Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: Katana_Geldar on January 15, 2013, 04:37:04 PM

Title: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 15, 2013, 04:37:04 PM
A few years ago one of my friends was moving interstate and at a farewell drinks he talked to me outside away from the others and brought up a lot of the things I had said to him over the years and asked me why I said them to him.

I was shocked and upset that he'd hold onto things for so long and not forgive and forget as I had and told him so. Was I right in this?
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Marguette on January 15, 2013, 04:50:20 PM
“Right” and “wrong” aren’t really relevant here. He had feelings about the things you said in the past. You had feelings about him dragging those things up. You are both entitled to your feelings. How you both handled the feelings is what counts.

I can understand that if he was still feeling bad over things you had said, it would not go over well with him your saying that he should forget about it. It is not clear from your account whether he had made his feelings known back in the past at the times when you said those things, and whether you had apologized for saying them.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 15, 2013, 05:10:31 PM
From the way I understand it we had dealt with it then and moved on from that. Obviously he hadn't but I had no idea, until that moment, that he felt that way.

I wouldn't have minded discussing it with him if he felt so strongly about it and he had prepared me. But the fact he did it then and there was a real shock. I'd come to say goodbye to him and give him good wishes for e future, not to be confronted by past wrongs.

I had actually sort of cut ties with him a few years back as we started to move in different social circles. I tried to invite him to things we were doing, but after he didn't tell me he was working on the day we met up (and I woke up his mum early on a weekend) we kind of stopped seeing each other. And I didn't entirely regret it.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: LEMon on January 15, 2013, 07:22:38 PM
Ah, the surprise attack when you least expect it.  Hard to handle well.

I'm still trying to figure out what exactly he expected to happen with this talk.  If he truly needed closure, why did he pick a time when the two of you were not really alone and able to talk in depth?

I probably would have been blindsided and responded like you that I thought the issues resolved and forgiven.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: TurtleDove on January 15, 2013, 07:27:16 PM
It sounds like you had already addressed the wrongs.  The older I get, the more strongly I feel that if a person cannot forgive and (mostly) forget a perceived or actual wrong, it is best to sever the relationship.  Otherwise, the "wrong" becomes a weapon, which may be justified, but if it is, that is not the type of relationship I would want.   Hugs to the OP because I believe the friend was way out of line.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Calypso on January 15, 2013, 07:51:19 PM
I don't know in what way Katana's friend did it, but I can imagine myself asking "why" someone did something, not out of any desire to get them to apologize or feel bad or anything, but because I just really want to understand it. I have done this with my DH, working very hard to keep emotion out of my question and then thanking him profusely if he can come up with an answer (sometimes people really don't know why they do or say what they did).

 As a writer, I'm in such a habit of creating narratives, I think I can imagine almost any kind of human behavior, so if something doesn't fit, I do have an itch to understand it. But, I've never tried doing it after a lot of time has passed----it's so likely the person wouldn't begin to really remember the circumstances very well anyway at that point.

Just wanted to point out there *could* be a non-attacking reason to ask "why," although I don't know at all if that's why  ::) Katana's friend went there (FTR, a going away party seems an inopportune time, but not everyone has a good sense of time and place).
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 15, 2013, 08:23:06 PM
I'm not sure what he was expecting to happen either. I guess he wanted to 'tie up loose ends', but a lot of the things he mentioned happened years ago. Should not there be some sort of statute of limitations on past grievances.

He's not very socially aware, much more than me which why I stopped ganging out with him. I saw my own failings that I'd gotten over in him.

But this is the last time we saw each other, and it sort if colours everything else the time I knew him. And I don't think he realised that.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: citadelle on January 15, 2013, 08:30:52 PM
Maybe, since he was leaving, he intended to make a break with you by letting you know he had not forgiven/forgotten.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: blarg314 on January 15, 2013, 08:41:29 PM
This sounds like a totally brattish move to me.

I'll bet $50 that, if pressed, the guy would say something about wanting 'closure' on the relationship before he moved. In other words, he took it as an opportunity to lob a grenade composed of all the lingering irritations of years of contact at you, and run.  Without giving you the same courtesy, of course, and making sure that he wouldn't be around to deal with your reaction. 

