Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.

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Jolie40

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2021, 01:49:01 AM »
The sticking point I have with forgiveness is that I will not get an apology.

forgiveness is more for you than the one who hurt you
 quote by Najwa Zebian:

"Today I decided to forgive you. Not because you apologized, or because you acknowledged the pain that you caused me, but because my soul needs peace."


« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 01:50:35 AM by Jolie40 »
be good to yourself

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Peace Lily

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2021, 04:17:08 AM »
I spent my life forgiving; finding excuses for parents and people generally for their hurtful behaviour. I think this is also about boundaries. If we forgive without the others sincere remorse, we throw down our boundaries and we leave ourselves open to more abuse. I have not been able to forgive the most recent abuse against me, but I do have compassion left which helps me through. I am keeping my boundaries firmly in place. The trouble is that after a number of years have elapsed, others feel I should forgive and forget. Society believes forgiveness is the answer sadly.
"It is not the the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind". Aisha Mirza

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Fortuna

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2021, 06:41:45 PM »
I decided I was done forgiving. That's what got me into this mess. My uPD parent made me feel small, never apologized, and then rugswept up the whole thing and I was expected to forget the abuse ever happened. I find I don't need to forgive her. I need to forgive myself for dealing with that for so long, for subjecting that onto my husband, onto my kids. I'm going through the inner child workbook and trying to make sure that the inner child of each stage knows that it wasn't their fault and they can stop using those behaviors that worked when they were little because now I'm taking care of them and I won't let my uPD mom or anyone else treat them like that anymore. My mother does not deserve forgiveness. She has no remorse and was starting to do the same things to my kids when I went NC. She would do it again in a heartbeat. That is not someone I wish to forgive. I forgive myself for taking all that blame for all those years, allowing myself to think if I just change this one thing, or do this thing differently it will be enough. But it was never enough. I can't forgive her, but I can forgive myself.

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theonetoblame

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2021, 10:41:37 PM »
This is such a reaffirming thread for me, thanks for starting it OP.

It's all stuff I know, and believe, but after years of NC it's easy to slip back a bit, to soften my resolve, and to forget some of the true reasons for my current family situation.

Letting go and forgiveness are totally different concepts for me. I've been letting go, which is why some of the memories get foggy. This is a good thing. Choosing not to forgive keeps me safe though, and maintains accountability with the offending party. The debt remains outstanding and until full recompense is achieved (which I believe will never happen) there will be no softening of my boundaries. 

I also appreciate being reminded that 'neutrality benefits the oppressor, not the oppressed' SO TRUE

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Sidney37

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2021, 02:20:04 PM »
I keep trying to find the time to respond with a lengthy response to this, but never manage to finish it.  I'm not sure if this will help or not, but it's what helped me.  Maybe it will help someone else reading if it's not what you are asking. 

I was raised in a Christian household with PDs, so forgiveness was to turn the other cheek about everything.  Forgive everything and keep getting abused.  It wasn't just with my PD family members.  I was supposed to turn the other cheek when bullied at the bus stop and at school.  I was stunned to find out that turn the other cheek wasn't actually rug sweeping and continuing to be abused. My PDm was all about forgive, forgive, forgive.  But it was really rug sweep, rug sweep, rug sweep.  That isn't forgiveness. 

I read once that forgiveness was to release someone from consequence.  I no longer want an apology from my PDm. I no longer want her to have a consequence for what she said or did.  I want to walk away.  I want to no longer harbor anger and resentment.  I want to live like she is a stranger that I'll never see again.  That is all I want out of the forgiveness.  I want that internal anger and resentment to go away.  It's not the rug sweep, forgive and forget and go back for more that I was taught.  I was taught that I wasn't a good person or a good Christian if I couldn't rug sweep and continue to be abused.

When people tell you that you need to forgive,  I wonder what definition of forgiveness they are using?  When I was NC with PDm and still LC with enD, all I heard was from enD was that I needed to forgive her.  He kept talking HIS version of Christian forgiveness.  His version was to accept her for exactly who she is, change nothing, go back to the verbal abuse and manipulation and not "rock the boat".  Forgive and forget.  Rug sweep.  That isn't forgiveness. 

