Must I forgive? Can’t I just forget?

During one particularly aggressive pinning spree of Chris Evans’ biceps on my favourite social media time suck, I stumbled across the following quote:

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
– Buddha

Alright, Buddha. I see where you’re going with this. In theory, I comprehend this neatly-packaged concept. I really do. But I’m still at the basic-bitch stage of gleaning immense pleasure out of wishing a slew of incurable STDs upon Mr. B.

I decided to ambush some unsuspecting friends and family with a barrage of personal questions:

How long did it take them to forgive their worst ex? When did they reach their turning point when they were no long overcome with rage every time the smug bastard’s face popped up on their Facebook feed?

As it turns out, many seemingly well-adjusted survey respondents still hate this ghost from their past with a slow burning rage. Yes, some of them are an exception to this rule (or are alarmingly convincing liars) and have figured out how to gracefully rise above. Yet, a majority of my impromptu sample group have at least one particularly memorable ex that they would still punch in the face, given the opportune scenario to do so.

So, my wise and all-knowing internet therapists, I leave you with this:

Is forgiving my douchebag ex-boyfriend instrumental to the healing process? Or is forgetting enough for now?

Current Status: listening to my ginger prince Ed Sheeran / unapologetically digging Iggy Azalea’s Grammy hair / eyeing my Christmas tree with disdain

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32 thoughts on “Must I forgive? Can’t I just forget?

  1. that traveling nurse says:

    Forgiving, yes. For you to move on with your life. Forgetting is kinda tricky. You don’t have to do the forgiving right away. Let time be your guide. You will know when it is right and when you are ready. Unless someone has invented a potion to forgetfulness bliss or have one of those MIB flashing devices, then that memory has made an imprint in your brain. Years from now you will look back and smile at this moment in your life. You can do this! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  2. ellyyt says:

    Well, I’m stuck wondering the same thing today, except he’s been my ex for a while now.. I really rather just forget it all but I don’t know if that’s actually possible..
    Best of luck to you!
    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ramblinrandol says:

    Certain things will still sting when you think about them in years to come. I know when I think about my Mr. B there are certain memories that could make me drive the couple hundred miles to strangle him.

    BUT

    They don’t bother me the way they did before. It’s more of a “why did I ever waste time on him” or “Lawd, if I’d known what I knew now!”

    Time makes you forget the small, but significant, memories that stab your heart after a break up and that helps.

    Eventually it won’t be a question of if you forgive or forget. It will just be.

    Ps: Ed Sheeran is my ginger πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Through the Looking Glass says:

    You’ll realise as you hold on to your anger that by holding onto so much negativity towards your ex, you’re actually being consumed by it. You’re giving him your time of day by wishing him ill. You’re still giving him some thought, some hurt, some burning part of you. And it must stop. Why must you give any part of your amazing precious self to that terrible asshole who decided to give no part of himself to you by walking away? You don’t want that prick to have any part of you especially after being gone. But you’re still giving, still being affected, still hating, hurting, thinking about his stupid self and hoping he gets chicken pox, isn’t it? You’re still consumed. You still give a few fucks as your ego was hurt even if they are negative. You still do.
    So how do you get out of this? I thought that forgetting was awesome. That I would be able to forget. And I did. It was awesome for 2 weeks where I actually couldn’t remember anything and it even sortof bothered me because I mean, how the hell did I do that! Apparently, in my quest for nepenthe, for respite, for forgetfulness I had repressed it. It’s a psychological defence mechanism. You don’t want to your brain to be screwed up because of him. You don’t want any part of you to be affected by him. Once I realised this, it’s like the floodgates of my memories opened and it all came rushing back. Trust me, you don’t want to forget to remember again, all of a sudden. It’s just horrible. So how does one forget? It’s eventual. You’ll realise one day that you don’t remember his moms name. You’ll have to think really hard to remember. Then you’ll realise that certain parts of him that affected you, like perhaps his favourite tune, or catch-word, don’t anymore. You’ll hear it or use it and realise that you did it without thinking of him.
    But how do you get to this stage of not thinking of him? Well, you stop holding onto him, not just physically but also through your thoughts. All that negativity you’re harbouring towards him, reminds you of him. Even if it makes you think horrible things about him, it still reminds you of him. So how do you let go? You forgive yourself. You forgive yourself for making the mistake of dating him. Forgive yourself and try to understand his screwed up logic of leaving you and understand, that people are people and sometimes they change their mind. It sucks. But they have their reasons which are strong enough for them to decide on leaving you. Whatever his reason was, it just was. Accept that. It did screw you over but can you do anything about him and his reasons ? Nope. Can you make him change his mind ? You don’t want to. He had his reasons to leave you and so he left. This says nothing about you. The reasons were his, they were a part of his logic, his thinking. They don’t reflect on you and don’t belittle you in any way because you don’t see yourself as he saw you; as someone not worth it. But you are worth it. Let him go, let him fucking leave with all of himself, with every part of himself. But for that, you need to let him go. Forgive him not for him, but for your self.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Finding My Inner Zen says:

        I’m never one to shy away from expletives.

        I loved it. It all resonated with me. This is the part I have the hardest time dealing with: “He had his reasons to leave you and so he left. This says nothing about you. The reasons were his, they were a part of his logic, his thinking. They don’t reflect on you and don’t belittle you in any way because you don’t see yourself as he saw you; as someone not worth it.”

        Wrapping my head around not being worth the good fight. That’s definitely something that will take time for me.

        On a funny note, I did actually stumble thinking of his mom’s name.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. DeeScribes says:

    You’ll know when you’re ready to move on from anger. The time that takes is different for everyone. I still smile with glee when I hear about the dating disasters of my most recent ex. It has not yet been a year, so I’m OK with that. Am I angry? Not as much as I was. Have I forgiven him? Nope.

