Forgiving those who hurt us
When I was eighteen a friend who was six years my senior suggested I move in with her, her brother and his girlfriend. It sounded like a grand idea; I craved my independence and wanted to live my life outside the family home. After I’d spoken to my mum about it, she was so supportive and still is– Bless her I decided to leave home. My mother supported my decision and I left home to live with my friend.
Whoa! It wasn’t until I actually lived with her that I realised who she really was. It was a shock and I won’t go into much detail about it as its past and gone. But being young and vulnerable I wasn’t ready for what the world was like. Unfortunately she was a very cruel woman. At times when I hadn’t yet found a job she would decided whether or not to give me any food, sometimes I was locked outside the house at night and since I didn’t have a bed she’d give me one blanket to sleep on the hard floor. It was a shock to my system. I’d never been treated so cruelly before.
One Sunday afternoon I rang my Mother just to speak to her. I didn’t let on that I was having a difficult time because I wanted to make it work and I didn’t want her to worry. But she could tell by the sound of my voice –mums always know – that something wasn’t right. I just told her I’d been struggling to find a job but things would be fine. Two days later an envelope arrived in the post for me. It was from my Mum, when I opened it she’d put quite a bit of money in it. This brought tears to my eyes because that very day I hadn’t had anything to eat. Not long after this I found a job as a waitress and my life changed around and I’ve grown from there.
There were times when I often wondered why my friend behaved this way. I was extremely angry and hurt for the way she’d treated me. Three years after I’d moved out and got on my life. She found out that I was getting married and invited herself to my wedding. Unfortunately she never seemed to realise that she’d done anything wrong and at the time I don’t think I’d forgiven her. I secretly resented her. But resentment serves no purpose, it only eats at you like a toxin and only you suffer. I had to work through this but it wasn’t until years later that I was able to do this.
Four years ago I heard she’d moved to London and was married. We met up for the first time in years. She still didn’t realise the pain she’d caused me but there was something wrong with her. I felt sad for her because she wasn’t herself. Her husband confided in me telling me that she was hearing voices and had been admitted a few times to hospital. I’m not really sure what happened between them but I really began to feel compassion towards her. I opened up my heart and forgave her, I did it for me. I let it go and allowed peace into my heart. When I did this I was able to see her in a different light. I don’t excuse her behaviour towards me but I began to understand it. I later found out that she’d been badly abused as a child. This made me aware of where her behaviour originated from.
The point of this story is not to put down this woman; it is to show you that some people behave in ways we don’t understand. This doesn’t excuse how they treat us but it allows us to understand their actions and that can free us to let go and forgive. You forgive for you, you forgive to let go of the burden of carrying resentment around. Sometimes the people who treat us badly are the catalysts that propel us into better lives. We are forced to take action, I was forced to leave, to move out and find better for my life. I deserved better. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I know I’m a better because of her. I know that people deserve respect no matter who they are. So whatever anyone has done to you, it’s time to forgive it and let it go for you.