Demanding forgiveness

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TruthSerum

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2016, 02:45:06 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

Double yes!  You can forgive her, you should.  But truly being sorry calls for her changing her ways, something you and I both know she is not going to do.

She wants those words, because now in her mind you have to let it all go, be okay with it and pretend nothing happened.  To me, she didn't apologize.  Father in law is absolutely guilty, of allowing her to do these things as the "Christian" man of the home.  He needs to check his Bible on how he is responsible for his household, including her. 

We are not called to be in relationship with those that abuse us.  She will think forgiveness means that however and she believes she has done nothing wrong to begin with. Sigh.  It's a circle. 

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2016, 04:12:22 PM »
Double yes!  You can forgive her, you should.  But truly being sorry calls for her changing her ways, something you and I both know she is not going to do.

She wants those words, because now in her mind you have to let it all go, be okay with it and pretend nothing happened.  To me, she didn't apologize.  Father in law is absolutely guilty, of allowing her to do these things as the "Christian" man of the home.  He needs to check his Bible on how he is responsible for his household, including her. 

We are not called to be in relationship with those that abuse us.  She will think forgiveness means that however and she believes she has done nothing wrong to begin with. Sigh.  It's a circle.
I generally consider myself a feminist, or at least someone who thinks men and women should have equal rights, responsibility, power, respect. However, I cannot tell you how many times I've wished so badly he would be the Man of the House and set a standard for his family!!! He at least acknowledged some responsibility in one area, and he did not allow her to make lame excuses ("But I've been feeling so badddddlllllyyyy!!") But, yes, I completely agree that when one adult in the house is out of control and ruining the family, the other adult cannot continue to run away and bury their head in the sand, hoping it all works out.

I think his defense mode has been to completely tune her out. He seems unable to see and hear most of what she does, although he did used to be able to. I think he has no idea how to cope or what to do. Sometimes I have a lot of empathy for his position, as I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to be married to her. Other times I wish for him to develop some strength and courage and do something. Honestly, though, I can't even say what that "something" would be.

I agree. It wasn't a true apology, as it acknowledged no harm to us at all. That's ok. It was more of an acknowledgement of wrong than I thought her capable of. Being with her was about allowing her to apologize for her sake, not because I needed it. I didn't need it.

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Inurdreams

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2016, 11:44:16 AM »
Quote from all4peace: You have my sincerest regrets. Was she a forgiveness demander also?

Thank you.  No, my NMIL never demanded forgiveness for herself because in her mind she has never done anything to be forgiven for.  However, it was a third party who demanded I forgive NMIL.

Oh, and the 70 X 7 forgiveness thing...I surpassed that quota within the first year of knowing her.  Every single time I talked to her after some dastardly deed she had done to me, every single time I acted as if it didn't happen and carried on with the pretense of a loving family, every single time I made excuses for her (she had a bad day, etc). every single time I tried to be the bigger person and not let her get to me were all acts of forgiveness.  All of them.  Compound that by decades of individual acts of forgiveness.
Peek not through the keyhole lest ye be vexed. - Stephen King


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TruthSerum

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2016, 06:47:30 PM »
Double yes!  You can forgive her, you should.  But truly being sorry calls for her changing her ways, something you and I both know she is not going to do.

She wants those words, because now in her mind you have to let it all go, be okay with it and pretend nothing happened.  To me, she didn't apologize.  Father in law is absolutely guilty, of allowing her to do these things as the "Christian" man of the home.  He needs to check his Bible on how he is responsible for his household, including her. 

We are not called to be in relationship with those that abuse us.  She will think forgiveness means that however and she believes she has done nothing wrong to begin with. Sigh.  It's a circle.
I generally consider myself a feminist, or at least someone who thinks men and women should have equal rights, responsibility, power, respect. However, I cannot tell you how many times I've wished so badly he would be the Man of the House and set a standard for his family!!! He at least acknowledged some responsibility in one area, and he did not allow her to make lame excuses ("But I've been feeling so badddddlllllyyyy!!") But, yes, I completely agree that when one adult in the house is out of control and ruining the family, the other adult cannot continue to run away and bury their head in the sand, hoping it all works out.

I think his defense mode has been to completely tune her out. He seems unable to see and hear most of what she does, although he did used to be able to. I think he has no idea how to cope or what to do. Sometimes I have a lot of empathy for his position, as I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to be married to her. Other times I wish for him to develop some strength and courage and do something. Honestly, though, I can't even say what that "something" would be.

