PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive

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all4peace

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PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« on: October 30, 2016, 07:21:53 AM »
tommom mentioned in another thread that this topic might need a thread of its own, so here it is :)

It appears that my ILs are taking the route that probably many of you are very familiar with:
1. Deny everything.
2. Minimize the whole situation (after having denied all specifics).
3. Ask for the "past to be in the past". Demand forgiveness, despite having admitted nothing. In my case, tell all4peace she won't go to heaven if she can't forgive (again, nothing has been admitted, so what am I supposed to forgive?)
4. Pretend it never happened.
5. Continue to behave badly and ignore boundaries, or behave amazingly well, depending on mood or situation or audience.

In my case, MIL's bad behavior continued despite 4 face-to-faces with ILs (sometimes H, sometimes me, sometimes both of us). Now that we've gotten more obvious in our refusal to accept the status quo, we're getting amazingly good behavior. They didn't even appear to blink when we said they would only see our kids with us, and us only infrequently.

I may be paranoid, but I'm trying to trust my gut more as it has rarely been off. I feel that our names are probably being (or going to be, if we don' toe the line soon) smeared to high heaven in our mutual faith community as "unforgiving".


Here's what I can't get past: They don't admit anything. Nothing.

Here's what I read about in my bible, about forgiving: God forgives us AFTER we repent. We admit our wrong, we express sorrow and we try to change our behavior. I'm thinking of the old testament where His people refused to do this, and he came down hard on them. Their lack of repentance could bring down his wrath on them for generations. They didn't get to pretend they had done nothing wrong, and then decide to change (or not) in the present without acknowledging the past.

Sometimes I feel like I've somehow become an cold, unforgiving, unyielding person. And then I remember the way that God expects us to behave to Him in order to restore our relationship with Him after we've sinned. Acknowledging our sin seems to be the first step.

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sparrow

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 10:54:37 AM »
I've been praying about the concept of forgiveness a lot. Here is what I feel God is telling me.. We can forgive people even who aren't sorry by releasing them in love to God. It's the state of our hearts- we aren't supposed to hold onto negativity, hate, spite, etc. We're supposed to forgive and let go (NOT forget- that concept is not biblical) as God is the only savior and only judge. However, this has nothing to do with staying in abuse or toxic situations/relationships. We cannot forgive someone who is actively hurting us. We gain nothing good for us or them by allowing the abuse to continue. I really now believe that God wants us to love others but not tolerate abuse. We can do this by refusing or minimizing contact with them and creating healthy boundaries. If you go no-contact with an abusive family member and not seeing them in time allows your heart to heal and allows you to release the negative feelings for them and to forgive them and pray for them.. I don't see anything unbiblical about that. If you continue contact with an abusive family member and you keep allowing them to hurt you, how are you supposed to heal and forgive them?

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all4peace

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 12:31:33 PM »
sparrow, I was posting in the wee hours and didn't fully explain our situation.

I do believe I have forgiven. But their behavior is a long history of choices and behaviors leading right up until the present time. What I should say is that reconciliation can't happen without acknowledging the past. Still, even God doesn't forgive without us acknowledging what we have done, so why do we expect more from each other? I forgive them to let go of the anger and actual hate I had in me, as it was destroying me, but I am so done with going back and begging for more. And while I want to raise kids who show compassion, mercy and forgiveness, I equally want to raise them in an environment in which family treats each other with dignity, love and respect.

I completely agree with everything you said.

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sparrow

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2016, 12:36:34 PM »
Hmm so they've treated you badly for a long time and now want to reconcile without apologizing or changing?

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all4peace

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 04:13:44 PM »
Hmm so they've treated you badly for a long time and now want to reconcile without apologizing or changing?
Exactly. They repeatedly demanded forgiveness while and after denying every single factual example we gave them of the problems. They deny everything and want everything to go back to the way it was, which really didn't work for us at all. While I can forgive, how do you have a close relationship with someone who cannot even admit wrongdoing?

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sparrow

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2016, 04:27:57 PM »
I guess you don't. I would distance myself.

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tommom

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2016, 07:34:41 PM »
I agree with sparrow. PDs are so horribly manipulative, so cunning, so dishonest. I suspect you may be right. If they "treat you right" now, and you still don't trust them- well, they can be such victims to everyone in the future! I suspect that is exactly what will happen.

