I recently saw someone that really harmed me when they were in a destructive season of their life. Its been a few years since the incident but everything I thought I had let go of resurfaced after seeing them. Initially I was fine, and I felt okay talking to them. Although they hurt me, I had healed from a lot of the things they did to me and I was able to recategorize them in my life and continue to care about them, from a safe distance. After brief conversation, I think they took me being “ok” and “moved on” as an invitation to reclaim a former title and reminisce over things I wanted to forget and let go of. To make things more uncomfortable they were in a relationship unbeknownst to me but their actions and conversations toward me said the opposite. It took me so long to be at peace with the past and truly forgive them. Seeing them in the same destructive patterns just reopened all those wounds and made me realize they didn’t appreciate what they had in the past, and apparently don’t appreciate and respect what they have in the present. It makes me want to rebuild all my walls and isolate myself from everyone because I clearly don’t know how to differentiate the wolves from the sheep. I feel myself closing off and shutting down from everyone and everything again and that scares me. I don’t want to end up emotionally cut off from the world again and I dont want to accidentally hurt the people around me because Im having trust issues. Im trying to “deal with it” and “power through” and thats exhausting and burning me out even faster than it did before. I don’t fear for my life, but I fear for my future in the sense that I will completely close off and never want to leave my comfort zone and meet new people ever again.
It takes practice to become good at identifying signs that someone is not to be trusted. Sometimes a person is clever enough, or sincere enough in the moment that we can be fooled into trusting. Yet from what I am reading here, you were able to identify the “wolf.” Forgiving someone who hurt you doesn’t mean that you have to become vulnerable to that person again.
Often, the only way to know if a person is trustworthy, is to invest some trust, and see how it works out. It’s best to take our time, and let relationships evolve gradually. It’s easy to be fooled if you rush into something, but people can seldom conceal their true nature for long.
The problem with emotional isolation is that you hurt yourself in an attempt to keep others from hurting you.
The question is, is it better to have a scarred heart that has also experienced love, or to put up walls, and experience neither love nor pain?
You don’t have to forgive anyone. Just because it’s been a long time and you’ve healed doesn’t mean it’s safe to let them back into your life, ecspecially if they’re they same level of toxicity they were back then. If anything that is a huge red flag that they never learned from their mistakes and will never change, thus should be avoided. The reason you’re going back into your shell is because the very real trauma you experienced with that person is being brought back to you by their very existence, and you have every reason to feel that way. Tell them to fuck off, don’t feel bad about it, don’t give them the benifit of the doubt, don’t hesitate, don’t let them gaslight you. There’s a huge reason you’re uncomfortable around them, it’s intuition and you should always trust that gut feeling. I personally don’t give people second chances, so if you feel unsafe around them you should cut them off.