DR. CELESTE CATANIA-OPRIS, PH.D., LMFT
We tend to hold on to things that hurt us. Many people remember the exact moment someone lied, they felt betrayed, or they felt broken.
In fact, some adults still become upset when talking about their childhood bully, the best friend who stopped talking to them for no reason, or the friend who went out with the guy they liked. Some people remember it like it was yesterday.
Likewise, it is so difficult to forgive a partner you love or once loved. Whether your partner strayed from the relationship, lied to you repeatedly over the years, or hurt you physically, emotionally, or mentally; the pain is still there and we are reminded of it every time we get into an argument or start dating someone new. These times remain as triggers, which can be hard to manage.
Lastly, some adults have a challenging time moving past their upbringing. Whether you felt your parents always favorited your sibling, a parent left the house making you feel abandoned or alone, or you endured physical or verbal abuse; those moments impact our lives in more ways than we feel comfortable admitting.
So what do you do with all of this anger and pain? Firstly, offer yourself recognition for making it through these difficult times. For some, it is a daily struggle to function and to make it through each day. Secondly, you could try to forgive, but you never have to forget.
This task can feel impossible for some individuals. However, if we start seeing ourselves as survivors, then the healing process can potentially begin. When attempting to forgive those who hurt us, we could consider, what if the “bullies” were previously tormented or bullied themselves? Perhaps those who commonly lie are battling their own insecurities, particularly their fear of potentially losing you or the fear of you seeing them differently, so lying makes their lives more manageable. Maybe your parents were behaving in a way which felt “normal” or “right” to them, and many people say they would “do things differently” if they could turn back time.
There really is no “good excuse” for hurting another individual. Still, sometimes people do feel remorse and regret. Many people simply have a tough time admitting their mistakes and what they did wrong because it makes them feel sad, embarrassed, or badly about their actions. This never has to excuse any hurtful behaviors, but it could help to understand them.
This whole process is personal, so you could say it, write it, or simply think it, if/when you are ready. Perhaps talking to a professional may be the best option for you, especially if something is too personal to talk about with a friend or relative. Either way, the choice is yours. You have the power to finish your story any way you see fit, and YOU undeniably deserve your own happy ending!
Celeste Catania-Opris, Ph.D., LMFT, offers therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and families. Visit www.TherapyForModernHousewives.com.