I know I have said this before -our archbishop says God healed him of his mental illness. Don't know what it was, but since his wife is a practicing psychologist and a committed Christian, I don't know if she would stand by and hear that if it wasn't true. Here is the key about him, that someone pointed out to me that changed a lot of my feelings. He WANTED to change. He admitted his problems. He asked for forgiveness, made amends, did what was needed. Fine. Him I will accept and anyone willing to be like him. You are right, so far as I can tell. You must acknowledge (When we do the short version of communion at my church, our priest says: "Do you acknowledge that you have all fallen short...." First and foremost. (Also the first of the 12 steps...."We admit..." First two words. Before they speak they say: ""My name is XXX and I am an alcoholic.") Acknowledgement happens or change doesn't. Denial has to go first.

The first stage of the stages of grief is "Denial and Isolation". From an article on grief from psychcentral: "We block out the words and hide from the facts." This is step 1.

About your belief that they will use this: I have a PD SIL who is a, well, not very nice. When she would do things to me, my best friend would say "Just let it ride or she will use it against you with her family." I have known her for over 40 years now. I only broke that once, in jest. She used it in the worst way she could. Who they are.

My grandmother was so funny. She said the funniest things sometimes -complete "down home" humor, but she used to say "Some people's worst punishment is having to be themselves." Sometimes, when the PDs in my life are driving me around the bend, I take solace in that thought. I mean, I could be them, right?

I'm so sorry this is going on. I wish you the very best.

You must take care of you (and your hubby and definitely your kids)at all cost.

"It is not my job to fix other people; everyone is on their own journey."

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liftinfog

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2016, 12:14:32 PM »
tommom mentioned in another thread that this topic might need a thread of its own, so here it is :)

It appears that my ILs are taking the route that probably many of you are very familiar with:
1. Deny everything.
2. Minimize the whole situation (after having denied all specifics).
3. Ask for the "past to be in the past". Demand forgiveness, despite having admitted nothing. In my case, tell all4peace she won't go to heaven if she can't forgive (again, nothing has been admitted, so what am I supposed to forgive?)
4. Pretend it never happened.
5. Continue to behave badly and ignore boundaries, or behave amazingly well, depending on mood or situation or audience.


In my case, MIL's bad behavior continued despite 4 face-to-faces with ILs (sometimes H, sometimes me, sometimes both of us). Now that we've gotten more obvious in our refusal to accept the status quo, we're getting amazingly good behavior. They didn't even appear to blink when we said they would only see our kids with us, and us only infrequently.

I may be paranoid, but I'm trying to trust my gut more as it has rarely been off. I feel that our names are probably being (or going to be, if we don' toe the line soon) smeared to high heaven in our mutual faith community as "unforgiving".


Here's what I can't get past: They don't admit anything. Nothing.

Here's what I read about in my bible, about forgiving: God forgives us AFTER we repent. We admit our wrong, we express sorrow and we try to change our behavior. I'm thinking of the old testament where His people refused to do this, and he came down hard on them. Their lack of repentance could bring down his wrath on them for generations. They didn't get to pretend they had done nothing wrong, and then decide to change (or not) in the present without acknowledging the past.

Sometimes I feel like I've somehow become an cold, unforgiving, unyielding person. And then I remember the way that God expects us to behave to Him in order to restore our relationship with Him after we've sinned. Acknowledging our sin seems to be the first step.

Yeah, sadly that lines up all to much like my story with my PD parents. They follow your list like a playbook. I struggle with feeling guilty for setting boundaries and limits sometimes, it feels so harsh and extreme. But I have to tell myself it's what's needed matches their horrible behavior. We are holding to a line of honor, decency, and respect for yourself and your family. a4p, it's hard and I'm sorry you have to deal with it with your PD's too. I've been in those "meetings", we've had those too. Mine ended in either false promises that vanished in a week or circular arguments that didnt get anywhere but hurt and confused.

Having the shared worship environment complicates things too. Thankfully (i guess?) with mine, my PD's are so dysfunctional they can't stay in a church for longer than 9 months before NF's "apostolic, authoritative, god-inspired thoughts and ideas" are not honored by the church leaders, and they go out in a dramatic "exit" usually by getting kicked out. They usually leave with a few FMs who fall for them, and sadly a broken church leadership wondering WTF happened.

My interaction with my PD's digressed from sit-down meetings about their behavior, and we gradually set more and more limits and we made the visits more and more sparse. I felt the tension from them back then - gut level, never spoken, hidden behind pretend smiles and hugs. They "acted" like they thought we wanted them to, but they were still pissed and thought they were entitled to treat us the same ways they did, but never outright said it. Looking back, I now see their passive aggression to our boundaries. 

