Building a wall

Brick wallWhen I was 12 or 13 my cousin and I got in a fight. As in a me on top of her with fists fight. My parents had recently divorced and we were spending a lot of time at my aunt’s. One morning my cousin and I were laying on the floor watching TV when she started aggravating me.

I don’t even really remember what she was doing, patting me I think. If you know me in real life then you know I hate to be touched. Just… don’t. I’ve never liked it. Anyway, she kept tap, tap, tapping me on the leg and when I finally got enough I rolled over and knocked the hell out of her.

Now I’m sure this wasn’t the first time we got in a fight, or even the last time, but this time stands out because of something that was said by my aunt. Our moms came running into the room to break us apart, and my aunt said, “Jennifer you need to quit wearing your feelings on your sleeve.”

Huh? I’m pretty sure I turned around and looked to see to whom she was talking. I have NEVER been one to wear my feelings on my sleeve. Oh no, I keep them very tight to my chest so that no one can see them. I was especially guarded during this time of my life. The whole point of the fight was that I was pissed and I acted on it. Period.

Today I read a post by Gigi about friend breakups. It really hit me because I have a very close friend going through something similar. Someone she thought was a friend hurt her in a way that, to her, is unforgivable.

She talked to me about ending the friendship. My advice was that she needed to think long and hard about whether that is something she wanted as a permanent solution. Once it is done you really can’t go back. I explained that ending relationships has never been hard for me, but I don’t recommend it for everyone.

I don’t know if this is a learned skill or something I was born with, but I’ve always been good at building walls to block the pain. I very rarely give second chances. If you hurt me then you are gone, and it is most likely that I’ll never even look back. My motto is “fool me once… fuck you.”

I’m not saying this is a good way to be. I’m not even sure why I’m like this. I don’t recommend it for other people. I don’t think forgiveness is a bad thing. I think it is actually better for the fogiver than the forgivee. Sometimes I wish I could be one of those people, but I just can’t.

What about you? Are you a forgiver or a wall builder?

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  1. says

    My first instinct is to be a wall builder, but knowing that, I’ve tried to become more forgiving, which in my experience thus far, tends to just draw things out and my first instinct was usually correct!

    I’m one of those people who seems to share a lot… but actually, I share a lot about my divorce, because that was something that was done to me… my true feelings, those I keep close to my vest, most people just don’t pick up on that!
    Sorta Southern Single Mom recently posted…An Important ScheduleMy Profile

    • says

      I share a lot too. For the most part I’m an open book, but a lot of times if I’m hurting you will never know. My family asks constantly, “are you okay?” They’ve learned that I’m not likely to display those emotions so they need to check on me to be sure that everything is alright.

  2. says

    I would be that you really are a forgiver. You probably forgive your husband and children countless times. But those are the people that you really care about, and you know they really care about you.

    I don’t think it’s so bad to build up walls and let some friendships go. Some friendships are unhealthy and people hang onto them way too long.
    Kmama recently posted…To Cheat, or Not to Cheat?My Profile

  3. says

    Actually- I am both. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and forgive to a fault- until it is enough- and then it’s over. And sometimes my “it’s over” is completely unwarranted or irrational- but I can’t go back. I had a friend here that I really liked. But I always felt like I was sort of a backup friend to her. After a few years of always feeling second best, she made a shopping date with me, changed it at the last minute, and then just didn’t show. And then I was hurt. And pissed. I didn’t even call to see what happened… she could have been dead and I didn’t care- because I pretty much knew she wasn’t. And a week later, she called me all happy and giggles to tell me that her husband (military- works a lot like mine) got an unexpected day off that day and so they spend it together. Forgivable- sure. But the fact that she didn’t even call me- until a week later- I just said, “okay.” and hung up. I never spoke to her again.
    Jennifer recently posted…Conversations with DJMy Profile

  4. says

    And, as sad as it is, I think this is also the relationship with my mother in a nutshell. She has hurt me over and over… and I have always taken it and come up with excuses for it. And, suddenly, about a year and a half ago, I woke up and was over it all. And she knows there is something wrong and that I am “distant” and keeps asking why and I just ignore her. Because if I start to tell her…..25 years of pissed off is going to come flying out.

    • says

      I’ve cut off family members before too. I haven’t seen my Dad’s mother in years. Probably less than five times since he passed away almost 10 years ago (God has it been ten years). I just can’t have some things in my life, and family tends to bring those things in spades.