One of the most helpful things I have learned here was when someone pointed out to me the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.  They shared a great (but religious... not sure if you are religious) video about the difference.  If you do a search  for Patrick Doyle and reconciliation, you can sometimes find his videos.  There was a youtube issue with the group who published the videos, so they are hard to find.  Even if you aren't religious and don't agree with everything about his beliefs, the main idea can be helpful.  There is a huge difference  between forgiveness and reconciliation.  What my family and friends wanted when they insisted that I forgive my mother was for me to reconcile with her.  That can't happen based on where she is and who she is.  Reconciliation is a process and it involves BOTH people.  The offender has to actually ask for forgiveness, repent, change, etc.  The person hurt or abused (us) has to accept the apology and see that they have changed before reconciliation can happen.

I think it was Dave Ramsey when talking about forgiveness when a spouse has financial issues that harm the other spouse who said that if your husband spends your family savings on drugs, gambling, porn, etc. you can forgive them, but for reconciliation to happen they have to prove to you that they have changed.  You don't just ask for forgiveness and then get the check book, credit card and ATM card right back.  That is reconciliation.  It's irresponsible to immediately trust someone again after they have harmed you.   You have to see that they have repented and changed.  PDs don't change. 

Those descriptions between forgiveness and reconciliation were huge for me.  I can forgive.  For me that means that I'm not out for her to be punished.  I don't want revenge.  I don't want to feel angry or a need to get back or get even.  I've walked away.  But I also don't want any reconciliation because she hasn't changed.  She'll never change.  She can't change.  That's reconciliation and it's what many people think when they tell us that we need to forgive.  Reconciliation won't happen. 

 

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Duck

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2021, 11:12:07 PM »
Sidney37, Your posts are always very important to me because your background is similar to mine. I also grew up in a Christian house where forgiveness equaled submitting to constant and unremitting abuse without complaint.

What does turning the other cheek really mean?

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2021, 11:23:59 PM »
Yes, I’m curious too! “Turn the other cheek,” was synonymous with shut up and take it in my FOO as well, especially with regard to sibling cruelty. It didn’t really apply to uNF, because that would imply that he did something wrong in the first place.  :flat:

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Tundra Woman

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2021, 04:03:35 PM »
Turn the other cheek... How many years-decades actually-do we have to endure on each side before we’re “allowed” to be done?

I’m old and grumpy-which gives me zero credibility because of “age related cognitive decline” which is my peremptory strike on spelling and grammar blunders and ideas-set-in-stone, never mind originality. My abuser has been dead (yyeesss!) for decades and I remained NC long before, during her pathetically abusive, impotent, wasted life and obviously since she sucked the single remaining molecule of life out of every. last. thing within striking distance.

And not once did the concept of Forgiveness show up on my menu or my radar. Gasp and pearl clutch, I know.

Call me morally bankrupt and spiritually barren but why would it? Would I forgive a raccoon for grubbing in my container plants? A snake for shedding it’s skin on the patio? A doe who kicked me right into the ER if I unwittingly wandered too close to a wood line where she stashed her fawn? Of course not. This is *their Character.* It is *who they ARE.* *THIS IS WHO YOUR ABUSER IS.* Your decades of experience with them has immortalized that reality in your recall, correct? It is emblazoned under “Self-Preservation.”

Of course you’re angry-why wouldn’t you be? Would we ever dare tell an *adult* in a Domestic Violence Shelter they had to “forgive” their abuser? How ‘bout, “OMG! This is your PARTNER! You only get (as many of them as ya want, but whatever) to rid yourself of your abuser after THEY AGREE!” Would we, with deep concern because, ya know “concern” ask them, “Have you thought about what you’re going to do when your abuser dies?” (Please don’t do this, peeps: We’d get rightfully slapped back to Reality amirite?!)

And here we are: The smallest, most defenseless, most innocent, most powerless victims of abuse perpetrated by the very people who’s primary responsibility was the Care and Protection of their offspring-us-and yet.....Adult Victims Of Abuse By “Parents?” We are the only survivor group that comes to my (deteriorating) brain (aside from animals) that gets burdened with more “stuff” we allegedly have to do. The implication is all kinds of bbbaaaadddd stuff is gonna befall us if we withhold the sweet elixir of “forgiveness” for the people who abused us. Followed by verses from various Big Books of Retribution, Ghandi, Farcebook memes etc. indicating we failed “Forgiveness.”  Does the DA prosecute the victim or the perp? Haven’t we already done Hard Time?!

