Author Topic: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?  (Read 5688 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

weeblewobble

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3265
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2013, 05:10:22 PM »
In a word, "NO."

When someone says, "That was in the past" or "you should be over it by now" or similar, what they're basically telling you is, "I don't want to put forth the emotional effort or ding to my pride/sense of righteousness to do the work required for you to forgive me."  or if they are telling you to forgive someone else for "past" deeds, they're saying, "Your feelings are uncomfortable and inconvenient for me, so stop having them."

And I'm sorry, no.  If someone wants the reward of forgiveness, peace, family harmony, they have to put in the work required to achieve it.

I have a family member who not only plays the "that is in the past" card, but the additional, "I don't remember it happening that way" trump card.  And in all honesty, due to various health and drug-related issues, she may not remember her dangerous, selfish actions.  But I DO.  They affected me and my family.  They hurt me.  They have left an impact on me.  To ask me to brush that impact aside without addressing the core issues is a cop-out and I refuse to participate in that.

Figgie

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 402
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2013, 06:06:44 PM »
My understanding on 12-step programs is that you take a moral inventory, admit to another person the exact nature of your wrongs, become willing to make amends to the people you have wronged and then make direct amends to that person except when to do so would injure them or others.  You are also supposed to continue to take a moral inventory (for the rest of your life) and promptly admit when you are wrong.

Nothing in there about apologizing and being forgiven.  Making amends might include a specific apology, but it is far, far more than just apologizing.  It also does not require the person who was wronged to accept the apology or to have anything to do with the person who is attempting to make amends.

Sometimes people never are able to leave the self-centered viewpoint they have and accept that there are some wrongs you can't ever make better and that no one is required to forgive and forget. 

I'm sorry that your brother is behaving the way that he is!

veronaz

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2022
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2013, 06:12:59 PM »
Lots of good responses.

This one hits home:

Quote
if they are telling you to forgive someone else for "past" deeds, they're saying, "Your feelings are uncomfortable and inconvenient for me, so stop having them."

Yeah.  It also often means “I want you to have a relationship with (the guilty) party, so you need to get over it.”

The funny thing is they usually have no clue whatsoever what really happened, or they have gotten a sifted, finely-tuned and edited version and they choose to keep drinking the Kool-Aid that the guilty party is serving.   ::)

Lorelei_Evil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2013
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2013, 06:23:20 PM »
Yeah, know the lyrics to that song.  The chorus goes "you don't matter as much as them, I don't care if it hurts."

Otterpop

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1242
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2013, 06:32:22 PM »
Reminds me of "The Lion King" movie where Rafiki bops Simba on the head.  When Simba asks "Why'd you do that?" Rafiki responds "Doesn't matter, it's in the past."

The lesson to Simba was that past actions have current consequences.  It's absurd to "erase" what happened.  You can only build on it and continue from there, whichever direction, your choice.

Funny how those with egregious behavior love to pull this one out.  Also, in 12 step programs, isn't the participant supposed to accept it when people don't receive the apology with open arms?
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 06:35:14 PM by Otterpop »

misha412

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 444
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2013, 07:22:54 PM »
“That was in the past” – does this erase everything?

In general, my answer to that is "No".

If it important enough for a person to bring it up in the present for discussion, it is likely important enough that saying "it was in the past" is not going to work. Most sane people are not going to hold on to events in the past unless they were hurt or offended. If it was an hour ago or twenty years ago, that fact does not change.

An example: I have heard of people going to high school reunions and confronting the people who bullied them. The bullies see it as a harmless part of their past. For the people who were bullied, it was an event or series of events that changed their lives immeasurably. If one of the bullies tries to say "that was in the past", that does not erase a thing.

shhh its me

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6900
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2013, 07:57:42 PM »
“That was in the past” – does this erase everything?

In general, my answer to that is "No".

If it important enough for a person to bring it up in the present for discussion, it is likely important enough that saying "it was in the past" is not going to work. Most sane people are not going to hold on to events in the past unless they were hurt or offended. If it was an hour ago or twenty years ago, that fact does not change.

An example: I have heard of people going to high school reunions and confronting the people who bullied them. The bullies see it as a harmless part of their past. For the people who were bullied, it was an event or series of events that changed their lives immeasurably. If one of the bullies tries to say "that was in the past", that does not erase a thing.

I think if we asked 100 people we would get 100 different answers on exactly when someone needs to "let go" or when someone has atoned.  Im not talking just about insane grudges or oblivious to the harm they have caused people, I mean 2 sane emotionally healthy people can disagree on when atonement has been made , when its time to stop discussing.

VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12734
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2013, 10:15:42 PM »
No - the past can leave physical, emotional, and mental scars - if one of the mean girls who bullied me in school were to apologize NOW (it's been forty years - dang, I don't FEEL that old) - I might forgive them.  But I would be very unlikely to want to get into a BFF love fest and talk about the good old days back in high school (or junior high).  Because, seriously, they weren't the good old days for ME!
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

zinzin

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 56
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2013, 12:57:34 AM »
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.