  5. says

    I am definitely a forgiver. Look at my email address…Love forgives. lol I forgive for my own sake. So I guess I am also downright selfish too. I just know that I can’t live my life carrying around all of those hurts. Way too heavy of a burden for me. Learning how to let go in my life has been a huge, scary, job, but it has also set me free in many ways. Well worth the effort. For me and those I love.

    • says

      The thing is though, I don’t carry it around. Once I cut I cut deep. I think the wall is more for my own protection so that no one can hurt me.

  6. says

    I don’t know that I am a wall builder, & can’t take credit for being a forgiver. I am a space giver, to be sure. I get tired of being the one to open the lines of communication when something is up. When the relationship is important to me, I try to let them know what I need. If that is, in any way, more than they are inclined to give, I can step away until they are ready to have a 100/100 relationship. It has yielded fruit many times, and just as often, let me know that someone else doesn’t care about the relationship.
    What I won’t do, is stay in a friendship that is always geared to the other person’s convenience.

    The Bible says to ‘seek peace and pursue it’, but if I have done nothing wrong and they have just done business the way they would anytime and it isn’t healthy for my family or me as an individual, is it my job to make everyone over according to me? I think not. I feel I can pull back and if they are interested we can discuss it. But God didn’t put me here to be everyone’s friend.

    I read that post you referred to, I could have written that about a couple of friendships.
    Maggie S. recently posted…Breaking the IceMy Profile

    • says

      “Space giver” I like that. Although sometimes I’m less about giving space and more about “don’t ever talk to me again jerk,” but not in terms that nice.

  7. Jodi says

    I am the friend Jennifer is referring to as having to decide whether or not to cut off a friendship. I think certain things are sacred. We all make mistakes. We all screw up. When someone screws up towards me I almost always forgive. If they do ANYTHING regarding my child I can’t. It’s different for me. My kids are off limits. In this case I have made the decision that this person has shown a pattern of jealousy towards me. I am not even sure why. There is no one on this planet I am jealous enough of to hurt someone about their kids (or anything else for that matter). I tried to be honest and tell her it really hurt me. She didn’t get it. I am done. I will always wish her the best and I will miss her, but frankly my heart can’t take it anymore.

  8. says

    I have my limits to forgiveness. I excuse away a lot of people’s transgressions, but when I’ve hit my max,t he walls go up big time. Unfortunately, they go up not only to the person I’m angry with, but they go up generally around me, coloring my experiences with the next person I encounter and making me less trusting and more suspicious. It’s not a great way to be, but it’s definitely how I’m naturally wired.
    gigi recently posted…AmbushedMy Profile

    • says

      I stay pretty guarded most of the time. Partly because I was hurt so bad when my parents divorced, partly because it is just who I am, and partly because of my profession. As an auditor you get to see the nasty side of people sometimes.

  9. says

    Total forgiver here. I’m not good enough to remember who I’m pissed at and for what.

    For me, it’s like what you said: “…it is actually better for the forgiver than the forgivee.”

    I do not always forget though. And I do tend to guard myself around those I’ve forgiven.

    But I do my best not to put myself in situations that call for such deep stuff. I always say I have TONS of acquaintances but only a couple of friends. I’ve perfected keeping many at arm’s length.

    Acquaintances I don’t take to heart too much. Friends/family…yes, I do.

    Damn. I am rambling tonight.
    Carrie recently posted…I kinda felt like a referee at a never-ending press conference.My Profile

    • says

      I do this too. I don’t let people get close to me because I’m not a very trusting person. Actually that is probably an understatement.

  10. says

    I used to be more of a forgiver but over the years, I’ve become less inclined to forgive easily. My walls have been harder to come down . I think adding kids into the mix has really changed things a lot for me. I loved your line “Fool me once, Fuck You” LOL. I’m not sure you meant for people to laugh, but I did a bit 😉
    Nicole recently posted…Productivity in JeopardyMy Profile

  11. Carissa says

    I actually laughed at that part, too, but I think it’s because I saw myself! Total wall builder, even with family. It is something I constantly work on because I do honestly realize how much work it is to stay mad and build that wall. Sometimes I try to remember that often, the person isn’t worth that effort, so I should just forget about it. But I don’t think I forgive.

  12. Carissa says

    And forgive me for having to ask this, but what happens if I subscribe to the RSS feed? I’m new at all this! :-)

    • says

      Subscribing to an RSS feed will add all of my blog posts to your Google Reader. A lot of bloggers use their reader to keep track of the blogs they want to follow. Another option is to subscribe through email and then you get all of my posts sent to you via email. If you have any other questions just let me know.