I am not a counselor. I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a relationship expert. These thoughts are my own opinions based on my experiences. You may heartily disagree with my conclusions. But perhaps these blogs will at least make you think …
If you screw up, apologize. From the heart and with sincerity. If you feel the need to explain your side of the story (because there are ALWAYS two sides to every story) then do so.
In a perfect world, the offended party will accept your apology and life will go on as it was. Unfortunately, this world we live in is not perfect and it doesn’t always happen that way.
So what do you do if you are not forgiven? What do you do if you are told that you are forgiven but the touchy subject is not forgotten and is thrown in your face every time there is a disagreement?
Well…you have a couple of options.
You can take your toys and go home. In some cases, that may be the best thing to do. If this is a new friendship or relationship, and you are finding that there is no understanding or forgiveness for your human faults and transgressions, you might want to take a look at that huge red flag and speed away. If you find that every little thing you did is never forgotten and is presented again and again, I would take that as a crystal ball into the future.
OK, that is easy enough.
But what if the problem is with someone you really love and care about? Your child or your parent? These are relationships that are very deep and meaningful. We don’t want to toss them away. Marriages may come and go, but your parents or kids are a life sentence.
I’ve mentioned before that I have several friends whose kids won’t talk to them. In every single case it’s because of a divorce. In every single case the mother or father has done everything they could to put the other parent in a bad light.
Rule 101 of divorce is don’t trash your ex to your kids. I don’t care if they are five years old or thirty five years old. They don’t need to know the details of your sex life. They don’t need to know about affairs or lying or cheating. That is between you and your ex. Don’t contaminate your kid’s relationship with their mom or dad. And even though you may now think that their parent is a sorry SOB, he had some good qualities or you never would have married him.
Whatever the reason, if you have a problem between a parent and child, you really need to try to heal it. You may not really like your mom or dad. OK, I get that. They may do stuff that totally offends you and drives you up the wall. I get that too. They may have hurt you badly. But they are your parent, and you need to go the extra mile. We want our parents to be completely without sin. Only one person I know of that has ever walked this earth that we could say that about. The rest of us screw up constantly.
But here is the deal. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you are not forgiven. Doesn’t matter what you do or say, the other person is hanging on to that burning coal of anger and resentment and they are not going to let go.
You have apologized. You are remorseful. You have changed your actions to reflect your words. You have done everything you can think of to show them that you love them and you are sorry. But you are not forgiven.
Yep, I’m telling you to quit trying.
What’s the definition of insanity? Trying the same thing over and over again with the same results.
You are trying to explain with words and logic, but you are being defeated by emotion. What you are doing is not working. So stop.
Realize that their anger and resentment is their problem, and YOU CAN NOT FIX IT.
Tell them that you love them, but you are not going to continue to grovel and beg. When they decide they want a relationship, you will welcome it. But you are not going to continue to open yourself up to the pain of their rejection. Hope and pray that time does truly heal.
But don’t give them free rent in your head.
I’m not saying to drop all contact, although you may have to. But get on with your life, it’s the only one you have. Don’t spend months or years trying to repair a relationship that the other party does not want repaired. Some people delight in punishing and controlling others. It takes two for that to work.
Hopefully, at some point in time they will come around and you can start rebuilding. But you have to be prepared for the fact that you may never have a relationship with your child or parent again. Making yourself miserable and wasting the rest of your life doesn’t help anyone.
Our wisdom is gained by making mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes hurt others, sometimes we just hurt ourselves. Sometimes the consequences of those mistakes are with us forever. All we can do is learn from it and grow.