I had a cousin called Lucy. She was a sweet introverted lady who had a shy smile that easily warmed her way to people she met. Lucy had a boyfriend. One day, she was found dead in her apartment with her boyfriend unconscious. At first we thought they were both attacked by robbers or possibly assasins, but a suicide note was found in the apartment written by her boyfriend who had obviously killed Lucy in a moment of rage.

What had happened?

Apparently Lucy had been considering calling off her relationship with the young man because she was increasingly becoming afraid of his tantrums and tendencies for extreme emotional outbursts. A week to the incident, she had actually shared her concerns with her elder sister and insisted she had decided to call the relationship off.

We later gathered that the night Lucy was killed was when she finally summoned courage and decided to end the relationship. In a fit of rage and disagreement over her decision, he had lost his temper and stabbed her multiple times.

Her mangled remains were what we had to bury while he was taken to the hospital and eventually prison.

Yes he didn’t die. He ended up in prison.

I totally understand with Lucy’s boyfriend.

Heart ache can be so confusingly painful. It’s the kind of pain that you feel but can’t locate. You just feel it. It’s really painful when we believe we have loved sincerely and done all it took to make a relationship (any kind) work and end up being given the boot.

At that point we’re faced with several emotions battling for control of us.

Rejection, pain, bitterness and even regret could play out easily in us when these kinds of situations come. A generous mix of these emotions are all that is required to loose all sense of reasoning and judgment and do the unthinkable.

When we get to this seeming point of no return, all we can think of is how to get even with the person(s) who we perceive have wronged us. And yes, sometimes we truly have a just cause for revenge. I remember when I lost my nine year relationship, I felt hurt, cheated, betrayed and was really bitter. Getting even was not a bad idea at all.

Have you ever been at that point where you have actually revenged? It’s really sweet to watch those who have hurt you suffer, but no sooner after the revenge, sense of reason returns and you begin to ask yourself if it was worth it after all. The weight actually shifts from the one who wronged you to you who chose to revenge rather than walk away. Revenge and other impulsive behaviors actually come with a price.

Just like in Lucy’s case, her boyfriend ended up in jail. Some of us are not necessarily in the public jail cells, but in the jails of several ills like unforgiveness.

I remember a quote I once saw which said, “Forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and realizing it was you”. I believe when Lucy’s boyfriend got engulfed in his rage towards her, he did not quite see the end from the beginning. If he did, he would most likely have not committed the crime.

T.D Jakes says, ‘It doesn’t matter how attracted you are to them, how wonderful they are, whether they did you a huge favor years ago or what the situation is, if a person can walk away from you then let them walk. Your destiny is not tied to anybody who left’

I think the problem with us sometimes is that we make so many assumptions about our relationships with people. In time, the assumptions become conclusions. Now when you have concluded it becomes difficult to get your mind to revert to reality when things go the opposite direction.

What Lucy’s boyfriend failed to understand was that she didn’t owe him anything. She had the free will to choose to stay with him or leave him. It was her prerogative to choose. He had assumed and concluded that she belonged to him and was going to be his for as long as he wanted. He was so wrong.

In reality we have no control over the circumstances or situations life throws our way. We cannot decide whether people betray us or not or who stays or leaves us. But, we have the power to choose how we perceive and react to these circumstances and situations when they happen. Whether we like it or not at some point in life these things will happen.

How we choose to react in negative situations is the determinant of what the end of the story will be, so much more than the initial circumstances that led to our reaction. At the end of the day, nobody blamed Lucy for breaking her boyfriend’s heart, but we surely blamed him (and rightfully so) for murdering her.
I feel that he should have listened to her, asked some questions to gain clarity on the issues she was raising. He should have taken time off to cool off when her words seemed so unpalatable to him.

Taking time off would have given him the opportunity to breathe in and breathe out.

Let the hot air out, place things in proper perspective without taking things personal.

The truth is that nobody can tell us the truth better than ourselves. Sometimes taking time off in the face of negative feedback could be a great opportunity to discover the truth about us that we have been denying internally for a while. This guy should have seen this as an opportunity to even learn more about her perception of his intentions towards her and simply allay her fears.

I believe what enraged him was his conviction that he had loved her from his heart. What he failed to realize was that sometimes there is a gap between what we intended and what the other person sees in our actions or hears in our words.

A good understanding of this is very helpful for continually making the required adjustments as we journey through life and relate with other people. As the popular saying goes, “Learning never ends”

What would have been different if Lucy’s boyfriend had reacted differently?

Maybe he should have tried to understand her reasons for the decision. It may have been a good opportunity to realize how his intense emotions were affecting the people he loved and pushing them away from him. Maybe his love for Lucy would have motivated him to seek help. Maybe, just maybe, Lucy would have changed her mind and chosen to give the relationship another shot.

Lucy was my cousin. She loved him. She only feared his intense emotions and what they could cause.

… What she feared the most, happened to her. A not too simple case of do me I do you—you do you

Swandy Banta is blue blooded, ask her what that means and she gladly tells you, she’s been through the tunnel of pain and she found illuminating light. She writes and coaches on the difficult subject of pain. Whether it’s national pain, community pain or the pain of loss and the hurts of life that makes us all ask why—she brings new perspectives. Swandy is can be reached on [email protected]


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