    Unfollow or unfriend on social media. It really helps because then you aren’t faced with constant reminders.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. desertdates says:

    Neither. Don’t force any feelings, unless they’re becoming distracting or distressing. Took years for me to forgive totally, but I was still a good happy person for those years. You don’t ever need to do either really, ya just gotta live your life y’know?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Karyn says:

    I suppose the intensity of the ‘hard’ feelings varies with what, especially with deliberation, the “ex” did or did not do and in consideration of that my opinion is, to put it succinctly: absorb as much of the responsibility for your own actions and how they perpetuated the relationship as you can – forgive yourself – learn from your mistakes – move on. It’s much easier to get on with your life if you can accept that each day provides learning material.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Aidan says:

    In my experience, if you can find it in yourself to forgive, it is the best thing you can do. Would I say that you can’t go on to have a meaningful, fulfilling life resplendent with joy and love if you don’t forgive your ex? I’m not so altruistic.

    There are still people who, when I think of them, send me into a rage. And while no one could make the argument that I am happy or well-adjusted, I had the issues I still deal with long before I even met these people. Still being bothered by the things these people have done to me when I think about them hasn’t diminished my life any more than it was before they’d entered my world.

    The important thing is to not let it bother you on the day-to-day. There is a difference between getting upset when you think about a person and actively thinking about a person to make yourself upset. Don’t preoccupy yourself with him and you will, in time, be fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Finding My Inner Zen says:

      I think I’m past of the point of it truly affecting me during my day-to-day. I would agree there is a difference.

      One day I definitely hope I could possibly reach the point where I don’t get angry thinking about it all, but for now I’m content with it not being a debilitating thought.

      Thanks for the comment–I liked that way of reasoning.

      Like

  9. midkid3 says:

    I don’t believe there is such thing as forgiveness without remorse on the other end. How can you forgive someone who isn’t sorry?

    From the forgiveness chapter in “After the Affair” by Janis A. Spring:

    Assmuption # 1: ” Forgiveness is always good for you .”
    It’s commonly assumed that forgiveness is not just a gift to your
    partner, but a gift to yourself, in service of your best self, and
    that it imbues you, the forgiver, with a sense of well-being. of
    psychological and physical health. By forgiving, “you set a
    prisoner free. but you discover that the real prisoner was
    yourself,” wrote Lewis Smedes, former professor of theology
    and ethics at the Fuller Theological Seminary in California.

    If your partner has hurt you or let you down, you may
    look to forgiveness as a way of healing yourself and moving on.
    You may try to release your partner from the grip of your
    bitterness or disillusionment, and reclaim the energy that you’ve
    invested in these corrosive emotions. Forgiving, you hope, will
    free you from the role of victim and let you get on with your life.

    This idea that forgiveness is categorically good for you is
    popular both with the general public and with professionals, but
    it hasn’t held up under study. In fact, it has been shown in some
    cases to be anti-therapeutic, spawning feelings of low self-worth
    in the person who forgives.

    “A too ready tendency to forgive may be a sign that one
    lacks self-respect, and conveys –emotionally– either that we do
    not think we have rights or that we do not take our rights very
    seriously,” writes Jeffrie Murphy in “Forgiveness and
    Resentment.” Murphy goes on to point out that a willingness
    to be a doormat for others reveals not love or friendship, but
    what psychiatrist Karen Horney calls “morbid dependency.”
    My own clinical experience confirms that unearned forgiveness
    is no cure for intimate wounds; that it merely hides them under
    a shroud of smiles and pleasantries, and allows them to fester.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. lynnedavis2 says:

    I’ve also heard it called letting someone live rent-free in your head. But instead of kicking him out, just move on yourself. Then, gradually, you won’t care at all.

    I think this is what you’re doing now, with your blog. And by the way, I really enjoy your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. db says:

    If you think it’s possible to forget him without forgiving him, then I’d suggest that path. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy getting there until you forgive you. Resolve that his childishness wasn’t your burden to bear, be grateful for it, and start forgetting any place he had in your heart because there’s no room for him there anymore. Only room for Chris Evans’ biceps. And I’m side-eyeing you for loving Iggy’s birdnest hair, girl you better don’t. haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Finding My Inner Zen says:

      Ha-ha-ha. “Side-eying me.” I’m not sure how I missed this comment before.

      Fineeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

      Also, you are dead on. I need to prepare myself for Chris Evans’ biceps. Once he is a permanent fixture in my life, I won’t have any room left for anger or bad feelings; only pure joy.

      Like

  12. notbatty says:

    Hi FMIZ –
    forgive, forgive, forgive. He’s a silly, stupid bloke who made bad choices because he doesn’t know what he wants and you got hurt and disrespected. This is not your fault, it’s his. Forgive him, forgive yourself for letting him hurt you. As it has been written in a variety of ways above, take that energy you’ve been using to hate him, and focus it on great stuff for yourself – like this blog and your bucket list πŸ™‚ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Charlotte says:

    I bloody love that you still have your Christmas tree up, first of all. My housemates and I only took ours down a week or two ago, and that was only because we wanted to make a good impression on the new person moving in. (You have to fill them with false hope)

    Second of all, Buddha – great bloke but, really? If it was that easy to let go, we would all be happy. We are not all happy, as the blogsophere will prove.

    Sometimes men suck and being angry is necessary. Embrace it.

    Oh and, Sheeran is mine, back off.

    x

    Liked by 2 people

  14. delildel says:

    I’d say do whatever it takes to get better and to get him off your mind. Maybe that’s leaning towards forgetting?

    Personally I’d rather forget than to forgive because people don’t really do anything to ask for forgiveness. I have a feeling that you might think similiarly, but alas we have gingers to swoon over πŸ™‚

    Like

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