Regrets, repairs and reconciliations

Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

Humans are interesting and odd creatures. People are weird and wonderful. Individuals have the capacity to both destroy and repair. The foundation of any relationship is built upon the trust factor. And betrayal cuts like the sharpest scalpel.

The Greeks created four words to describe love: Agape (unconditional love), Eros (romantic love), Phileo (friendship) and Storge (family loyalty). Feelings of loss echo in the mind, body and soul when love turns sour. Stephen R. Covey proclaimed, “Our greatest joy and our greatest pain comes in our relationships with others.”

As we age, our regrets tend to visit, especially when death is near. Confession cleanses a guilty conscience. And forgiveness is the ointment that can heal years of turmoil and turbulence. Relationships are curious things.

Sibling relationships

Whether sibling rivalry, revenge or retribution, the reasons may not be as important as the end result of reconciliation. Each individual carries his/her own perception of what is fact and what is fiction; what is the truth and what is a lie — the mind is a tricky place within a sticky space.

My maternal grandfather committed a gregarious deed against his brother in their younger years, and as a result, their sibling relationship ended. But there was a deathbed confession at the hospital with forgiveness given. Confession alleviates secrets or sins for the dying person.

The Holy Bible is full of broken and fixed relationships. Jacob and Esau were estranged for more than 20 years before reconciliation. Joseph and his brothers were reunited after they had sold him into slavery. But there are stories of regret without a happy ending. Cain killed his brother Abel.

Parent and child relationships

My paternal grandfather abandoned his family and reconciliation was not achieved. I guess some hurts are too hurtful for salvaging and some relational ruptures cannot be repaired.

“Done with the Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children,” a 2016 book by Sheri McGregor, reviews the latest research from 9,000 parents of estranged adult children. I cannot fathom a mother’s unbearable pain when her adult child forsakes her.

Marriage relationships

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends, about 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce.

When further examining marriages: 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, 67 percent of second marriages end in divorce and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce, according to an article by Mark Banschick in “Psychology Today.

Unfaithfulness, disloyalty and betrayal along with callous words wound emotional cores. Bitterness, resentment and hatred are poisonous potions.

I’m sure divorced couples have regrets when romantic repairs and reconciliations do not happen. But, for the sake of the children, parents need functional communication when a positive parenting relationship is not forthcoming.

Friends and relationships

The double deception of a life-shattering betrayal is finding your best friend in bed with your spouse or partner. “Lost friends are as haunting as lost lovers, and just as hard to replace,” writes Jeanne Safer, a psychologist.

Judas Iscariot, one of the original 12 disciples, betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Later, Judas experienced remorse and committed suicide — he couldn’t comprehend that the love of Jesus had already forgiven him.

Relationships consist of regrets, repairs and reconciliations because humans are flawed and imperfect people. However, sometimes restoration doesn’t arrive.

But forgiveness is the remedy for humanity’s brokenness. “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love,” writes Bryant McGill.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio.