By: Marilyn L. Davis
Repairing a Relationship Helps Renew Trust
Restitution Releases the Past
Restitution is compensation for losses, damages, or restoring something to its former self. But can relationships ever be restored to their former self? I honestly don’t think so. It’s rather like the quote from Walter Inglis Anderson, “Trust is like a vase…once it’s broken, though you can fix it, the vase will never be the same again.”
I want to think that relationships could be like the Kintsukuroi, where gold is used to repair damaged pottery and is considered more valuable with its brokenness highlighted.
Repairing and Restoring Because It’s Worth It
However, it’s been my experience that relationships don’t improve quickly, nor are they deemed more valuable, even when we try to repair the relationships. I’ve refinished many pieces of furniture. Some just required a good cleaning, getting the year’s worth of grime removed, then polishing it. Others needed a light sanding and then some Old English Scratch Cover. Then others needed extensive repairs requiring wood glue and clamps and ensuring that the repaired sections matched.
Why did I go to so much trouble to repair a piece of furniture? Because underneath the grime, scratches, and splitting wood, the piece was worth the restoration.
I did many terrible things in my use, and that included actions that harmed my children. I can’t say that our relationships before my use were The Brady Bunch, Ozzy and Harriet, or today’s perfect family, whatever that is called. Dur to my codependency issues. low self-esteem, and an unrealistic idea of what motherhood was, I’m sure I wasn’t the poster child.
My relationship with my mother was strained due, in part, to her issues of untreated OCD. I’m not blaming her, but there wasn’t much to copy in my relationship with my children based on modeling myself after her. And besides, no child comes to this earth with directions tattooed on their little behinds.
Children Aren’t China or the Buffett
“Accomplishments don’t erase shame, hatred, cruelty, silence, ignorance, discrimination, low self-esteem or immorality. It covers it up, with a creative version of pride and ego. Only restitution, forgiving yourself and others, compassion, repentance and living with dignity will ever erase the past.” ―
I want my relationships to improve with my children, but they aren’t pottery or a buffet. So, the flaws aren’t viewed as valuable as the gold filling on the pottery, and the repaired places still show.
However, I’ll be grateful for the time they do spend with me.
Making Amends to Heal a Relationship
Making amends helps us heal. We no longer have to feel shame and guilt if we make an effort to clean up our side of the street. Making this effort, regardless of the outcome, is all we can do. We go to the people we have harmed and ask them, “What can I do to improve this relationship?”
Sometimes, they will give us specific ways to improve that relationship. Sometimes, they want nothing from us but to stay in recovery. Other times, they want nothing to do with us, and we must accept that fact. This is why you must recognize when you’ve done your part in the amends process.
You won’t be able to repair every relationship and must acknowledge and accept that. Be grateful that some people let you back into their lives.
Writing and recovery heal the heart
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink
She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate available on Amazon.
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