I can see cases where you've got something festering in a relationship - something that happened, and didn't get dealt with, and still bothers you. And sometimes it can be useful to bring that up with the other person, to try to make the relationship healthier, although a lot of the time you have to suck it up and deal with it yourself. Very occasionally it can be worthwhile to say "I'm sorry - I can't get over X and it's interfering with my ability to be friends with you.

But it's pretty obvious that the guy here had no interest in improving the relationship or fixing thing.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 15, 2013, 08:44:56 PM
I have come to dislike the phrase "forgive and forget" because while forgiveness is a good thing and we should forgive others and move on, all mistakes are learning experiences on both sides and we don't really benefit when we forget.

Now that said, it doesn't mean one should hold a grudge and ambush another person with said grudge, especially if it's either a) something that has been brought up and apologized for or b) something that was never addressed before, thus not giving the offender (real or perceived) a chance to set things straight by an apology or what have you when it happened and thus possibly catching off guard when they may not even remember the events of the offense.  Especially if it was something that happened years ago and it was not something most would be offended by.  Ie "Wow, your homemade lasagna is very good!"

I could understand bringing up past wrongs if say, you'd apologized for something you said/done in the past and promised not to do again but then accidentally offended him again in a similar way.   But if it's something you apologized for months or years in advance and had not repeated the offense, then yeah, I think it falls under grudge territory.

So in short? Yeah, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't miss this guy when he left.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 15, 2013, 09:58:03 PM
Now I think back, I can recall one of the things we were talking about.

One was about his honours thesis. He asked me to critique it and after checking with him if he minded if I was honest, I gave him an honest but thorough appraisal. Said nothing about the subject or his argument, just his methods like sentence structure, punctuation, passive voice etc. I wasn't negative, I even gave him quite a bit if praise at how interesting he'd made his subject and pointed out how this could be better done. I was
 Apparently he'd been rather upset about it but I didn't hear it first from him, but from my younger sister.
He asked why I had done at as he'd put so much work into it, and I pointed out that he had wanted me to critique it and I warned him that I was going to be honest about it. Maybe he expected me to coddle him and say it was amazing?
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: rashea on January 16, 2013, 09:52:31 AM
Sounds like you're well rid of him.

Honestly, once something has been dealt with, I don't think it should be brought up again unless the behavior continues.

And don't ask for criticism if all you want is praise!
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: bah12 on January 16, 2013, 10:04:16 AM
I don't really think there is a statue of limitations on when "past wrongs" can be dealt with.  Obviously, it makes more sense (at least to me anyway) to deal with things as they come up, but not everyone has the courage or the ability to do that.

I get that you felt that he had attacked you and you weren't expecting it.  But to give him some credit, he did have a private conversation with you, away from others.  He didn't berate you in front of the rest of the party.  I would assume that because he is moving away, it is easier for him to confront you, because he doesn't have to interact with you again if things didn't go well.  I also imagine the question "why did you say those things?" is so that he can understand what was going on and perhaps improve his relationships at his new location.

So basically, I don't think it's necessarily rude to bring up something that was hurtful just because time has passed.  I think this can be done in a rude way, but that's regardless of how much time has elapsed.  If I were you, I'd take it as a learning moment.  You didn't realize that you had done things to make this guy feel bad and now you know.  It's a good check for when you interact with others in the future.  (Now, if he had confronted you about these before and then brought them up again, I think it would be very different).

And all that being said, I don't blame you for how you feel.  Showing up to say good-bye to someone and having them tell you, suddenly, that you've been hurtful to them in the past is unexpected. 
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Shoo on January 16, 2013, 10:08:01 AM
Honestly, the guy sounds tedious and immature. 
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: oceanus on January 16, 2013, 10:09:35 AM
This is an example where someone claims to want honesty, but they really don’t (unless it matches what they want to hear). 

