Last time, I closed with the very explosive idea of sympathy for the devil: feeling sorry for -- and going so far as contemplating forgiveness for -- someone who victimizes and devastates you, or those you care deeply about.
The question I posed last time was: after everything the perpetrator has done, in light of all the wreckage he has left behind, does he not deserve every bit of hate and venom my wounded heart can dredge up? I used to think so. In fact, I was certain of it. But then a dear friend said something to me, one single, simple sentence which I must have heard a million times throughout my life, and probably a million more since 2011, when I joined the ranks of those who wear the label of "victim" on their backs, just slightly below the hastily-scribbled sign which reads "kick me!" She said she felt sorry for the man, and it was clear, in the way she said it and in they way she looked at me as the words passed her lips, that she was suggesting I follow suit.
Feel sorry for him???
Except for instances in the entertainment industry, I have never heard the words "I feel sorry for you" used as anything other than a weapon. In fact, I cannot think of a single phrase packed with more insincerity than that one. When I was growing up, mothers used it as a precursor for how their errant children's hind ends were going to feel as soon as Daddy got home from work; members of the Bertha-Better-Than-You cliques at school used it as reminders of their families' financial superiority; I am not proud to admit that during my formative years, I myself bandied it about as an insult when all other verbal methods of humiliating some young foe had been exhausted. I never once thought of that phrase as something which could actually be a positive force in anyone's life.
Then along came this woman-friend who calmly, lovingly, led me to what I have come to know as one of those Ah-ha! moments in life, a.k.a. an epiphany.
She said the perpetrator had to be a miserably unhappy man, that 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.
Yes, he may well be deserving of hate but, what he is, even more than that, is pathetic, and if I am going to spare him any part of myself at all, better it be my pity than my venom -- better for me, if nothing else.
Join me next time when I discuss, in greater depth, actually letting go of the hate, finding a way to forgive, and healing my heart. One footnote: Please indulge me as I take a moment to extend a very special thanks to that woman-friend I mention above -- first for being one of the most insightful women I know and, second, for being a good enough friend to generously share her love and her peace.
Copyright by Pamela S. K. Glasner © 2013, All Rights Reserved