No bad intentions
One of the tenets of cognitive behavioural therapy is that nobody has bad intentions. It's something I've been grappling with for a while. When you've walked out of an abusive relationship it's really tough to wrap your head around that one.
Then, as so often happens, I had a moment of clarity. Looking back at that situation I don't believe my abuser ever woke up and thought, "hey! I'd like to smash her face into the floor today" or "what filthy names can I call my partner today?". I don't even think he particularly enjoyed the drama he created. He just wasn't emotionally equipped to deal with things not being exactly the way he wanted them at all times. He didn't have the maturity to deal with conflict in an adult manner and he hadn't been taught empathy or respect for others.
Does that mean he wasn't responsible? Not at all. Many of us have had to work really hard to build up an emotional toolbox. We all have had to do some deep soul dives to figure out where it is that we need to grow. We've all had to identify what triggers bad behaviour in us. It comes down to commiting ourselves to growth and to being better each day than we were the day before.
So it's not bad intentions that stop us from having a sense of joy in our lives but rather a lack of will to look at our lives and then work for change where it's necessary. That change is very likely going to be uncomfortable but as with all things that we work for, it will be so worthwhile.
I've accepted that the relationship that made me take a good, long, hard look at where I was and where I wanted to be was not a result of someone intentionally setting out to harm me. It was the result of getting involved with someone who just didn't care enough to make the changes that would allow him to have a happy relationship.
It's when we accept that a person's intentions were misguided rather than pure evil that we push ourselves along the path to forgiveness - not only of them but of ourselves for not seeing what was happening.
From forgiveness comes true healing. Forgiveness allows us to let go. Forgiveness allows us to move forward instead of staying stuck. Maybe this is a good time for us all to have a look at who it is that we need to forgive.