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Forgiving and Forgetting

A good friend said the other day, “I don’t think I could ever really get over what M put you through.  Forgive or forget.  You were so uhappy.  I couldn’t get past that.”

All through this latest dilemna, people have been asking me, telling me, wondering about my capacity for forgiveness.   Many assume I haven’t forgiven M.   Some say I won’t be able to make any kind of decision about befriending him or anything else until I do.

Call me crazy (I’m called crazy all the time, and MUCH worse) but I thought I forgave M a long time ago.  That doesn’t mean I forgot about the hurt.  No.  As I’ve said before here in the blog, I can forgive but I can’t forget.  Once someone hurts me I’m going to remember that hurt forever.  I think of it as data.  Bits of information about the man and who he is, what he’s capable of.

I guess what I’m trying to say (Poorly. Please excuse me today, my allergies are out of control.) is that the data I have on M tells me that he is or was a certain type of person. I’ve forgiven him for the specific things that happened in the past, but I can’t forget about them.  That information is important to me.  It’s going to inform any decisions I make, now and in the future.

Make sense?

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6 to “Forgiving and Forgetting”

  1. abigailhamilton says:

    Forgiving is the only thing we have that gives us control over our lives.

    Forgetting is optional, but if we chose not to forget, we have to retain what you aptly call “data” alongside a recognition that people don’t change but they do grow and develop and can become capable of more.

  2. AF says:

    Forgiving is most certainly not forgetting, but it DOES free YOU to move on and make rational decisions about your life. It doesn’t condone the hurt that was done to you, or really benefit the perpetrator. It simply means that the past wrong that was done to you no longer controls you. Without forgiveness, it will continue to affect you and interfere with your life, however much you think it doesn’t.

  3. LoneStar60 says:

    Well, I don’t know about all of that stuff above. Frankly I agree that you use the data points people provide to make a more informed decision. Skipping the hurting part, if you can maintain some detachment, you’ll find decision making works better the more information you have. What people choose to provide you in the way of data points is on THEM, not you. You didn’t make him do the things he chose to do, he decided that all by himself; so why accept any blame for it or feel bad about it?

    Just my $0.02 worth….

  4. dazediva says:

    Completely makes sense to me … I’m the sort of person who can forgive but not forget … Why should I forget if someone has hurt me or affected me or screwed about with me ?

    When we meet people, subconsciously we collate ‘data’ on them and accordingly determine the kind of person they are based on their words and actions.

    I’m sure with the way things have been the last few days – any memories of M have come rushing right back at you … You might have forgiven him – up to a certain extent – or perhaps even 100% but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten ‘cos at the end of the day he was someone who meant something to you … We tend to ‘not forget’ when it concerns people we have cared about.

  5. Singletude says:

    It definitely makes sense to remember! In fact, I think it DOESN’T make sense to forget. Yeah, people can change. But let’s be honest–much of the time they don’t. Or they change for a little while and then lapse back into their old patterns when the going gets tough. Forgiveness is about letting go of the kind of bitterness that eats you alive. Remembrance is about self-protection.

  6. Simone Grant says:

    I think I’m going to copy and paste your comment onto a magnet. Brilliant. Every word of it. And I’m trying to keep it all in mind and I move forward during this very difficult time.
    And as I’ve said before, I’d like to think I’ve done that. But I’m sure there are people who think I’m fooling myself. Or just that I’m a fool.
    So, I didn’t make him behave the way he did. But I allowed it to continue and repeat, over and over. I gave it my tacit acceptance.
    Glad it makes sense to someone other than me. It’s not about holding onto grudges. Just remembering what he’s like..
    Yes that. Self-protection. Something I haven’t always been good at. Especially where M is concerned. Thank goodness I’m finally in a good place about that.