i have a lot of thoughts brewing on this as liam and i are doing some deep work here. i think we've uncovered something that i haven't heard anyone write on or talk about before. i'm trying to see if it resonates "out in the real world" or if it's just between us...
becoming un-meshed has been part of working my program these past couple of months. i have lived vicariously through liam for our whole 23 years together. it started because of bad theology and coming from a family of addictive behavior - but it's not working for either of us and i have found that being intentional in this regard is helping so much.
becoming un-meshed has allowed for so much more clarity in our interactions and i have spotted some areas recently that have consistently tied us into knots for the whole of our married lives. one of those massive tangles comes in the area of confession and forgiveness.
i will try to write about this with respect to liam's story being his own - but so you know that the areas that do touch his story are added with his blessing.
as i've written before my dearest husband is one of the gentlest souls i know. he would never intentionally hurt me, or anyone else i think. he struggles with intention and has to work very hard to live in that space. it is his virtue and his vice. one of the ways in which this manifests is that because he never intentionally hurts me he assumes that he hasn't hurt me.
therein lies the rub. what we have untangled here is an area that goes to the root of one of the miscommunication areas we regularly find ourselves in. i am injured, he is confused, he is sad i am injured and apologies to me.
looks like it's working - but it's not. this is the knot we have had to unravel in the past few months and it finally twisted free the other day.
i was finally able to listen to the words he used and actually heard his apology. he said "i'm so sorry that i hurt your feelings" - i realized at that moment it sounded an awful lot like so many of his other apologies - "i'm sorry...you..." what i realized is that his apology wasn't dealing with his behavior - but my response to his behavior.
i asked if we could stop the current conversation and deal with the over-problem that i saw that was bringing this issue up so frequently lately. he agreed and i tried to explain what i saw.
instead of apologizing for the behavior that hurt me liam was apologizing for my feeling badly - so i had been actually forgiving him for me feeling badly. instead of apologizing for his own actions he was really obtusely saying "i'm sorry that you're fragile" or "i'm sorry that you aren't strong enough to weather this" - i truly believe that this is an area that leads back to him not really feeling like his 'unintentional' action warranted an apology. he believed in his heart that since he didn't "try to hurt me" he really didn't have anything to apologize for - but did so just to clear the road.
kind of "well, if this is what it takes to move the discussion forward -i'm sorry - there is that better?"
what i tried to help him understand is that confession really isn't for the person you are confessing to - but confession is for the self - the one - it is the tool that brings freedom from shame - i confess to god, to myself and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs FOR ME - not for them. god doesn't need me to confess my sin for him - he has given me confession as a tool because he knows that by saying it out loud i am owning it and then receiving the glory of forgiveness, and the healing that it brings.
if we are unable to confess from our own moral inventory - even the things we "didn't mean to do" we are then free from them and don't carry their shame any more. a true confession and apology should never have the words "i'm sorry you..." in them. confession is an "I" and "I" alone kind of tool.
does that make sense? i think he understood it and we both felt like the strands of that tangle came free. what do you think?