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Pretending things are ok when they aren't

How exactly do you cope with someone who has decided to brush the pain they caused you under the rug? I’m in a situation where there has not been resolution, but the other party seems to just want to go back to pretending things are ok because it’s easier and saves face… but I’m not ok. I am still deeply hurt and do not believe that just brushing things under the run solves anything. I tried to start a conversation and the resolutions were all one-sided, as in I apologized for what they said I did that hurt them, but they have not even addressed how deeply they hurt me or the damage they have caused to our relationship.

I worry that if I don’t just pretend things are ok like they are, it will vilify me further to others, but I am just uncomfortable pretending things are ok when they are not. I’m not sure how to navigate this best…

thekatisalie,

Gosh, it’s so brutal to be in a place where you feel like you’ve been deeply wronged and have been completely ignored by the person who caused you that pain…like they don’t even see it, don’t want to admit it, don’t want to own it, would rather just move on because it’s convenient for them…that they could cause this much pain and be blind to it?? That they could have the nerve to move on?? That they would just leave you in shambles to fix yourself instead of realizing they were the one that knocked you down?? It’s not fair…and it feels like you want to do anything within your power to force them to see that they are being completely unfair and unjust…And obviously, it’s not like this person is just an inconsequential person in your life, you still see / interact with them, and you just don’t know how to “get over this” and pretend like everything’s okay…but at the same time, you feel like not moving on is going to cause consequence to you…which feels like WTF even more undeserved consequence to me because of this person’s actions…

Honestly, friend, I can quite literally relate to this, as my wife and I just got done being in this exact conflict for the past week and a half…I would bring up something that frustrated me, and then I felt like her immediate response was to defend herself and not own anything that caused me pain. And it happened over and over again. Eventually she was moving on because we were at a stalemate, but I felt like I was left in the dust, with my heart still in pieces, feeling completely invalidated for all of the pain that I had been feeling. I felt violated, like she could just cause me that much pain and not take an ounce of responsibility for it…it was impossibly frustrating, and I literally didn’t know how to move on. It felt like if I moved on, it was saying, “Yeah, you don’t have to be wrong about anything, you don’t have to apologize for anything, you don’t have to own any piece of it, it’s all on me.” It felt like it would be this lingering cloud of unresolved pain that I would have to deal with. It just felt like it was all falling on me and somehow she was escaping any of the pain or consequence at all…gosh, such a brutal frustration. When she tried to act like friends, I felt like all I could do was isolate and be passive instead of engage.

Unfortunately, the place that you’re in isn’t the same as a marriage, where we have a gravity that pulls us towards resolution on both sides, mutual responsibility and mutual growth…respect and love…but if this is a friendship or work relationship, the same gravity doesn’t exist…what ended up happening for me was that I had a conversation with a friend about something that was going on in his life, and he said, “You know, I learned that my conviction doesn’t just influence my actions, but my actions can generate my conviction…and I realized that if I start to act in the direction I want to feel convicted, I can generate conviction by choosing what actions will lead me there.” It felt like a cold slap to the face for me, because my wife was trying to be friends with me, and I literally just couldn’t do it, I didn’t know how…and then it felt like – omg, I’m letting my feelings dictate my actions. I “feel” like I don’t like her, so I’ve been acting like I don’t. And I realized the freedom that I could have – if I act like I like her, my feelings will actually catch up to that…I released her from needing to act in order to solve my feelings and realized that my feelings are something I can influence by choosing actions that align with the feelings I want to feel. It took the keys to my happiness out of her hands and back into my own, and I was able to undo the handcuffs I had been locked up in for days.

The beauty was that after I released her from needing to solve my pain, we ended up having more productive conversations, and she owned her part and apologized for it.

While that last bit might not happen in your case, I believe that the freedom for you to un-cuff yourself from this bitterness and resentment is still in your control. And if you decide to take actions towards the feelings you want to feel, you might find yourself blossoming into a better place / freedom that you ultimately want to experience anyways.

In the end, you want to “feel” like you aren’t getting run over, like you aren’t being controlled by someone else, like they care, like you matter. Imagine if you start to act like you matter regardless of what they say, like they aren’t able to control your feelings because you do and you’re using your own actions like a sail to guide the boat of your feelings – you won’t feel run over any more because you’ll feel in control yourself, and even though you can’t control whether or not they care, you are able to control whether or not you feel like you matter. And in the end, that’s often the motivation for us wanting others to care for us – is to prove to ourselves that we’re worthy of love. Best news is that she’s not in control of your worth! Of how much your heart matters!

Take back the keys. Freedom can be yours! And best news is: you deserve it.

-Nate