Then it slowly dawned on me that i got very sore cheeks. And that the taste in the back of my mouth was bitter. Each time i swallowed what i was dished out it left a residue of resentment that no amount of nice would rub out.
This was very confusing because i was following all the protocols i had learned about how you became deserving of love. The not causing conflict, the not being confrontational, the demurring when things hurt, the turning the doubt and distaste on myself when things were painful. I was a good and able student of the school of self abnegation and yet despite my passing with flying colours i felt less and less able in the world.
The situation did not change, perhaps getting incrementally worse if anything. Even when bigger circumstances changed, where i lived, who i lived with, what i did with my days; despite running to the other side of the world the patterns of damage were such deep tracks in my heart that i just found the same things occurring with different faces and different accents.
If i thought the retelling of the woundings would help at all then i would lay out the details of my story here but checking in with my motivation, i feel a twinge of wanting to cause suffering so i will leave it at this. I was treated badly. There was meanness, a lack of respect and understanding and i incurred some long term damage. But the details are not the results.
The results were i was corroding from the bitterness. That anything that i had that was shiny inside me became tarnished with the resentment. My unhappiness was like a "see i told you so" statement about my lack of goodness and yet something in me was circling around the idea of being free of that feeling.
And in my search to find what would set me free i kept coming up against forgiveness. The idea of pouring a balm on the wounder and erasing the misdeed. Ethereal, harps playing, lots of soft light.
Oh i could say the words and i so wanted to be in that state but the bitterness in my guts did not dissolve.
The truth is i wanted them to pay for what they had done. Maybe it was my socialist upbringing but Fairness and justice are immutable laws of balance in my mind. I wanted reparation.
So i tried to talk about what was ailing me. Pollyanna-ishly approaching the wounder with my story i thought if i was brave and found the right way to say it the heavens would open and... cue harps.
But no. This just ramped up the pain and suffering. I was looking for solace in a place where none was available and all that did was make a new cave for resentment.
Oh i tried. For years. I sought help and counsel, healing and wisdom. And yet each pearl i came with very quickly made it to the mud heap and i was trounced again.
Then i went through a phase (a decade or two) of being really really angry with the perp. I mean wanting to commit physical harm (oh the pushing off balcony fantasies!) Joking. Just. I wanted payment for the wrong. I wanted reparation. I wanted compensation. I wanted suffering to be felt on the other side of the fence because damn it i had paid enough and now it was their turn.
ut the anger was a fire that was neither kind nor soft. It burnt other unrelated things in its path. It raised dreams and hopes. It scorched tender parts of me that will never recover and yet there was a seed that made it through and in fact needed that fire to germinate.
And that seed began to flourish in prayer the other day. It has shifted my heart in a way that makes me stand straighter and that seems to be emptying out the cave of resentment with a soft scoop. And that softness is key. I no longer want shallow solutions of "sorry i'll be good". I no longer want the solution of being really seen and heard. I no longer want the solution of an eye for an eye.
The solution i want is this.
"I release you and set you free. You no longer owe me anything. In order to save my heart your debt to me is forgiven."
"You are free to be yourself and i am free to treat myself lovingly and have excellent boundaries to keep safe from your harm."