I doubt your brother was told that by someone in the program because that's not how it works. You should understand that he's misrepresenting it to you.

misha412

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 444
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2013, 01:12:25 AM »
“That was in the past” – does this erase everything?

In general, my answer to that is "No".

If it important enough for a person to bring it up in the present for discussion, it is likely important enough that saying "it was in the past" is not going to work. Most sane people are not going to hold on to events in the past unless they were hurt or offended. If it was an hour ago or twenty years ago, that fact does not change.

An example: I have heard of people going to high school reunions and confronting the people who bullied them. The bullies see it as a harmless part of their past. For the people who were bullied, it was an event or series of events that changed their lives immeasurably. If one of the bullies tries to say "that was in the past", that does not erase a thing.

I think if we asked 100 people we would get 100 different answers on exactly when someone needs to "let go" or when someone has atoned.  Im not talking just about insane grudges or oblivious to the harm they have caused people, I mean 2 sane emotionally healthy people can disagree on when atonement has been made , when its time to stop discussing.

No one can force another to discuss an issue. It takes two people to have a discussion. If one chooses not to participate and walks away/hangs up the phone/stops texting, then it cannot happen.

I was trying to make the point that if one person thinks a subject is important enough to discuss, the other person cannot dismiss the subject with the phrase "that is in the past". The offending person can choose not to discuss it and walk away. That does not diminish the fact that the person who wants to discuss it is holding something from the past.

ishka

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 84
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2013, 03:30:51 AM »
The fact is that, no matter how much some people may insist, the passing of time does not erase anything. 

Wounds may heal but that does not mean that injury was not done.

I find that "it was in the past" usually does not mean "I'm sorry and I hope you can forgive me and allow our relationship to move forward" but something more along the lines of "I have decided that my past actions should be literally forgotten and if you insist on not forgetting you are being petty and toxic".

It is one thing to try and make amends, it is another to demand that history be re-written, and the onus is not on the person who suffered damage to pretend that no damage was suffered.

LifeOnPluto

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6499
    • Blog
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2013, 04:26:37 AM »
Regarding the scenario in the OP, let's see if I've got this right.

- Person A does / says something very hurtful to Person B.
- Years pass, in which Person A and Person B have no contact.
- Person A and Person B are now forced to interact, about something else unrelated.
- Person A (unprompted) says to Person B "I don't want to talk about the past".

To me, it sounds like Person A has a guilty conscience, but doesn't want to accept responsibility for their actions. If I was Person B, I'd say "Why? Are you ashamed?"


I think the sentiment: "That was in the past" can be used if BOTH parties hurt each other, and Person A says to Person B "I'd like us to move forward and have a better relationship. Let's put our mutual bad behaviour behind us" etc.

PastryGoddess

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4614
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2013, 07:22:53 AM »
I agree with the posters who said that only the victim can make that statement.  If you (general) behave badly towards me, you don't get to decide when I'm over it or that I even need to get over it.  That's my decision to make not yours.

veronaz

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2022
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2013, 10:09:59 AM »
Regarding the scenario in the OP, let's see if I've got this right.

- Person A does / says something very hurtful to Person B.
- Years pass, in which Person A and Person B have no contact.
- Person A and Person B are now forced to interact, about something else unrelated.
- Person A (unprompted) says to Person B "I don't want to talk about the past".

To me, it sounds like Person A has a guilty conscience, but doesn't want to accept responsibility for their actions. If I was Person B, I'd say "Why? Are you ashamed?"


I think the sentiment: "That was in the past" can be used if BOTH parties hurt each other, and Person A says to Person B "I'd like us to move forward and have a better relationship. Let's put our mutual bad behaviour behind us" etc.

You are correct about the scenario in the OP. 

That actually happened to me (not recently, but it’s a good example). I contacted Person A via email about s family matter, but didn’t bring up anything at all about his insulting, hurtful behavior.  My email was polite and to the point.  I got a reply email where he began by saying "I don’t want to discuss the past”.  I remember thinking “What the……? ???  It was ridiculous, and I didn't respond.  Then Person A sent a derogatory (about me) email to someone (apparently trying to cover his butt, which wasn't even necessary) and erroneously forwarded a copy to me!!  :o   Proof that he hadn’t changed – he was still his old backstabbing, sneaky self.  ::) <sigh>

Since then, I have no desire to discuss the past, present, future, world events, price of tea in China, or anything else with him TBH.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 05:03:29 PM by veronaz »

Cami

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1307
Re: “That was in the past” – does this erase everything?
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2013, 04:33:49 PM »


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)))
Agreed. Snowdragon's brother wasn't a jerk because he was drinking. He's a jerk, period.