So last night when I got home I found a package on my front porch from my mothers brother. I havent spoken to my Uncle in about seven years because hes a condescending shit-stirrer who thinks hes Gods gift to the family because hes high on the hill. There are things I will never forgive him for and my family life has been drama free since cutting him out of my life.
I take the package in the house and call my Aunt T who Im extremely close with. She too hasnt spoken to her brother in almost as long. Her husband answered and from his tone I knew she had received one too. My Aunt called me when she got home from work and we opened our packages together. Inside was a gorgeous wooden trinity knot he obviously made in his wood shop. It would look beautiful next to my wooden claddagh mirror.
The bitch in me wants to send it back but the better person Im trying to be wants to keep it send a small thank you note. However, it wouldnt change the way I feel about him. Hes never had the guts to call me and talk things out like hes promised so many times. I dont know what his intentions are/were by sending this but when so much damage has been done in a relationship I find an inanimate object as a peace offering to be a little bit of an insult.
So I guess Im struggling with returning or keeping the gift.
I cant talk to my office mate who Im close with because hes always cynical. I cant talk to my best friend because shes too soft. B told me to use my best judgment but I feel like I need advice from people that are somewhere in the middle.
I know something like this may seem inane to people who have bigger things to think about but this little thing is playing with my emotions in a big way. I just dont know what to do.
I say this in all honesty. My family is fractured. Most of the time it doesn't bother me, but this time of the year, and this year in particular, it does. Both my parents are deceased. I have no kids. My brothers and sisters see me as an outsider because I got out (read: of a small, dead end town), and no one makes any effort to contact me. If I don't keep it going, I'd never hear from any of them. It makes me very sad.
I would accept the offering with the mindset that the intent was good will. Doesn't mean you have to fling the door open and welcome him in with open arms, but it may start a slight thaw. Maybe he's opening his eyes now that his family has avoided him for so many years. It may be inanimate, but it was made with his hands. He may miss his family. Send him a short note thanking him, let him make the next move. If you don't like it..then snip him out again. No harm, no foul.
Forgiveness is not for the other person, it's for you.
At least in a situation like this. Doesn't mean you'll ever let that person back into your heart or life, but if you choose to look at this like a tiny olive branch, send a tiny thank you, and see it simply as a nice thing in your house then whatever emotional attachment he's tried to tie to it doesn't exist.
Ball is in your court, sweetie. You just need to choose if you want to throw it through the window, pass it back or let it roll down the hill.
I'm always amazed when people are able to stay mad for years! Doesn't that take energy you could spend on something else? Forgive him, write the thank you, wish him happy holidays and move on! Years you've been holding on to this??? Let it go and in the mean time teach your children how wonderful it feels to forgive.
For years I have struggled to forgive my brother and my dad. Very few people know this but it has been 30 years that I have not spoken to my father. I tell anyone that asks about him that he's dead, it's just easier that way. It has been 17 years since I have spoken to my brother.
I find it takes no energy on my part because, for the most part, I think about them very very rarely and I never see them. Frankly, I don't ever intend to change that.
I have struggled to find a definition of foregiveness that fits my personal philosophy that, frankly, some things should never be forgiven. The other day I found a definition I may actually be able to live with and that may finally lead me towards that goal:
"Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different or undone."
My advice would be to accept the gift and write a small thank you but to leave the rest to him and to not expect much.
Thanks for all the great advice, everyone. I think I'll take smirk's advice and fuck him right in his fucking asshole
Ok. I'll keep the gift and do the card. It's not going to be easy but maybe it will give me some inner peace.
Appy, I'm amazed when people can assume everything is forgivable when they have no idea why that person is struggling with forgiveness. I guess you've never personally experienced the dark side of life/people. You should condsider yourself lucky.
I think it depends on the cause of the rift. You seem to have the door open to the possibility of repair - but it would take a lot of work on his side. That said, this could be a beginning. To keep a gift and not acknowledge it seems very petty to me. A short, sincere thank you is all that is required.
I haven't spoken to my parents in over 16 years. I have forgiven them, but I have also moved on. There is nothing left to repair. I'm OVER it. They sent me a gift for my birthday once about 10 years ago. I did not open it and just returned to sender.
"Forgiving is love's toughest work, and love's biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love's power to break nature's rule." ~Lewis B. Smedes
Positive vibes to 'Neady and Arwen... and anyone else who needs them!
Thank you very much for the Celtic knot thingy. I appreciate the time and effort you put into making this for me. In the spirit of Christmas, a donation has been made in your name to The Human Fund - Money For People.
Many people are afraid to forgive because they feel they must remember the wrong or they will not learn from it. The opposite is true. Through forgiveness, the wrong is released from its emotional stranglehold on us so that we can learn from it. Through the power and intelligence of the heart, the release of forgiveness brings expanded intelligence to work with the situation more effectively. David McArthur
Unforgiveness is like a scratch on an old record. The song never goes on to the end, it keeps the beautiful music yet to be released unheard and all that resounds are the same old three or four chords again and again and again. Katherine Walden
Life is too short to hold on to years of bitter feelings and anger. Let it go and you will feel so much better. I'm not saying you have to embrace your uncle to your bosom and become bffs... I'm simply saying let go of years of anger. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.
I agree with Appy. There is a pride to being able to forgive. It doesn't mean she has to have a relationship with the guy - it just means she can recognize that holding on anger and resentment is not the healthy choice.
I had this whole thing typed up but it went way off the rails so I'll just say that I think your opinion is valid, Appy, and the words are very comforting and sweet but how to implement it all makes no sense to me.
