Second Chances

Another good post from Dr. Cloud:

“…the reality is, if we are going to give someone a second chance, change needs to happen.  A second chance is the opportunity to move forward to something newThere must be something new and different in order to move forward than move backward. Only when everything is the same, you are repeating what already has been, and there is no reason for the outcome to be different… you must be able to see tangible fruit to know change is real.

Dr. Cloud also mentions, “Remember that just because someone is sorry, it doesn’t mean they have changed.”

So there’s that missing – sincere apologies – even before any change can occur.  And it’s clear that a sincere “I’m sorry” is too much for me to hope for.  My siblings are simply too proud and arrogant to take responsibility for their actions towards me, to admit they were wrong in how they’ve treated me.

For the protagonist, that is something that should be automatic, when someone you love says that you hurt them.

And for everyone else, there should be anger on behalf of the person you love, when someone else hurts them:

“When confronted with injustice, cruelty and harm, a lack of anger is a sign that you are subconsciously failing to love those who are suffering from that injustice, cruelty and harm. If you love them, then you ought to be angry — and that anger ought to compel you to act on their behalf.”

You got kids?  If not, how about a kid sister or a kid brother?  No?  Then how about a dog, you got a dog?  Or a cat?  A spouse?  Everybody loves someone or something.  I’m going to go with kids here, but if you don’t have kids, just think of your little sister or your cat or whoever it is you love.

Say you see somebody hurting your kids — deliberately, cruelly inflicting harm on them.  That will make you angry.  Such anger is right and proper and just.  You will be angry because you love your kids, and that anger and that love will compel you to act on their behalf — to stop this cruel somebody from harming them.

Now, if you saw this happening and you did not get angry or try to put a stop to this cruelty, what do you suppose the rest of us would think?  We wouldn’t be congratulating you on your saintly calm demeanor.  Nor would we be admiring you as an exemplar of Christian civility.

No, we would be angry with you over your lack of anger.  Then, after we acted in your stead to stop the harm being done… that anger would compel us to confront you with your evident lack of love…

Well.  What part is missing?  The part where I say that I was hurt?  No, that’s been amply communicated.

What’s missing is the concern for the person who got hurt and the anger over it.  In other words, what’s missing is love for their little sister.

I won’t pretend that line up above doesn’t sting to read:  “just think of your little sister or your cat or whoever it is you love.

It’s used by the author because a little sister is such a ubiquitous example of someone that normal, healthy people love and want to protect.

It’s been very hard to accept that my siblings don’t really love me.  Especially after all the time and effort and money I spent doing what one is supposed to do for “family”, trying to earn what should have been freely and automatically given.

But it’s clear as day that they don’t.  It’s sad that they don’t; it’s dysfunctional, it’s even explicable, given the whole sordid history — but the one thing above all is that it’s true.

It all started to come out when Dad died.  Of course, that lack of action aka love all got explained away pretty quickly by people saying that they didn’t do anything wrong and hoping I’d just forget about what happened.

But, that’s not how HEALTHY human relationships work.

“When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

“…if someone tells you that you’ve hurt them, the least you owe them is your respect and acknowledgment of their pain. The worst thing that you can do is… make them feel like they’re the one who did something wrong, or tell them that you didn’t actually hurt them. You don’t know their feelings. If they’re telling you that you hurt them, then you hurt them. Accept this and apologize.”

That’s how you start fixing what’s broken.  But they aren’t interested in a second chance.  They aren’t interested in reparations — partly because what’s broken is them.  They don’t miss this relationship enough to do anything about it.  They simply don’t love me.  Or maybe it’s more accurate to say they love their relationships with each other, their dysfunctional ideas, and their father-hating identity, more than they love me.

It ends up looking the same from here, anyway.  And I’m still better off without it, than with it, if there’s no real change possible in their hearts.