What I’ve realised is that I had it all around the wrong way. I had learned to forgive through excuses, by focusing on the individual’s good & excusing their less than good behaviour. In long-term familial relationships this is sometimes the only way, when cutting ties is not an option you want to pursue. However, it’s not a response that should be applied to the potentially short term relations of friendship & partnership.
What I found myself doing over & over again with the people I found myself in love with was making the same excuse:
“They’re a good person, there’s a reason for this behaviour, maybe it’s my fault, it doesn’t matter because all that does matter is that they’re a good person.”
Except that I had it all around the wrong way. A good person should be held accountable for their actions, not excused for them. A good person should know better. And the question needs to be asked that if someone continues to act in a way that repeatedly hurts others then can they really be considered “good”.
I can’t say I really believe in good or bad anymore & even forgiveness becomes redundant when you refuse go take everything personally. But I appreciate that I am somewhat conditioned to seek good in people, to believe in potential & the best that we can be - ideas instilled in me by & through my family, & firmly established through years of teaching. However, in personal relationships there should be no room for excuses, we should live by our efforts to avoid doing harm where ever possible.
Maya Angelou says that when people show us who they are we should believe them. Instead of making excuses we need to except others for what they are. We need to take their actions at face value & if we encounter someone who repeatedly causes harm then we should do what we can to avoid or minimise the damage to ourselves, ideally by walking away. Otherwise we are just an enabler, allowing that person to continue harming others (& invariably themselves) by making excuses for their behaviour.
That’s what I’ve learned. That’s why I’ve walked away.