I guess I can hold a grudge for 30 years or more! It was the 70's and when I was 5 my parents divorced. My mom had a good reason to divorce my dad and I knew all about it, even though I was really too young to handle this information.
Suddenly this stay at home mom was a single parent of five kids. Of course now, after a lot of years of growing and doing work on healing the past, I can see things differently. Back then I didn't.
My parents did pretty much everything that psychologists say you should avoid doing in a divorce. I heard all the stories and saw all the drama. My dad would avoid us sometimes and just not show up on his day. And when he did, it was our responsibility to ask for the child support check.
Mom had high expectations of me that I feel I never reached. She was always stressed. When I looked back at my life, I felt like a burden, a disappointment, very criticized and judged...all I remembered was anger and conflict.
Now I know that they did not have the knowledge and skills they needed to handle it better. I know they did the best they could, as everyone does. Now I know it was a stressful situation. But I still felt anger toward my mom. I felt angry and I felt guilty for feeling angry because intellectually, I knew she was the one who was there for me. She did not leave and she did not hide. She provided food, shelter, clothing, and love to the best of her ability. And still I was angry!!
I kept working on trying to forgive this woman who I knew I should forgive. But should is nothing. I require myself to be honest with myself and I don't really care about shoulds. I won't settle for less than true forgiveness.
So I kept seeking within myself until one day, while I was driving to work I realized, given the same circumstances, would I have done any better? She was in a terrible situation. I know she felt humiliated about the loss of her marriage. I know she really wanted to be at home with us kids. I know she wanted love and happiness. And I know she is a difficult woman. I understand now how difficult it must have been for them, given who they are.
Suddenly I realized I am as human as she is, as fallible as she is, and not half the woman she is. I finally gained the respect for her she deserves. I will always remember that moment. I have FINALLY truly forgiven her. It feels good to lay down the burden I carried for more than 30 years.
Submitted by Anonymous