TIED TO THE PAST????

Posted: July 18, 2017 in World On The Edge

elephant foot Forgiveness is a spiritual work of mercy, but some people won’t do it. You can apologize to them for a wrong you may have done, you can bake them a cake, take them a meal, pay their bills, or keep their children. Oh yes, they’ll let you do all that. But they won’t forgive you. They don’t seem able to let go of the past.

Why is the past– especially one that’s not so rosy– important to them? What attracts them to the role of forever playing a victim? Like the old saying, “an elephant never forgets,” they are tied past grievances.

A man I once knew had come through many problems in his life. Finally, he had the opportunity to move forward by forgiving just one person who had really hurt him. He didn’t forgive though, and so he remained stuck in the past, and miserable. He made others miserable, too. Needless to say, he was very hard to be around. In fact, being around him was like walking on egg shells, I had to be very cautious of every word I spoke for fear he might take it in the wrong way. He was a ‘hard case,’ but occasionally, don’t we all resort to this kind of mind control over someone who’s hurt us?

I believe some people see their victimization as a way to manipulate others. They play the “poor me” role. They portray themselves as targets of someone else’s behavior in order to gain pity or sympathy. In this way, they get something they want from another.

Since most human beings are caring and conscientious, they don’t like to see anyone suffering. A manipulator plays on this. He plays the victim by finding something in his past to hold over another’s head. And he finds it rewarding because in this way he gets cooperation.

Children are great manipulators. As mothers, we see some of it in their whining. “Send Johnny to time out. He won’t give me his toy to play with.” Fortunately, most children grow out of this behavior.

But some don’t. All their lives, they carry vendettas against the simplest things that could easily be forgiven and forgotten.

Here’s a story:

A man and his wife are sitting at the breakfast table. He’s reading the paper and paying no attention to her. Suddenly, she lifts her glass of orange juice and throws its content across the table.

“What was that for,” her surprised husband asks.

“What do you mean, what was that for! Have you already forgotten what you did to me twenty years ago?

There’s humor in this, but great sadness, too. So much of the present is lost by holding onto the past!

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