All these decades later, I can report I have not been struck by lightning. I have not spontaneously combusted. I still don’t know what a “Karma Bus” is because we don’t have those here apparently. I’m a cadaver doner so I get a free Roast and Toast which I like to believe is another of my peremptory strikes before “I am so going to hell.” Or so I’ve been told mostly indirectly by the gentle religious people who are....”concerned.”

Do you realize the ”parenting” we received doesn’t even meet the Parenting Standard set by wild animals? I’ve watched for decades as animal parents literally died if necessary to protect their young. Not once have I seen them pitch their offspring out in front of them as meatshields, raised a paw, a beak, a hoof never mind a hairbrush etc. to their offspring to “discipline” them. And they don’t scream at them either.

Your anger is righteous. Your anger is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Your anger tells you what’s “fair.” It also serves to remind you of one bedrock reality: YOU WERE THE CHILD, adolescent, young adult, adult etc. who was betrayed and maltreated repeatedly resulting in a pattern of behavior by a or a couple of ADULTS who abused you and their authority over you. If my life serves as anything including a bad example, let my experience tell you nothing awful is gonna happen if you can’t muster up some kind of “forgiveness” for your abuser(s.)  If that’s anticlimactic or some kind of disappointment or aspersion on my Character according to someone else, oh well.

You’re working on being a Better You. If there’s anything that eclipses this for making you and the world a better place, one of us at a time I haven’t blundered on it. That goal is more than enough and so are you. Any one who tells another adult they “HAVE TO” do anything is blatantly trying to control YOU. Doesn’t *that* behavior ring a bell?! The rest is just details. Promise.






« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 07:48:51 PM by Bloomie »

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doglady

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2021, 09:41:02 PM »
Any one who tells another adult they “HAVE TO” do anything is blatantly trying to control YOU. Doesn’t *that* behavior ring a bell?! The rest is just details. Promise.

Hey Tundra Woman, it sure does ring bells (shudder). I say this as one who was persistently 'controlled' by my uPDm for about five decades.

This is such an helpful thread, with lots to think about. I agree with what everyone is saying, and can add my experience if it helps anyone.

I too was brought up in a religious household, with a very conservative, controlling uPDm and and a weak enF. So forgiveness was definitely all about turning the other cheek, which played out in our FOO as simply 'putting up and shutting up' at all times, even when I was being bullied at school, for example. My parents would also never call out anyone outside the FOO on poor behaviour. They would seethe and vent about it, though, but then deny they even were doing this, and would certainly rage at me if I had the temerity to point it out.
My uPDm and enF  have always been very submissive people, and regards themselves as 'great helpers' in the community and the church in our small local area. You therefore can imagine the image they had of themselves and how important it was for them to uphold this ideal. But someone had to be sacrificed so that they could maintain this fiction. As I mentioned, I rarely called out their submissive behaviours as I knew they would become angry and attack me. Same with their emotional abuse and incessant criticism of me. There was no point, as their over-reactions would be so damaging to me. I would count the costs and just swallow my pain and shut down even further. Unsurprisingly, I became very depressed as a child and adolescent, for which they then punished me further for not smiling enough. It was a no win situation. Damned if you do...
The rug-sweeping, denial, invalidation and gas-lighting (mostly from my uPDm - my enF would tell me privately that he wanted to leave her!!!) was ongoing, but they seemed to see it as somehow necessary to uphold their image of themselves. They just seemed to live a lie, in my opinion. So yeah, forgiveness in my FOO was about them putting up and shutting up in public, venting in private, then expecting me to put up with their abuse and shut up about it, too. That's logical in PD-world, I guess.

And, as for them requiring forgiveness for anything, well, my uPDm was so perfect and saintly, what would she even need to be forgiven for. She has 'never done anything wrong.' Again, PD logic.

