, hold my ankles, and walk me on the ceiling. My Oldest uncle would take me to his and my Aunts house in Virginia for a week at a time and we would swim and go to the zoo and have so much fun, and my Mom’s baby brother was like my Dad. He was proud of me, he nurtured me, he corrected me ( soap in the mouth for cussing), he taught me things. I had a whole cast of people who loved and cherished and wanted and frankly, adored me. But my cast was missing someone.
My biological parents divorced when I was about 3, but they separated when my Mom was pregnant with me. I never knew much about him, I went to stay with his parents now and then, he popped up in my life every so often, but he was never there for me. To this day, I don’t think he knows my birthday. He didn’t ever make it to plays, or games, or singing competitions, or pageants, or even my graduation ( which I begrudgingly invited him to). For anyone who doesn’t know what it feels like to be “Missing” a parent, it feels like this: One of the people who is supposed to innately love you- does NOT. So of course, there has to be something wrong with you. What are you missing? Why aren’t you pretty enough? I should be smarter, maybe if I make better grades. Maybe if I win THIS contest. Maybe if I make THIS team. On and on and on it goes until your an adult. Even though I have been so blessed with THE GREATEST ( AND I MEAN GREATEST) Step- dad in the UNIVERSE, I am still messed up.
I still don’t trust that there isn’t something wrong with me. I still believe I have to be the absolute best at everything in order to gain approval. I learned a long time ago, that his approval actually means very little to me, but its the idea that something was WRONG with ME.
And I was wrong.
Twelve times in my adult life I have sat down and tried to write a letter to this man. This man who I only see at funerals, who can’t talk to me about anything more deep than the weather, who has never once inquired about my health, happiness, personal life or any other aspect, yet raised his step children better than his own. Twelve times I have tried and I have failed to feel that those letters said everything that I wanted them to. And the other night, in a moment of clarity and openness in my own mind, I sat, and I got it all out. I wasn’t harsh, I wasn’t accusational, I wasn’t cruel. I said my peace, I wished him well, I prayed for him, I thanked him for letting my amazing Daddy ( Step- Dad) raise me, and I told him that I FORGIVE HIM. And I mailed it. Finally.
Because that’s what I need to do. I have to let go of the negative roll that his absence has caused my life. I have to let go of the idea that I some how need him to know the extent of the pain and emptiness that I felt MY ENTIRE LIFE. I have to forgive someone who doesn’t even realize what he did to me. And then, I have to LET HIM GO. I don’t need or want a relationship with someone who was so callus with my feelings. I don’t need that toxic person popping in and out of my future children’s lives. I don’t need to contact him, I don’t need to see him. I get to choose where it goes from here. And I choose to be free of that burden and happy and fulfilled in my life.
I’m not saying that what I’m doing will work for anyone other than me. What I am saying is that forgiveness is so important, even if it means you never speak to that person again and all you can do is pray that they find the love of Jesus, that is ENOUGH.
Love and Hugs and thanks for reading!
<3, Holly Lynn