When I was doing my step work, I remember writing letter after letter after letter about how and when I was “wronged” and how I felt about it. As with most people, that was probably the most cathartic work I’ve ever done (the jury is still out on the sexual abuse therapy). Pouring all of that out onto a page and then talking about it with my sponsor was liberating. I gained so much freedom during that time. I was cleansed.
What I didn’t realize was that the work of dealing with resentments is an ongoing thing. Step work is meant to help you heal and also to give you the tools that help you live in the world without the crutch of alcohol. (I almost typed “like normal people” in that sentence until I realized that nothing could be further from the truth…everyone deals with this shit.) I think that’s why people go through the steps many times in the program. The work is never really finished. Life goes on and we go on with it.
I’m thinking about all of this because I’m dealing with a whole heap of resentment that has spent the better part of the last year rolling around in my head and belly and making me sick AND I don’t know what to do about it. Unlike my former resentments, this individual is still alive and on the fringe of my life. I see her and speak with her from time to time and every damn time it feels like a knife in my gut.
I’ve prayed about this – a lot. I’ve discussed it with the hubs and the boys and my daughter and I still can’t seem to let it go. I’ve written emails pouring out my feelings only to delete them all before hitting send. I thought just by writing it down I’d be able to release it into the universe and let it go.
Not so much.
Here’s why I’m struggling. Old Sherry would have had no trouble calling a “meeting” and talking about it woman to woman, face to face. I’d spill the venom all over her and then wait for my apology. If it came, great, we could repair our relationship. If not, good riddance to bad rubbish. I didn’t care if it hurt the other person because I knew how healthy it was to clear the air and confront my issues head on. If we couldn’t do this then we didn’t need to be friends anyway.
I never stopped to think that, perhaps, the pain I was inflicting was exponentially greater than the pain I was feeling. I never stopped to think if the carnage and collateral damage was really worth the price of my uncensored honesty. I just knew that I was in pain and, being a balls to the wall bad ass, I had to confront it and drive it from my soul.
But now…hmmm…now I’m in recovery. Now I’m learning that feelings are just feelings and they should be honored within my soul rather than banished (read…stuffed down). Now I’m learning to weigh the cost of bringing this issue from May of last year into the light of this slushy, cold February. What purpose would it serve? She’s not even aware that the issue exists and she’s happy – why in the world would I ruin that? Shouldn’t I be the bigger person and let it go? Why do I feel like talking about this with her would be akin to punishment? Do I want to punish her?
No…I don’t want to punish her. I don’t even think I want an apology because apologies are hollow unless filled with the why. What I want is to know why. Why did you behave this way? Why did you hurt me? Was I being punished?
What I do know is that I’m sick to death of thinking about it. Sick to death of it creeping it’s way into my head and making me cry. Sick to death of dealing with an issue that, on the surface looks petty and unimportant but in my heart feels like a lead weight that is tethering me to the past and won’t let me go.
Being a grownup sucks sometimes. When I was a little girl and my feelings were hurt, I would go to the offender and say, “You hurt my feelings.” Then that person would say, “I’m sorry.” I’d say, “Okay, you want to play?” And just like that, we’d move on.
I would really like to move on.