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Daily Prompt, Life

I Forgive, But Never Forget

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”
Alexander Pope

There was a time when I was ruthlessly cold and callously unforgiving. In a little black box hidden in the back of my mind I stored the details of every time I’d been wronged. The sin. The offender. The anger. The hate. The belief that I would never do anything like that to another person.

It was the worst during my teenage years. In addition to my normal teenage angst was an unseen layer of anger. Anger at my father for uprooting our family so many times. Anger at my father for marrying a woman who came in to our family with the grace of a wrecking ball. Anger at my mother for settling for an abusive husband who used her for everything he could. Anger at my father for his angry outbursts which he directed at me physically, the most notable of which was ripping a shirt off of my back that had been given to me my best friend I who I left behind when we moved from Atlanta. That shirt had been bought in Jerusalem, where his father owned two successful restaurants, and was left shredded in the aftermath of my father’s rage.

Somewhere along the line I began to let go of my anger. I wasn’t perpetually focused on all my slights, perceived or otherwise. To this day I don’t know if this was a conscious decision or just genetics taking over. Maybe I had gotten tired of being angry all the time and subconsciously decided enough was enough. Maybe my mother’s serene genes finally began to take hold. Maybe I finally realized harboring all that anger within was fruitless and destructive. I don’t know for certain.

Despite being saturated with anger no longer, I still had an unforgiving disposition. All it took was for someone to wrong me once and that was the end. My judgement of you as a person was harsh and merciless. If you lived your life in a way I didn’t approve of, I wouldn’t associate with you. You would be judged.

Of course, I didn’t realize at that time I behaved this way. I didn’t have anyone to point it out to me because I had alienated everyone. It became apparent when Superbitch began getting upset with me because I didn’t like any of her friends. I had judged all but one of them unworthy of my friendship or as people I didn’t want to associate with. I hadn’t met many of them and my opinions had been formed solely by the way she spoke about them. Most of them were promiscuous, and sluts by her own admission. I had a problem with that. I thought it was wrong. I had no respect for them. I guess these opinions were remnants of my religious upbringing, I don’t know. Frankly, she didn’t much like that they slept around either. The worst part of it all is that I never gave them a chance. I judged them on the words of Superbitch alone.

In the aftermath of my initial separation from Superbitch, I fell into unfathomable depths of depression. An episode of manic proportions which I hope to never experience again. I slowly recovered but my depression has been an unstable roller coaster ride since then. In my darkest times I have done the very same things for which I have so brutally judged others. I’ve slept around. I had a one night stand. I’ve hurt people. I’ve done things I swore I would never do. I desperately craved the attention I no longer received. I’m not proud of these things, but in having done them I’ve gained a new perspective. I realized that even the best of us make mistakes or will do things against our better judgement or character given the right (or wrong) circumstances. I’ve learned that there are two sides to every story.

Some people have forgiven me my sins in the past two years, and for that I am immeasurably grateful. Some people have not and they have judged me as I used to judge others. I have been judged harshly and had horrible things said about me. Some of those words cut me deeply and I still bear their bitter scars. My actions surely said otherwise, but I never set out to purposely hurt anyone. I was mired in selfishness and only ever stopped to consider myself, showing no forethought or concern for the feelings of others until it was too late.

Forgive and forget isn’t as simple as it sounds. Situations saturated with infinite shades of gray cannot so easily be reduced to black and white. While I have found a place in my heart to forgive the majority of the people who have wronged me, I cannot bring myself to forget those wrongs and I’m very conscious of them during any future dealings I may have with them. Life is too short to burn every bridge you cross. If you end up burning every bridge you’ll eventually find yourself with nowhere left to go. That is a predicament I hope to never find myself caught in again.

This post was inspired by today’s Daily Prompt.

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About Twindaddy

Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

Discussion

97 thoughts on “I Forgive, But Never Forget

  1. Like you I cannot forget what peope have done or said to me. I will not stay mad, but whatever happens in the future, I will keep on remembering what you have done.
    I just might steal this idea as well. Sometimes, Daily Post can really be inspiring, isn’t it?

    Like

    Posted by No Blog Intended | April 28, 2014, 10:40 am
  2. I think youre doing okay i really do. Keep it up. Eventually people will either forgive you or not and thats life. You have plenty of forgiving to do yourself. Not an easy task. Keep on the path youre on. 😃😃

    Like

    Posted by katebortell | April 28, 2014, 10:41 am
  3. Judging others is the one character trait I most want to work on in myself. Your observation that although you had judged SB’s friends for their promiscuous behaviour, you found yourself behaving in the same way. I can totally relate to this. In fact, I think the thing we often hate most in others is that thing we hate to admit we also do/have inside of ourselves.

    And finally I totally agree on forgive, but don’t forget. Forgetting just opens the door to allowing it to happen again…

    Like

    Posted by nancytex2013 | April 28, 2014, 10:57 am
  4. Yes it becomes impossible to forgive people who keep hurting us over and over again,especially when people we love hurt us.I can only imagine what you have been through.In such situations it is difficult to forget and forgive.But according to me,I think it starts from forgiving yourself because in the end we all make mistakes.

