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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to ask a question without getting into a looong story. I'm not sure if it's going to make sense.

A few years ago, one of my friends hurt me (and to make it more complicated, hurt another friend worse at the same time) quite badly and I, along with several other friends, broke off all communication with her.

I've now come to peace with it, and am considering writing her a letter telling her how I feel. If I don't, chances are I'll never see her again, and she'll go through the rest of her life thinking I hate her, but on the plus side, I won't have to communicate with her or bare my soul to her (when I know she would never do the same to me, i.e., write an apology).

I actually wrote the letter, but I can't decide if I should send it. The person she really hurt still hasn't forgiven her, and while I know it's my perogative how I feel about my former friend, it seems awkward to say "I forgive you" when the real victim hasn't. And, like I said before, this girl would never do the same if our situations were reversed.

Although what she did was awful, she did not, oddly enough, do it with the intent of making us angry, and I know it hurt her when we turned our backs on her. I'm very uncomfortable with showing my emotions, and sending a letter like this would be a big deal. I can't decide what would make me more uncomfortable: letting my former friend continue to think I'm angry, or making peace with someone who doesn't really deserve it. What do you think? I'll share more details if you want to know.
 

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You don't forgive people who deserve it. That's kind of the point of forgiveness. So what if she wouldn't do the same for you? This is the situation you're in. If writing your thoughts down gives you closure to the event, good. Even better if those thoughts can give her some resolution, too. She may be sick with guilt over the matter, and hearing forgiveness from you may ease the burden.

You can't extend forgiveness for the things that didn't happen to you, but you can say something like, "I felt hurt when you (stole my boyfriend, gossiped about me, cheated your way into the medal I deserved, whatever it was), but I wanted to let you know I have forgiven you and am putting the past behind us." If you would like to be friends again, tell her so. If you would like to correspond via letters or email, tell her so. Do you hope to gain a friend back by this?

Keep the end goal in mind, whether it's closure or reestablishing the friendship, when you're writing, so she doesn't get confused when reading.
 

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Has she asked for forgiveness?

If she has apologized and asked for forgiveness, I say if you've forgiven her, let her know. If she hasn't asked for your forgiveness (for however you were involved) then you're trying to forgive someone who isn't sorry; and I say drop it.
 

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Perspective is a funky thing. She might not know what she's done, or at least appreciate the affect it had, and simply feel persecuted for being abandoned rather than in need of any forgiveness.

It's obviously still troubling you. If you send the letter and she doesn't respond, will you feel better? Have you thought about just asking her to meet you for coffee?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iria View Post

(when I know she would never do the same to me, i.e., write an apology).
I don't think you can ever really know this. Plus, maybe the point is to have some closure and/or make YOUR feelings known to her. It's not about getting an apology, eh?
 

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I think you should send it, obviously something inside of you is telling it's the right thing to do if you wrote the letter. Pretty much everything I was thinking while reading your original post was already addresed by the others. Good luck, and tell us how things go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Actually, this is kind of funny, the reason I started thinking about it after all these years is because she just friended me on Facebook! I didn't accept it, but I kind of want her to know why. I think she's trying to make peace in her own way. I would never ever be friends with her again, so I guess I'm just going for closure. I've finally stopped letting the events of that year bother me, and I think letter her know that would be a step in the right direction.

It's just so scary! It would be so much easier to let the matter drop. I suppose it's not dropped as long as I'm sitting here thinking about the letter, though.
 

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People don't friend former friends on Facebook unless they want to get something out of itmaybe she wants to be friends again, or at least establish why you abandoned her. It sounds like either she doesn't know why, or she's hoping it's a bygone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Originally Posted by skylark View Post

or she's hoping it's a bygone.
That's what I'm thinking. That's what worries me now, that she never saw the scope of what she did. A Facebook friendship is really trivial compared to the break-up we had. Honestly, if she'd sent me a letter say, "Iria I miss you... Here's what's going on in my life..." I wouldn't be asking you guys for advice. It's like she's just toeing the waters... But I guess I am too, by being scared to send this.

It's just that in the last years of our friendship, she put nothing into it. We had to do all the work to keep the group together, and we just got a cold shoulder from her anyway. And now it's the same way. She wants to make up, but she's going to make me do all the work. Not that I'm resentful.


I think I'm going to send it. I'll just wait a few days so I can make sure I'm saying what I really want to say.
 

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What is this "forgiveness" of which you all speak?

