My therapist told me this morning that I don't play for my own team. She's right, and it's funny and it's so sad.
Part of it is just reflexive defensive mechanics*, if the other person is ignorant then he or she never meant to hurt me. There is no intent. Intent is important.
Interconnected with intent are consequences. If I accept that there is intent then I must take action, or not. I must make decisions and stick by them. There is a cost here, no matter what. If I choose action the cost may be retaliation, if I choose inaction the cost is self loathing.
This leads back to the fear I talked about the other day. Fear of confrontations, of retaliation and ultimately rejection.
In school, starting in 3rd grade, I had a long running vendetta with one of the other girls. (The only reason this was feasible was because she was equally low on the social ladder.) The rift was never really resolved, although she was willing to forgive and forget, announcing, in what I considered an astonishing display of intellectual dishonesty, that she couldn't even remember what it was all about! I could. And by that time the actual genesis wasn't the only thing muddying the waters.
So, yeah, the one time I stood my ground the fight lasted 7 years, and then we're separated as we went on to a different school, and a part of me still hates that girl.