One of the darkest places you can reside in is a place of unforgiveness. So many things are lost when you’re unable to forgive a person for a wrong or a multitude of wrongs. I know the anger you feel is true and present and it can consume you.
While the fact that I have an excellent memory allowed me to perform my duties as both a Claims Adjuster and a Litigation Paralegal superbly, it also means that I remember every single thing that happened to me during my 19 years marriage. I mean everything.
I remember the time he told me that even though I was his wife, the only people that mattered to him were his daughter and his family. I won’t forget the time when we were watching a VHS movie (yeah, we’re talking early 90s) and had to pause it. When we sat back down, he casually said, “I know you don’t catch on to stuff as quick as I do so I’m glad we could pause it.” Yes, he said, “as quick” and addressing that fact was my first line of attack, then I tore into him about the statement as a whole. I won’t forget the time he told a friend of his that he made a mistake in marrying me or the time that he brazenly left his email open so that I could see he had written another friend telling him he should have married a white girl.
Trust and believe though that the aforementioned was mild in comparison to some of the other things he said later on in the marriage. They would pale in comparison to some of the things he did to prove how little he cared for me.
It’s understandable that I was angry. I was subjected to a ridiculously high level of verbal, mental and emotional abuse. There were three acts of physical abuse over those 19 years. I had a right to be angry. After being so horribly damaged, the anger that developed was unprecedented. That anger seeped into other areas of my life that had nothing to do with my personal situation. My work-life suffered in some ways. I was in a position that relied heavily on interaction with clients, carriers, medical professionals, and legal professionals. I was so consumed with the anger that clouded my personal life that I had an extremely hard time shutting it down when I got to work. I am grateful that I worked with an amazing group of people who actually helped me through some of those years.
Perpetual Anger AND Unforgiveness
As I’ve said, there was a time when I forgave that man at the drop of a dime. It was what I knew to do. After so many incidents, after hearing, “I’m sorry” from him so many times, I finally stopped forgiving. I stopped forgiving him back in 2000. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had finally moved into our home in Green Valley and I was thrilled. One evening, he told me he was going to meet a friend for a card game at around 6:30. He didn’t come back until 5:30 the next morning, reeking of alcohol. He had betrayed my hope for the last time. To this day, I can’t give you an accurate description of the emotions I felt. The pain of unforgiveness is as close as I can come. Honestly, I had lost trust in him years earlier, but I still held out hope. That day, I lost that, too.
The inability and unwillingness to forgive is a prison. I lived that life for so many years. The pain from whatever caused the unforgiveness combined with the fear of appearing weak because you forgive (again) can be overwhelming. You’re already reeling from being hurt and the pain is only deepened if you know the act was intentional so you don’t offer your forgiveness. You’re angry. Soon, you find yourself in a very vicious cycle.
This is not where you want to leave things. If anyone on this planet knows pain, it’s me. I know what it is to have your heart and feelings destroyed in one fell swoop being told you’re the reason for the abuse.
As hard as it may be, if you’re going to live and prosper, you must release that anger and forgive. The anger has to go. It will eat you alive. It will prevent you from enjoying life. Let it go and forgive.