What is the proper course of action after someone hurts you?
How do you interact with them?
Do you even try?
This is one topic of which I can really relate. In fact, I had a buddy and she really hurt me. And here I was, trying to figure out how to forgive forget and move on. So, I figured I’d write in case it will help someone else. In this story, I’m changing a few facts so the person doesn’t know I’m talking about them.
The story began when I met a cool lady in a community setting. It wasn’t long before our kooky personalities just clicked. We giggled through meetings, chuckled through projects and were on the pathway to becoming good friends.
Subsequently, I noticed her withdrawing from me. I couldn’t figure out what I had done. I asked and no response. Later, I did a personal inventory of what I could have done. Nothing.
When I tell you I was incredibly affected, I was. It was hard for me. I had to almost re-learn how I could forgive forget and move on because it had been a while since I let anyone that close to me!
I try to be “hard”, but I’m not.
It’s sort of wild how much this broke my heart because I’m something of a “tuffy” or I would like to think I am.
Like countless others, I walk around with this “tough girl” persona and act as though little hurts me. Some of that is cultural for me.
However, the truth of the matter is I am one big, fluffy marshmallow inside. I’m a giver and I love hard. I think it’s my personality. I have lots of “Blue” in my temperament.
Only the “worthy” enter…
To be clear, I don’t let everyone in that inner sanctum of my life for this very reason. I choose friends very carefully. Are you the same way?
Yet, if I do let you “in”, I open my heart, share my thoughts and trust you to do the same. I try to I Corinthians you and love you with my whole heart.
Yup, I would do almost anything for you. I’d give you my last dime, buy your dinner when my cash is low and put your needs before mine. That’s friendship in my book. Do you agree?
Incidentally , she made it into my heart.
The person who hurt me was close to being a friend in my book.
I trusted her with some (not all) secrets.
I put myself on the line for her so she could thrive and I often helped her do her life better…even when it was a huge inconvenience for me. I even took a backseat on projects so she could shine.
Then, “it” happened.
She stabbed me in the back and twisted the knife. Do you know what I mean? She went for my emotional juggler while pretending nothing had ever changed between us.
Had I not overheard what she said, I would never have believed it. The first betrayal I heard with my own ears! Next, folks started telling me the stuff. Ugh.
It hurt so much I almost cried. Right there, in that moment, I almost bawled like a second grader facing “meanys” on an elementary school playground.
“Surely, she didn’t mean that.” I rationalized in my mind.
Nope, I heard what I heard. About that time she blocked me from all her social media. Ouch!
The funny thing is no conversation had happened, she just cut me off.
About that time, others started disclosing ugly things she said about me, my weight, my husband and other mean things.
Wow. She’s being a massive jerk to me and I don’t know why!!!!
I’ve supported so many others through these types of hurts, but hadn’t experienced one myself in a very long time.
I was out of practice. I had to ponder: “Hmmmm how do I forgive, forget and move on when someone has been a jerk to me?”.
Suddenly, I was the one hurt and was faced with a difficult question: “how do I forgive people and emotionally recover from this?”
You see, I could recover by becoming equally mean to her.
In me lives the “queen of shade”, but I must keep her banished to the catacombs of my being.GodsyGirl Quote
Nah, being mean wasn’t the way.
Or, I could have simply become bitter and stop allowing myself to care about people any more.
Shucks, that’s no good either. The world has enough hard-hearted bitter people. I need not become another one.
This is the only way to recover from hurt.
I had to forgive her.
I know. You’re rolling your eyes about now.
By the way, let me tell you what forgiveness looked like in my life. The good. The bad. The ugly.
How to forgive forget and move on step one: Erasure
After I decided to forgive, I had to define what that meant.
It meant I was to wipe her slate completely clean in my heart. However, fellowship would not be restored at the emotionally intimate level it once was. So, I forgave her, tried to forget what happened, but we would not be close as we were.
Like you, I don’t have amnesia. Forgetting is impossible without a head injury. No. What I do mean by “forgetting” is to never play the “movie” of what happened in my mind. No longer would I ruminate over what she did to me.
When I saw her, I’d replace those thoughts with something else in my head. That inner dialogue is huge. I’ll talk more about that later.
I love this project; I’m not leaving.
This person is linked to very important volunteer work I do. Avoiding her wasn’t an option for me. I had to see her often. I mean often.
This being so, means I have to get my thoughts about her in order with God’s Word so I wouldn’t become bitter and allow Satan to use me as a pawn of pain.