I agree. It wasn't a true apology, as it acknowledged no harm to us at all. That's ok. It was more of an acknowledgement of wrong than I thought her capable of. Being with her was about allowing her to apologize for her sake, not because I needed it. I didn't need it.

Typically the pattern for mothers who are NPD, and their husbands.  He hides out actually hoping to deflect the rage and abuse from himself, or disconnects to avoid dealing with it.  When my NPD mom would rage at my stepfather he would turn to her and say, "But Truth Serum didn't do such and such (she left her book bag on the counter let's say)"  to turn her rage towards me. 

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2016, 09:32:50 PM »
So true, TruthSerum. My FIL actually told me once that he tried to stick up for me but then it got a lot worse for him. I really didn't want him in the middle for my sake, but I do wish he'd have been stronger for the whole family. Otoh, I've never had to be married to a PD.

In my FOO, my mom also was someone who needed a strong person to stand up to her. It galls and amazes me that by age 16 I finally found the courage to stand up to her and tell her to never lay a hand on me again, but as far as I know my dad hadn't done that for any of the years I was at home (himself a victim of her physical rage).

Inurdreams, eventually a person just hits a point where you have to stop having things to forgive.

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TruthSerum

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2016, 07:35:19 PM »
So true, TruthSerum. My FIL actually told me once that he tried to stick up for me but then it got a lot worse for him. I really didn't want him in the middle for my sake, but I do wish he'd have been stronger for the whole family. Otoh, I've never had to be married to a PD.

In my FOO, my mom also was someone who needed a strong person to stand up to her. It galls and amazes me that by age 16 I finally found the courage to stand up to her and tell her to never lay a hand on me again, but as far as I know my dad hadn't done that for any of the years I was at home (himself a victim of her physical rage).

Inurdreams, eventually a person just hits a point where you have to stop having things to forgive.

I stood up to my stepfather (who was also my abuser) and told him the same when I was 18.  Once I actually kept my mother from bashing my skull in with a fire poker (tool from the fireplace).  That would have killed me.   

All of that and I was still easy prey for my NPD ex. 

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liftinfog

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2016, 03:23:10 PM »
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?

Yeah, there's a pretend guise of open, honest, and humble heart in her words.... right up until there. That insisting on "forgiveness" sounds like the old fashioned "Forget/Deny everything I've ever done wrong and act like nothing happened". To me that's further validated by the threatening "You're going to hell if you don't do it my way" statement. Those statements do not come from a person who feels genuine remorse, wants to heal the relationship, and truly wants your well being, IMO. My impression is that this was her ploy to say the right things to you and make a fake resolution without any admission of wrongdoing on her part, so that her toxicity could keep going as usual or even worse, allow it even further into your life. It's interesting too that she doesn't ask how she's hurt you, or even want to know where your coming from exactly. She just uses a broad "I'm sorry for not being nice" kind of apology. My parents pulled that stuff initially, before I went NC. Then when the "script" as you put it so well, didn't go to plan, then it got ugly.

For me, forgiveness is releasing the punishment justly deserved by sin to God. Either it gets paid by Jesus, in his work at the cross, or there will literally be hell to pay. God lets us choose. It also means you can want the best for that person. For me, enforcing boundaries and the consequences for breaking them, IS doing what's best for both you and others. Allowing someone's nasty, ungodly behavior is worse for you AND them. Forcing them to face consequences for THEIR actions is emulating what God wants to do IMO.

all4peace, you sound like you are strong in knowing what your boundaries are. You are practicing grace and forgiveness by clearly enforcing your boundaries of what's right and wrong without trying to control them.
“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
― Leo Tolstoy

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2016, 04:01:02 PM »
I stood up to my stepfather (who was also my abuser) and told him the same when I was 18.  Once I actually kept my mother from bashing my skull in with a fire poker (tool from the fireplace).  That would have killed me.   

All of that and I was still easy prey for my NPD ex.
I'm so sorry, TS. I didn't even see this until now. I hope you've since found people who know how to love, or even just peace without the destructive ones.

