Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love

Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you who have read my post The Fallacy of Being a “Good Person” this is an update on the situation with my relatives and how we are getting along now. I had finally sent a letter telling them that their behavior was unacceptable to me. For six long weeks there was no reply.  Then she finally called me to let me know of a health situation with their son. She didn’t mention anything about our conflict and I was happy to hear from her.  In a subsequent e-mail she told me that she loved me.

Are all our problems solved? I have no idea. In our family we often shove our problems under the rug. And I know from past experience that she tends to hold grudges and then pounce on me when I least expect it. But at least she has made a good effort to re-connect and we are getting along now.

Her husband is a different story, though. He has never liked me and I doubt he ever will. He has persecuted me for years for my being on disability (for both mental and physical problems). That hurts a lot, especially since he knows damn well that I had to quit a job that I loved because my physical condition had deteriorated. He has made derogatory comments that basically amount to “You are a  selfish, degenerate, and worthless subhuman being.”  Now I have tried to put up with his obnoxious behavior because I want to have a relationship with his wife and their son. The only good thing about the situation is that most of the time he just ignores me so his outbursts are not ongoing.

But the biggest problem that I have with him is that he is taking financial advantage of another family member who has limited means. It is the Elephant in the Living Room, nobody talks about it.

I have to forgive him though, for my own mental health. Remember that pesky little Bible verse that says to pray for and love our enemies?  I found this really good article How to Love Someone You Don’t Like. It has a form of prayer/meditation called the Loving-Kindness Meditation. It is a neutral form of prayer that basically wishes for that person’s highest good, rather than praying for that person to change. I have tried the latter and it just locks me into my anger again.

I would welcome any thoughts you guys want to share about forgiveness. What has worked for you?