Forgiving someone step two: Imagine
Envision someone about your same age punching you in the face as hard as they can. It would sting, it may swell and it might even leave an ugly bruise, right?
You will have to recover physically from the blow.
I think the same happens when someone hurts our heart. You’ll have to recover emotionally from the “blow” as well. It took me some time to recover. It took a lot of time to get my heart in order and my feelings in check. I used to imagine those big anvils from classic Bugs Bunny cartoons fall on her head with the cartoon sound effects and all. I had to get over that.
Yeah, I had felt the punch my “almost” friend issued. I had endured the sting of it. I had a bruise that showed up in memories of what happened. Ultimately, only time and prayer could heal the sore spot or bruise on my heart.
While I waited, I would return her “hellos”, smile back when she smiled at me and try to manage my emotions.
Step three of letting it go: Change the way you think about and process the person.
Was I being fake?
No, I think it’s being cordial and being kind. Only a baby feels their every emotion should be on display.
Grownups understand that their inner feelings cannot dictate their lives or interactions.
Inside affects outside
In the meantime, I had to change the inner narrative or my thoughts about her. This is especially true whenever I saw her or interacted with her. I couldn’t think “what a jerk” and expect to forgive her.
My hearts murmurings had to be rooted in kindness and love. That’s the only way I would (and could) act in love.
Thinking ugly thoughts can impact interactions. I had to change my thoughts about her. Even if in faith. In faith I would think how much I love her or I’d pray for God to bless her … right there in the moment. I may not have felt I loved her, but I thought it. I did it (in faith) until the emotions followed. Does that make sense?
Prayer…yes, I prayed for her and for me.
The Lord had to help me pray for her. It’s not like I wanted to.
In my prayer time, I saw how hurt I was.
Once I faced that reality, I could confess the hurt before it became bitterness.
When I said “Father, she hurt me so badly.” He comforted me in the Psalms.
He also showed me how I’ve hurt others in my own actions during my life span. He showed me how I’ve been a jerk so many times before.
Realizing that, I began to see her as more human and have some compassion for her.
Who knows? She may have hurt me out of her own pain.
Could it be she was jealous of me and that’s why she turned on me?
Actually, so many of the things she wanted from life, I have.
Maybe jealousy somehow provoked her. Maybe something she perceived I did to her provoked her.
Observing her life, I see she has the classic symptoms of low self-image. The Lord showed me that time and time again.
She always felt the need to brag and boast. If someone around us shared their experience, instead of listening, she quickly interjects her own experiences. All roads often led to her and what she thought about everything.
If someone said “we had chicken for dinner”. She’d say something like “Girl, I make the best chicken….”
She often gossiped and I frequently got roped into it. I would try to walk away when that happened, but sometimes, I didn’t because I didn’t realize what was happening. I could have been guilty by association so many times.
Likewise, her words didn’t always match her actions and I observed two-faced sort of behavior. I should have known I’d soon be on the receiving end of all that. I should have known that anyone who hurts others would eventually hurt me.
To be clear, she was not a horrible person. Just a normal human being.
No. She’s not a bad lady, just likely an insecure one. Insecurity can make you act really stupid. Trust me, I know. I’ve been insecure as a young woman and I was a dootie-head to another person at my job. Wild, right?
All this to say, I had to view the woman who hurt me as just a human being figuring out life the best way she can with what she has.
I’m in a much better place now.
Again, it’s been a long time since all this went down. Such a blessing that I can finally say I wish her the best and pray she makes wonderful friends of her choosing.
I really hold no ill will for her these days and when I see her, I hug her with sincere love and forgiveness. No fakery. No lying. I really feel good will toward her.
How to forgive someone step four: Fellowship restored or naw?
When things like this happen, we have an important choice to make. We have to decide if forgiveness equals reconciliation. For me, it does not or at least not in this situation.
This lady is not in a position to be the sort of friend I need. Plus, she does not bring out the best in me.
She has some sort of wounds or challenges that prevent a loving, supportive, positive relationship. While I can coach her, advise her, pray with her, pray for her, I cannot be her friend at this time and I have peace with that.
If she ever needs me, guess what…I’ll help her with a clean heart. But, friendship is not on the table.
Summing it all up: how to forgive someone:
In the end, here is what worked for me, I:
· decided not to be bitter.
· opted to forgive.
· changed my thoughts about her from wound to kindness.
· put myself in her shoes a little.
· concluded what forgiveness looked like in our relationship.
What do you think about all this?