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all4peace

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2016, 02:34:45 AM »
For me, forgiveness is releasing the punishment justly deserved by sin to God. Either it gets paid by Jesus, in his work at the cross, or there will literally be hell to pay. God lets us choose. It also means you can want the best for that person. For me, enforcing boundaries and the consequences for breaking them, IS doing what's best for both you and others. Allowing someone's nasty, ungodly behavior is worse for you AND them. Forcing them to face consequences for THEIR actions is emulating what God wants to do IMO.
I have come to feel this way. I want to be really honest with myself and careful that I'm not just hoping mildly for retribution (her facing the consequences of her action). But I did some reading on rebuke and repentance, and the person doing harm DOES need to fully see their actions, feel the shame of that, and have a desire to turn away from that behavior and try not to do it again.

My uN/BPDmil has been allowed to behave absolutely however she wants. She is enabled in every way possible to continue to do so. I think this may have literally been the first time someone called her on her behavior in a meaningful way, held her accountable, didn't allow her to deny everything, set boundaries, and then set the path moving forward. In the past, she has set the agenda. This probably rocked her world, as i don't believe she ever experienced anything like this in her life (and I hope to never have to, myself)

So, I still don't know what the motivation of the quasi-apology was: Appeasing my FIL, appeasing my H, or appeasing me. Actually, I imagine it was to appease herself. Our feelings were never once noted, commented on, questioned, acknowledged. The harm she had done was not part of the conversation. Putting the past in the past and me forgiving her was the topic of conversation.

It was very eye opening for H. He knows his mother is very emotionally limited, but to see it in all its goriness was something else for both of us. When we left, we started laughing, somewhat hysterically, like did that all actually just happen?! It felt so crazy.

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Inurdreams

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2016, 12:27:09 PM »
For me, forgiveness is releasing the punishment justly deserved by sin to God. Either it gets paid by Jesus, in his work at the cross, or there will literally be hell to pay. God lets us choose. It also means you can want the best for that person. For me, enforcing boundaries and the consequences for breaking them, IS doing what's best for both you and others. Allowing someone's nasty, ungodly behavior is worse for you AND them. Forcing them to face consequences for THEIR actions is emulating what God wants to do IMO.
I have come to feel this way. I want to be really honest with myself and careful that I'm not just hoping mildly for retribution (her facing the consequences of her action). But I did some reading on rebuke and repentance, and the person doing harm DOES need to fully see their actions, feel the shame of that, and have a desire to turn away from that behavior and try not to do it again.

My uN/BPDmil has been allowed to behave absolutely however she wants. She is enabled in every way possible to continue to do so. I think this may have literally been the first time someone called her on her behavior in a meaningful way, held her accountable, didn't allow her to deny everything, set boundaries, and then set the path moving forward. In the past, she has set the agenda. This probably rocked her world, as i don't believe she ever experienced anything like this in her life (and I hope to never have to, myself)

So, I still don't know what the motivation of the quasi-apology was: Appeasing my FIL, appeasing my H, or appeasing me. Actually, I imagine it was to appease herself. Our feelings were never once noted, commented on, questioned, acknowledged. The harm she had done was not part of the conversation. Putting the past in the past and me forgiving her was the topic of conversation.


It was very eye opening for H. He knows his mother is very emotionally limited, but to see it in all its goriness was something else for both of us. When we left, we started laughing, somewhat hysterically, like did that all actually just happen?! It felt so crazy.


All4peace, I think if I am ever put in the position again of someone demanding forgiveness, I would ask them exactly what their definition of forgiveness is.  It seems to me that  PD's definition differs greatly from other people's. 

I also find it interesting that to some PDs, they somehow have to have that word (forgiveness) in order to validate that they are right (they can do whatever they please) and we are wrong (for holding them accountable).  It's like some twisted way of gaining permission to continue to hurt us.

I don't think they care if we really forgive them in our hearts as long as we say it, out loud and in front of witnesses sort of like the faux apologies they offer.  In their world, if they say something, it makes it reality even when it's not and they know it's not and they want or expect us to do the same.
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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liftinfog

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2016, 01:31:46 PM »
For me, forgiveness is releasing the punishment justly deserved by sin to God. Either it gets paid by Jesus, in his work at the cross, or there will literally be hell to pay. God lets us choose. It also means you can want the best for that person. For me, enforcing boundaries and the consequences for breaking them, IS doing what's best for both you and others. Allowing someone's nasty, ungodly behavior is worse for you AND them. Forcing them to face consequences for THEIR actions is emulating what God wants to do IMO.
I have come to feel this way. I want to be really honest with myself and careful that I'm not just hoping mildly for retribution (her facing the consequences of her action). But I did some reading on rebuke and repentance, and the person doing harm DOES need to fully see their actions, feel the shame of that, and have a desire to turn away from that behavior and try not to do it again.