    Like

    Posted by jessannseq | April 28, 2014, 11:23 am
  5. Beautiful. Dark Night of the Soul. Tough stuff. No pun intended. : )

    Like

    Posted by Pocahontas | April 28, 2014, 11:41 am
  6. What’s important is where you are now and how much you have learned from this. We never stop growing! :)

    Like

    Posted by brickhousechick | April 28, 2014, 11:49 am
  7. I’m getting better at the forgiving part, but I still don’t willingly forget shit like that. I will say, part of what helps these days is putting people I feel have wronged me in “time out.” Since I’m never quite sure if I’m shooting from the hip or reacting from a place of logic, I just try to put a little distance between them and me until I can calm down and know that I’ve given what happened some thought.

    And then sometimes I still put a bullet between their eyes, but I know by that point that they totally have it coming. :D

    Like

    Posted by Mental Mama | April 28, 2014, 11:51 am
  8. It is difficult to forgive. I have a rule, I don’t owe forgiveness. Remorse is a key ingredient towards forgiveness, I don’t owe it and it doesn’t enhance my life to offer it to those who are not aware of the wrong they have done or remorseful for the wrong they have done.

    However, I don’t give free rent in my life, heart or mind to those who have wronged me. I don’t hate them; hate is an active emotion and this would require I give free rent. I don’t seek retribution against them, another component of free rent. I don’t live my life as if they matter, they do not.

    I act with compassion towards myself, at all times and as much as possible. Sometimes I have to remind myself to do so. It is easy to do self-harm, blame yourself for the bad acts of others, think you need to ‘forgive’ yourself because others are azzclowns. You do not. I did not contribute to the bad acts of others, didn’t contribute to my own kidnapping and shooting, didn’t contribute to other bad acts against me. Nor do I owe my offenders forgiveness or free rent, I only owe myself the best life possible.

    Like

    Posted by Valentine Logar | April 28, 2014, 11:55 am
    • I don’t normally “give free rent” to these things, but I’ve changed dramatically in the past couple of years and I’m having trouble controlling what my mind can and cannot do anymore. Certain thoughts can only be forced from my head with other stimuli.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | April 28, 2014, 11:59 am
  9. I forgive, and because I am incredibly absent minded I often do actually forget. But not the big stuff. Oh, I forgive. I move on, but the perpetrator isn’t invited along for the ride generally speaking. Still, I have been incredibly fortunate in life. Truly traumatic, awful events have been few and far between. Gotta go knock on some wood.

    Like

    Posted by Elyse | April 28, 2014, 12:14 pm
  10. This piece is indicative of your blogging greatness, Twindaddy. You put it all out there and you do it well.
    Thank you.

    Like

    Posted by The Hook | April 28, 2014, 12:15 pm
  11. I’m the total opposite. My problem is I forgive and forget too easily, to a point where I have a welcome mat on my forehead inviting people to hurt me again, and again. Imagine walking around with a welcome mat on your forehead? Don’t get me going on neck pains, and car accidents!

    But seriously, there is a middle ground, and it seems as though you’ve found it. It’s ok to not forget so easily, it helps prevent future burns. Plus it says a lot about self-respect… which I’m obviously not and expert on the topic.

    Like

    Posted by Marie | April 28, 2014, 12:24 pm
  12. What Hook said.

    Like

    Posted by Steph | April 28, 2014, 2:15 pm
  13. Great post, TD. Anger is tough – we aren’t given tools to deal with it. I think if men were given the correct tools to be angry, we’d have better success at the more complex shit like forgiveness and bacon.

    Like

    Posted by BrainRants | April 28, 2014, 3:25 pm
  14. The bridge between us is flame resistant. At least I hope so because I’ve had too many bridges go up in ashes as well. Forgiveness probably comes way too easy for me but the anger flares up now and then. The flame that says…you didn’t deserve what you got burns hot sometimes.

    Like

    Posted by hastywords | April 28, 2014, 5:28 pm
  15. Wow this is really good and caused me to think. :)

    Like

    Posted by behindthemask | April 28, 2014, 6:01 pm
  16. Forgiveness, to me, is like trust. Must be earned, and not everyone is deserving of it.

    Like

    Posted by Not Quite Alice | April 28, 2014, 9:11 pm
  17. With respect to myself, I will never forgive or forget.

    I know three people who can shank my heart because they are thatclose. One has and I’m in process of forgiving, again, and she is forgiving me. In the past two years, I have let people in closer than I can imagine. Some have hurt me with a flesh wound bc I can’t let them in any closer. They have never apologized and ok. Karma is a cunt.

    I am so not.perfect and I’m willing to admit it.

    Like

    Posted by 1jaded1 | April 28, 2014, 10:38 pm
  18. Life is a journey, and it’s your journey and no one else’s. You may experience it with someone, but I think, in the end, it is your life alone to live. And for that reason, I don’t think we can ever judge anyone. I think it’s one thing I learned growing up with all different kinds of people. Anyway, it sounds like you have made peace with other people in your life, and most importantly, with yourself. Nice post!

