Demanding forgiveness

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all4peace

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Demanding forgiveness
« on: January 27, 2016, 01:52:39 AM »
We've lived next to my uN/BPDmil and enFIL for 20 years. It reached a breaking point last year when I was in a medical trauma and had nothing left to try to hold up this relationship. H poured it all on his parents last night. Tonight we went to sent boundaries, accept the apology they said they needed to give, and hopefully find a better path forward.

FIL really didn't have anything to apologize for, but he did say he was sorry for not being a better parent to my H.
MIL has a TON to apologize for and gave me a blanket "I'm sorry for messing up." It surprised me that she was able to acknowledge that much, but I did tell her that I didn't know what she meant by that and what was she actually apologizing for? She was able to admit to not being as nice as she should have been.

She proceeded to ask if I forgave her. I told her I did, that I felt I had forgiven. She asked me that repeatedly, as the conversation wasn't going as she would have scripted it so she was not believing my forgiveness. She once told me I "HAD to forgive her," at which point I informed her that forgiveness wasn't something she could demand, but it was something I had already told her more than once I had given. She later told me that I "wouldn't go to heaven if I hadn't forgiven her."

I'm a Christian. I depend on forgiveness of God and others. I hope I am forgiving also. It galled me, though, to have her question my forgiveness repeatedly, show obvious doubt that I had done so, demand it from me after I had given it to her, and then (as a final manipulation) remind me that I'm going to hell if I don't.

Yikes. Any comments?

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mdana

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2016, 02:19:17 AM »
Hum....
It sounds like she is feeling continued guilt... by asking and demanding an apology.  Hard to really tell, what was your gut instinct at the time she asked? Were her gestures (tone of her voice, posturing etc...) coming from a place of guilt, or intimidation...control or fear maybe?

I am a Christian too ...and I have to say this one goofy thing ... I think it's thoroughly possible and necessary to "forgive" the person at the soul level, but that does not absolve the harm that they did.  The actual harmful acts may very well be unforgivable ... and I sometimes wonder if the person that has committed such harm 'senses' this ...then, passes on the "you are going to go to hell" as a projection of their OWN fears. 

That's not very nice of me to say ...but, I do wonder.... having experienced some similar situations! 
M

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2016, 02:32:47 AM »
Hum....
It sounds like she is feeling continued guilt... by asking and demanding an apology.  Hard to really tell, what was your gut instinct at the time she asked? Were her gestures (tone of her voice, posturing etc...) coming from a place of guilt, or intimidation...control or fear maybe?

I am a Christian too ...and I have to say this one goofy thing ... I think it's thoroughly possible and necessary to "forgive" the person at the soul level, but that does not absolve the harm that they did.  The actual harmful acts may very well be unforgivable ... and I sometimes wonder if the person that has committed such harm 'senses' this ...then, passes on the "you are going to go to hell" as a projection of their OWN fears. 

That's not very nice of me to say ...but, I do wonder.... having experienced some similar situations! 
M
In my 20+ years of interactions, here's my take on this. Because there are "problems," she knows she overstepped. Some of it I believe to have been her very large limitations in the emotional and relationship level. Some have definitely seemed deliberate and malignant. She denied any specific thing, but she admitted to not being "nice enough."

I think she KNOWS she has been awful, and that she needs forgiveness, but she somehow feels it is something she can demand, doubt and demand again. Maybe this is the way she gives forgiveness, and this is projection?

My gut is that she was obsessed on forgiveness for her with very little understanding of how this is given, or that it can be given without the giver being ready to be her best friend in the next moment. Her gestures and facial expressions and tone of voice showed that it was all about her feelings and (as she always behaves) didn't involve my feelings, my hurt, or my words at all. I had already told her I forgave her, but because my boundaries for the future didn't meet her expectations she would not believe it.

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momnthefog

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2016, 09:10:06 AM »
Sounds like projection to me.....perhaps she's wrestling with the notion of whether she has in fact forgiven you.
momnthefog

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2016, 09:12:50 AM »
Sounds like projection to me.....perhaps she's wrestling with the notion of whether she has in fact forgiven you.
momnthefog
That could very well be. Unfortunately, I believe her issues with me are not ones that she even recognizes or could state out loud.

