When I was recently wronged by a close friend, hurt by her words and actions, I felt anger rising within me.
I didn’t like this feeling, and I was looking into a different approach. As emotions are energy in motion, what I wished for was to turn this energy of anger into compassion.
The words of Jesus came to my mind. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” While I do not follow a religion, what these words mean to me, is that when someone wrongs me, they are missing the bigger picture, and often seek satisfaction in injury to others. Can I find within myself, I asked my higher-self, compassion for a misguided friend?
It turned out that I can. What this required, was for me, for just a few moments, to imagine myself being the other person; feel their feelings, identify with their wounding, past and present. Of course that I cannot fully do that. I can never step into someone else’s shoes as to do that I have to experience their entire life. But I can imagine. And when I did, I was able to understand and thus create a channel of unspoken communication; a connection. It does not mean that I agree with their words and actions, but this exercise did allow for compassion to appear at the doorstep of my heart.
Someone I know well shared with me, that a romantic relationship he had for a while, just ended. It was a great love affair, and the woman in the relationship was the one who chose to terminate it. While this was first done at good terms, shortly after, it became ugly. He found out that she is spreading tall tales and lies about him. He was hurt, feeling betrayed and confused. This was a woman he loved, and, at the time, still did. “How could she do this?” he confided with me? “Why is she so mean?”
While I was unable, nor wished, to justify her deeds, it gave me a chance to put my thoughts about compassion into practice. “Can you,” I asked this person, “see it for just a few moments from her point of view, taking into consideration her life’s journey?”
Turned out that this woman was severely abused as a child, and no less by her own mother, who belittled and even hated her from birth. She grew up without a father, never knowing who he was. Her world was filled with adults who were alcoholics and quite violent.
As an adolescence, she finally left home and got married at a young age to a narcissist. Laboring two kids she ended up splitting from her abusive husband, and, to support herself, entered a career of over twenty years as a sex worker. Thus, from a very young age, this person needed to do what she could to survive. It included telling lies and mastering the art of manipulation. My friend told me that at some point in their relationship, she bragged to him that she can manipulate most men, and quite a few women, to do as she wished. She has fierce sexual energy which she uses in a manner only someone with much practice can.
In her forties, this women finally departed from the sex arena, embarking on a spiritual journey. While she realized her past wounding, she never really released it. She thought she did, but these are very deep seated patterns. The healing was never complete.
When the relationship came to end, although by her own initiative, those old patterns kicked in. She had to tell herself a story, a tale in which she was abused, the victim, and my close friend had to be placed in the role of the abuser. If it meant lies and manipulation of facts into fiction, so be it. I trust that she actually believed her fictional tales or else she would have created an inner conflict. But much like the people who believe the Flat Earth Theory, the fact one believes in lies, does not make them true.
Taking all this into consideration does not mean agreeing with her behavior, but it does allow for compassion to rise, versus emotions of anger.
This is a place where faith can come in; faith that, ultimately, my friend’s friend, will find her way to the light without his assistance.
We all have our journeys to make in this life, our lessons to be learned. It is not our role to help others find their truth. We can only work on ourselves.