I don’t know what else you may have said to him that offended him, but I think the best route is to say “We already discussed that, and I thought we put it behind us.  I see no point in rehashing it.  It’s past time to move on.  I wish you well.”
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Cat-Fu on January 16, 2013, 10:20:10 AM
Ah, a classic FeelingsBomb, launched at you while he was running away. TBH I can't say I'd have the patience to listen to the entire thing—I don't see anything wrong with your reaction.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Jeremy on January 16, 2013, 11:07:15 AM
Now I think back, I can recall one of the things we were talking about.

One was about his honours thesis. He asked me to critique it and after checking with him if he minded if I was honest, I gave him an honest but thorough appraisal. Said nothing about the subject or his argument, just his methods like sentence structure, punctuation, passive voice etc. I wasn't negative, I even gave him quite a bit if praise at how interesting he'd made his subject and pointed out how this could be better done. I was
 Apparently he'd been rather upset about it but I didn't hear it first from him, but from my younger sister.
He asked why I had done at as he'd put so much work into it, and I pointed out that he had wanted me to critique it and I warned him that I was going to be honest about it. Maybe he expected me to coddle him and say it was amazing?

He sounds like the resentful and begrudging type who, instead of confronting you and letting it go, enjoys stewing in it and being indirectly agressive by talking about your perceived failings to others, or making little barbed remarks and hints about how you've upset him.  I honestly detest people who do this.  No good could ever have come out of the conversation he had with you, and as you've probably realised, you're better off without people like that.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Zilla on January 16, 2013, 11:13:49 AM
I think it's highly odd and petty but at least he got you alone and asked.  Only thing I could think of was that he didn't care if lost your friendship at that point by asking what he always wondered about.  (If you had taken offense)
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: MeowMixer on January 16, 2013, 11:42:22 AM
You're well rid of him. I like Cat-Fu's 'Feelingsbomb' phrase. How can you respond to that, especially so well after the fact? And I'm sorry, but what he pulled with his thesis was really lame.  when you ask someone to be honest expect honesty, when you're fishing for compliments hire someone for that. A true friend wants what's best for you and won't shluff you off with flattery to save your feelings.

You don't need that in your life. I had one of those, they make you question everything long after the fact because by the time they blow it up in your face some details may be fuzzy. Not worth the drama.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on January 16, 2013, 01:37:06 PM
I think it was stupid for said friend to bring up these things when moving and not beforehand when they happened, if they bothered him so much.

I would have replied, "I guess we won't need to keep in contact after your move, will we?" and walked away.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Sharnita on January 16, 2013, 01:47:59 PM
OP, how did you end up at his farewell drinks?  Whose idea was the farewell, who asked you to come along, etc?  You mentioned that ties had kind of been cut - maybe he was surprised or even uncomfortable having you there?
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: lurkerwisp on January 16, 2013, 03:03:25 PM
Really only the person in the position of the forgiver instead of the forgivee can decide if they're going to "forgive and forget."  You said that you instructed him to do so, but all that time ago he may not have been ready yet.  He was willing to talk to you now, and may have been more ready to forgive.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 16, 2013, 03:11:57 PM
OP, how did you end up at his farewell drinks?  Whose idea was the farewell, who asked you to come along, etc?  You mentioned that ties had kind of been cut - maybe he was surprised or even uncomfortable having you there?

Well, he still had my number and he had mine. We just hadn't talked in ages.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: LazyDaisy on January 16, 2013, 03:24:27 PM
OP, how did you end up at his farewell drinks?  Whose idea was the farewell, who asked you to come along, etc?  You mentioned that ties had kind of been cut - maybe he was surprised or even uncomfortable having you there?

I'm afraid that was my first thought too. Perhaps he felt ambushed by your appearing at his party after you had, according to you, cut ties with him a few years back. What was your purpose for being there if the friendship was already over?

In general though to your question about there being a statute of limitations on past grievances. In short, no. Some grievances can be so hurtful that even a heartfelt "sorry" and time will never be enough. I have no idea if you did anything at that level, but it sounds like until you showed up at his party, he was content to cut ties with you as well.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 16, 2013, 04:29:23 PM
Well, we hadn't been unfriendly, we had just sort of lost touch. I had different friends now and so did he, we were no longer having classes together. That sort of thing.