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No.

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2016, 12:40:15 PM »
"She proceeded to ask if I forgave her. I told her I did, that I felt I had forgiven. She asked me that repeatedly, as the conversation wasn't going as she would have scripted it so she was not believing my forgiveness. She once told me I "HAD to forgive her," at which point I informed her that forgiveness wasn't something she could demand, but it was something I had already told her more than once I had given. She later told me that I "wouldn't go to heaven if I hadn't forgiven her."

Yes. Yes. and Yes. This is what I have experienced.

I think the idea of there being an obsessive script in their head must be very common. I'm trying to see these things for that and be an "observer" of it, as it seems you are too. You know!

My mom also added is our last conversation before NC that she doesn't have to apologize for anything because she already apologized to god for anything she might have done wrong and he forgives her. So she doesn't OWE anyone an apology. I could tell she had been obsessing about this, trying to finagle her way out of any ownership of her actions and words. It all goes together.

Actually, since they are so well-versed on the bible, I don't understand why they don't READ the verse about forgiveness in which Jesus says that is someone ASKS for forgiveness, give it to them! Then if they wrong you again and ask again, give it to them again! Sure, why not be generous with forgiveness! But if you rebuke someone once, twice, and they refuse to ask forgiveness, then TURN AND DUST OFF YOUR SANDALS. Nope, they never quote that part do they. Nowhere does going to hell play into that. And what a horrible horrible thing for these mothers to do. Plant the seed in our mind we are going to hell. WTF. As children or as adults, that is the most hateful thing anyone can say, and they are supposed to be the most loving person in our life.  :roll:

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2016, 12:49:20 PM »
It actually made me want to laugh out loud. I hope my jaw dropped in disbelief. My FIL talked about praying about this situation repeatedly, and so I finally informed him I had. He respected that and dropped it. MIL, however, was very convinced I hadn't forgiven. I was probably supposed to fall on her bosom sobbing, and begging for forgiveness also. Instead I was very calm, very collected and I was laying out a future relationship that was NOT "new best friends forever" that she had in mind. So I hadn't forgiven her, obviously.

It's a strange thing to need to inform an adult in their 60s that relationships don't work that way. That when there has been a lot of hurt and loss of trust, it takes time, consistently appropriate behavior and more time before things can heal. I was telling her things my children have known since age 3. Of course I don't think she got it, but I at least hope my FIL picked up on why I will not be her new best bud for life.

When she asked me about the 10th time, and I finally said "I already told you I had forgiven you. Are you calling me dishonest?", FIL told her to drop it.

No., it's fascinating to see the "script" going. I have always known that I couldn't "reach" MIL when I was talking to her, but it's only recently that I've realized that she probably always has this going on in her head. There was a lot of crazy talk last night. I had to reiterate probably 3 or more times, and she kept going back to the best friends scenario in which we would start doing things we have never done in 20 years, but we HAVE to do them now because that's how she saw this unfolding.

I love this definition of forgiveness: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/forgiveness/definition
I think her definition is more like: Forget EVERYTHING she has ever done and have enormous feelings of love and tenderness for her, right now.

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No.

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2016, 12:50:29 PM »
I meant to add in my response that in our conversation, I had not asked nor brought up the topic of forgiveness or an apology. She brought it up in order to deny it.  :stars:

Also, I'm sure you may have read http://www.luke173ministries.org/466804 ..there are several links in there pretty much validating that this is what people like our mom's say and do, as opposed to what the bible actually says. It's the same old pride stuff.

I know my mom's wounds run very deep. And she took the road of deep denial and narcissism. It's starting to sink in that that is no longer MY burden to bear as she would like it to be. I can forgive in the sense to release myself from the chains of resentment (trying to get there), but she wants to be excused for her abuse without saying she is sorry, because that's the prideful petty game she plays, and I'm not hooking in.

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2016, 01:12:37 PM »
No., that's an incredible link!! Thank you! I'm reading it and bookmarking it. I will say that one reason I didn't even know I had the right to set boundaries was a misunderstanding of my expectations as a Christian. When I read articles like this that pull so much from the bible and put it in one very understandable article, it is a tremendous gift.

I am seeing what you say about your mother in this article. What a terrible misinterpretation of it all.

