We’ve all often heard the phrase ‘time heals all wounds’ and wondered well how much time is it really going to take?!?
If you’ve been deeply hurt or betrayed by someone you love, it’s going to take a lot of time before things are ever healed over, and even when the wound heals, you’re always left with that nasty scar in your mind to remind you of that time you were hurting. Especially when betrayed or lied to because it rocks the core of trust you thought you had with your partner, friend or confidant.
Words spoken can never be taken back.
Actions taken can often never be undone.
Doubts cast reside.
Consequences remaining sometimes well…they remain for life.
When people disregard your feelings, it makes you question their loyalty and love no matter how much time or effort you’ve put into the relationship, how do you know when to call an end to it?
When do you cut off the friend who’s talked about you behind your back one too many times?
When do you move on from the one who didn’t have your back when you needed it the most?
When do you give up on a relationship you’ve got a lot invested in?
I can’t answer these questions, because it’s different for everyone, and no one should tell you otherwise. You have to go deep within yourself and take the time you need to heal, and if time does not lessen the wound, or the wound keeps festering by new actions and new words…then you need to decide like you would with a gash in your leg, when you’re going to pour the peroxide directly into the cut and deal with the sting before the infections crawls upwards and rots away the healthy parts left of your flesh.
We are all given an innate ability to cope with a lot of injuries and heal. I don’t think there is a person alive who hasn’t been betrayed or hurt in some way by someone they care deeply about. Sometimes they can be honest with the person about what they need going forward and the relationship can be salvaged. Other times they are honest and try but eventually they can try no more-the person has taken all from them they had to give. Other times still they forgive and are able to get past it enough to rebuild a different newer relationship with that person. Sometimes they do that and come full circle to have to do it again or end it. Each case is different, all of them have a story and a voice.
One thing I will say from what I’ve learned so far in life, you’ll have a lot of voices telling you different paths to take and why it’s right to take that path. Religious voices will often tell you to turn the other cheek, forgive and forget, offer grace and move on. Secular voices will tell you to break off the friendship or arrangement, return the favor, what goes around comes around, throw that person out of your life, lock the door and throw away the key.
Somewhere in the middle of all that nonsense, is usually where your answer will lie. As frustrating as it is to hold your peace and wait until the fog clears, you will be more frustrated if you listen to the voices of experience of others rather than the voice of God within you.
Sometimes a person is toxic for you and God will help you forgive but also see your way out of their life or them out of yours. Sometimes hurting people hurt other people and God will move you to forgive and heal the pain of the wound they caused you (so you can help them or someone else who experienced similar pains) and enable you to remain in their life.
Only you should decide in the end, because you are the person who has to live with the decision. You can’t let other people make it for you because they are removed from the situation. Unless of course it is the perpetrator who makes the decision. If your friend, family member, spouse etc decides to cut you off, you should respect their decision and let it be.
It’s a lot like sexual assaults. While 5 in 5 people will be betrayed or hurt by someone they are close to throughout life, the statistics for someone to be sexually molested or abused by a family member or friend is 25-50% before their 18th birthday. That is a staggeringly sad statistic. I am one of those statistics.
Over time however, God enabled me to truly forgive the perpetrator. I have moved on from the feelings associated with that and have no ill feelings towards this person. I also have children now myself though and while I have been led to forgive, I am not so keen to forget that sometimes, people have problems. If and in case they may still have some of those problems, it is my duty as a parent to do my best to protect my kids from those issues. So I will never leave my kids alone or unattended with said perpetrator. That doesn’t show unforgiveness in my book, that shows due dilligence and protection.
If you’ve gone through something similar, never let anyone make you feel guilty, ashamed or less-forgiving in any way for setting up boundaries for yourself that must be complied with to maintain safety within that relationship. Expect others to respect that and if they don’t, they don’t respect you. You are not responsible to make another person respect you, you are responsible only to respect yourself by making the decision that is best for you and your family.
Someone shouldn’t tell you not to forgive the person because what they did to you was so horrendous that they wouldn’t forgive them.
Someone shouldn’t tell you to sweep it under the rug and remain the same as before with that person either and minimize your pain.
Your feelings are like warning signals, if you’re not comfortable with someone/something, or feel like the rug is going to be pulled out from under your feet with them again, don’t feel you have to stay standing on the rug! Step off of it and sit on the couch instead. Observe, pray and regain your sense of balance until you know which path you’re meant to take. Then take it, regardless of what other people think is right for you. You know what’s right for you and if you don’t now, you will soon.
Spend some time alone with the One who knows you best and allow the wound to heal to the point that you have a peace and clearly know what to do. You don’t have to rush your decision, you don’t have to listen to others rushing you. At this point you can trust that no matter how hard or easy the decision is, you’ll make the right one.
What about the people pushing me one way or another you ask?
If someone is being pushy in this respect, the best thing to do is to be blunt. Say “Thank you for your advice but from this point I respectfully ask that you keep it to yourself. This is my issue to deal with, and I would like to process it my own way as I have to live with the decisions and you do not. Please do not ask me about it or bring the subject up again unless I do first or we’ll have to take a break for a bit.”
If they respect that great, if not, take a break from them for awhile. If you were going to get advice it should be from someone who is completely separate from the situation.
Watch out for the posers…the ones who appear to care but really just want details and information to use against you later. They are not people to share your feelings with. They may just feed on drama and not have your best interest at heart.
It is also better to refrain from talking about the wound details with family or friends whom you know like to hold grudges and don’t have a large capacity to move on from things. You may desire to talk to these people at the moment to have your current feelings validated, but if and when your wound is healed or you move on differently than they do…they will still be stuck with all the aggravation and thoughts towards the person you chose to forgive, and you will be stuck hearing all about it, making future hang-outs all together difficult.
It is better to keep the circle of people who are aware of your wound small until the wound is no longer festering and then decide whom you want to know it and how much you want them to know. You may only want to share your wound in a way it will help someone else get past theirs. You may not want to share it at all. You may want to share with the world Ted Talk style. Who knows? Not you…yet. Talk to someone you can trust or a counselor and definitely talk with God, vent how you want to Him and listen for what He has to say back in your inner Spirit.
I am so sorry for the pain the person you love has inflicted on you. Whatever it was, it was not your fault. Time may take time to do it’s job though, so know in the meantime you are not alone, there are people who care and love you and a God who understands the pain of betrayal. Take heart my friend, my reader, regardless of how you feel now and what you may go through in the future to get past it, you will not feel this way forever. Time eventually does it’s job of smoothing the edges of all stones. Scars fade and stop hurting more and more as they do.
In the meantime, take care of yourself. This too shall pass. <3