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Revenge and Forgiveness

November 18, 2011

For the longest time, I couldn’t accept the traditional idea of forgiveness. I couldn’t wipe the slate clean and start over with someone who hurt me. Instead, I held grudges and I ended friendships. I have trust issues, but once I let someone in my inner circle, I have a hard time letting go of them. I have high expectations of those that I’m close with, and often they cannot live up to my expectations, which ends in my own disappointment.

I have a list that is a mile long of people I would love to get revenge on, Emily Thorne style. The list includes the usual suspects, like Caroline, JB, Mark, and several other friends and lovers who have betrayed me over the years.

Surprisingly enough, that list also includes my father. He is a horrible man and a horrible father. He made my childhood and my brother’s childhood a living hell. Once, when I was 16, I put a hex on him, mainly that all his negative energy would come back and bite him in the ass. Karma helped me take him down. That man has had plenty of mishaps, but nothing will ever make up for the hell we’ve been through.

My mother can’t understand why I can’t forgive and forget. She has a very simplistic view of morality. She doesn’t understand that some things have psychological ramifications that can carry on for years.

I was poised for revenge. However, I was reading Martha Beck’s book Leaving the Saints, and I stumbled upon a thought provoking quote. “Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.” I had a major epiphany from this quote. This is what the concept of forgiveness means to me. Finally, I realized that just need to give up all hope that my childhood would have been a happy one, with loving parents. I need to give up on the hope that my father will ever realize what a horrible person he is and get some therapy or medication to be a better person. I still hate him, but I realize now that nothing is ever going to change. I have accepted the past, which has allowed me to move on.

Before this, I could never grasp the antiquated Christian idea of forgiveness. As Emily Thorne says, “Sometimes, the betrayal runs too deep.” However, unlike Emily, I can move on because I have realized that nothing I could ever do will change the past, and nothing they can do will ever compensate for their evil. Destroying your enemies can be worthwhile, but it will never fill the void inside yourself from all the pain they have caused you.

I have learned to let go. By starting to get over the biggest hurdle in my life, I have been able to let a lot of the small things go. I embarked on a journey of revenge, but I found myself on the road to transcendence. Just like with Dante’s Divine Comedy, sometimes you have to travel through hell to find paradise. 

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