I love this phrase in the article: "Many offenders are fond of saying, "But I didnít mean it that way" or "I never meant for that to happen" .  BUT INTENT IS NOT THE ISSUE.  RESULTS ARE." My MIL tried the "it's all a misinterpretation!" line last night in response to slanderous comments she had made about me.

Those last few paragraphs about denial and shame are pretty incredible. It answers my question on how my MIL can simply deny everything.

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No.

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2016, 01:41:16 PM »
I am so glad you find it helpful as I sure have. One thing about this topic I am struggling with right now about the INTENT thing, is that ok, she didn't mean this that and the other, but she KNOWS it hurt me. She is not the least bit concerned about how I feel. Only how SHE feels. If I will just forget my pain and "forgive", then SHE can feel ok. This is not normal mother behavior. It is worse than I ever thought.

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mdana

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2016, 01:51:22 PM »
Great link to Luke ministries!

I have an ongoing debate with a good friend (super strong Christian) who is unmovable on "forgive and forget" ... ANYTHING (even acts of sexual abuse against a child) because God commands we forgive.  I have studied some of Pema Chodran's work who would call that "idiot compassion". I totally think that certain toxic, harmful acts (like sexual child abuse) are only forgivable by GOD, unless there is an admission of, repenting, restitution and ...making amends.

My ASPDex has been obsessed with "my inability to forgive and forget" and how awful of a human being I am because of it.  I have forgiven lots (no way to forget) but what he really has meant is "let's pretend nothing happened, let's wipe the slate clean"   OVER AND OVER...as if one could just erase the harm, fear, and fractured relationship and instantly become best friends again.  After reading this thread, I think what they mean is ... just that.  They are incapable of 'repair' work and it takes lots of repair and time to wipe the slate clean ...

Great threat!
M
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama

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No.

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2016, 02:35:13 PM »
"I have an ongoing debate with a good friend (super strong Christian) who is unmovable on "forgive and forget" ... ANYTHING (even acts of sexual abuse against a child) because God commands we forgive.  I have studied some of Pema Chodran's work who would call that "idiot compassion". I totally think that certain toxic, harmful acts (like sexual child abuse) are only forgivable by GOD, unless there is an admission of, repenting, restitution and ...making amends."

I agree. Those things, including NPD's abuse, are between her and God. The thing is, between her and me, I can "forgive" or pretend to forgive, or be in denial or quote platitudes all day long (yuck) but there is no restoration of the relationship if there is no humility or remorse for wrongs. An NPD or BPD simply can't demand that we have this kind of relationship with them. That isn't even how God works. (And I have been doing just that for many many years, and now understand I was operating in denial and unconsciously).

I used to have a very good pastor, very compassionate person, very knowledgeable as well as full of joy. However, when some topics would arise (such as someone committing suicide) he would often say "I don't know, and I don't want to know, what causes people to do that." He would also say of any type of struggle with forgiveness, like your friend, "If Jesus can die on the cross to forgive you, then you can forgive anyone for anything." (Can we? Are we Jesus?) And that it was basically everyone's most important mission in life to accomplish just this. I guilted and shamed myself for years at the struggle, al the while continuing to be abused by the people I was trying to had to fully forgive. I think this is an unintentional Mind F*&k perpetrated by the non-abused in churches, as well as the REASON abusers love to latch on to church and things like this.

I was really disappointed at the attitude about suicide because those types of thought have haunted me for decades, and a reason I was there at church was to seek comfort and understanding and asking god to rid myself of this. My relationship with god does help a to but I feel guilty the thoughts are still there sometimes. To know that a well-loved, well-admired LEADER could care less what people who struggle with suicidal thoughts just made me feel isolated and misunderstood. Like I was a horrible horrible person for having those thought. As if I WANTED those thoughts. Le sigh.

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2016, 02:40:46 PM »
I am so glad you find it helpful as I sure have. One thing about this topic I am struggling with right now about the INTENT thing, is that ok, she didn't mean this that and the other, but she KNOWS it hurt me. She is not the least bit concerned about how I feel. Only how SHE feels. If I will just forget my pain and "forgive", then SHE can feel ok. This is not normal mother behavior. It is worse than I ever thought.
Oh, I know! FIL defended MIL's actions to my H by saying in her heart she doesn't mean to hurt people. I think often she doesn't, and sometimes she does. Either way, it really hurts.

