To Forgive And Move On?-“Not Ready To Make Nice”

About 2 days ago, my brother posted on his facebook a video of our father returning to the United States after 20 years since he was deported to his country.  My brother went through a lot of headaches and struggles with his family to get approval and bring him back to the United States.  It was bittersweet and ironic seeing how his family celebrated and were happy to see my dad return to the United States.  For me watching this video made me sad, a bit resentful, and empty.  I think this is unfair-he should have stayed in his country.  For more insight about why I feel this way you can refer to my journal post titled: “Personal Account of Witnessing Domestic Abuse.”

My father’s public persona can best be described as an individual who comes across as someone who is very charismatic, endearing, and charming.  He is very sociable and has many “friends.”  My father came to the United States when he was 18 years old. He has a very strong work ethic-he was able to save enough money to petition and bring my mother and his four sisters with their husbands to the United States. Because of this they will eternally be grateful to him to the point of overlooking his abusive and destructive behaviors.  My father’s private persona can best be described as an individual who is dominant, derisive, arrogant, impulsive, controlling, and a manipulator.  He excels in psychological and emotional abuse, by this I mean that he can make you feel worthless and inferior.   

About 15 years ago, after a very destructive phone conversation with my father, I made a conscious decision to cut my father completely out of my life.  I had to do this to preserve my sanity.  I made a conscious and ruthless decision to not have any further contact or conversations with my father.  This decision has weight heavily on my mind throughout the years.  It is important to note that I did not make this decision lightly.  This has profoundly affected my relationship with his family to the extent of distancing myself from them due to their hypocrisy.  It is very sad to note that I have 2 children a 9-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son that my father has not met.  After that very destructive phone conversation with my father, as an adult I concluded that enough was enough.  It became very clear to me that if I wanted to maintain my mental sanity and continue to grow and live a more healthy and positive life I had to break the vicious cycle of psychological abuse.  I knew that I did not want to continue to subject myself, my husband or any future children that we may have to the derisive and abusive demeanor of my father.  I knew that to live a more healthy and positive life I could not reduce myself to his level, despite his abusive behaviors, because he is my father and as convoluted as it may sound, I did not want to continue to have a relationship where my response and actions led to continuously disrespecting him. 

This Saturday, my father’s family is planning a celebratory get together reunion for him.  My brother stated to me that his family would like for my mother and my family to attend this reunion.  They want to break the bad “habits” and animosity that has fester over the year.  My response to this invitation: Neither I or my mother are ready to have any kind of reunion with my dad or his family.  I know that in theory it sounds great that the family wants to move on, break all the bad habits and animosity.  I know that the “right” and Christian thing to do is to forgive and move on.  I just can’t bring myself to be there just yet or even if I will ever get there.  I’ve seen how much my mother suffered and struggled over 20 years, it hasn’t been easy for any of us.  I can’t ignore all of this and then just show up to a reunion and pretend that all is forgiven. Real Life doesn’t work like this. Refer to my journal post titled: “Personal Account of Witnessing Domestic Abuse” for more insight of why I strongly feel this way.

My mother has been through a lot with my father and his family enduring psychological/emotional abuse and betrayal for over 20 years. She has been repeatedly humiliated, disrespected, and devalued by my father and his family.  An example of this occurred about four months ago.  My mother was visited by at least six family members from my father’s side.  This visit from them was very rare.  My mother’s relationships with my father’s family members has deteriorated and has been strain and distant over the years.  I spoke to my brother regarding this unfortunate meeting.  I stated to him that their visit to my mother was uncalled for.  They clearly overstepped boundaries.  Their visit with my mother serve to highlight their delusional belief that they have any right to provide unsolicited advice to my mother from telling her how she should live her life, to making recommendations that she should move to the basement and rent the 2nd floor, to badgering her about the delays regarding my father’s entry to the United States.  I was in disbelief and outrage hearing that my father’s family had the audacity to visit my mother and disrespect her.  I related to my brother, that this visit clearly was another example of their inappropriate behavior towards my mother.  Their visit and demeanor towards my mother showed a lack of consideration, a lack of decency, a lack of common courtesy, and a lack of respect.  My mother divorced my father about 4 years ago, she is not accountable to my father or his family.  My mother does not want any further drama, she just wants to live her life and be at peace.

I will not facilitate a pretentious public family reunion to help sooth people’s guilty conscious.  People need to be held accountable for their actions and for the words they use to express themselves-actions speak louder than words and they do have lasting consequences.

A song that best describes my sentiments regarding this situation is best described by a song titled “Not Ready To Make Nice,” sung by the country female group the Dixie Chicks.  The following are some verses from the song that I find relatable to my circumstances:

 

“Not Ready To Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks

“Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting…

I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying…

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell…
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should…

I know you said
Can’t you just get over it…

Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should…

What it is you think I should…

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting”

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