I’m a woman, 29, living in a very happy relationship with my fiancé and doing very well in my job.
I have a few good friends who I trust.
But there are two people who hurt me whom I cannot trust, not get over what they did.
One is a work colleague who made many attempts to undermine me to our boss. The other is my father who let his second wife cut me from their life when I was a pre-teen.
Am I obligated to forgive the two people who’ve hurt me so deeply and affected my self-confidence?
Can’t Forgive and Forget
Your only “obligation” is to yourself.
If you could mentally/emotionally heal these wounds, you’d feel free of your colleague’s poison (he apparently failed to damage your work reputation).
And free of your father’s weakness and betrayal (to focus instead on your happy engagement and future).
No, you’re not “obliged” to forgive those two, unless it’s an integral part of a faith that sustains you.
Your father abandoned his moral duty to love and protect you as his child. The colleague revealed a nasty envy that could’ve hindered your success.
Their lives are cramped by their meanness. By contrast, yours can be open and confident.
They don’t deserve your forgiveness. But you deserve the personal gains from putting these hurts behind you.
It may be harder regarding your father. Remember, his action wasn’t your fault. Consider counselling help.
Then forgive yourself for harbouring the hurt for so long.
Reader’s Commentary “My wife of 20 years and I have three children, adolescent to teenage.
“Having them home full-time for months due to COVID-19, while we also worked from home, was initially overwhelming.
“But the pandemic taught us new ways to be a family.
“Despite worries and restrictions, there were some unexpected “benefits:”
1) Everyone slowly recognized that whatever chore they had (by rotation), even bathroom cleanup, helped us all.
2) Everyone learned to use the internet for research, fact-checking, and communicating in faster, more productive ways.
“Previously we parents got annoyed at the kids’ frequent contacts on various platforms. Soon, we were all staying connected online with friends/relatives.
3) We had new, important conversations with our children - e.g. how to separate scientific information from rumours; when to trust specialists’ concern, even if others ignore their views, etc.
4) Most important was discussing and finding agreement on what’s meant by saying, “These safety measures are to protect others, as well as ourselves.”
Ellie - We all want this pandemic over. It’s been hard on everyone, but harder still over these past eight months, for those who’ve lost loved ones, and those who are alone, without their usual income, and/or health compromised.
Hopefully, more people can eventually look back and be grateful for whatever of the few positive results they experienced during this time.
For me, the most important ones are the heroic efforts of those who risked their own health daily and rushed to the frontlines, to deliver their essential services from garbage collection, food deliverers, to hospital workers at every level of sanitizing work to intensive care of COVID-19 patients.
We can all be humbled and hopeful, just knowing they’re in our midst.
But remember those who understandably feel helpless, including the many still-unemployed people and those whose jobs disappeared again when the virus’ infection numbers rose last month.
That’s why we ALL must follow safety precautions: Masks, handwashing, social distancing.
FEEDBACK Regarding anew the husband’s wife of 21 years who’s long had two-week “wave cycles” of difficult/nasty behaviour (Sept. 30):
Reader – “She has Postmenstrual Dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome.
“I have the same problem. For two weeks, I'm happy, confident, hardworking, and positive. Then next, I'm tired, fatigued, angry, depressed, even suicidal.
“It's completely predictable and my boyfriend has also come to expect/predict it. It's like I'm two different people.
“So, it's not a mood disorder. It's her menstrual cycle (possibly also affected by menopause). She should see a specialist. And her husband should hang in there with her.”
Ellie - Despite the previous feedbacks that affirmed this same view, I found this one warranted exposure, too.
Two reasons: 1) The boyfriend’s understanding and acceptance of his partner’s hormonal/emotional reaction without blame.
2) Seeking a medical specialist’s diagnosis/treatment of a difficult physical/mental health issue, as early as possible.
Tip of the day:
Holding onto past hurts only keeps you suffering. Forgive your lingering self-doubts. Trust yourself and put others’ nastiness behind you.