    Like

    Posted by Amy Reese | April 29, 2014, 1:00 am
  19. Impressive that you can look inside and put your feelings out there TD. I don’t dout that this peice will add to your oeace.

    Like

    Posted by Paul | April 29, 2014, 2:21 am
  20. I am in awe at your honesty which I prize above many things. To be able to reflect and analyse yourself in this way speaks volumes of who you are or who you have become. I forgive easily but to forget would be foolish as the same mistakes are repeated. I do that at times and curse my own stupidity. The hardest part is letting go of guilt and too harsh judgements of self. Someone once told me that being unable to forgive myself for even minor things was a matter of pride:if God could forgive my sorrows did I really think I knew better than him? It helped me to put things in perspective when I could not let go of self-abusive thoughts. Recognise, be sorry, forgive, move on. Others just have to do the same when they’re ready. Liberation in a dose of self love. Not that kind! Forgive my ramblings or forget them. :) x

    Like

    Posted by scottishmomus | April 29, 2014, 2:56 am
  21. I am so glad that I found your blog through Beth. You are an astoundingly good writer with such a message. Your honesty here leaves me ‘almost’ speechless. I am the same way. I forgive but I never forget, having learned to hold a grudge at a very young age. I try to let go or at least to be better at it. It’s so much a part of my personality, finally honed, that I’m not sure I can change it. Maybe I just don’t try hard enough. But I do try because I know it keeps me sick.

    Like

    Posted by Sandy Ramsey | April 29, 2014, 6:18 am
  22. I’m sorry for your pain. Anger can eat away at you and am glad that you have chosen to let it go. Forgiveness is a difficult idea for many, but there’s a certain amount of peace one receives when the both parties choose this path. Best wishes always.

    Like

    Posted by Kayjai | April 29, 2014, 8:16 am
  23. I scrolled through quickly and saw the expected “good post/I agree with you” comments. Can you take a little push-back? Is it okay if we mix it up a bit?

    I noticed a lot of commenters agree that you can forgive but find it impossible to forget.

    You are all LYING TO YOURSELVES and you need to stop it.

    Forgetting resides at the very heart of forgiveness. If you haven’t forgotten–if you’re still holding on to the offence–then you truly haven’t forgiven. To say you forgive but won’t forget is a cheap crutch. It allows you to feel good about yourself and think of yourself as a “forgiving” person without doing any of the actual heavy lifting of forgiveness. If you want to “not forget,” that’s fine. That’s a choice you make. But please don’t say you’ve forgiven in the same breath. Because you haven’t, really.

    Like

    Posted by Exile on Pain Street | April 29, 2014, 12:23 pm
    • I disagree. You can forgive without forgetting. You can let go of the offense and the anger of the misdeed without forgetting it happened.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | April 29, 2014, 12:27 pm
      • They are intrinsically tied together. To let go of one, you must let go of both. It’s a more pure form of forgiving.

        Thank you for not telling me to go fuck myself. Because you easily could have. But how dull it would be if all we ever saw was “good post!”?

        Like

        Posted by Exile on Pain Street | April 29, 2014, 12:35 pm
        • Well, we are all different, you know. I can let go of the anger without forgetting I was wronged.

          I don’t tell people to fuck off unless they deserve it. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I do expect a measure of respect if you do. And you were respectful, therefore if you decide to fuck off it will be for your pleasure, and not because I told you to.

          Like

          Posted by Twindaddy | April 29, 2014, 12:43 pm
  24. “My actions surely said otherwise, but I never set out to purposely hurt anyone. I was mired in selfishness and only ever stopped to consider myself, showing no forethought or concern for the feelings of others until it was too late.”

    I certainly can relate.
    Thanks for this perspective, as it mirrors mine own.
    –Lance

    Like

    Posted by LAMarcom | April 29, 2014, 12:49 pm
  25. We all make mistakes we wish we hadn’t, but that is what life is all about. You are supposed to learn from your mistakes – this is when the lesson really sinks in. There are wrongs done to me I will never forget. I have had to forgive those who perpetrated the hurt against me – for my sake or they would have kept me bitter & unable to appreciate other good things in my life. But I will NEVER FORGET. This is how we protect ourselves from having it happen again.

    Like

    Posted by benzeknees | April 29, 2014, 1:49 pm
  26. Some people do not deserve forgiveness but we do it to heal ourselves. Forgetting part is easy if we do not have sharp memory, or in future we do not come across similar situation or similar people who left those scars. I practice live and let live rule and yes, Forgive but never forget- that’s how lessons are learnt and un-learnt!

    Like

    Posted by Archita | April 30, 2014, 9:34 pm
  27. I am still not a good forgiver… even though I know my anger hurts me more than those I am angry with… sigh…

    Like

    Posted by pouringmyartout | May 6, 2014, 2:33 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: I can’t Stay Mad At You, but there are always Exception to the Rule | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss - April 28, 2014

  2. Pingback: Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names – John F. Kennedy | No Blog Intended - April 28, 2014

  3. Pingback: I Can’t Stay Mad at You | My Atheist Blog - April 28, 2014

  4. Pingback: DAILY PROMPT: I Can’t Stay Mad at You | Nola Roots, Texas Heart - May 3, 2014

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