Last time, I closed by talking about epiphanies and how gaining a measure of understanding can help a person let go of hate and anger.
I told you what my dear friend shared with me: that the perpetrator had to be a miserably unhappy man, and every act of hostility and misconduct from him was a pre-determined, ill-fated, piteous attempt on his part to fill a bottomless pit inside himself, a place where love should reside but, because of some twist of fate or some twisted wiring, simply does not. Like a heroine addict, he temporarily numbs the pain of his emptiness with another injection of human misery, but as soon as that short-lived euphoria wears off, which is as inevitable as the proverbial sunrise, he is off in search of another fix.
I cannot honestly say what it was that made the difference, if it was the fact that that phrase "I feel sorry for him" had never been explained to me in quite that way before, or if it was the love and safety of the woman delivering the explanation, or if it was that I was finally in a place to hear it and truly "get it" on a visceral level, or if it was some combination of the three. I only know that in that moment, in the midst of fearing I might be going down for the third and final time, my heart heard it -- and it filled me up and it steadied me and it lifted a weight I'd been shouldering for nearly two years. In that moment, something in me shifted and, ever since then, I've been able to honestly, unreservedly, state that I feel sorry for the perpetrator.
That's what allowed me to forgive him. And forgiveness is what allowed me to finally let it go.
I am a writer ... by profession as well as by nature. I am supposed to be the woman with the words. But I don't think I could ever adequately capture on paper the enormity of the relief this Ah-Ha! brought with it. What I can say is, however you need to get there, whatever path you choose to take as you work to move yourself from "victim" to "victor", let sympathy, maybe even empathy, be your goal.
Hating is a heavy weight to carry around, all day, every day, as is fear, as is self-recrimination. They cloud everything, even to the point of watering down even the best experiences in your life so that the joy those experiences should bring become not much more than mediocre, and that's no way to live.
Yes, it's a way to survive, especially in the beginning, and while you are struggling to climb out of that viscous pool I spoke of previously, it certainly is better than nothing. But I don't believe we were put here on this earth to live out lives of "better than nothing".
Putting down the burden and understanding and accepting on a gut level that the perpetrator is a pitiable, pathetic shell, and then allowing the anger and the grief and the feelings of weakness and inadequacy to just dissipate and blow away, is tantamount to letting the perpetrator give his war and then simply choosing not to come. Like the Romans in the biblical story of Masada, victory has eluded his grasp.
I can honestly say, "I've won," because I put an end to it on my terms. Once I was able to see the perpetrator for what he truly is, I was able to turn my back on him, once and for all. The last shot he fired across my bow was met with silence.
There is something beyond survival and it feels better than anything I've ever known: I have my life back.
Copyright by Pamela S. K. Glasner © 2013, All Rights Reserved
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