You’re wounded and angry. Someone close to you, who should love you, hurt you instead. This person might be a parent, a sibling, a child, a friend, a partner, or a spouse. Whoever it is; where you once had trust, you now have fear. You were attracted; now, you are apprehensive. You had love, but now you have loathing. You don’t know what to do. Should you stay, or should you go? Put up with it, or give it right back to him? Retaliate or bury your feelings? If neither choice seems good, it’s because neither choice is good. You wish there was another way. Some way that affirmed your experience as a victim but didn’t leave you weak and vulnerable. A way that facilitated change and showed mercy, without opening you up to more disappointment. Some way to be firm, but not rigid.
Luckily, there’s a way. The road out of here can be a long, long road, often not well marked, the choices are confusing, but there’s a way. The ultimate destination is complete, authentic Reconciliation. Not everyone makes it all the way to Reconciliation. Your counterpart will not be ready for reconciliation exactly when you are. She may never be ready at all. In fact, if you have been hurt enough, you might not even want to go to a place called Reconciliation. Seeing the person who hurt you and interacting with him, may already be a few steps too far. Well, relax, you don’t have to reconcile if you don’t want to; but, I think you’ll agree that you can use some Personal Peace.
Total, genuine reconciliation with the other person requires a collaborative effort that some people cannot do; cannot or will not. Both parties must take responsibility for their share of the solution. If you have a counterpart who won’t do his share, you will not make it all the way to Reconciliation. Luckily, you can make it far down the road without their help. You can make it all the way to Personal Peace, which is a kind of reconciliation with yourself. Personal Peace is a pretty nice place.
However, spend any time with people who have been victimized and you’ll see a lot who are stuck. They are nowhere near any kind of Personal Peace. They are the wrecks that have gone off the road and camped out rather than repairing and moving on. Continue reading →