Author Topic: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?  (Read 5759 times)

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veronaz

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“That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« on: August 31, 2013, 11:59:43 AM »
I suspect most of us have heard that phrase.  But I sometimes find that people use it to weasel out of being accountable and taking responsibility, or they don’t want to talk about something that makes them uncomfortable......or make them look and feel guilty.

Technically, if something happened yesterday, or even 5 minutes ago, it was “in the past”.  But usually much more time has lapsed.

I understand and appreciate that if someone keeps bringing up something that happened years ago that was discussed, supposedly resolved, and they’re still mad about it, they need to let it go.  Even if the situation was never resolved, I realize that sometimes one just has to put things into their proper perspective and move on.

But how about this:  Someone is slighted or insulted, and the other person knows it but never apologizes or makes an effort to ‘make things right’ or even acknowledge any wrongdoing.  Time passes (months or even years).  The person who was insulted never brings it up or discusses the incident with anyone.  These two people see each other or have a reason to communicate about something unrelated to what happened, and the person who did/said something wrong right off the bat says “I don’t want to talk about the past”.  ??? What?

I know…………”it all depends”.  But generally speaking, what are the parameters of “in the past” and when is it okay/not okay to bring up past transgressions?





snowdragon

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2013, 12:23:36 PM »
If it was a one off - I will forgive and let go   if it was a lifestyle sty;e of treating me bad, you ( general through out ) have some proving to do. There is a difference , too, between holding a grudge and not setting yourself up for further abuse.

  I have a brother who is nothing short of a donkey's behind ( and the donkey's behind should be insulted as a comparsion) - he's a mean drunk who has made my life miserable since I was a kid. He's proud of being this way and thinks I "need to grow up and learn to take a 'joke'." He recently joined AAA and is trying to do their 12 step program and has been told he needs to "Make amends with the people in his life" - except that there is nothing he could do at this point to fix things. Now he insists that since I won't "just let things go and be a normal sister/brother relationship with him" that *I* 'am keeping him in the rut of being an alcoholic"  basically - he's feels he's changed and why can't I see that and accept that and forget everything he ever did to me and......realize that his actions were in the past and..."
  He may well have changed...but I am not obligated to start what should been a close relationship all our lives, at 50 something.
  People who have made the mistakes that necessitate using that phrase need to come to terms with the fact that trust has to be built and that phrase can't do it.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2013, 12:53:50 PM »
(All 'you's general)  It may be all in the past but I'm an elephant - I remember everything.  So while I might accept that you have changed, what happened in the past is going to keep me from trusting you just on your say so.  Show me you've changed completely and I will thaw but I will never trust you 100%.  And we are never going to be best of friends.  We may have a great time but I'm never going to trust you with my deepest feelings and secrets.

snowdragon, from what I know of the AA program, your brother isn't following it.  He's supposed to try to make amends but not if that would be hurtful to the person to whom you should be making amends.  And it sounds like that definitely is not the case with you.  (((snowdragon)))
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veronaz

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2013, 01:03:00 PM »
I don’t think it’s always about trust.

Some actions (and words) are so egregious they have far-reaching effects and a flippant or even a sincere “That was in the past” can’t erase them.  That’s not to say the wronged party is still fuming or crying in their pillow (if that was even ever the case).  Sometimes a “the less we have to do with each other, the better” position is best. 

Twik

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2013, 01:07:44 PM »
Prisons are full of people who insist that "it's in the past, why don't you let it go?"
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Venus193

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2013, 01:17:04 PM »
I don’t think it’s always about trust.

Some actions (and words) are so egregious they have far-reaching effects and a flippant or even a sincere “That was in the past” can’t erase them.  That’s not to say the wronged party is still fuming or crying in their pillow (if that was even ever the case).  Sometimes a “the less we have to do with each other, the better” position is best.

Ditto.

It's not about how long ago; it's about whether amends were made or could be.

Lorelei_Evil

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2013, 01:19:16 PM »
Prisons are full of people who insist that "it's in the past, why don't you let it go?"