I find your views interesting, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I only used the word 'forgiven' because the topic title needed to be short. In reality I'm just not angry anymore.
 

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I think you need to drop it. Something similar happened to me, and I tried to forgive the person, and it fell on deaf ears. Let the past be the past, and bury it. Otherwise you are just asking to get burned. You owe this person nothing, there are 6 billion people out there you can be friends with, this person had their chance and its gone. No explanation is needed.
 

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This is a difficult one to answer. I have a REALLY hard time forgiving anybody in the first place. I would almost consider telling someone you forgave them to be a moral obligation, but if you still are emotionally affected by the person in such a way that they can use your saying "I forgive you" to their advantage (manipulation), I would almost think it was better not to.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iria View Post

It's just that in the last years of our friendship, she put nothing into it. We had to do all the work to keep the group together, and we just got a cold shoulder from her anyway. And now it's the same way. She wants to make up, but she's going to make me do all the work. Not that I'm resentful.
If you still resent it, something tells me you haven't completely forgiven. She isn't "making you" do all the work, and even if she were, so what? If all you want to do is send her a letter telling her you're not angry anymore so both of you can move on with your lives, it doesn't sound like too much work to me. She might be scared and not sure how to proceed. Without hearing her side of the story, we won't ever know for sure.
 

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I find that forgiveness is often about yourself and not about the person you're forgiving. It's not a question of whether "an enemy needs to know she's forgiven", it's about "am I able and willing to forgive this person". Having lots of unforgiveness can really weigh you down, as I suspect you have noticed. This is kinda the closure issue you're talking about.

So personally, I'd say send it (which you already seem to have decided to do). Of course, you didn't give detail so this is a necessarily general pronouncement...
 

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If you feel it would make you feel better (I'd hate to use the word "closure," but if it does that for you), go ahead and send the letter. It may have an effect on her and it may not, but it might be good for you either way.

Many years ago one of my closest friends hurt me (like you, I won't go into the details here). Because I didn't trust myself to tell her how I felt in the detail I wanted to without just bursting into tears or yelling at her, I wrote her a letter. She called me an we talked it out. Although I never felt like she truly understood why what she did was wrong, I still forgave her because at least she felt badly about making me feel bad. I forgave her because I realized that she did what she did due to her own problems, and also didn't understand the importance of what she did due to her own problems. In other words, I empathized with her and was therefore able to forgive her. We're still friends now, and although I'm not sure how much the experience changed her (I hope it did at least a little), I know it changed me in a positive way, so it was all worth it rather than just holding onto the anger and bitterness.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eggplant View Post

I know it changed me in a positive way, so it was all worth it
How did it change you in a positive way? If it hadn't, how do you think that might affect your ability to forgive?

Iria - are you willing to give more detail about what happened?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iria View Post

I can't decide what would make me more uncomfortable: letting my former friend continue to think I'm angry, or making peace with someone who doesn't really deserve it.
I don't think forgiveness is about whether or not the person deserves it. It's just about forgiving, letting go, and moving on. It's not something the other person "has" to know about.

With that said, I think it was a big step for you to forgive in the first place, and you have to just do what you feel is most comfortable at the point. If you feel comfortable sending it, I would send it. Especially since they opened the door and "facebooked" you.

It took me years to forgive someone for something that affected me in many ways, physically and emotionally, and I told them that I forgave them when I was ready. I only told them awhile after I found forgiveness in my heart. The reaction I would receive wouldn't matter to me though, because I knew that I was only letting them know I forgave them for personal closure. Sometimes it feels better to let them know so you feel like you have no more "karmic ties," if you will. Although I don't believe it's necessary to tell them to end the karmic tie.

Once you forgive in your heart, that's as far as you need to go if that's all you wish to do. IMO.
 

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Irizary said:
How did it change you in a positive way? If it hadn't, how do you think that might affect your ability to forgive?
It helped me to move on, and it also helped me to understand what it is about her that she would do such a thing and not realize the problem and why I wouldn't. So I guess it gave me insight into both her psyche and mine. I think if I hadn't forgiven her I would have just felt bad about the whole situation forever. She's been my friend since 1st grade (30 years!), so it definitely would have been a loss.
 

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It is not necessary for a person to know they have been forgiven. But it can help them go to the next step... which is to forgive themselves. So if you want to help that person to be free of any guilt they MAY be feeling, it's better to tell them.

But if you're forgiving them for your own benefit, which is fine, then there's no need to tell them.
 
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