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Thread: Forgiveness

  1. Forgiveness

    Many times, the words forgive and forget are said in the same sentence. When you are a survivor of any abuse, be it an alcoholic partner who has hurt you, sexual or mental abuse, part of the healing path is forgiveness. This, however does not mean forgetting.

    Forgiving the person who hurt you is essential to a complete healing but do not feel guilty if you cannot forget. I say remember until you are strong enough to forget.

    Remembering what was done to you and more importantly what you did to make it stop will empower you to have more control over your life. Soon, you will be able to forget and you won't even have to try. It will just happen.

  2. #2

    Forgiveness

    Hi...I know this is an old post, but I do think it is a very important and wise one...
    However, I'm a bit confused... I wonder if, in your last paragraph, you meant to use the word 'forgive' rather than 'forget,' bearing in mind your earlier points... which I do agree with. Forgiving doesn't necessitate forgetting...

    We can forgive, but not forget, because we need to learn from 'bad' things that happen....and learn the widom from these things.. i.e. like not putting ourselves in certain situations again... keeping away from people who persistantly hurt us, who may apologise profusely, but keep repeating the behaviour, showing their apology not to be deep or genuine...
    But that doesn't mean we haven't forgiven.
    Forgiveness is good for us... even if they are not aware of it, and we never talk to them again...
    Lack of forgiveness can keep us, not them, in a sort of prison...

  3. #3

    Forgiveness

    I don't think that not forgiving would keep you prisoner. You can easily accept what was done to you and still not forgive. I believe that acceptance is more key because it allows you to get on with your life. I accept that my mother is the way she is. There is nothing I can do to change her and to not accept it would make me miserable. That doesn't mean that I need to forgive her for the crap that she has put me through.

  4. #4

    Forgiveness

    Some excellent points here: Reading all three posts makes me wonder about the limitations of the English language again when it comes to describing such an essential process: "Forgiveness", "Acceptance", and even "Forgetting" may mean different things to different people.

    I guess I would say that the most destructive outcome of any sort of hurt or wrongdoing is if you carry around the burden of whatever negative feelings result, with no way of getting rid of them. I suspect that Dennis (dmcgill) was talking about unburdening yourself. Does doing that necessarily mean forgiving or forgetting? I would say no. Does it necessarily mean accepting? Maybe that is closer to the truth. But maybe that isn't quite the word either.

    Bearing in mind that the goal is to get to a point where whatever happened doesn't continue to hurt you again and again, in my personal life I would say the task has been about getting to a point where I'm not so consumed with anger or some other negative emotion that I can't let go of it. I would agree that doesn't mean forgetting or forgiving; for me it isn't really about accepting what the other person has done to you either. Perhaps it's more about accepting that it happened and not raging against the world because it did. It's about finding a way to just leave it in the past.

    And there may be different ways to get to that point. Forgiving can be one. Forgetting, maybe that could be another. Accepting in various ways could certainly be another. Maybe the most important thing is finding a way that works for you.

  5. #5

    Forgiveness

    Remembering what was done to you and more importantly what you did to make it stop will empower you to have more control over your life. Soon, you will be able to forget and you won't even have to try. It will just happen.
    I read over the posts again and yes, I did mean forgetting over time. You won't have to try and forget, it will just happen over time if you forgive. David said that we all see words differently. Is that ever true! But my point in the post was you can't forget if you don't forgive because you always have that on you back.

  6. #6

    Forgiveness

    I have to agree with David when he says that we all define words differently. I would never use the words accept and abuse in the same sentence, when refering to my own circumstances. Also, wanting to forgive and doing it are so far from each other. Part of me wants to, but part of me wants to hate with every ounce of being I have in me.

    Just to add a note that is a little different from forgive, forget or accept, I have tried to do the "put yourself in their shoes" approach. My mother had a habit of being emotionally abusive when I was younger, and I hated her for it. As I got older, and became a parent as well, I talked to her about it. She claims, and I DO believe her, that she never realized that she was doing it. She didn't see the things she did as hurtful, or she had a reason for why she said/did different things that seemed to rationalize it in her own mind. I am mindful to NOT fall into that with my own kids, but there are days when I can see it from my mom's perspective, and think that maybe she wasn't as bad as she seemed at the time. I know this will not work for everyone, as I can't put myself into the shoes of my sexual abuser and come up with any rational that made it okay, so I realize that this won't wrk for everyone in some, or maybe any, circumstances.
    Thanks for letting me add my two cents, and I hope it made some sort of sense!

