A recent conversation with a woman friend over her anger with one of her brothers prompted this posting. I listened carefully as she described how she refused to speak to him, did not respond to his calls and essentially made herself miserable without even disclosing the reason to him.
According to her, he was not 'there for her' when she needed him to be. It did have something to do with a mutual family member. It also probably a great deal to do with her career and personality–a hard-driving, energized nurse. As an aside–many nurses are inherently caregivers and other family members recognize it and often pass off personal responsibility in family affairs to them.
The problem with this situation was that my nurse friend deeply resented her brother's lack of participation. She was deeply offended, hurt, upset–to the extent that she felt she needed to 'punish' him by not speaking to him.
Of course what transpired was that she wound up torturing herself even more. She expended a great deal of negative energy in remaining angry with someone she deeply loved. Most assuredly her brother 'knew' that she was angry with him. But an entire year went by before she told him that she 'forgave' him. But even then, there was a reluctance in her tone.
Human nature is the most fascinating enigma on the planet. Can we ever hope to understand why we behave as we do? Was there something innate in my friend's inability to forgive and move on? Did it reflect a childhood hurt that became re-visited? Did she 'need' to punish him because his lack of response to her reminded her of some other emotional abandonment?
Ultimately it is easier for ann 'outsider' to offer comments about what someone else should do with their relations. I asked her if she thought her brother's intention was to hurt her? If not, I suggested, perhaps he was reacting from fear and knew that she would pick up the family's burden. Perhaps her own personna gave family members 'permission' to not do the difficult work of dealing with emotionally painful situations.
I inquired whether she could re-frame the entire situation–give her brother a pass because of his emotional 'weakness' and mistake. Offer the possibility that he could 'learn' something from the experience–that it was not OK for him to relinquish his responsibility. Perhaps he could be shown that he needs to 'be there' in the future when a loved one calls.
I believe that we should try to reconcile with family members as soon as possible. We don't have to agree with them on all issues. We don't have to particularly 'like' them as individuals either.
I do believe that we are spiritually connected to them–they are in our lives for a reason that will often manifest as a powerful challenge to our own spiritual state of being. I do believe that we come into this life with others who may be difficult to tolerate–but that is one of our life's challenges which we should strive to overcome. From a spiritually 'practical' perspective, the sooner we make peace the better. Otherwise the same issues will re-appear on future lifetimes together.
Of course this is not easy. Each case is different. We may not choose to 'forgive' a particular action, but we should try to let go of our own hurt long enough to offer our relations a continual opportunity to grow. Understand that our loved-one may be less spiritually evolved than we are and that we need to demonstrate that by taking the 'high road' and moving on.
Mistakes are common, we should let each other know if they have hurt us. But be calm and non-threatening when we do so. Remove the emotional content of our statements and let it be known that we do care about healing the relationship.
We can only do so much–but it it important to be the one to step forward. Release the past and be open to genuine change. It may be less difficult and more rewarding than we imagine. This life is too short to waste mired in anger and negativity.