It took me a long time to make peace with my past. Like twenty years or something. And just when I thought I had, someone from that past reared up and did something that tore my guts up all over again. The second time around didn't hurt quite so much though. I guess deep down I was almost expecting it. A family thing, you know. And we all know how families are.
I used to get so upset when I heard things like this. But, I have changed. Perhaps it is because I feel that nothing much can hurt me now. Certain things just don't carry the same "sting" they once did. And, I have learned compassion from the events of my life. It has given me empathy for those I see going through what I have been through. But, damn, if it doesn't make you tougher, too.
There was a point in my life where I realized I was in a virtual self-help book of my own creation. I had embarked on a continual course of self-improvement. Then, suddenly, I decided, I was fine just the way I was. I didn't stop learning. I just stopped trying to improve. I looked at myself, saw the bad things, the good things, and accepted it. Of course that was around menopause....when one is apt to say or think just about anything. But this seemed to feel right inside my skin.
There are terrible scenes recorded in our minds that we can play endlessly if we choose. I keep them locked in a box in my mind.
Sometimes, if I need to, I take a peek inside, and remember, yes, you lived through that, you will live through this. This is how you coped with that situation, now maybe you can cope with this one. And that is the only reason I look into that box. There are those who choose to live in that box.
Sometimes they even wallow in it. And you know them. They want so much to move from point A to point B, but they remain forever at point A, because of the box. These people will tell you endlessly about why they can't move on. They will point to this scene and that scene in the box, and some of the scenes are memorized, detail by detail, and recalled instantaneously for their audience of the moment, whether that audience wants to hear it or not.
Some shrink might say that I compartmentalize my thoughts or feelings. They may also say this is or isn't a good thing. But that shrink does not live inside my head.
I have also found that the willingness to forgive is a powerful thing. Once you say in your heart, or in words, I forgive this person for this crime, or this action, you are free of that crime or action. And the perpetrator is left with no more tears to feed on. No more fear to plump their egos with. It doesn't matter whether they admit to guilt or not. The point is you have acknowledged their guilt, the consequences of their actions, and what they do with that information is up to them. It can be a freeing experience, unless, like the scenes in the box, you thrive on the anger and the torment. And some people do. And you have met them, as well.