I'm so sorry for this dynamic with your mother. That must be so hurtful. What an extra blow to still have it all be about her.

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2016, 02:42:27 PM »
My ASPDex has been obsessed with "my inability to forgive and forget" and how awful of a human being I am because of it.  I have forgiven lots (no way to forget) but what he really has meant is "let's pretend nothing happened, let's wipe the slate clean"   OVER AND OVER...as if one could just erase the harm, fear, and fractured relationship and instantly become best friends again.  After reading this thread, I think what they mean is ... just that.  They are incapable of 'repair' work and it takes lots of repair and time to wipe the slate clean ...
It's startling when a person is confronted with this wildly unrealistic expectation.

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mdana

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2016, 03:37:08 PM »
"I have an ongoing debate with a good friend (super strong Christian) who is unmovable on "forgive and forget" ... ANYTHING (even acts of sexual abuse against a child) because God commands we forgive.  I have studied some of Pema Chodran's work who would call that "idiot compassion". I totally think that certain toxic, harmful acts (like sexual child abuse) are only forgivable by GOD, unless there is an admission of, repenting, restitution and ...making amends."

I agree. Those things, including NPD's abuse, are between her and God. The thing is, between her and me, I can "forgive" or pretend to forgive, or be in denial or quote platitudes all day long (yuck) but there is no restoration of the relationship if there is no humility or remorse for wrongs. An NPD or BPD simply can't demand that we have this kind of relationship with them. That isn't even how God works. (And I have been doing just that for many many years, and now understand I was operating in denial and unconsciously).

I used to have a very good pastor, very compassionate person, very knowledgeable as well as full of joy. However, when some topics would arise (such as someone committing suicide) he would often say "I don't know, and I don't want to know, what causes people to do that." He would also say of any type of struggle with forgiveness, like your friend, "If Jesus can die on the cross to forgive you, then you can forgive anyone for anything." (Can we? Are we Jesus?) And that it was basically everyone's most important mission in life to accomplish just this. I guilted and shamed myself for years at the struggle, al the while continuing to be abused by the people I was trying to had to fully forgive. I think this is an unintentional Mind F*&k perpetrated by the non-abused in churches, as well as the REASON abusers love to latch on to church and things like this.

I was really disappointed at the attitude about suicide because those types of thought have haunted me for decades, and a reason I was there at church was to seek comfort and understanding and asking god to rid myself of this. My relationship with god does help a to but I feel guilty the thoughts are still there sometimes. To know that a well-loved, well-admired LEADER could care less what people who struggle with suicidal thoughts just made me feel isolated and misunderstood. Like I was a horrible horrible person for having those thought. As if I WANTED those thoughts. Le sigh.

No.
So glad you posted this!  It has been a place of such confusion and anger really for me!  I guilted and shamed myself right back into the abuse for years...at the recommendation of my pastor and lots of "good" Christian friends!  We prayed for YEARS for a change...a miracle...and one never came! Divorce ... was my miracle! 

I used the same argument... We can't understand all of the things of God or being Godly. We came from His likeness, but we are not God.

I think devout Christians that 'witness' to others (and pastors that are in positions of leadership) have a HUGE responsibility....but, often fail to really understand certain complexities of life (abuse)...They don't realize the harm that they do and it's likely because of their own human limitations.  The problem is, that they rarely speak to their human limitations and speak so righteously ...throwing out Scriptures like a sword...

Didn't mean to hijack this thread! 

All4 peace -- unrealistic expectations  of "forgive, forget, let's pretend that didn't happen" on behalf of the PD person -- is totally shocking!  OF course, it's not reciprocal ... when we commit a blunder, the discussion around that goes on for years!

My blood pressure is rising! Think I'll head out for a long walk!

XOXOX
M
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2016, 01:42:52 AM »
Yes, mdana, there is surely a double standard. Although in my case, when I asked mil and fil if there was anything i needed forgiven, they couldn't come up with anything. I think mil couldn't admit to hate or envy, and i'm not even sure if she has acknowledged it to herself privately. But in other relationships, I have seen her develop terrible feelings for other people and seem unable to ever let those feelings go.