I was rather surprised, but not overly so, when he asked if I wanted to come. But was it for the purpose of ambushing me like this?

And no, I hadn't done anything deliberately hurtful that he'd been stewing over. But it is rather annoying to think back a few years and try and work out why you said something all those years ago.

I have no idea what sort of response he was expecting to get from me, to be honest. Was I supposed to be apologetic and understanding? I wasn't, I was annoyed and upset.

I wonder if he realises that despite the fact we knew each other for years, this is going to be my lasting memory of him.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: bah12 on January 16, 2013, 05:51:47 PM
Well, we hadn't been unfriendly, we had just sort of lost touch. I had different friends now and so did he, we were no longer having classes together. That sort of thing.

I was rather surprised, but not overly so, when he asked if I wanted to come. But was it for the purpose of ambushing me like this?

And no, I hadn't done anything deliberately hurtful that he'd been stewing over. But it is rather annoying to think back a few years and try and work out why you said something all those years ago.

I have no idea what sort of response he was expecting to get from me, to be honest. Was I supposed to be apologetic and understanding? I wasn't, I was annoyed and upset.

I wonder if he realises that despite the fact we knew each other for years, this is going to be my lasting memory of him.

He asked you why you said those things to him...so isn't it possible that he just wanted to know why you said those things.  Looking for understanding vs. looking for an apology or an argument.

Don't get me wrong, I understand why you were thrown off, especially considering that he invited you to his going away. But, I don't think that it's necessarily wrong to bring up something from the past as long as it's done in a polite way.  He talked to you privately, didn't berate you in front of others, etc.   Maybe the timing was awkward (or maybe this was just his only opportunity).  It doesn't sound like these were things that he dealt with back when they happened and like I said before, even though it may make more sense and seem better to handle things as they come up, not everyone does it. 

In other words, I don't think the problem here is timing in terms of the legth of time between the offense and his confronting you about it, more than the timing of when he chose to do it.  Perhaps it would have been better to choose a different time/location.  Although, I don't necessarily think that pulling you over privately at a party is all that bad as long as you didn't spend the whole party having this coversation....a few minutes to ask you "why?" is not all that bad, IMO.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 16, 2013, 06:56:00 PM
I wouldn't have minded something like this soon after I said it, but two to three years after? Why would he bother hanging on to something for that long and be angry, upset about it?

Hanging on to something like that takes effort. Wasted effort, in my opinion. There's better things you can be doing than worrying about something someone said to you more than two years ago.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: bah12 on January 17, 2013, 10:01:15 AM
I wouldn't have minded something like this soon after I said it, but two to three years after? Why would he bother hanging on to something for that long and be angry, upset about it?

Hanging on to something like that takes effort. Wasted effort, in my opinion. There's better things you can be doing than worrying about something someone said to you more than two years ago.

That may be true.  But I also know a lot of people who carry past hurts with them even though they continue to have a positive relationship with the person who hurt them.   It doesn't make them rude, it just makes them unable to deal with feelings and move on...at least as quickly as you (general) do.

I understand that this was an awkward moment and a surprise of a conversation.  And if someone had asked me for advice on whether or not they should bring something from the past up, I may have suggested other ways to handle the feelings.  But, it's not rude to bring these things up...only rude ways to do it, IMO.   And it doesn't sound like your (old) friend was rude.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Winterlight on January 17, 2013, 10:09:27 AM
Ah, a classic FeelingsBomb, launched at you while he was running away. TBH I can't say I'd have the patience to listen to the entire thing—I don't see anything wrong with your reaction.

Seconded. If he had a problem, he'd had years to address it. Throwing them at you like a water balloon at a party was pretty cowardly.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Cat-Fu on January 17, 2013, 10:36:20 AM
I wouldn't have minded something like this soon after I said it, but two to three years after? Why would he bother hanging on to something for that long and be angry, upset about it?

Hanging on to something like that takes effort. Wasted effort, in my opinion. There's better things you can be doing than worrying about something someone said to you more than two years ago.

