Yes, I’m aware that “f*ck-withness is not a word, but it’s just so fun to say. Try it for yourself when you’re feeling adventurous! We are all very familiar with the concept of forgiving, however. Whether it is having to forgive ourselves, forgiving others, being forgiven or forgiving the cat for pooping on your bed/sofa/ shoe yet again. We are very familiar with it. Usually, we hear “forgive and forget,” which I only encourage you to execute half of that formula (psst. never forget! some famous person said that you are doomed to repeat it if you do). For a while, there was a question that was nagging me; a point that a loved one brought to my attention in regards to how I was handling a highly volatile situation. For reasons of privacy, I will refer to the offending party as “Loli” and omit any seedy details. But, in short, I found myself always in harms way anytime I was with Loli. She lived to argue and fight.
The question posed was “did you really forgive Loli if you no longer interact with her? My immediate response was, “HELL YEAH! I don’t have to deal with a person just because I forgave them. what kind of question is that?” I was promptly called bitter and unforgiving. But honestly, up until that point, I really had not even entertained the idea that Forgiveness = F*ck-withness for many!
So I had to ask myself a simple question. Was I doing forgiveness wrong? MUST I allow someone space in my life IF I have truly forgiven them?!??!
Yayee something new that I have to unlearn!… Maybe but maybe not
When we forgive others, it’s mainly for our own peace of mind. Because, let’s face it, most offenders are not asking for your forgiveness. They have unapologetically pissed on you and called it rain and views you as “overly sensitive” for asking that they at least acknowledge that they have hurt you. So yeah, we all do this for ourselves, to keep us from imploding and helping to release any animosity that may build up from never receiving that apology. In my opinion, forgiveness is a form of self-preservation. As is removing yourself from potentially harmful or toxic relationships, regardless of the relationship. If you had a friend that was often being harmed by their significant other, you would encourage them to leave every opportunity that you got! We seem to understand leaving a relationship when it is a romantic involvement. But what about those relationships that you were born into, those familial ties? It’s a little harder right!? Because we are hit with “but that’s your sister, brother, mom, dad, 4th cousin twice removed on your great aunt’s side”…FAMILY… That is your FAMILY. As if that validates all of the toxicity that you are enduring. I think we would forgive more quickly if the family member made a genuine effort to mend the relationship and actively tried to heal themselves to change for the better. But if that were the case, I wouldn’t be writing this blog! LMFAO!
As we know, bad habits die hard and, well, when it comes to this particular family member of mine, she did not (still doesn’t) see anything wrong with her repeated patterns of abuse and toxicity. So I removed myself. But I only made the decision after decades of trauma and lies. For me, it was the only thing that I could do to maintain my sanity and freedom. Yes, some people and family members will have you wondering if you can handle a few months in jail… No, you cannot and removing them from your life (as much as possible) is the cheaper, less scandalous way of resolving the matter.
Cutting off Loli’s access to me was one of the most courageous things that I had done at that time. It was the very definition of “I love you, but I love myself so much more.” Loli did not take it well initially. In fact, she called me up and, using her patented blend of conflict resolution, proceeded to berate and attempted to make me feel guilty for my decision. Again, it was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, but on that brief phone call, I realized that distancing myself from her was the ONLY option left for me if I wanted to regain my strength, peace of mind and emotional well-being.
No matter how much I wanted to continue that relationship or how I yearned for things to shift, I could not change Loli. I no longer had the desire to try, and it was foolish of me to think that I ever could. Hey, you live, and you learn. But I did find my power in the realization that I could change myself and was in charge of who had access to me.
After years of feeling awful for forgiving but cutting her out of my life, someone told me that it was the best thing that I could have done. PERIOD! That, just because we forgive those that hurt us, we are not obligated to continue interacting with them regardless of the relationship. That sat well with my soul because I knew that I genuinely forgave her but that I could not risk being around her. Because allowing her access to me meant denying myself peace. It wasn’t a decision that was widely accepted by the people that knew our relationship. However, as cold as it sounds, I had to make the best choice for myself. All was forgiven, I was happy, and that really was all that mattered. We should not feel guilty for ridding ourselves of toxic habits, thoughts, actions and yes, PEOPLE even if they are FAMILY. Forgiveness is wonderful! It sets us free! But Forgiveness DOES NOT EQUAL F*ck-withness. Now say it with me “Forgiveness ≠ F*ck-withness” and repeat as many times as needed.
Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.
Love and Light,