Last week my sister said some very hurtful things related to my fertility. More hurtful was actually what she didn’t say or didn’t acknowledge. Maybe it was just bad timing on her part, but the hurtful conversation happened the day I got the results that I was not responding to the medication. She knew this. She didn’t acknowledge this. Instead, she focused on her own issues and accused me of being insensitive and demanding and overbearing. I’d like to say this was the first time something like this happened with her, but it isn’t the first…or the second…or even the third…
I want to forgive her. Mostly for my own self, because I know that holding on to anger and hurt likely does more harm to me than it does to her or anyone else.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
~Lewis. B. Smedes
The challenge is how to go about forgiving her without allowing myself to be re-victimized, because that also is not good for my emotional health. In the past, I forgive her and then let me guard down, eventually open up again, and then the whole process repeats itself.
People who know her and the situation all tell me that she is basically incapable of empathy at this time in her life. This sounds harsh, but it’s not just my opinion, its reality. She is far too wrapped up in her own life and stresses to consider the impact that her words and actions have on other people’s lives and stresses. To expect this is to live in a fantasy, which I was told by a few people and am increasingly beginning to believe. A fellow psychologist commented that empathy, or taking the perspective of someone else, is a developmental task that a) not everyone always achieves and b) not everyone can consistently implement.
My new goal is let go of anger and accept that she cannot be a part of my support system. Secondarily, I would like to keep some semblance of family peace as we head into the holiday season. My concern is that these two goals are not simultaneously possible.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.