Finally, in an long email chain, their gloves came off of them and I went NC. One clue I got, was that they did confess they agreed to our limits, in hopes we'd change in time and stop setting them! Totally saying yes to us to "make us happy", but hope we get rid of those "foolish" boundaries :doh:

The FM letters and VM's we got from FOO proved to us that they'd been talking about us behind our back, smearing our character for a long time. Then came the FB campaign... The hate mail we got was no way built on a few days of tension from people who supposedly "weren't involved until now." Looking back, DW and I's gut's telling us that something was fishy with FOO was right on the whole time.

The denial BLEW me away. That is definitely the hardest part for me. it makes me so angry sometimes, other times it's just dumbfounding. They used to come back with, "well nobody's perfect". Then in my further pressing for some kind of resolution in the email, like "hey you hurt me when..." they went bonkers. Made up history, denied everything, then blamed me for EVERYTHING. I tried calling them out on their own denial, even when it's in black and white of the emails, and they still deny it! "WE never said that! You're misunderstanding!"  :stars:

I think for me the hardest part is that there's no other answer except their perception is broken. Which is comforting until I realize that's the same thing they say about me and attack me with it. How do we reconcile that? I know my perceptions aren't always accurate, but theirs (the ones the verbalize anyways) are COMPLETELY off, pretty much always. That's one thing I struggle personally with the whole PD thing.

Anyways, I feel for you and hope for your best in your situation

“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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liftinfog

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2016, 01:34:16 PM »
Sorry your post just really hit me in areas I'm working out and struggling with too. Forgiveness is another one.

As for forgiveness, my PD's muddied the lines of "forgiveness" and "reconciliation", and used the "hell-to-pay/doomsday" arguments on me too. They equate God's call to forgive others with everything is honkey-dorey, no matter what they do. I believed this for a long time and am still working through learning this is not true. I've gone to more secular psychological resources for this, but it matches what the bible says in concept, it's just that the bible just gives a lawgiver and concrete reason to follow through, not just "It's the best way to behave". I personally think forgiveness is us letting God take control of the need for the sin to be punished (which sin does demand punishment), releasing us from the desire to take over and execute OUR versions of justice and vengeance. Our desire is motivated justly, since we were wronged, but since we're not God we can't execute it perfectly, and its not our place. This gives Him the rightful place, and frees us to release the pain and negative feelings that would otherwise enslave us. NONE of this involves the offending party, this is between you and God. Reconciliation is different.

To me, reconciliation is healing between two parties. This requires admittance of feelings and offenses, admitting any wrongdoing/fault, repenting/changing and healing, which is a process, not a moment. At least in my realm, this is impossible with PD's who don't accept any responsibility for anything.

That said, I'm not sure how the Us/God Forgiveness-reconciliation works. Does he forgive us permanently through Jesus death/rising, but we are saved when we are reconciled, and admit we need Him? Is it the spirit/attitude (heart) of continued admittance, repentance and healing that saves us?
Still working out those questions myself.
“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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1footouttadefog

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2016, 11:05:09 AM »
Does anyone remember the story in theOT where the men were engaging with the Moabites (sexually) and had followed the women into Baal worship.  Then there was a gathering of priests on the matter and a man walks past them and takes a moabite into the tent.

A preist put a spear through them both and that ended the plaque. 

Sometimes it is out job to disallow sinful and harmful behaviours.  Ending a relationship, curtailing events that give rise to sin, moving, leaving when gossip starts, breaking up a meeting thst is getting testy and anger filled until another time.

Just because you forgive does not mean you have to be available as a target for sinful behaviour.  It reality it might be best you did not make yourself available.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2016, 10:13:13 AM »
What helped me make peace with my feelings was first the Boundaries book and I actually looked up and marked the scripture references. That book justified my rights according to scripture and I could stand before my God with a clean conscience.

Second I had to research and fully understand reconciliation vs forgiveness vs pardon and for me I can get my head around it in that order. Reconciliation requires two, forgiveness and pardon is one person. Pardon is where I just choose to let go and not hold others accountable for their actions in that I will expect some sort of payment or punishment. They are in the hands of their God and it's not up to me to work it out. In all 3 cases submitting to abuse and keep going back for more is over.

Finally I researched circles of intimacy and Jesus had circles of intimacy. He had general association with the masses regardless of their standing with God. He associated more closely with 70 people and even more closely and regularly with just 12, finally having 3 of those 12 as more intimate associates and one of the three being the closest. There's lots of diagrams on circles of intimacy and I just decided uPDm, enF and toxic in laws were not in any of the inner circle. They were to the outter circle of the general population. This is where people like the local grocer or postman are, cordial, polite, make small talk about neutral subjects and that's it.

