Pondering forgiveness vs. giving in to the dark vortex

The letter to Mike continued:

I pray every night, trying to remember the prayer my priest gave me.  Of course, the prayer he gave was so long and detailed that I can’t possibly remember it all, so I go with the main ideas.

It’s a prayer for softening of hearts, forgiveness, peace, blessing.  I can only hope that my former friend’s priest has given him a similar prayer, that one day he will realize that fierce anger, the belittling his wife did of me, and refusing to apologize or listen to another’s point of view are the wrong things to do if you want to preserve a friendship.

Just before I spoke to my priest–it was more than a couple of weeks ago, now–I sent an apology e-mail.  I hope and pray it actually got to its destination and was read, because I couldn’t think of a better mode to use.

Calling seemed dangerous because SHE might answer and rip me a new one.  If I sent a letter, the wife would probably rip it up without even letting him read it.

But the e-mail was sent; it’s out there….Unfortunately, the only response I got was to get blocked on Facebook.  Looks like Jeff and I are both blocked.

It’s weird because the wife has not blocked either one of us.  I would’ve thought it would be the other way around.  Jeff says he doesn’t want to even try to figure them out.

He also says they weren’t good friends, to do what they did.  That they weren’t grateful, since we’ve done so many things to help them out the past few years.

He says we do have other friends, good friends, NICE people, and shouldn’t think we’re so desperate for friends that we’d keep bad ones–It’s just hard to get together with them these days.

My little boy is very sad because my former friend has four young children who loved to play with him.  He’s lost friends because the adults couldn’t get along, and it just isn’t fair to him.

It makes me wish I could change things for his sake, but there’s nothing I can do–other than become the sacrificial lamb who must submit to verbal abuse to satisfy the wife’s long-held grudge.

A year ago I was told that she kept calling me “that woman” and bringing up a mistake I made way back when we were all living together.  She just didn’t let go.  I thought we settled this a year ago.

In the interest of burying hatchets, I decided to Facebook friend the pastor of our old Evangelical church, even though we had problems there that made us resentful.

And Jeff, evaluating his own behavior compared to the wife’s, decided to give a certain SCA person a second chance.  He realized that just because their personalities clashed, doesn’t mean this SCA person was a bad guy.

I also think back to old exes.  I had bitter estrangements from Peter and Phil, lots of hurt feelings and anger, and also from Shawn, who was not exactly an ex but not exactly not an ex. (Friend with benefits, you could say.)

And yet–Two years later, Peter called me out of the blue and befriended me again.  Then he “warned” Phil about me, which put me on the outs with him again, but we became friends again later on.

In 1996 we had an e-mail argument over religion, but a year or so later, I apologized and we reconciled.  I forget who befriended whom on Facebook, but a couple of months ago he chatted with me online–his idea.  The old bitter past is long in the past.

Same for Phil: I still don’t want to be friends with him, but we’re no longer enemies.  A while back I found him on one of the alumni websites, and apologized for some stuff.  He apologized as well.

And get this–He said that he shouldn’t have let me go.  He was going through a divorce at the time, and thinking of me.

Even his mom said I was the one girlfriend he should’ve held onto.

Of course, I let him know I was happily married, so he wouldn’t try to start anything again.  That was more than 3 years ago, and I haven’t e-mailed more than once since then. But the bitterness is over.

Shawn started calling me again, a couple of years after he made it clear he wanted nothing to do with me.  He had a breakdown which made him want to hold onto the friends he had.  He called once or twice after graduation as well, and we also e-mailed each other about 6 years ago.

There are also people who teased me in elementary/middle/high school but were friendly at the 10-year reunion, and also those who friended me on Facebook and apologized for teasing me.  So I do know that time can heal even bitter estrangements and make people reflect on what they did to contribute to the situation.

I’ve already sent my apology to help things along, so I’ve done my part. I can do nothing more except pray and try to move on.  Everybody says that’s all I can do, that the ball is in their court now.

Our conversation continued into the weekend, and I spoke of needing to confess to my priest on Sunday.

I spoke of Richard and Tracy sniping at each other.  I said that I vented on Facebook because I wanted to counteract whatever our mutual friends might be hearing from Richard/Tracy or seeing on their Facebook walls.  But I felt guilty, and removed the posts.

Mike had his own struggles with forgiveness of toxic people, so I wrote, “You tell me to forgive and let go, I can tell you to forgive and let go, but actually doing it is a huge struggle.  We can help each other keep from giving into the dark vortex.”

On Saturday night, July 31, I saw Boondock Saints for the first time.  This movie becomes significant later.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children

5. My frustrations mount

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing