We are all born innocent. That’s including you. We were meant to be raised by people who guard and nurture us. People who lead with intention, and help us see the heart of the issues we’re facing. Most of us are blessed to be guided by selfless people. You were not so lucky.
During your most absorbent and fragile years, you experienced and witnessed horrendous things. Your innocence was ripped from you by the people who were supposed to protect you. No wonder you became who you are now. You have become what you were shown. Selfish. Vicious. You’ve spent your adult years trying to be the center of attention at all times. You’re the one who must be thought about first. You’re desperately reaching to grasp what you were never given as a child.
I’m so sorry that you were put through such torment. Seeing how you are now, seeing your bitterness, and your ferocity, I truly wish I could get you the attention and support that you needed when you were a child.
I can’t do that though. I have grace for what you have experienced, but that does not make me or anyone else a doormat that you can stomp all over.
Neglected people go about their lives in one of two ways. They either decide to be exactly opposite of the people who neglected them, or they become exactly like the people who neglected them. You chose the second one.
It seems that you’ve given the people who love you a list of demands in order to earn your love. We must never confront you, we must always enable and “protect” you, and we must never believe that you’re wrong.
We all played by your rules for years. Some people are still stuck in your game. But the thing about real love is that you should deeply care for the person’s well-being. Anyone who truly loves you would call out your toxic behavior. They would do this because they know that it is poisonous and detrimental to your psychological well-being to continue these behaviors. I will be the first one to say that it was selfish of me to enable you, just to avoid your wrath. It only served to “protect” myself, even though playing by your rules hurt me as well as it hurt you.
When that epiphany occurred, I stopped playing your game. I stopped enabling you. I stopped pretending that this surface level “love” held any substance, and I faced the truth that I was a pawn along with everyone else you draw close to. We were all just puppets putting on a show for you, too scared of the backlash to reveal who was behind the curtain.
I’m not pretending anymore. I’m not doing you any favors by allowing you to cross boundaries, and behave violently erratic when you become upset. I’m a coward if I sit back and do nothing while I witness you bully someone because they did something you don’t agree with. So I called you out. Unfortunately, instead of realizing what you’ve done, you named me a traitor. You’re not used to being held accountable, or being confronted. To you, that makes me the bad guy.
That’s okay. I would rather stand here in your condemnation than to ever enable you again.
Confronting your toxicity brought out a lot of anger in my heart. Remembering the history of manipulation for what it was, and how you held it over our heads made it hard to sleep. I spent day after day going over the years of being blinded and bullied into compliance. I constantly had pursed lips.
I realized after a few months that you still had control. Repeating the memories gave you the upper hand. Those hands were pushing my head below the water, forcing me to choke on resentment, and hatred, and the need for revenge. I recognized with clarity that I was at the very same split in the road that you have been so many times before. The one where you passed up healing and growth for a life of becoming exactly what you hated.
I won’t take your path anymore. I won’t become bitter like you have. I will choose to heal. I won’t seek revenge. Before you came around, I was kind hearted, and I saw the best in everything. I was generous with my time and affection. I gave everything I could give. I refuse to let you change that about me. I will be better at placing healthy boundaries, but I will give what I can, as long as it doesn’t destroy me.
So, I am no longer angry with you. What you did to me and the people who loved you was terrible, and you aren’t even sorry about it. You won’t ever ask for forgiveness. You won’t ever admit fault. I have to forgive you regardless.
I forgive you so that I can sleep at night.
I forgive you so that I can prevent these walls from forming around me.
I forgive you so that I can show my child how to healthily face being hurt by an unremorseful person.
I forgive you so that I can live a happy and healthy life.
I forgive you so that I don’t become you.
I forgive you so that I can finally be free of you.
And just like that, I feel a joy I haven’t felt in years. The chains that held me as your prisoner have broken. You no longer have any control over me.