It's not like I was walking around every day being angry, stomping around, and thinking about how much I don't like my Uncle. As the matter of fact I rarely thought about him at all the past several years. I HAD moved on with my life after I cut him out of it and it felt like a lot of those emotions went with him. It was only until I received his gift last night that it stirred them all back up again. It felt like.. "Why did you have to do this? Everything was going perfectly fine".
Sure, I have that fu attitude for him but it's mostly disgust and I think he's a total phony.
My kids know about forgiveness, thank you very much. Miss Autumn is much more forgiving than I am in all areas. It's me that needs work on forgiveness.
But when someone does something to a person you love so much that it affects their whole life it becomes a little hard. I can forgive the other stupid, spiteful shit he has done, I have a hard time forgiving him for this one particular thing.
Right now saying, feeling, or thinking "I forgive you" just doesn't feel genuine to me. It's going to take A LOT of work on my end for the forgiveness to be authentic. Otherwise I would just as phony as he is.
And 8 is right, nobody knows why but I can be my lifes paychecks most of the board would totally understand why.
I appreciate your outlook, Appy and I wish it could be that easy. But sometimes it's not. I really wish it was.
People want other people to forgive and forget, mostly because they want them to be over the pain, but in a lot of ways- they don't want to hear it. It makes their lives easier, since they don't have to listen to the complaints, or think about it, etc.
Not this has anything to do with your situation Sneady. This is an ongoing discussion I am having with a friend of mine.
That said, you shouldn't feel bad about taking the present/card, etc. If the guy really wanted to make amends, he would go out of his way to call you, email you, make smoke signals, etc. He has to bury the hatchet, and man up. If he wants to do it by sending peace offerings, that's fine, but unless he is willing to try and have a dialogue with you, its kinda moot.
Look at it in percentages. He is throwing 10-15% at the relationship by sending a gift and a card. You are probably doing much less than that. Until you both meet 50/50. It ain't gonna work.
Ac, I totally agree. But the thing is I don't want to meet him halfway or any of the way. But I'm the type of person that feels awful for having negative feelings against someone that does something nice for me. I asked for advice, all of it very good, but I'm having a hard time trying to adopt it. I wish I could say why I'm so disgusted with him to make people understand better but it's not my personal information to tell.
I'm really glad I could come to a place and reach out to a group of people that will be honest with their advice and not just what I want to hear. You guys are aces.
Neady I think you and I are a lot alike in this respect. I forgave my parents for me... and when I say "forgive" it is my own brand of forgiveness. I do not harbor any animosity towards them, I rarely think of them or the issues that caused this, and I am completely apathetic towards them. There will never ever ever be an opening to repair the relationship. I have moved on.
Forgiveness does not always mean that the relationship can be renewed at any level. For me, it's more about just letting go and moving forward.
Well, there are just something's that are so uncool, you can't recover from. This guy sounds like he crossed a line bigtime. Even if he met you 75%, it just maybe never enough. Some relationships aren't meant to work.
Right, Anny. I shouldn't have used the word "forgiveness" because I also come from the mindset that some things/people should never be given that honor. What I mean in this instance is getting to a place where the thought of the person doesn't stir things up. You can not like the person til the end of time, never let them back into your life, soul, psyche, and it doesn't mean you turn into a frothing maniac at the mere mention of his name. But to send the shitty feelings off into the ether so when he does cross your mind, or come up in conversation, or you look at the beautiful wood piece you think, "huh, there's a cool thing from that butthole" and then poof, it's over.†Two seconds of mild, inconsequential thought with no aftertaste.†
Like when you swallow a chunk of ice you're like "ACK! Oh, it's OK. Carry on."
I think acknowledging the gift is approprate and it's a reflection of the recipient in NO way should it come close to forgiveness, be seen as such or erase any past issues.
I too have a hard time with the foregiveness thing especially if the asshat has REALLY crossed lines but I do let go of the pissy feelings if not, they've got you. The asshat has you as long as you let them affect you.
I would acknowledge the 'gift' very very briefly and be done and done
It's easy to tell you to send a short thank you when I don't know anything about what he did or what happened. So really, the best advice I can give you is to look ahead 5 years and ask yourself what you would be proudest to tell people you did. And then do that. I've worn those shoes, but my relative has passed away. I'm proud to say I don't regret anything about the way I handled it, however painful it was. Good vibes to you, Neady. And to Arwen and Anny, and anyone else dealing with this difficult situation.
"I don't really know, but I suspect the addition of nuts." - Squid
If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative. Know when to close the account.
You knew when to close the account. I say keep it closed. You did not mention that the package included any kind of note. If that is the case, I say keep the gift, forget the card. If he wants to actually communicate with you, he should have been more direct than a noteless gift. I certainly do not know this man but I suspect he is trying to manipulate you and your aunt into making meaningful communication first.
Do you really want to look at something everyday that reminds you of that person? I work on what I call forgetness instead of forgiveness. you hurt me enough times or cause me to much drama that I work to forget you. I don't want to spend years "talking" it out either. Gag!
FG, I thought about that too. It will probably stay in it's box for awhile until I'm over the initial shock. After that I'll hang it and see how I feel. I may keep it up or I may put it back in the box and give it to my bestie.
There is one other thing that annoys me about the whole deal that I didn't mention previously because I didn't want anyone to think I was being nitpicky or call the wahhhmbulance on me.
Anyway, included with my Aunt T's gift that the Uncle/her brother sent her (same as mine), he also included the same gift for each of her three kids. Two of her kids are Autumn's age and they're all very close with eachother. I just felt a little more disgusted, like, what, my kids weren't even a thought? I don't know why he decided to to send her kids and mine. They're all his neices and nephew just the same. So, there's that little nugget.