Many of us have held deep anger and resentment against certain people who were hurt by the actions of our addicted life. For years, I resented a person who could have stopped the abuse I suffered as a child. For reasons I may never know, this person chose to do nothing when he could have protected me — a small child. The anger I felt for him was so deep I did not even realize I felt the way I did. I repressed my rage as I grew older, and my addictions increased along with my rage. I became rude and thoughtless toward others, including, of course, the person who ignored my needs. My rage blinded me, making it impossible for me to see how I had hurt this person and others close to him. Even though this person and I lived in separate parts of the country, my addictions and selfishness brought pain and hurt into his life, as well as my own. I can no longer side-step my feelings. I had to confront the feelings of anger I felt against this person, so, with help from others, I did. Even though the wrongs this person did to me far exceeded what I had done to him, I could no longer hold his wrongs against him if I was going to heal from my addictions. So I got in touch with him. I apologized to him for my actions, and offered to do whatever I could do to repair the hurt I had caused him. As heartbreaking as it is, today many years later, this person has never acknowledged the abandonment and pain he caused me, and I sadly suspect he never will. Nevertheless, his refusal to acknowledge his lack of care for me as a young child is none of my business today. I forgive him today and every day, not because he is innocent or because he deserves forgiveness. I forgive him so that I can recover and move on from the damage he did to me.
Occasionally, the anger and resentment I felt for this person come back. But today I diligently work to let go of any remaining resentment I feel. While I have no real relationship with this person, today my attitude toward him, myself, and my family history has radically improved. I am much more honest about how things were for me growing up. I no longer make excuses for my family or for myself. Things simply were the way they were and they are the way they are. My hope is that someday things may change between this person and myself, that we can have a healthy family relationship. I also hope this person will one day see that my life and values are worth appreciating. However, moving forward and trusting God’s plan for my life, I remind myself that this person’s attitude toward me is none of my business. It is between him and God. I can hope for forgiveness but I am never entitled to it.
This is an excerpt from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only ~ Copyright David Zailer, 2011