For me I'm sure uPDm and enF go around to mutual friends and other stuff in our small community who will give them ear because uPDm can't ever resist a snide sideways comment. I'm sure I'm not immune and would be foolish to think otherwise. But what can she say? I'm not mean or nasty or unkind or even neglectful because I'm available and in contact and ask how they are and she snipes that's she's juuuuuust fiiiiiiine (dripping with sarcastic PA tone) and I respond with a cheery 'oh good' and go on with the cordial small talk and end it.

It sounds like you need to make peace with your choices and yes, may have to justify it for your own self, to really feel you're within your rights to live a free and unenmeshed life. It's not wrong, it's just wrong for them. For me it came down to there's nothing wrong, this is the new normal take it or leave it. My T explained DH and I just don't speak the same love language as them and that's ok.

ETA - forgiveness has nothing to do with returning things to the enmeshed way they were before. I decided there is nothing to forgive, no past to discuss, noting to straighten out. The relationship was redefined according to my wishes and they don't like it, it's simple. When confronted I told them they did nothing because in all honesty they didn't, they are who they are and I accept that and all that happened is my eyes were opened and I just didn't want to subject myself to that any longer.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 10:17:46 AM by Spring Butterfly »
· Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage. Plan accordingly, make time to heal
· Individuation is the key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
· If others were self observant, introspective, this forum would not exist

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2016, 02:43:03 PM »
Oh wait! I got it! Forgiveness of sins belongs to God. That doesn't belong to me to grant or to withold.

I can reconcile with someone who repents and wants to work to repair a relationship.

I can give someone a one way pardon, not expecting an apology or admission of guilt and at the same time a pardon doesnt declare the person innocent.

But forgivness of sin is between them and their higher power. Their stuff.

Whatever the case deciding my human rights, what i allow, how a relationship works for me is mine to have. My stuff.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 02:44:34 PM by Spring Butterfly »
· Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage. Plan accordingly, make time to heal
· Individuation is the key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
· If others were self observant, introspective, this forum would not exist

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Bloomie

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2016, 08:55:42 PM »
Beautifully summed up Spring Butterfly! A tremendous amount of deep truth and healing insights, that come from personal experience and searching,  in your sharing! Thank you!!
"If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow." Dr. Caroline Leaf

Bloomie 🌸

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Adria

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2017, 05:28:28 PM »
The old saying, "Just forgive and forget" doesn't work in these cases. We are to forgive, but that doesn't mean we have to invite them back into our lives to continue hurting us.  We are given a memory so we do not let them take advantage of us again.

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RemovingTheNoose

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2017, 02:14:51 AM »
I read somewhere, sorry I have done a lot of reading in a short amount of time and can't remember where...

'Allowing someone to continue to treat you badly is allowing/helping that person to continue to sin'

We don't need to forgive and forget, all we need to do is to heal ourselves and be ready for God when our time has come. It has nothing to do with anyone else!

We can't force people to repent but we can stop some of their bad behaviour by not being a party to it.

Those who choose to use God as a weapon and a cover for their own bad behaviours will need to explain themselves to Him personally... maybe God will let us watch   :bigwink:

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In loco parentis

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Re: PDs don't need to repent, we just need to forgive
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2017, 02:52:17 AM »
I offer the following for further consideration within the context of this discussion--and I offer it without rancor.  From my experience the notion of "turning the other cheek," when that cheek is exposed to the BPD, can predictably result in the BPD striking HARDER, and with maniacal "joy" at my supposed weakness.  Again, I offer that observation without rancor toward the notion's original author OR toward the BPD, for whom I have true compassion due to their disordered condition, which they nevertheless own.  But I have no interest in continuing to be so abused, to no good purpose or end to/for ANYONE.

And the idea of forgiveness aside, the thing that continues to wrack MY spirit is the fact that the BPD continues to abuse her children, with no god or person intervening where needed NOW--despite prayerful importuning--that I can see or trust, to lovingly, responsibly say no.  If no other, to include this god, steps up to defend those vulnerable, victimized and roundly abused kids, I feel a horrid moral void for seeming to (patiently?!) choose to go along with the continuing abuse and denial of same, for which I simply cannot reconcile MY de facto responsibility for those kids' pain.

I do not expect answers to my dilemma, here, though I absolutely crave answers for the sake of those poor kids, and My dispirited self.

Take care.
A well worn path can be such a comfort... and/or such a rut.