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How to respond to misplaced forgiveness

1ofakind

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
1,126
DH and I were on the receiving end of an undeniable wrong. We held this for over 6 months until it became clear that similar offenses were also happening to others and that the offender would have to be removed from a position of authority. Because DH was on the committee that made the decision for removal, his account of our experience carried a bit more weight by confirming the other reports of similar behavior. The person was removed and largley blamed DH. We never publicly disclosed the issues and only to the committee when it was revealed as a broader problem. This was more than a year ago.

Today DH recieved a message from the offender basically saying “I want you to know that I forgive you.”
I am glad for this person that they are no longer harboring anger or bitterness towards DH....but it Is also clear they feel DH wronged them instead of the other way around. DH is puzzled as to how to respond to this misplaced forgiveness. By saying ‘thanks for forgiving me‘ one is admitting they did something wrong. But that is not the case. Neither of us are the kind to hold a grudge so for us it was over. Until today...
Curious if you’ve been in a similar situation and how you responded.
 

mellowyellowgirl

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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May 17, 2014
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3,941
Hmm it depends....

Are they crazy? If I think they err on the side of crazy I would not say anything. You don't want them camping out on your lawn or whatever.

You know what upon typing the sentence above I think I would definitely let it go. You can't be sure if someone is crazy or not and you don't want to provoke crazy people! Plus the fact that they feel the NEED to email you after a year, it most likely means that in their head, the scenario was completely different to how you perceive it. So I would just stay away from them and act like I never saw the email. Not because you are wrong or admit that you are wrong but because it is always sensible to leave crazy alone!
 

Austina

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 24, 2017
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4,509
If it were me, I’d say nothing. By responding, you’re agreeing with them that you’re in the wrong, otherwise you risk getting in to further debate with you trying to set them straight.
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
7,849
Sounds like a narcissist at work to me.

As above, totally ignore.

'Small Grey Rock' approach is best to deal with these sort of people.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jun 8, 2008
Messages
38,590
He/she is not worth the energy. I would just ignore and not reply.

You cannot argue with someone who is convinced they have been wronged. Better to cut all ties. Good for them for letting go of the hostility/ill will towards your DH as that hurts them. They have let it go and now they can move on and you should continue living and enjoying your lives without that kind of negativity in your life.

So if this were me, given the info you shared at least, I would let it go and continue enjoying my life. Free of that negative energy.


notonegative.jpg


befree.png
 

PreRaphaelite

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
Messages
2,639
Rather than understand that their behavior is the reason for their dismissal, the ‘Forgiver’’ person believes it was about them personally. (Likely they believe everything is about them. Classic narcissist.) Dodging responsibility for their own behavior will be a pattern for them and will never resolve.

The best response would be no response. Anything your DH says will be used to draw out the conversation further and then his responses will be used against him. That’s the narcissist’s goal here. Don’t fall for it.
 

OreoRosies86

Ideal_Rock
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Dec 25, 2012
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3,207
His being drawn into any discussion will be viewed by the author as tacit agreement that they were somehow wronged. Ignore.
 

stracci2000

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 26, 2007
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All good advice from everyone.
Any further interaction with the protagonist will not work in your favor.
 
Last edited:

anne_h

Brilliant_Rock
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Jun 13, 2005
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1,032
I agree with the others, don't engage.

Unless there are legal reasons to keep it, I would be tempted to dispose of the 'forgiveness' message and pretend it never happened. Ignore and move on.

I know people like your offender (at my workplace), and agree with some others that this sounds narcissitic. Annoying.

Anne
 

1ofakind

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
1,126
Thank you all for helping solidify my thoughts on this out of the blue communication. We are glad that they are ‘moving on’ but would have hoped by now that they had accepted ownership of the situation. Maybe they never will.....but that is not our issue.
The narcissists I know best would not use this tactic...they would demand an apology and then act superior/deserving but certainly not forgiving. So I didn’t recognize this approach but can see how it fits it with this person’s personality now They’re a sneaky little narcissistic.....lol.
We definitely do not want to open up this can of worms.
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jul 7, 2013
Messages
6,589
A curt response in the line of "thanks, however I am not the one in the wrong" etc....

DK :))
 

smitcompton

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 11, 2006
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2,680
hI,

As often happens on here, I do not agree with the majority. By not responding you are implicitly agreeing with them. In one or two paragraphs I would state why he was removed mentioning that others had complained about what he did. Perhaps he doesn't understand that what he did was wrong. I would wish him well but you have no need for his forgiveness.

If he e-mails back, then I would ignore.

Annette
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
38,590
hI,

As often happens on here, I do not agree with the majority. By not responding you are implicitly agreeing with them. In one or two paragraphs I would state why he was removed mentioning that others had complained about what he did. Perhaps he doesn't understand that what he did was wrong. I would wish him well but you have no need for his forgiveness.

If he e-mails back, then I would ignore.

Annette
Annette, respectfully, I look at it like this. Would I rather be right or would I rather be happy. The latter. I will always choose the latter.
 

