I realized today that some folks are so filled with hatred and self loathing that they are more interested in having the last word than they are in making amends of any sort. They are so blind with madness that you could beat them over the head with the olive branch and they would still not see it for what it is.
Making amends, or letting someone know that animosity, real or imagined, doesn’t exist, is a healthy choice.
It depends largely on the person you share those amends with. If that person is not leading a healthy existence, then the only thing they will do with your amends is use it as another opportunity to pound on you some more.
And that, my friends, is where No Contact comes in handy.
The problem is that there are times I’d like to let someone know that it’s not as bad as they think it is. I might not be interested in renewing a connection with them, but I would like for both of us to walk away feeling a little better about it. I know that when someone reaches out to me in this way, I am truly grateful. I see this as someone that realizes that letting this go and giving up the grudge is the better option. I usually thank them and wish them well too. Then both of us can move on with ease.
It doesn’t always have to be a reconciliation.
My advice is to truly revisit the reason you made for ending a friendship BEFORE you get all soft and want to let them know you are in a good place as far as your past friendship is concerned. Some folks are incapable of being humbled by the olive branch and choose to remain toxic, no matter what.
It is for those folks that I shake my head and wish them well, once more, silently.
It is those folks that No Contact was created for.
No Contact is your best defense when dealing with a toxic and abusive person. If you contact someone that was abusive to you in the past, they will not be satisfied with a simple message of Peace. They will want to rehash every detail. They will try to cause you just as much pain and discomfort as they did in the past.
They will also goad you into continuing the conversation and the rehash, or ask you to escalate the contact once they see you are willing to participate. They don’t care about amends. They simply want to make you pay for discontinuing the friendship.
For instance, you send a text letting them know there are no hard feelings and you wish them well. They respond right away, but it’s not what you were expecting. Now they are texting you over and over again with one scathing message after another. They want you to know just how screwed up they think you are and how uber superior they are to you in every possible way.
This was not what you had in mind.
You extended the olive branch and now their only interest is tearing you apart…branch by branch. Someone toxic will respond with insults and accusations as long as you continue to engage them.
You can respond that you do not wish to continue the conversation under these circumstances and refuse to answer any more texts. Then they might ask you to call them or come see them in person. They wish to escalate the contact now that you have opened the door for them.
Getting back out and closing that door means simply going back to your original plan, which was No Contact. This time, throw the deadbolt too. You can extend the olive branch only so far without being manipulated back into an abusive relationship with someone toxic.
This goes both ways.
Keep in mind that by opening the door and extending your hand in peace, you have broken No Contact and they now feel justified in ripping you to shreds. You have no one to blame but yourself.
When it comes to an abusive personality, No Contact means no contact.
But what if they aren’t toxic?
How does a healthy person react to a message of peace?
They might not respond at all. I keep those expectations low. If it was my choice to wish them well, they are under no obligation to answer me at all. Or they may respond with well wishes of their own and leave it at that. But a normal and healthy person will never respond to a message of peace and understanding with any kind of anger, hatred or animosity. They recognize your effort for what it is. They accept it for what it is.
Not every relationship is perfect, so not every attempt to be forgiving will be perfect either. You can only do your best and learn from your mistakes you make along the way.
One of my friends is a true master of making amends. She doesn’t want negative energy hanging around out there and makes it her mission to mend as many fences as she’s able to mend. I admire that quality in her. I hope she never fails in her mission because a mission of peace is always a good idea. More people should try it.
As I sit here and hear my cell phone chime for the umpteenth time and wonder why my own mission of peace this morning failed miserably and I opened the door on a rabid and angry person on purpose, I am reminded that I did exactly what I set out to do…
I let someone know that I wished them well and that I had no hard feelings. The beauty of that is that even though there was this full blown attempt to put me through the paper shredder, I survived it and I still feel the same way.
I wish them well.
And as far as my cell phone is concerned…they can have the last word. It will be my gift to them as I resume my original plan of No Contact.
Until next time, make amends in your heart and leave the toxic people from your past, in your past. The good ones that are your friends through thick and thin will see the olive branch in your heart and one day they might be your friend again.
- A modern day olive branch. (writeinthewrongway.wordpress.com)
- Take Back Your Olive Branch (tylatimes.com)