I have been thinking about family a lot this week. My mother’s family has been gossiping about me now for a decade and not one of them has ever talked to me directly about my father’s will. They have a story. They never checked it. It stars me as a villain. They seem to think I controlled attorneys, which is laughable.

I forgive them.

However, I think a decade is enough. I forgive them but I no longer want to reconcile. For ten years I hoped that they would talk to me. I have asked them to, more than one person, more than once. They say that they want to believe what they want to believe. I offered to send copies of bank statements to back up what I said. No. And a cousin silenced me by saying, “Don’t make me hate my sister.” The message is that I can be part of the family for some of them, as long as I remain silent as a tomb on this topic.

No. I won’t. And it’s just like all the silencing that goes on over the world. People say they would not stand by while someone is hurt, but my family sure seems to enjoy having me be the silenced gossiped about villain. I am sick of it. They can go to where ever it is that karma will take them: gossip, after all, is a sin.

And so I am reconciled. I am reconciled after a decade to adding these people to my list of dead. Our friendship is dead, my family feeling towards them is dead, I am not asking or waiting or hoping any more.

Forgiveness is a solo job. We forgive others.

Forgiveness is NOT reconciliation. You should not take an abuser back. You should not let someone treat you badly and refuse to listen to you and refuse to apologize. I know one person whose apologies run something like “I am sorry that you took offense to what I said/did.” Um. That is not an apology. That is putting it on me, it’s my fault for taking offense. The person has no intention of changing and does not actually care how I feel. I am not okay with that. The person is forgiven but there has not been a reconciliation.

With my maternal family, I am letting it go. I would like there to be more peace in the world but as long as people cling to having villains, to believing gossip, to perpetuating gossip and hatred and meanness, I do not think we will have peace in the world.

But in letting this go, I have peace in my heart.

Peace you and please peace me.

11 thoughts on “Reconcile

  1. I love this. It’s important to forgive people, but that doesn’t mean taking them back into our lives.

  2. Lou Carreras says:

    I don’t know exactly how to phrase this, especially being that I’m a sort of failed academic, but I’ve noticed that many Ph.D’s aren’t all that smart.

    • drkottaway says:

      Heh. Yes, growing up around two PhD uncles I had that thought quite young. They did both know a lot about their chosen subjects and anyone who came in contact with them learned some whether they wanted to or not.

    • drkottaway says:

      Though I went to a conference on Women over 50 and then if a patient asked about hormone replacement I think my face would light up and I’d talk really fast. Science geek.

  3. Lou Carreras says:

    whole genealogies get pruned this way. I know a New England family that has no idea of how a nasty fight started between two brothers in about 1792, but as of 1992 there was still more than a bit of frostiness.
    Downstream from us in the generations no one will remember why the bitterness was spawned, but it will have real consequences as time marches on. It has in my family.
    While working as an anthropologist I sometimes recorded genealogies to gain insight into family and community structure. I’d do one early on in the relationship, and sometimes have to redo them after trust was gained over the course of time. I was told time and again of entire branches of the family pruned away because of big and not so big disagreements: illegitimacy, theft, preferential treatment or some prejudice. It was not my place to judge – just to record.
    But, vendetta is not dead, and forgiveness and reconciliation are hard topics to raise in families.

    • drkottaway says:

      It seems really sad to me and pitiful. That side of my family is good at getting PhDs. Yet they still love this petty interfamily triangulation and gossip. I have come to the sad conclusion that they are intellectually smart and emotionally morons. And yet they would probably say they would like peace (especially if evil people like me were dead).

  4. I get it. I forgive my brother. Big deal. My evil cousin. Big deal. My mom? Recently, again, big deal. A long time ago there was a meme on Facebook that was actually profound, “Forgiveness means letting go of wanting to change the past.” That hit me as true. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves because resentment is an ugly place to live.

  5. Pat Howard says:

    Absolutely peace to you ? ?!

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