Thankfully my dad is pretty self-aware. He eventually apologized for yelling at me when he saw how deeply his anger and words hurt me. My step-mom….not so much.
My relationship with my step-mom is….to put it nicely, strained. Ever since she entered our family, she has been unkind to me. For the past 18 months or so, I’ve been in her “good graces” (which is still not a happy place to be) after 5 years of being banished from her life. We’ve at least been able to be in the same room together without something horrific happening. But sadly, I’m now back on her long list of people she hates. And to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever come off the list this time.
My heart is just sad. I want to stop being wounded by her. I want to stop the cycle of hurt and reconciliation, hurt and reconciliation. I want to stop the poison that has been slowly leaching into my life for so long. And then…. part of me wants to stay the course, to keep trying to love her and trying to show her grace and kindness despite the hurt she always throws back at me.
I guess I’m wrestling with how one protects their heart, maintains boundaries and avoids a toxic relationship while not making the situation worse. Is it even possible? Jesus says in Matthew 18:21-22 that we should forgive someone not seven times, but seven times seventy…meaning we should forgive over and over and over again. And believe me, I’ve done that. But at what point do you just have to take yourself out of the equation to make the assaults on you stop?
I have never walked away from someone in my life. Never. Sure, I have relationships in my life that have faded a little over time… life gets in the way and the distance grows. But I have never made a conscious decision to end a relationship in my life. Never ever ever. And I’m scared to do it. And I don’t know how to do it. And I’m worried this will cause more damage. And I’m afraid of it backfiring.
But I feel like it’s maybe something that should happen. 15 years is a long time to endure spitfire.