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“You’re wrong” is very different than “I hear you, but…” and it was a horrible mistake I made. You know when you get accused of doing something you’ve done before… But this time you didn’t. It sucks. But, it also means that you totally understand why someone might think you did it.

Yup. But what happens when you say “no, that’s not what happened” instead? The person listening doesn’t think you heard them. The person on the other side doesn’t feel validated. And they should.

If I could do it again, I would say:

I hear you. That happened in the past. And I undertand why you would think it would be happening again. You’re not crazy. You’re not wrong for thinking what you’re thinking. But please give me the chance to explain.”

That probably still comes up short. Hell, everything I do probably comes up short. But it’s better. Way better than making someone feel like you’re gaslighting them. Way better than someone feeling you don’t hear them. Way better than not being there to love and support the person who most needs it. The person you’ve hurt in the past. The person who stuck by you anyways.

I need forgiveness. I forgive myself. But asking her for forgiveness would hurt her more than it would help her. And so I must just let her go. Without begging for forgiveness. And how can I forgive myself without asking her to forgive me? I just have to weigh how much pain I am causing her…

We’re all messed up. But I want to be a little less messed up every day. So I’m forgiving myself. And there’s a lot of ground to cover so this may take awhile!

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