Anyway, I know I am rambling (although this is another thing I was often accused of, if I ever tried to explain something in a nuanced way rather than or question their word salads) but forgiveness for me is a different thing:
I forgive my FOO for all this. Which means I can let go of even needing an apology (I also know I'll never get a real one). For me it is more of a detachment from needing anything from them. I think that on some level 'they were doing their best' (as I keep getting told) but their 'best' certainly wasn't what I needed.  They were certainly able to show my younger four siblings more affection, particularly my uPDGCbro. They fed and clothed me, but showed no real love, attention or approval as far as I can recall, only incessant criticism and scapegoating. Anyway, I no longer need any of this from them. I also don't actually want it anymore.
And for me, forgiveness does not include reconciliation. My parents want the reconciliation (aka have me return to their cult to continue the fiction) but without them having to do any work. Because to work on it would mean they would have to acknowledge some responsibility for the relationship breaking down. And I know them both well enough to know that is NEVER going to happen. It therefore would be very foolish for me to put myself back in harm's way.
So while I wish them well, I will not acquiesce to their demands to visit me or maintain contact, despite them using all sorts of guilt trips to try and compel me to comply, as that would greatly hinder my recovery. They claim I am making them ill by not doing what they want (ie. rejoining their cult), and I hear one way or another about these guilt trips as I live in a very small community with many connections to FOO. However, at this point of my life, I'm putting my needs and those of my H, S and D first. I still feel guilt and that I am fundamentally unlikeable because that's how I was trained. But going back into their cult wouldn't alter any of that. It would soon be back to Square One.

TL;DR: For me, forgiveness is not about rug-sweeping and denial, it is about accepting, and detaching from the situation needing to be other than what it is. Forgiveness is about letting go of any expectations of the other party and just letting them be who they are. Forgiveness doesn't have to include reconciliation where there has been no acknowledgement of, or willingness to work on, the difficulties that led to the breakdown of the relationship.

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Tundra Woman

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2021, 10:03:47 PM »
{{doglady}}

You get it. Thank you.

Now, how do we spread the word? Thoughts, Feelings, Ideas?
Anyone?

Because we don’t need anyone else thinking and/or feeling they’re alone and they have this requirement, this burden, this belief somehow there is “more” they “should” do or be.

We are enough. We have done enough. People that come from “good enough” backgrounds never even think about limiting contact or terminating their relationship  with their parents.  How much more evidence do you require to “prove” to you they aren’t as you *know* they are? That their pattern of behavior isn’t your “imagination” etc.?  Please, suggestions regarding some behavioral  benchmarks so those of us who doubt our experiences can point to, see, deeply beyond words understand something concrete and decide, “OK, that’s enough?”

None of us are ever 100% when we go NC it’s the Right Thing.
Rarely is the “Right Thing” the Easy Thing.

The Struggle Is Real™️

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theonetoblame

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness. Feel like I'm stuck.
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2021, 02:41:09 PM »
Interesting...

It seems that for some the act of releasing and letting go is equated with forgiveness. I can understand, and respect, this view.

For me, it's possible to release and let go, at least to some extent, without forgiveness. We share the experience that letting go is key to our ongoing health and well being. We're still here writing about it though.... so is it truly released?

There's another distinction for me. If, for example, my undiagnosed, enabling F came around to taking ownership for what happened by admitting the truth to me and those around him (such a wild fantasy lol) I may find my way to forgiveness. This is not the same as reconciliation though. Reconciliation may, or may not, occur afterward and in my mind is a separate process from taking responsibility, making recompense, and seeking forgiveness. I would forgive him if this happened, but I'll never like him and it's very unlikely we could ever be in a room together.

I believe our relationship is too damaged for reconciliation to occur. Letting go is for me and something I can work towards. Seeking forgiveness is his responsibility and whether it happens isn't really my concern or responsibility.

I'm also an atheist... and not because I felt abandoned by god or anything. I was raised in a catholic environment. In my early teens started a quest to determine if I could find anything in the world that was actually evil. It started with small, silly things when I was about 12 like looking under my bed to see if a monster was really there. As I got older, and continued looking, I came to the very clear understanding that there is no evil in the world, anywhere. There are simply the forces of nature and the desires of other people that often run contrary to my own. Without evil the entire logic of the catholic faith unraveled for me. I mention this because the process also led me to question and analyze the many theological values I had integrated into myself growing up, forgiveness was one of them. I will say that coming to live in a world without evil was a beautiful and liberating thing.

« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 02:42:49 PM by theonetoblame »