My uN/BPDmil has been allowed to behave absolutely however she wants. She is enabled in every way possible to continue to do so. I think this may have literally been the first time someone called her on her behavior in a meaningful way, held her accountable, didn't allow her to deny everything, set boundaries, and then set the path moving forward. In the past, she has set the agenda. This probably rocked her world, as i don't believe she ever experienced anything like this in her life (and I hope to never have to, myself)

So, I still don't know what the motivation of the quasi-apology was: Appeasing my FIL, appeasing my H, or appeasing me. Actually, I imagine it was to appease herself. Our feelings were never once noted, commented on, questioned, acknowledged. The harm she had done was not part of the conversation. Putting the past in the past and me forgiving her was the topic of conversation.

It was very eye opening for H. He knows his mother is very emotionally limited, but to see it in all its goriness was something else for both of us. When we left, we started laughing, somewhat hysterically, like did that all actually just happen?! It felt so crazy.

I totally understand that! I struggle with that too. Its hard because there's goodness in them facing those consequences and its enjoyable to take action against the negative effects of that sin on your life anymore, yet remembering that its not your job to give out the retribution, it's God's (even though He's using you to do it, in a way, but that can't go to your head?). I'm still examining myself in that emotional maze too. Being hurt for so long and seeing retribution come does feel good in some way.

Isn't it funny too, how the healthier you become, from setting those boundaries and helping yourself, the crazier the crap seems? I often look back and remember situations and conversations and I just go, "They've been crazy!" My uBPD M trying to triangulate between my W and I, and manipulate us against each other, NPD F telling me how to live every aspect of my life, parroting his "needed" knowledge and worldview, exploding verbally when I didn't do what he wanted, name calling, shaming, blaming, etc. I just couldn't see it when I was looking through their kaleidoscope view of "reality". In calling it all out, I took the kaleidoscope off of my eyes, so to speak. Now that that's gone, it looks clear, and bonkers!  I'm almost to laughing at it, not quite there yet though.
“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
― Leo Tolstoy

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stephoney

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2016, 02:45:39 PM »
I too an christian, but being Catholic i believe there are still option after passing on and that not forgiving doesn't damn one to hell. Forgiveness in my situation isn't something that my PD mother could demand. It does seem like there was a phone call years ago in which she stated that i should forgive her. For me, it just wasn't that simple. She had been really cruel, hate filled, lied, stolen and said unimaginable things to my grandparents that just simply stated to me that PD was in fact evil to the core. In some ways, it seemed that it wasn't up to me to forgive her, but maybe more up to god to forgive her, or even herself. Although her Anti social disorder usually means she feels no guilt or compassion. She is like the thief who isn't one bit sorry she stole only sorry that she is going to jail. I work on forgiveness every day for her. I also had problems thinking that it invalidated what i had been through and i do hope she will be punished for what she has done. Not just to me but others as well. The hardest thing is that you cant make someone care and you cant choose your family. Ive had to live with that and accept that. I do hope to forgive her, not to exonerate her, but for me to be free of the hatred i feel for her.

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Aardvark

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Re: Demanding forgiveness
« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2016, 05:40:13 PM »
Two things came to mind as I read this thread. Matthew 18: 15-17 and a booklet I just read by Cathy Wiseman entitled: Borderline Personality, A Scriptural Perspective. Matthew 18: 15 -17 deals specifically with sin in the church and how to handle someone who will not repent. You treat them as you would a tax collector or pagan -  have nothing to do with them. I hope I'm not stretching the Word here, but I think you can see the application. In the Borderline Personality booklet Dr. Wiseman describes the "works of the flesh" from Galatians 5: 19-21. She says initially the description in Galatians sounds harsh, but the good news is that Christ died to save us from the kinds of sinful behaviors. The problem is, getting the PD to the point where they see it, understand it and start to own it. No easy task and I don't mean to preach to the choir.
"It is better to be careful 100 times than to get killed once."
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