POD.  That one ranks up there with "I said sorry, so you can't be upset anymore!"  Which was the mission statement of one of my exes. 

It is a common "weasel out" tactic, but can be a sign of something more if you're hung up on small perceived slights.

Amends should be made if possible.

lkdrymom

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2013, 01:26:16 PM »
I see you met my ex husband. Any rotten thing he did to me during our marriage or during the divorce was "in the past" and I should just forget it ever happened.  And it is true, he could not take responcibility for the things he had done.

Acadianna

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2013, 01:32:29 PM »
I've found that people use that phrase for two reasons:

1) They want to be absolved of the well-deserved guilt they feel;
and/or
2) They want to escape the consequences of their actions.

In other words, it's all about them.  Their victims should feel no obligation to comply.

The cause may be in the past, but the pain continues in the present.  Remove the victim's pain -- make him or her whole again -- and then that phrase might have meaning.

blue2000

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2013, 02:13:59 PM »
The problem that I have with this statement is that usually it isn't the past.

A lot of people who say this are exactly the same person they were before. Figuratively speaking, they are still holding the knife they stabbed me with. I will believe it is in the past when they put down the knife and are regretful of what happened.
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daen

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2013, 02:17:51 PM »
In my opinion, the only person who can use "That was in the past" is the person who was the victim.

Edited because I know the difference between "pass" and "past."

NyaChan

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2013, 02:31:11 PM »
Yes it was in the past, but what's changed since then?  That's the deciding factor for me.

Tea Drinker

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2013, 03:26:50 PM »
Yes, it was in the past.

So are any good memories you shared, and any good things they ever did for you. A blank slate would mean starting as if with a stranger, or with a second cousin once removed who you last saw at some family event when you were six.

If someone has changed, they get a chance to demonstrate that. But the AA example above is relevant: "I was a bad person then, and I want to make amends by doing X" is different from "It's not my fault, I was drinking, you have to pretend it never happened even though I'm not offering to make amends."

There is no obligation to accept an apology, if you're still hurt or just don't want to. Nor, if you do accept one, does it mean "I forgive you for hurting me, and it's okay to hurt me the same way again."
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finecabernet

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2013, 03:40:33 PM »
It has been my experience that people who say this are usually the kind who remember slights against them for extended periods of time while insisting that you need to put their transgressions against you in the past.

shhh its me

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Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2013, 05:07:29 PM »
   I've been on both sides of this ....

When I was 25-30 from mom (who is an Olympic grudge holder) her " you all the time." me "what are you talking about." her " well you lied about going to a movie when you were really going to a party" ...Me " huh?  what are you talking about.  YOU MEAN WHEN I WAS 14?" .   What she thought I was lying about made it surreal to the point I sincerely thought she needed medication.  My father also gave her a bad  birthday gift the first year they were married I know because she brought it up a few times a year to spite the 30 plus year of good gifts he gave her after that.  and it wasn't as if the gift was bowling shoes in his size or a vacuum (which some housewife would have found insulting )  she is a person who needs to have the entire pallet  of clue by fours engraved with "it was in the past" dropped on her head.

I have also heard "that was the past lets just move on from here"  meaning last week and followed with the phrase "but I still don't see what I did that was so wrong."   I think its most relative in "one of" or short term things that weren't egregious , fault has been admitted and amends have been made. 

It think with long term things such as snowdragon its not just about forgiveness its all the things that didn't happen over the years because of the "bad behavior" all those things that didn't happen or didn't go well are what builds the relationship. Even if you could completely forgive someone and really want to move on you missed 30 years of good relationship opportunities.  Every bad memory isnt just something that needs to be forgiven it was also a missed opportunity for a good memory.

I don't think there can be a 'rule" when its ok to express the sentiment "the issue is that you wont move on, not the mistake I made" most of the time its not as clear cut as the examples I used.

I have heard people say "it was in a past" to the guilty party.