Business, Betrayal, and Forgiveness
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My neighbor relocated from another town in order to live with her husband (let’s call them Carl and Sherril for the sake of anonymity). They had split up and lived separately for many years and got together during family gatherings and other important functions, but after living apart for several years, they decided to come back together and start a business that they could manage. They started a grocery store, and Sherril worked the store, spoke with customers, and ensured that operations were running smoothly while her husband balanced the check book. Everything was humming along, because they had re-established trust with each-other.
The First Junction
Sherril and Carl shared a single bank account where all of the business’s money was deposited, and they agreed that they would purchase real-estate after paying their bills and taking a profit. Business seemed to be going so well and yet some key items were consistently out of stock due to financial limitations, so after some period of time Sherril decided that she would visit the bank and check on how things were going. Once she visited the bank, they indicated that the payments she expected were not on any record of deposit, which indicated that her husband was not keeping his agreements. Upon further inquiry, she discovered that her husband was secretly spending the money on other things, and he became violent once the secret was out. Not only had he not deposited the earnings from their shared business, but he had also taken out additional loans without any discussion. He sold the family car and most of the things they owned together, squandering the money on unknown expeditions out-of-town. Eventually he began to abuse her and demand more money from the business, leave for the weekend, and come back demanding more and more.
Sherril was so stressed that her speech was incoherent. She had headaches for days, and no medications could relieve her pain for any meaningful period of time. Meanwhile, the man she once knew as her trusted husband and business partner began to become more verbally abusive, and she eventually found herself reporting his violent behavior to the police.
The whole thing had her shocked and heart-broken, and she relied upon the support of a skilled psychotherapist for an extended period of time in order to bring her mind back into balance. And balance she did.
Once she had ended her relationship with that man, she re-ignited her spirit and opened a new business. Everybody loved Sherril, so her loyal customers flocked to the new business where they became reliable customers who spurred her company’s future growth. This time she was the only one responsible for the operational and financial management of the company, and she profited well. She banked her money, raised her children, and after a few years she purchased some real-estate, investing in her own equity rather than rent. Her business continued to grow and thrive, working hard to launch a chain of new businesses on her property while her husband’s enterprise collapsed. While Sherril was strategic with her finances and engaging with her customers, her husband failed to re-invest his income and rudely demanded that her customers come switch over to his operation. Of course, this strategy was not effective for him.
Forgive and Move Forward
Carl eventually apologized to his former wife, and she forgave him, but she knew better than to allow him to run any aspect of her operations again. She helped him to start his own business, which he owned and operated independently, which is a sign of great compassion on her part. Sherril has since commented on the whole situation that it’s important to practice forgiveness for one’s own sake – That holding onto bitterness and anger impacts one’s physical and mental health, so it’s more important to learn from the past and grow from the challenges than to hold onto pain from the past and refuse to move forward with one’s life.