Forgiveness does not mean you allow others to take advantage of you again. Forgiveness does not mean you allow them to abuse or hurt you in anyway. That is not love, even though you may think it is loving to allow them to continue, as is, in your life. Forgiveness does not mean you have no boundaries.
Forgiveness does not mean you are a doormat and people can do whatever they want to you. Forgiveness does not mean you allow a toxic or destructive person into your life, or back into your life.
We must have tough love for those close to us and hold them accountable, not letting them by with their infractions. Letting them by with what they do will only encourage them to do more of the same. They will know you will allow it, excuse it and not stand up to them. Consequently, they will not only continue, they will get worse and do worse.
Do not play the victim role. Stand up in love, with strength and say no. No more. You do not need to be angry to stand up the abuser. As a matter of fact, it is better if you are calm, collective and cool about it, so they see they cannot manipulate your emotions.
If you cannot do this face to face, write it out in a letter, or do it over the phone. Then be prepared to stand behind what you wrote and don’t be swayed. If you start to get emotional or feel you are being manipulated, walk away.
Arguing is not going to change them and will only frustrate you and may cause you to give in once again. Trying to make your point will not cause them to see it. They refuse to see your point.
They can only see their point of view. When it comes time to talk face to face, pick a place where you can walk away or do it over the phone.
Either way have sayings you can fall back on like, “We agree to disagree” or “This is going nowhere good, so I am ending the conversation,” then hang up or walk away. State it in a calm, cool way. If you leave this calm state, you know emotions are taking over. Do not let them drag you into more of the same. Take your power back and walk away.
They want power over you, and you have been giving it to them. Realizing that alone may give you the mindset to make the corrections you need. Some people are harder to deal with face to face, that is why a letter or the phone is better in that it helps you stay strong and not give in to their intimidation or confusion, and they will try to confuse you and make you think you’re all wrong. This is called crazy making.
Now forgiveness is medically, psychologically and emotionally needed. If we do not forgive it will eat at us like a cancer. It will dominate our thoughts and can make us physically sick. I like the saying when addressing anger, unforgiveness and bitterness, “unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Your hurt, anger, bitterness is not hurting them, it is killing you. If they or their words are in your thoughts, in your heart, soul, they are still controlling you and killing you. You are allowing what they have said or have done to make you an angry, bitter person, full of venon that will spill over into other relationships and ultimately can cause you to die an early death or illness as it eats away at you.
Forgiveness is for our sakes not their sake. If you want a life of peace, love and harmony, forgive and let it go.
How? When you think of that person, say to yourself, I forgive, insert their name. Do not go over all that was said or done, that only reinforces the negative. Forgive and pray for them. It is hard to hate or resent someone you’re praying for.
Forgive for your sake.
Nora O’Malley, a Sun City resident, is a writer, coach and encourager. Visit her blog at noraomalley.com.