I Can’t Stay Mad at You (or CAN I?)

Do you hold grudges or do you believe in forgive and forget?

Not so simple, folks.

First of all, I absolutely believe in forgiveness, but forgetting? No, not happening. I remember everything. I may not remain angry about it, but I don’t forget, either. I keep an emotional tally. If you’ve betrayed me, lied to me, broken your promises, not been there when I needed you or sometimes, just not been there at all … I do remember. It’s not necessarily a grudge. I can forgive bad behavior, but I’m not stupid enough to let myself get whacked over and over. Once is a “heads up.” Twice gives you an asterisk and a footnote: “Not someone I can depend on.” The footnote is permanent.

Any number of combinations can be extrapolated from this, including:

  1. I may refuse to forgive or forget — and hold a grudge. I’m not planning revenge, but you aren’t invited to my party.
  2. I forgive you. I remember everything and won’t trust you where I know you to be untrustworthy. Not holding a grudge, but I am wary.
  3. I forgive you. I pretend to forget. I love you so much I will let you do what you do because that’s just you and you can’t help it. Every now and again, I’ll get really pissed off about it.
  4. I forgive you but I remember everything. No grudge — except I never want to see you again. I don’t hate you, but I do want you out of my life. Forever.

I think you get the point. There are lots of permutations based on various combination of forgiving, forgetting (not) and grudge holding.

Forgiveness is not the same as “let’s be pals again.” Damage is damage. A sincere apology helps but I am unlikely to fully trust you after you have hurt me. Most people get a free pass for one hurting. People I adore get two free passes. No one gets a third freebie. At the very least, you’ll get a long, boring lecture from me.

With my moon solidly in Scorpio, forgetting is impossible. Pisces sun? I forgive, but I remember. I don’t plan vengeance, don’t even wish (mostly) ill on people who’ve disappointed or hurt me … but I won’t give them another shot at me either.

As far as I’m concerned, all this means is I learn from the past.

Categories: Humor

Tags: , , ,

30 replies

  1. Forgiving to me is the easy part because it’s like, “Oh, you’re still upset about that? That was, like, yesterday (two weeks ago, a month ago, whatever!)” The past is the past is the past and I can’t change the past. Forgetting is much the same. Unless it leaves a mark, I’ll probably forget it too. But my mind is weird.


    • There aren’t many things that leave me really angry. Very few. And I’ve got a long fuse, but when something finally gets me, it doesn’t go away easily or quickly. Sometimes, not ever. Fortunately, it’s also rare.


  2. I am so on the same page with you on all of this.


  3. A lot of people agreed with you and so do I. Forgiving is helpful for healing but remembering is helpful to prevent someone from reoffending. Every time we love we take a chance. Sometimes it works out other times not. Without forgiveness we carry the burden around with us forever. Remembering just prevents us from making the same mistake twice.


  4. I think I could say exactly the same thing. It is almost impossible to forget any level of hurt, but much can be forgiven.


    • Thank you. I always wonder why “forgive” and “forget” are treated like a matched set. To me, they are very different issues. Unless you’re developing dementia or have had electroshock therapy, how DO you forget … and why would you want to?


  5. I really liked this article. And I think it is necessary to learn from our past, so not forgetting is a painful but necessary. But we can hope that some day, the better memories can superimpose onto the darker ones. 🙂


  6. I’ve been mulling over this grudge/learning/triggering/forgiveness thing since a weekend upset. And then there was the daily prompt. Thanks for your insights, Marilyn


    • I’ve spent a lot of time thinking on this. I had a lot of forgiving to do over the years. I’ve learned to forgive, but I don’t think I CAN forget, even if I wanted to. You can forgive without wanting a relationship. Forgiving is passing the burden of anger to a higher power. Forgetting is a trick I’ve never learned. I think I’d need chemical or electrical intervention.


  7. Excellent, Marilyn, so clear and strong in tone. I found this post really helpful. Thank you. xxx



  1. Daily Prompt: I Can’t Stay Mad at You – I’ll Have to Kill You Instead | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  2. Daily Prompt: I can’t Stay Mad At You, but there are always Exception to the Rule | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  3. Grudges & Forgiveness. | B.Kaotic
  4. I Can’t Stay Mad at You | My Atheist Blog
  5. Don’t Let A Resentment Destroy You! | The Political and Social Chaos Blog
  6. DAILY PROMPT: I Can’t Stay Mad at You | Nola Roots, Texas Heart

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