I will not lie to you.
I come from a family that views grudge holding as a sport, and an art. I try really hard not let not forgetting that someone has fucked me over crawl over that incredibly fine line into a grudge.
These two things are not the same thing.
Forgive and Forget is stupid advice.
Because if someone hurts you, betrays your trust, or harms others in a way that reveals them to be untrustworthy, or maybe not real cautious of others’ boundaries and/or personhood, it is a good idea to keep that in mind.
I tend to hold them at arm’s length ever after, which just makes sense from a harm reduction perspective.
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” ~ Maya Angelou
The problem is that our society, particularly when it comes to dudes, seems to think that forgiving someone means pretending that shit never happened in the first place.
Because people mistake healthy caution for grudge holding.
Grudge holding is what my Dad’s people do. My Aunt Bea did not speak to my grandfather for something like eight years, because he told her that her son needed a good, swift kick in the ass. Eight years for being told that her son was an out of control brat, which according to the rest of the family he was.
That’s a grudge.
Not wanting to be in the same room with someone who uses racial epithets, gets handsy without consent, or has raped you is NOT holding a grudge.
I really wish that we, as a society, could figure that shit out.
Or here… here is a relevant example that I see all to often.
Person A: Calls someone an epithet, the N-word, Fag, or whatever.
Person B: Calls them out and says, “Hey, that kind of language is never appropriate.”
Person A: Avoids Person B because they called them out.
Person B: Avoids Person A because they are a racist, or homophobic, or whatever.
Person A is holding a grudge.
Person B is exercising healthy caution, particularly if they are a member of the group the epithet referenced.
But even if they aren’t, as I’ve said before, rarely do most “-isms” occur in a vacuum. But that is another rant that I just edited out because that isn’t what I’m talking about.
I’m trying to figure out if I can further dissect this to make sure people understand.
If someone has hurt you, or someone else, it is perfectly ok not to trust them around you or other more vulnerable people. That isn’t holding a grudge. That is believing that person when they showed you who they were, and acting accordingly to protect yourself and others.
Even after that person has apologized, and is taking the steps to change for the better, that does not magically erase the harm that they have already caused.
People that person has harmed, or who even just are aware of the harm, are well within their rights to be cautious around that person ever after. No one is owed a second chance to victimize others.
Does this mean that some people will never trust that person again? Yeah, that’s pretty likely, actually. Even if they do sincerely change and never do the thing again, some people aren’t going to want to risk being harmed again or at all.
That is a possibility that, honestly, we all have a to face. Because we all have or will hurt someone at some point. It’s kind of unavoidable. The best you can hope for is that when you make a sincere change and try to make amends that they can see that and get that you mean it. But don’t hold your breath.
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