You’re wounded and angry. Someone close to you, who should be loving you, hurt you instead. You don’t know what to do. Should you stay or should you go? Put up with the shit, or give it right back to him? Retaliate or bury your feelings? If neither choice seems very good, it’s because neither choice is very good. You wish there were another way. Some way that affirmed your experience as a victim, but didn’t leave you weak and vulnerable. Some way that facilitated change and showed mercy, without opening you up to more disappointment. Some way to be firm, but not rigid.
Luckily, there is a way. The road to reconciliation can be a long, long road, often not well marked. The choices are confusing, but I’ll show you the route.
You’ve done something wrong. You have not been as good as you could be. You hurt someone you love, someone who doesn’t deserve it. You want to do better, but you don’t know how. You’ve apologized, maybe a hundred times, but you can’t get past it. You know that your action, even though it was wrong, was not the whole story. There were precipitating factors. It’s complicated, you’d like to explain, but you can’t talk about it without it sounding like you’re making excuses. You wish there were another way between groveling and pride. You’d like to learn from your mistake without losing your dignity and voice.
There’s a way for you, too; a way to repair what was damaged.
Both of you, the offender and the offended, have to travel the first part of this route by separate paths. You each have to do your own work before you come together. You each have a part to play before you can arrive at full, genuine reconciliation. Not everyone is up to it. Not everyone makes it all the way. Your partner will not make it to the rendezvous point exactly when you do. Your partner may not make it at all.
Total, genuine reconciliation requires collaborative effort that some people cannot do; cannot or will not. Both parties have to take responsibility for their share of the situation. If you have a partner who won’t do his share, you will not make it all the way to Reconciliation. Luckily, you can make it pretty far down the road without your partner’s help. You can make it all the way to Personal Peace, which is on the road to Reconciliation. Personal Peace is a pretty nice place.
How can you come to peace with the things that have happened? Well, I’m going to show you; but you don’t do it just by reading about it. You have to take the steps to get there.