I can’t remember any instances of actually being forgiven… in my families, both of them, we tend to cope by either passive aggression or simply tip-toeing around things. There is something called distancing, and that’s certainly my pattern. Running away. It was my mother’s mechanism, as I see now – she fled into music and nothing else was of interest – and in a way, it’s mine too. I don’t have a particular place to run to, like her, but I just emotionally distance myself.
It has never occurred to me to ask anyone for forgiveness for that, though! It’s an interesting idea that I will have to think about. It’s the way relationships in my family work, I believe it’s the only way they possibly can work, because underneath the distance there is either too much pain – given and taken by all parties – or, in the other family, plain hatred. If my father’s family weren’t distancing continually, they would show an incredibly ugly and uncivil side because the only true feeling they have for one another is hatred. It’s not what I feel about any of them, but I can feel the undercurrent, and so I distance myself so as not to get involved. In my other family, my cousins, there has been so much mutual wronging in the past that I know they are incredibly afraid of bringing anything up. It’s a can of worms. I have made amends to some, but I don’t see fault there on either side: nothing for me to forgive, because we are all broken people. These days, because of what God has done in my life (given me love – a heart of flesh instead of one of stone, as the Bible puts it), I can see the brokenness and I can’t be resentful against that. That is for my cousins.
It’s not the same for my father’s family, though. Somehow I find it much harder to accept, tolerate, or even love them. I don’t know why that is – possibly because I feel it is so much more their own choice than it is my cousins’, who have been under my aunt’s extreme upbringing. My father’s family choose resentment, choose to view people only according to their usefulness, they choose and I find that much harder to accept.