That may be true.  But I also know a lot of people who carry past hurts with them even though they continue to have a positive relationship with the person who hurt them.   It doesn't make them rude, it just makes them unable to deal with feelings and move on...at least as quickly as you (general) do.

I understand that this was an awkward moment and a surprise of a conversation.  And if someone had asked me for advice on whether or not they should bring something from the past up, I may have suggested other ways to handle the feelings.  But, it's not rude to bring these things up...only rude ways to do it, IMO.   And it doesn't sound like your (old) friend was rude.

I would argue that it is rude to dump five years' worth of bad feelings on someone. TBH it serves no reason other than for the one who has been simmering to lash out rather than deal with their feelings like an adult. I don't think that holding on to hurt feelings is rude, but a feelingsbomb (which I can't claim I made up) is. It makes someone else feel bad about things that really don't matter just so that you (general) can feel better.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 17, 2013, 11:08:40 AM
I'm not sure if I feel it is rude or not. I had sort of the opposite happen years and years ago. A friend had done something about a year earlier that had hurt me. He knew I was hurt, other friends knew I was hurt, but we never discussed it directly. We still hung out with the same friends but I just didn't interact with him one on one anymore. He took a job transfer and at his going away party (which was really our groups normal Friday night get together) he decided it was appropriate to pull me aside for a heart to heart to discuss what had happened a year before. Though he wanted to apologize and wanted me to forgive him he also wanted to explain his actions.  All I could think was "Why now? You're leaving and I'll probably never see you again nor stay in touch."

I never thought of his actions as rude, just bad timing, and sort of not worth the effort. 
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: bah12 on January 17, 2013, 11:35:15 AM
I wouldn't have minded something like this soon after I said it, but two to three years after? Why would he bother hanging on to something for that long and be angry, upset about it?

Hanging on to something like that takes effort. Wasted effort, in my opinion. There's better things you can be doing than worrying about something someone said to you more than two years ago.

That may be true.  But I also know a lot of people who carry past hurts with them even though they continue to have a positive relationship with the person who hurt them.   It doesn't make them rude, it just makes them unable to deal with feelings and move on...at least as quickly as you (general) do.

I understand that this was an awkward moment and a surprise of a conversation.  And if someone had asked me for advice on whether or not they should bring something from the past up, I may have suggested other ways to handle the feelings.  But, it's not rude to bring these things up...only rude ways to do it, IMO.   And it doesn't sound like your (old) friend was rude.

I would argue that it is rude to dump five years' worth of bad feelings on someone. TBH it serves no reason other than for the one who has been simmering to lash out rather than deal with their feelings like an adult. I don't think that holding on to hurt feelings is rude, but a feelingsbomb (which I can't claim I made up) is. It makes someone else feel bad about things that really don't matter just so that you (general) can feel better.

They don't matter to the OP, this is true...but obviously they mattered to this friend. I'm not an overly emotional person, but I still don't think it's rude if someone shares that their feelings were hurt, regardless of how much time has passed.  It only matters in how they do it.  The OP did not mention that he lashed out at her.  He pulled her aside at a party and asked her why she said certain things.  That's a perfectly legitimate question.  It doesn't even seem that he was looking for an apology or to make her feel bad, just ask "why?". The OP's only complaint was that those things were said years before...she forgot about them and so he should have too.

This interaction seems ill-timed and awkward.  But it's not rude. 
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: EMuir on January 17, 2013, 12:49:23 PM
I was once like the OP's friend.  I had low self-esteem so if someone insulted me I might protest but would give in at the slightest protestation, so I would say it was OK and then just continue on.  Once I gained self-esteem I realized that these previous situations weren't actually addressed.  Unfortunately in two separate situations it didn't work out well.  In one the person's response made me realize that they really didn't care how I felt about anything they said, no matter how hurtful, so I've given them the cut direct.  In the other, I think I was a bit too forceful and drove the person away. 

