Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When to walk away

This blog has been a long time in the making. I have been trying to find a delicate way to write it, but have failed miserably so I have decided just to write uncensored and see what comes out. I do not apologise for my viewpoint, but I do apologise if people are offended or hurt for what I need to say.

Recently I have been faced with hypocrisy. People who, to the outside world, present themselves one way, but then, in their own personal dealings with their peers, behave in a completely contradictory way.

I am a person of bluntness. I am one of those people who you will always know where you stand with me. I would much rather know that a person didn't like me, or what I did than live in a fairy world where I thought everything was okay when, in reality, it wasn't.

I am also a person of honesty. My life is an open book, good, bad or otherwise. I have always believed that if you make mistakes, you should own them. I have made MANY! But I own them. And this is where my issue with hypocrisy begins.

I have had a few instances recently of people being hypocritical. People who have portrayed to the outside world a view of love and family being important, while, in reality, have done things which are to the contrary. While this has hurt, it has left me wondering why. Why would you do that to people you profess to love? Why would you do that to anyone for that matter? It has left me with a feeling of not only confusion, but has challenged the beliefs I have held for most of my life.

In case you haven't figured out by now, I believe in God. I am reluctant to say I'm a Christian, because I don't go to church and some of the dogmatic views of religion I believe are not what God means. But that is for another time. The one belief I have always maintained is forgiveness. Everyone stuffs up. Everyone hurts someone at some point in their lives, whether they mean to or not. Humans are imperfect. So I have always believed in forgiveness and second chances. People have been gracious enough to forgive me and give me a second chance, and I want to do the same.

I am now struggling with this belief.

Is there a time when you can't forgive anymore? Is there a time when the hypocrisy is too overwhelming, that continuing to forgive means you are actually excusing their behaviour?

I work in a facility where I constantly work with people with mental illnesses. These people can be challenging, and sometimes rather brutal. Yet these people are not in control of their actions or words, so it is easy to forgive them for these actions. But when people in my life behave in this manner constantly without having any impediment, it does start to make me wonder how long grace should be offered to them.

As I have blogged before, I refuse to complain about people and their actions on the Internet. So if you are waiting for a specific example with names, then you shall be waiting some time. But in saying that, when communication breaks down, when you have tried everything to sort out the colossal mess, is it okay to just walk away? By nature I am a person who likes to resolve things. This is not always a positive thing because it does mean that all the ugliness is out there, but at least it isn't sitting in the background festering.

So my blog readers, what do you think? Is there a time to walk away, leaving things unresolved? Is it okay to not forgive? How do you deal with those people in your lives that just make you wonder why you continue to have them in your lives?


  1. I relate to this Tasha. I guess in ways I have learnt to ebb and flow with a lot of the people in my life and over the years even those in my circles that are continually a challenge. Sometimes the decision is clear cut whether to stick around or walk away but being human we are made to make and develop connections to those around us and it feels unnatural to sever them. I recently had to walk away from some friendships where I got on really well with the people and meaningful conversations were shared but they were never followed up with actions. Their lifestyle choices, priorities and beliefs about what it meant to be a friend were quite warped. One minute you were being told you were a great guy and a good friend and then you were left out of the occasions and events in that persons life that would leave you thinking “Am I really?”. If the friendship was an engine you were trying to keep running they, most of the time without intentionally meaning too, would do so on the smell of an oily rag. Different from people that are outright nasty but in some ways harder as the temptation to let your guard down and allow yourself to care puts you in a position to be hurt and disappointed again and again. So I decided no more and limited my contact with those people and limited the energy put into that relationship. Completety unresolved as their beliefs and behaviour never change. But distancing my self from that did wonders!

  2. As a Christian I believe that because God has forgiven us over and over (Jesus said) we have to do the same. But I am certain He understands how hard that is for us at times.

    As I see it, forgiveness is more for the person doing the forgiving rather than for the other person - it is letting go of the hurt, anger and bitterness so you can move on and not allow what the other person did to affect your life any more. If the people involved are estranged, the person being forgiven may not even be aware that the other has chosen to forgive them. It doesn't mean you are letting them off the hook or excusing their behaviour, or that you don't have boundaries with them - in fact, if their behaviour hasn't changed you NEED to have fair boundaries in place for your own well-being and safety. Not retaliation, as in 'you did this so you can't see my kids' but 'if you continue to be abusive I can't allow my children to experience that so we will be keeping our distance until things change'.

    Forgiveness does mean you have to let go of revenge though (God said that's His business, unless they truly repent). We also have to learn to forgive ourselves; sometimes that's the hardest bit of all.

    Hope that all doesn't sound too preachy. As I told people over and over in counselling we can't control other people and how they react, all we have control over is our own actions and reactions.