KaeKae

Ideal_Rock
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May 27, 2009
Messages
2,216
It sounds like this person is looking for validation that he or she was the one wronged.
I would ignore the message (but save it, just in case this becomes one of many to you, or if others are also receiving messages from this person, and you'll need proof of harassment)
 

smitcompton

Ideal_Rock
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Hi,

Missy-- I wasn't looking at it from the prospective of right and wrong. It's his interpretation of events that ought to be questioned. A paragraph something like ... Ed-- Mary and I just read your e-mail, and are puzzled by what you wrote. You did(behavior) to Mary, myself and others, who complained to the board as well, and thus you were removed by a vote of the board. We wish you well in your future endeavors. Sincerely,

1of a kind is a good writer. I have found correcting an error is better in the long run. I don't feel very strongly about which way she chooses to respond.

Annette.
 

1ofakind

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
1,126
@smitcompton I appreciate your perspective and yes there is a concern that no response will be seen as a sign of guilt by this person. However, If they still think they were the wronged party I don’t know if sending a correction would help them see it any differently. At the time of their removal the specific reasons were clearly explained. Maybe in another period of time their interpretation of events will continue to develop and next year we’ll get an apology. :twisted2: (Not that we need an apology...we are fine now although the hurt and shock did take some time to get over...but we would accept if offered).

Interestingly, some other committee members received an identical message. At least one responded with regret for the overall situation while trying not to sound like they were accepting blame. It may also be noteworthy that a few weeks ago a replacement was been placed in the position. If they are trying to stir things up (as they did for months after their removal) DH does not want to feed into that either.
I strongly dislike the drama....I was hoping they would relocate to another town after their removal. I’m just over people who can’t figure out how to be adults. It’s like they keep running the blender of life without putting the lid on and the their messy splatter gets everywhere. Ugh.
 

Polished

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
1,084
Just as a general, relationships have a better chance of mending in a spirit of conceding. "I forgive you" is in no way conceding. It wouldn't have been necessary at all, in this work related instance, for him to have written anything but if he'd felt the need to leave the matter on a positive note, he'd be conceding and saying, "I hope you can forgive me".
 

sunseeker101

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2009
Messages
417
Hello 1ofakind and folks. I think 'baiting' and 'narcissism' are bang on for this -- it couldn't be a better example of passive aggressive assertion of victimhood :) The truth denial is meant to trip up your normal-brained sense of responsibility and basic reality, and have you aiming to set things straight. The plan for you then is to receive the narcissistic rage and blame that's been stewing for many months or years.

Overall, I think it might be an idea to look at it like this: the narcissistic leopard does not change its spots: here they are in full view and for final confirmation of where the initial issue came from. You were wise to oust this person, and long may they stay that way :)
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
3,969
I am in full support of how you and your DH have handled this. Messy splatter from not putting a lid on the blender is a great analogy!
 

chemgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
2,137
DH and I were on the receiving end of an undeniable wrong. We held this for over 6 months until it became clear that similar offenses were also happening to others and that the offender would have to be removed from a position of authority. Because DH was on the committee that made the decision for removal, his account of our experience carried a bit more weight by confirming the other reports of similar behavior. The person was removed and largley blamed DH. We never publicly disclosed the issues and only to the committee when it was revealed as a broader problem. This was more than a year ago.

Today DH recieved a message from the offender basically saying “I want you to know that I forgive you.”
I am glad for this person that they are no longer harboring anger or bitterness towards DH....but it Is also clear they feel DH wronged them instead of the other way around. DH is puzzled as to how to respond to this misplaced forgiveness. By saying ‘thanks for forgiving me‘ one is admitting they did something wrong. But that is not the case. Neither of us are the kind to hold a grudge so for us it was over. Until today...
Curious if you’ve been in a similar situation and how you responded.
I wouldn’t respond.

DH and I are pretty active in a hobby and chronicle our journey on social media. One local woman who enjoys the same hobby became incredibly hostile towards me. Anything I said in public would be argued to the death. Eventually I asked her why she was doing it. We used to go out for drinks and have dinner at each other’s homes. Apparently she valued our friendship and wanted to “educate me” on topics she felt I was deficient in. Topics being chemistry (I’m a chemical engineer), my own health, how I clean my house, you get the idea.

I ended up blocking her everywhere when her behaviour became abusive. She would call me to “check on me” because she was worried about my mental health. She progressed to calling me delusional. She told me my content and proficiency in our hobby was laughable and everyone talks about it (I asked her who and she said more than 10 people). According to her I don’t speak well and dress unprofessionally (I wear t-shirts in some of my Instagram videos).

It kind of culminated in her telling me that she consulted with several doctors and therapists and they all believe I’m psychotic. She read a book about it and thinks she can help me. No mention of me seeing my own doctor. I was to rely on her completely.

Anyway I literally have nightmares about this woman. I know she tells people negative things about me and it makes me hesitant to go out in our community.

She forgives me though. She approached me at a restaurant to tell me how wonderful forgiveness is and she’s at peace with me.

Barf. DH told her not to speak to me. If it was an email I would not have responded.

I think it depends on the situation, but it sounds like your person is a bit problematic and it might be best to just ignore them.
 

Elizabeth35

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
531
Any chance this person had a substance abuse problem?
The fact that they sent emails regarding forgiveness sounds very much like part of a 12 step recovery program.
Although actually they should be asking for forgiveness since they committed the wrong doing.
 
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