If he did indeed just ask you why you said those things, I don't think he was rude. You could have been a bit more empathetic and asked him if those issues were still bothering him after all this time and what you could do to help.  Or, since he was leaving, bean dipping and avoiding him was definitely an option.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: LEMon on January 17, 2013, 07:41:15 PM
The problem with bring something up from the past in such a sudden, unexpected fashion is just that - it is unexpected.  The person you need to talk about all this with has no clue that this is the reason you want to talk.  To do it at a party is really tough - op came to say 'goodbye', not to talk through the past.  If you genuinely do need to talk it through a going away party is not the place.  Invite the person to coffee, let them know you would like to talk a little about your relationship and some of the stuff from the past.  Give them a chance to be emotionally prepared to handle the conversation well.  You are much more likely to get closer to the conversation you want, especially if all you want is to understand why someone did something.

(all of this is general and directed at no one in particular)

I will admit if someone ask me 'why' I did something from the past, I might not honestly know any more.  Time has passed.  If we did talk about it at the time and I felt it was resolved, then I have probably not held the memory fresh in my mind.  If we didn't talk about it at the time and I didn't know it was an issue, I probably forgot about it because it isn't important to me.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: bah12 on January 18, 2013, 10:03:14 AM
The problem with bring something up from the past in such a sudden, unexpected fashion is just that - it is unexpected.  The person you need to talk about all this with has no clue that this is the reason you want to talk.  To do it at a party is really tough - op came to say 'goodbye', not to talk through the past.  If you genuinely do need to talk it through a going away party is not the place.  Invite the person to coffee, let them know you would like to talk a little about your relationship and some of the stuff from the past.  Give them a chance to be emotionally prepared to handle the conversation well.  You are much more likely to get closer to the conversation you want, especially if all you want is to understand why someone did something.

(all of this is general and directed at no one in particular)

I will admit if someone ask me 'why' I did something from the past, I might not honestly know any more.  Time has passed.  If we did talk about it at the time and I felt it was resolved, then I have probably not held the memory fresh in my mind.  If we didn't talk about it at the time and I didn't know it was an issue, I probably forgot about it because it isn't important to me.

And I think that's a legitimate answer to a legitimate question.  "I'm not sure.  That happened so long ago and I didn't even know it was an issue.  I forgot all about it and can't even tell you what I was thinking or what the circumstances were back then."

It answers the question honestly and lets the person know that maybe bringing it up sooner would have helped resolve things more decisively. 

I don't think that getting angry and saying "What?  That was like five years ago? Why are you even still thinking about that?  You should have confronted me about this years ago.  This isn't worth my time."  Is not the right answer to the question (I'm not actually accusing the OP of this, it's just an example). 

I agree that the friend could have picked a better time/location to have this conversation with the OP, and I don't blame her for her feelings.  I just don't think her friend was rude to bring up something from the past.  He seems to have had the coversation with her privately and calmly, so he's good there too.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Winterlight on January 18, 2013, 10:16:16 AM
The problem with bring something up from the past in such a sudden, unexpected fashion is just that - it is unexpected.  The person you need to talk about all this with has no clue that this is the reason you want to talk.  To do it at a party is really tough - op came to say 'goodbye', not to talk through the past.  If you genuinely do need to talk it through a going away party is not the place.  Invite the person to coffee, let them know you would like to talk a little about your relationship and some of the stuff from the past.  Give them a chance to be emotionally prepared to handle the conversation well.  You are much more likely to get closer to the conversation you want, especially if all you want is to understand why someone did something.

(all of this is general and directed at no one in particular)

I will admit if someone ask me 'why' I did something from the past, I might not honestly know any more.  Time has passed.  If we did talk about it at the time and I felt it was resolved, then I have probably not held the memory fresh in my mind.  If we didn't talk about it at the time and I didn't know it was an issue, I probably forgot about it because it isn't important to me.

Exactly. Hitting someone with this out of nowhere is not cool.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: BarensMom on January 18, 2013, 10:53:01 AM
My family is the champion of nursing old wrongs and bringing them up years later.  My sister recently asked me why I did something hurtful to her daughter back when I was 14 and why didn't our parents punish me.  I am now 54.
Title: Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
Post by: Giggity on January 18, 2013, 11:25:31 AM
I was shocked and upset that he'd hold onto things for so long and not forgive and forget as I had and told him so. Was I right in this?

Not sure feelings are right or wrong.