I agree that our religious leaders have an incredible responsibility and can destroy a person's faith by not properly interpreting the bible or religious beliefs. I have one trusted religious counselor whom I've trusted my situation with, and this person definitely gave me reason to believe that seeking time and space was an acceptable thing with another person was not behaving with love.

The book Boundaries was hugely helpful to me in early days, and lukeministries from above has been really helpful recently!

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No.

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2016, 01:12:59 PM »
The other twist on their little self-dialogue is they (well, at least my M) sees it as WE have a problem, a strained relationship, we BOTH are at fault, she may have been "a little" abusive but she "had to whip me to keep me in line". etc, etc. In their mind, the victim of their abuse was at fault for deserving it. All of this put together has really help me get over the hump of questioning my shame and over to feeling free of separating myself from this person. I honestly do not have any feelings for her at all right now. That's a good thing. I think. As opposed to feeling like I have for so long.

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Inurdreams

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2016, 01:44:25 PM »
I don't think Ns have the capacity to truly understand what forgiveness is.  They seem to think it means not being held accountable for their abuses and/or reconciliation on their terms meaning they can do to us as they please and we are just supposed to shut up and take it.

We cannot and should not forgive a crime in progress.  And even if we do forgive someone, it does not mean that we condone or absolve them of their actions.

I have a difficult time with forgiveness because I was always taught that forgiveness means we ignore the abuse and invite the abuser back into our lives to abuse us again. I suspect I was taught wrong.

I had a conversation with my NGM once about someone and something I was having a hard time with as far as forgiveness went,  She said something like, "Look what they did to Jesus and He forgave them."   To which I responded, "Yes, and when I start walking on water we can revisit this conversation."  I still feel this way.  I can forgive someone as best as I can as a mere human but I will not continue to put up with continued abuse by constantly ignoring (forgiving) the abuse and going back for more.

AFA your MIL demanding forgiveness; this is so typical of an N.  Even God gives us free will.  Here's the way I see it, and I could be wrong, but when I forgive someone, it's between me and God.  Not between me and the abuser.  And not between me and some third party on behalf of the abuser.  I don't feel that I owe the abuser any sort of comfort in the form of telling them that I forgive them in some situations, particularly on-going abuse.

Some abusers see forgiveness as a free pass to continue abuse.  I don't think your MIL wants forgiveness.  I think she just wants or demands that you to make her feel okay about her abusing you.  Demanding that you forgive her puts you in a one-down position to her.  It puts the burden on you to accept her behavior and takes the responsibility of her bad behavior away from her.  Maybe In her mind she is thinking, "I do it therefore you must accept it...and like it and keep coming back for more.  And not only that, you will give me absolution for it and state it publicly, out loud, to me."

I could be absolutely wrong about all of this but she reminds me so much of my own NMIL who I am using as a barometer for your MIL.

Oh the absolute gall of someone demanding forgiveness irks me to no end!

« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 02:07:11 PM by Inurdreams »
Peek not through the keyhole lest ye be vexed. - Stephen King


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Inurdreams

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2016, 01:51:32 PM »
The other twist on their little self-dialogue is they (well, at least my M) sees it as WE have a problem, a strained relationship, we BOTH are at fault, she may have been "a little" abusive but she "had to whip me to keep me in line". etc, etc. In their mind, the victim of their abuse was at fault for deserving it. All of this put together has really help me get over the hump of questioning my shame and over to feeling free of separating myself from this person. I honestly do not have any feelings for her at all right now. That's a good thing. I think. As opposed to feeling like I have for so long.


I wholeheartedly agree with this!  And I think this is why I feel it is so important not to keep going back for more abuse.  They may see us as a threat for standing up for ourselves and protecting ourselves and they hate us for that but they see us as absolutely pathetic and deserving of abuse when we keep taking it and going back for more.  I'd rather be hated at a distance than continue to be abused in their presence.
Peek not through the keyhole lest ye be vexed. - Stephen King


Response to a Flying Monkey:  Apparently you are suffering under the delusion that I give a damn.

