On Forgiveness/Letting Go: Revisiting a Painful Relationship Years Later

The mind can be a dangerous place if you allow it to push you into certain circumstances you aren't ready for. This was proven true when I met my ex over ten years ago. He was mysterious, a musician, and kind to me in the beginning. To this day I still remember the first time he put his hands on me. 

We were together for six years, from high school into my early 20s. He changed as soon as we married; he had it in his mind that marriage meant he owned me, controlled me. I lived with him and his family and never had a voice of my own. There were cultural boundaries, but the worst of it was his emotional and physical abuse toward me. At the time, I felt I had nowhere to go. It was a vulnerable situation of choosing the love I had for him, in hoping he could change, and the love I could develop for myself if I left and never looked back.

I forgive myself for being passive, for allowing another to take what was mine. I forgive myself for enduring his drinking, his angry fists. If I had not endured what I did for those few years, I wouldn't have come to understand myself and what I am worth as a human being. The mind can be a dangerous place. If anyone tells you the heart controls love, they are wrong. Your mind controls everything, and we should forgive ourselves for what we have suffered. I do not forgive him, nor does it burden me that I do not offer him my forgiveness. I believe people are given what they deserve in the end, and if the universe believes he is worthy of forgiveness, then it shall be. 

In the nearly five years it’s been since being in his presence, I still look over my shoulder sometimes. It was a hot August day that I departed for good; even after leaving, reconciling the issues I had had with my mother, and moving in with her, I still felt helpless and afraid he would hurt me. For weeks following, I was tormented by him in various ways; whether it was drunken, angry texts and phone calls at three o’clock in the morning, or creating fake social media profiles to message me, he was relentless. I was forced to change my phone number more than once, and I was so paranoid I changed my passwords for email and social media several times. He was a genius, one might say. He knew more than he should have about computers, and he allowed himself to fall victim to the bottle every night. Even after my eyes opened to the horrors of being with him, leaving would become a temporary sense of torment for him. He never reached out and asked for forgiveness. He never tried to ask if I would be okay with my life. 

Letting go is different from forgiving; this is how we become unburdened, by letting go of what we cannot control any longer. It took time to understand, to dig deep and reminisce on those memories. Once I accepted it happened and I will never let it happen again, I was able to let go of my past and move on to a happier present. It was difficult, to say the least, both the leaving and the starting over. I had to leave my cat behind, money he had taken from me, and lost friends that took his side. In a way for a long time after, it felt like he had taken my soul from me. I was constantly nervous to go outside, to walk in my own neighborhood. I grew anxious of every situation I found myself in and lost trust for everyone. I was in a state of wanting to feel nothing, wanting to do nothing. 

Some people move on and are eventually thankful for their experiences. Some are able to forgive and forget, to give people another chance. With this part of my life behind me and the foundation fresh and ready to begin again, I did not forgive, nor did I forget. Forgiveness is reserved for those who deserve it. I believe I am worthy of forgiveness because I was able to change and start over when the world kept on going around me. I was compelled to build the life I deserved, and I have been working on it ever since. 

by: Brittany Breen

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