Through the years, several people have told me that in order to “fully heal” I need to forgive the people who have wronged me. It’s a nice thought, and there are numerous people I have forgiven in my lifetime. Some actions, however, are not forgive-able. You may disagree, and that’s your right. But doling out forgiveness to shitheads isn’t something I’m about.
In this case, I define “shithead” as somebody who knows they’re hurting you, has been asked to stop hurting you, and then continues to hurt you some more – you know, like a bully. Shitheads don’t think about the consequences of their behavior because they’re too busy getting what they want in the moment. Shitheads say things to you that are appalling and wounding. Shitheads often parade their shitheadedness on social media or even in person in your very own neighborhood like a big middle finger aimed right at you.
Recently, I was told that the biggest shithead I know wants to apologize to me for her shithead behavior. The person who relayed this wish told me that the “toxic situation” needed the miraculous remedy of the shithead’s apology, implying that my magical forgiveness would instantly heal the toxicity. Shithead “feels terrible” about what she did. (Not terrible enough to have stopped it, but that’s beside the point here.) Shithead has matured and sees the error of her ways and just wants to talk.
Um. There are two things inherently wrong with this line of thinking.
- Shithead (along with the relayer) is the one who created the “toxic situation.” Yeah, it was and is toxic. They live with the mess they made. I did not create it. I don’t live in it. I removed myself from their dysfunction and carried on with my life. I do not care what shithead has to say. She does not deserve any more attention from me than she got when I was the irritant in their “love story.” Her apology at this stage of the game is irrelevant. Her apology is a load of bull that she needs to alleviate her guilt over acting like a shithead. I am not the shithead judge or jury.
- I give myself permission not to forgive someone who has treated me like I am absolutely nothing, an irritant. When you’re treated in this manner, the only thing you want is to never again deal with the people who hurt you. In this particular case, I don’t ever need to have any further dealings with shithead. So why would I?
It’s not my job to give this person absolution. It is not my job to grant forgiveness to someone who has been so incredibly cruel. I’m ok with that. I sleep at night.
Also, regarding the idea that “full healing” can’t happen without forgiveness, I can tell you that there are some things in life that you never fully heal from. You just don’t. They cut too deep and wound too much. When you feel like you’d rather rip out your own heart than continue to suffer that kind of pain, you know it’s something that you’re probably never going to “fully heal” from. When your children were and continue to be affected by that pain, you can be pretty sure “full healing” isn’t in the cards.
So with that in mind, I will say once again that my forgiveness isn’t forthcoming in this situation. Don’t tell me it’s needed to have a happy life. Don’t put it on me to heal a “toxic situation” I didn’t create. I am quite certain that shithead will be just fine without my forgiveness. I, myself, am doing very well without having listened to some BS apology from – or having doled out some BS absolution to – shithead.
There’s a surprise here though. The most healing thing in all of this actually was forgiveness. You know who I forgave?
That’s a more uplifting story for another day.