  7. #7

    Forgiveness

    Acceptance is key, though. I'm certainly not saying that abuse is okay. But if you do not accept that it happened and the effects that it had on you, I don't believe that you can ever get better. I have to accept that my mother is who she is and reacts how she does. I have to accept that she was abusive and still sometimes is. I have to accept that I will never have the mother/daughter relationship that I have always craved. There's a period of mourning, definitely.

    I understand where you were going with putting yourself in your mother's shoes. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. If it helps, I say go for it. What's important is getting on with your life and making sure that you take care of yourself. We all deserve to be happy, no matter what we may feel sometimes. (Which btw was a huge epiphany for me not too long ago)

  8. #8

    Forgiveness

    It is sad but true. Many parents hurt their children without meaning it. It could have something to do with what happened to them during their childhood. We mimic our upbringing unless we have accepted that it is not good and done something about it.

    Here on the West Coast, the Department of Indian Affairs took the Native children from their parents and put them in "residential schools", where many of the children were abused. This was only part of the problem thought, (the abuse) and the real problem was these children were not parented and today have children of their own and do not know how to parent. In fact, they have copied their parents and turned to drugs and alcohol to fill the void. But, many are now coming to the realization that they are the only ones who can stop the cycle and are doing something about parenting and taking classes, going to treatment and counciling so they do not make the mistakes of the last generation. We have to be careful, forget... no but accept and make changes in our lives.. yes.

  9. #9

    Forgiveness

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcgill
    It is sad but true. Many parents hurt their children without meaning it. It could have something to do with what happened to them during their childhood. We mimic our upbringing unless we have accepted that it is not good and done something about it.
    That is so true! I see my mother in some of the ways that I react to situations. If I don't face up to that, I will never be able to change my behavior accordingly and become a better parent to my children. I believe that insight is terribly important and that gaining it can be a life-long process.

    It's interesting because my mother mentioned to my bf and me last night that she doesn't remember her childhood and that, although her mother was around as far as we know, her grandmother basically raised her. I can't say why she doesn't remember, if she dealt with abuse as I did (not remembering much of childhood), but it was a "lightbulb" moment for me.

    We can't change who others are and we can't be responsible for their actions but we can be responsible for our own. It's very empowering when you think about it.

    In fact, they have copied their parents and turned to drugs and alcohol to fill the void. But, many are now coming to the realization that they are the only ones who can stop the cycle and are doing something about parenting and taking classes, going to treatment and counciling so they do not make the mistakes of the last generation. We have to be careful, forget... no but accept and make changes in our lives.. yes.
    I find it very satisfying when anyone has the courage to take that leap and create a better life for themselves. I wish anyone who does this the absolute best.

  10. #10

    Forgiveness

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcgill
    Remembering what was done to you and more importantly what you did to make it stop will empower you to have more control over your life. Soon, you will be able to forget and you won't even have to try. It will just happen.
    I read over the posts again and yes, I did mean forgetting over time. You won't have to try and forget, it will just happen over time if you forgive. David said that we all see words differently. Is that ever true! But my point in the post was you can't forget if you don't forgive because you always have that on you back.
    thanks for clarifying. Sorry I misunderstood :)
    Yes, I agree... or rather that things can melt into the background of our thoughts, and maybe are always there in our subconscious...and can affect us negatively, unless, as you say, we forgive. (I appreciate that everyone has a right to a different belief about forgiveness :))

    Practically, I have found that forgiveness comes through an act of the will, and our feelings of forgiveness may be far lagging behind our choice to forgive someone who has offended us, abused us etc...
    But as we keep consciously forgiving, whenever we think about it, (even without the accompanying feelings), eventually the feelings line up with the will, and we may even feel pity for the offender, that they sank so low... or whatever...
    then we are 'stronger' than them.

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