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2016, 02:24:49 PM »
I don't think Ns have the capacity to truly understand what forgiveness is.  They seem to think it means not being held accountable for their abuses and/or reconciliation on their terms meaning they can do to us as they please and we are just supposed to shut up and take it.
Because she repeatedly used the phrase "Put the past in the past," I suspect in her mind forgiveness is wiping the slate clean and starting over as absolute best friends, pretending nothing bad has ever happened. I didn't want to have circular pointless conversations, otherwise I might have talked to her about the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. It's seriously like talking to someone actually less able to process than a toddler. I have had much more meaningful conversations with my kids when they were preschool age than my MIL.

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We cannot and should not forgive a crime in progress.  And even if we do forgive someone, it does not mean that we condone or absolve them of their actions.
I told her that I forgive her, but that doesn't mean I'm going to keep coming back for more. As a side note, my forgiveness has nothing to do with her feelings and everything to do with me living without hate or bitterness, as much as is possible at this time.

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I have a difficult time with forgiveness because I was always taught that forgiveness means we ignore the abuse and invite the abuser back into our lives to abuse us again. I suspect I was taught wrong.
"Turn the other cheek" and "70x7". I was taught this also. It took my soul being in a very terrible place for me to simply not be able to do it anymore. I'm so grateful to have found the book Boundaries, as well as spiritual friends who completely accept that reconciliation isn't always helpful, possible, necessary or healthy. Luke173ministries has been very helpful also, to connect my experience with my spiritual beliefs. Along with forgiveness, the bible has a lot to say about rebuke, repentance, and even separating ones self from an evil person.

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AFA your MIL demanding forgiveness; this is so typical of an N.  Even God gives us free will.  Here's the way I see it, and I could be wrong, but when I forgive someone, it's between me and God.  Not between me and the abuser.  And not between me and some third party on behalf of the abuser.  I don't feel that I owe the abuser any sort of comfort in the form of telling them that I forgive them in some situations, particularly on-going abuse.
She literally said, "You MUST forgive me!" and "If you don't forgive me, you won't go to Heaven!" My proudest moment was looking her in the eye and telling her that she cannot demand forgiveness from anyone, that I had already repeatedly told her I forgave her, was she questioning my honesty? And then my fil telling her to drop it. As usual, it was all about her and her feelings. She needed the past erased and she needed total absolution. It was NOT about our pain, or how we (H and I) wanted to move forward. It was 100% about her. My only surprise was that she realized at all that she had messed up, although I've known all along that a good chunk of her behavior is knowing and intentional.

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Some abusers see forgiveness as a free pass to continue abuse.  I don't think your MIL wants forgiveness.  I think she just wants or demands that you to make her feel okay about her abusing you.  Demanding that you forgive her puts you in a one-down position to her.  It puts the burden on you to accept her behavior and takes the responsibility of her bad behavior away from her.  Maybe In her mind she is thinking, "I do it therefore you must accept it...and like it and keep coming back for more.  And not only that, you will give me absolution for it and state it publicly, out loud, to me."
That's really interesting. I was thinking that her demands for a "close relationship" as she sees it were about public image. It would be incredible if it was also about her continuing to behave however she wants and we keep on taking it. I also wonder, though, if us having a "great relationship" now would be a way for her to not have to acknowledge how much harm she's done. When I sat there telling her that we have no foundation at all for a good relationship, and that I would accept a very limited relationship, it might have forced her to have a slight sense of the harm she has caused. Harm that while forgiven is basically irreparable.

Maybe that's why she's getting so grabby and touchy with me. In my gray rock state, maybe she is trying to force life into our relationship again so she does not have to actually admit that she killed it long ago. And that she was fine with it killed, as long as I held up my public attempts at friendliness.

Oh my goodness! I'm getting a picture of a toddler thoughtlessly abusing a pet, and killing that pet, then tantruming and demanding that dead pet come to life!! And behave like it used to!! Anyone looking on would see it as crazy and impossible, but to the toddler unable and unwilling to accept the consequences of their actions, they might continue to behave as if the pet is still alive and MUST start acting alive again.

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I could be absolutely wrong about all of this but she reminds me so much of my own NMIL who I am using as a barometer for your MIL.

Oh the absolute gall of someone demanding forgiveness irks me to no end!
[/quote]You have my sincerest regrets. Was she a forgiveness demander also?