Forgiveness – The Ultimate Gift after Betrayal
What do you do when the man you marry, the love of your life, suddenly appears as a mean man. In the beginning he was sweet and giving and loving and caring and generous. You were spoiled and doted on and catered to. He could whisper in your ear and the imaginary voice saying “clean up on aisle 3” suddenly became audible. He showed you off and made you feel like a million bucks. THIS is the man you fell in love with. However, he had a secret; he was dark and abusive and hurt and damaged and lost. He became everything that he vowed he would never be. Everything comes crashing down and it ends in divorce. But being sure that time heals, you remarry.
Why would you even go back? A great many reasons sent you back – love, kids, security, protection and fear; but the greatest reason was the belief that there was hope. What did you see? You saw that he was in pain and if you could just get him to understand what a great man he was, things could change. You could love him enough to help him through the pain. The biggest problem was that you couldn’t love yourself enough to find the help to get through your own pain.
You knew that you were damaged but nobody else was clued in. Maybe they were but never said anything. You kept most things about yourself inside and suffered in silence. Not to justify anything that happened in this union; a union that was destined to destroy not only the two of you, but everybody connected to you. You also knew that everybody had something to say, mostly behind your back, and you ignored how stupid they thought you were, and you forged on, because you loved him and believed in him and could see things that nobody else could.
When you finally say enough is enough you leave – sort of. You honestly believe that you could remain friends and the hurt would dissipate. Sometimes letting go is extremely difficult, so much so that you would rather deal with the “surface” pain, than the deep-rooted pain that was killing off the person that you once were. For years, you hang on and pretend to be normal and functional and healed. The problem? You are doing more damage than you know. You not only prevent your healing, you prevent his. He’s believing that it’s all good and forgiven. He doesn’t feel the need to heal because he still has you and it must not really be that bad. You’ve become his enabler and he accepted that.
When enough truly becomes enough, things MUST change – and they do. When I began to question why I was still friends with this man, I couldn’t come up with logical answers, so I began to hate him. With every fiber of my being, I wanted to do great bodily harm. I wanted him to suffer the mental anguish that I had suffered; the problem with this is that now I don’t like the person that I’m becoming. I tried many things to overcome the rage and hatred that I felt, but the turning point was to give my problem and my pain the gift of prayer. I had to pray and pray hard. I had to weep because crying wasn’t going deep enough. I had to stop and look at who I was becoming due to the anger that was festering. Although, these things did bring me some relief, I didn’t receive my freedom until I truly learned to forgive. I forgave a man who had not yet asked for it. I forgave a man that I wasn’t sure was even sorry for his actions. I forgave this man who I loved with a fierce, deep love, and I truly wanted to believe didn’t deserve my love. Most importantly, I forgave myself, for so many things, but mostly I forgave myself for fear. Fear controlled my decisions.
I had to reevaluate what I knew love to be, and only then did I really begin to heal. I learned that each one of us deserve to be loved, that love is truly a magnificent healing force. I did distanced myself from him, and in doing so, I allowed him the time and space to heal as well. I did eventually get the apology and the request for forgiveness.
Please do not read into this that there is victim shaming or toleration of abuse. There isn’t! Every situation of domestic violence/abuse is different and each of us, women as well as men, have had to escape and heal in the way that each of us needed. This is a piece of MY story. This is MY realization that love really does hide a multitude of sin. This is MY grateful heart speaking from a place of true love and forgiveness that I never would have believed was inside of myself.