I haven’t been asked this in a while. It’s a good thing. I fear I’d go from calm to scorched earth in under 60 seconds.
My sister and I were discussing how others so often ask, “Why can’t you forgive and forget?” “Why can’t you let go?” “Why do you keep dredging up the past?”
What brought on this reflection? I ask myself those same questions. Every day. Really. I do.
Here’s the answer:
NM wants attention.
So give it to her.
I could give her my full attention 24/7, and it wouldn’t be enough. I’ve attempted to give her what she wants. She complained it wasn’t enough. Or it wasn’t what she wanted. Or I did it wrong. Or I could have done it better or differently. Or… or… or. What she wants I cannot give because I don’t possess what she wants. She wants to be happy and feel better about herself but refuses to do the work on herself to bring about what she wants. As long as she is unwilling to stop lying to herself, she will never be happy. The insane contradiction is that she will tell people she’s the happiest person she knows. If she is the happiest person she knows, why is she demanding I give her what she wants to make her happy?
Then my sister posted on one of her blogs:
Lightning flash! This is clearer and makes sense of the insanity. Gaining attention, by NM’s standard, is winning. Puzzle pieces fall into place.
Although knowing this helps me gain perspective, it doesn’t answer my dilemma.
Answer me this: How do you forgive and forget, let go, stop dredging up the past when it isn’t the past?
NM has been asked to respect simple boundaries. She violates those simple boundaries every single day. She has even been told why I set the boundaries I did. She denies it all.
More details might help: What happens when she walks through the kitchen during my time? Or stands there watching me prepare my food?
Memories flash through my mind, every single time. Memories of her knowingly barging into the bathroom, anytime she wanted. Sometimes as I finish a shower. I covered up sometimes, but sometimes I was too angry. Would she show any kind of remorse or regret or embarrassment or anything I would expect a normal person to express at violating someone’s privacy? No. Nothing. She would stand there and watch. No apology. No embarrassment. No regret. No remorse. Add to it: When I complained, I was forbidden to lock the bathroom door. I wasn’t allowed to protect my privacy.
I was in my mid 20s when I reached the point where I decided I preferred dealing with NM’s wrath for locking the door over dealing with her gawking at me.
Confronting her is useless. She rewrites events as they happen. As far as she’s concerned, none of it ever happened. She said so when I confronted her. You can’t discuss a problem if one of the people involved is unwilling to admit there was a problem. Yes, EF was present when I confronted NM. Nothing changed.
I would love to forget and move on. How am I supposed to do that when NM refreshes the memory every single day?
I’m proud of myself for maintaining civil behavior.
For those who want to ask any of those first questions, don’t. Just don’t. You have no idea what you’re asking. You sound clueless, and you add another rock to an already backbreaking load.
I’m working through this as best I’m able. Over time, I’ve become less angry and more sad. I suppose I’m working through the stages of grief.