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#299221 - 08/14/09 05:36 AM n
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
.




Edited by Freedom49 (05/21/10 10:04 PM)

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#299282 - 08/14/09 04:59 PM Re: Not for the religiously squeamish [Re: Freedom49]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Hi Roger,

My take on this (and that's all it is) is that you don't ever HAVE to forgive the abuser. By that I mean that if this is something you just can't make work for you, that's totally okay. If you don't forgive your father, in other words, there isn't something missing from your recovery; this isn't some step that you have to take, otherwise your recovery is derailed.

I think this is important to stress. Your recovery has to be something that is real and honest for you. You have to believe in and trust each step, otherwise you won't be able to use it as a basis for further progress.

Can I tell you how I handled this one? I gave it a lot of thought and I just couldn't see me forgiving the abusers, or at least not in any way that seemed like real forgiveness to me. But what I COULD, and DID do, was to "let go". There's a thread somewhere in the archive where I talk about that, but basically what I did was to recognize that by holding on to my anger and outrage I was using up a lot of strength and emotional resources that I really needed for other more positive efforts - my recovery, for example, my relationships with people I genuinely cared about (including you guys here), and so on. I could see that in a way, by holding on to my anger and other feelings about the abusers, I was allowing them to continue to control or at least influence my life, exactly as had happened when they were abusing me.

In February 2006 I wrote a long letter to the first abuser about all this. The first draft was full of anger and curses, as you may well imagine! But as I revised it, just the act of writing and recasting allowed me to work through my anger, and by the end I had a letter in which I essentially told him that I just wasn't going to allow him to mess with my life anymore. That included walking away from my anger at him.

That did NOT mean I was canceling my right to be furious - that would continue. By laying down my anger I wasn't giving up or conceding anything - I was breaking his power over me, and I knew that would hurt him, since power was what he had wanted all along. (This letter too is in the archive somewhere, probably on the Members' Side.) "Letting go" wasn't something I could do as an act of will, of course. I had to work on it. Eventually I felt like I was getting somewhere, and these days I really do feel like I have accomplished this.

Anyway, bro, my thought is that maybe you just will never need to forgive your father after all. Perhaps breaking his power to harm you and hijack your feelings and thoughts will suffice for you. It's something to think about, at least.

But at the same time, okay, I know that from other perspectives forgiveness is something that the survivor will feel he really needs to do, for reasons that are important to him. Those reasons are enough for him to seek his answers and progress in his own way, with whatever guidance works for him.

If that's what you need to do, then yes, you will probably need to be true to those considerations - simply because you need to be true to yourself. BUT ... if you find it's just not possible, it's worth asking if a task that's impossible for Roger is really part of "being Roger" after all.

Does this make sense?

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#299287 - 08/14/09 05:39 PM Re: [Re: roadrunner]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
.




Edited by Freedom49 (05/21/10 10:05 PM)

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#299290 - 08/14/09 05:57 PM Re: Not for the religiously squeamish [Re: roadrunner]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon
Roger,

To my way of thinking forgiveness doesn't necessarily have to be an act directly tied to some individual but rather it can be a state of being. It's kind of like the idea that one no longer obcesses about getting even or is even allowing bitterness to control their thoughts and actions. They've reached the place where the wrongs of the past simply no longer matter because they have their eyes on another prize.

I think that only then are we truly able to address the spectre of the individual who did us wrong and see that finally they truly don't. Hold any power to hurt or control us in any way. It may even be that when we've reached that place we can even feel compassion for them on some level, not from a perspective that what they did was okay because it never will be, but that WE are okay in spite of what they did.

Anything beyond that for me is going to have to be God's worry.

_________________________
"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#299298 - 08/14/09 06:39 PM Re: [Re: WalkingSouth]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
.




Edited by Freedom49 (05/21/10 10:05 PM)

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#299307 - 08/14/09 07:55 PM Re: Not for the religiously squeamish [Re: Freedom49]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 2615
Loc: Central PA
I think forgiveness and forgiving someone really have nothing to do with the offender at all. It's all within us. When we don't forgive, we're holding onto the pain and hurt and anguish that it's caused inside of us. I think it's possible to forgive someone, even if they are not around or even dead. I think it's possible to forgive them even if they flatly deny or lie about what they did. The power to forgive is purely and solely resting with our own hearts, and I personally believe that in order to truly heal and recover we need to, because without doing so we're still holding onto all that hurt within us which continues to harm and drag us down, like a cancer.

I know not all agree with that, and that's ok. We're each on our own journey and have to figure things out as we go, but as a Bible believing person, the one verse that sticks in my mind, that I cannot recall the reference for right now, is the passage that says, "as we forgive others, so also will God forgive us."

Forgiveness is not easy by any means, but it really is about letting go, as Larry mentioned. We hold onto it, it eats us alive. We let it go, it no longer burdens our hearts and kills us from inside. My understanding of forgiveness is summed up in a simple statement, "I will hold it against you no longer." It does not mean that what was done is somehow ok, it just means I'm not going to live with that heavy hardness inside me any more.


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#299315 - 08/14/09 08:18 PM Re: Not for the religiously squeamish [Re: Freedom49]
LilacLouie Offline


Registered: 07/02/09
Posts: 377
Loc: Utah
No matter the religion, I forgave my abusers. NOT forgiving them does me no good. It doesn't do anything for me to harbor the ill feelings. I don't love them, I don't have any feelings for them. I don't know how I would react if I saw one or two of them in public, but I have seen others in public and I did well.

I can forgive them, because they are doing it no longer. Perhaps this is just me, but while I still remember those events, they are nothing in comparison to how I was treated when I asked for help. When you ask for help, and are laughed at and turned away, that hits to the core. I mean, you can always change yourself so the perps can't "come at you" from another angle, but you can't change yourself to your benefit by refusing to ask for help the next time.

I learned that this last weekend. In the past when I have sought help, I was laughed at & turned away. I have been punished, even. Is that right? No. But this last weekend there was a situation where a man threatened me with a weapon. I am calloused enough I just blew it off. BUT I still reported it. What he did is a felony, but it doesn't matter- again the "authorities" were non-responsive. Is that right?

No, it's not right, but it did happen nevertheless. And if anything, the lack of response is what causes me the greatest grief.

If I call 911, they do nothing and I get hurt & incur medical bills.

If I don't call 911 and take the law into my own hands & defend myself, I get arrested.

Damned if I do and damned if I don't.

_________________________
huh?

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#299318 - 08/14/09 08:36 PM Re: Not for the religiously squeamish [Re: LilacLouie]
DJsport Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1742
Hi, All.

I have found forgiveness for myself. Albiet a little late for somethings, I am ontime for my own life.

I am at this moment in my life because I am. I got here ask for help. I never wanted help before and when I started asking for help and telling my story I did the most unusual thing

I lived with my perp in a pseudo fashion. I dont recomment this unless your ready but It was so liberating. I get goosebumps thinking and talking about it. As JUSTScott stated it is about letting go.

I preped myself with letters and discussion with my T and my survivor brothers.

I love that we keep talking and growing.

Peace,
DJ

_________________________
Live to your fullest potential

Never make someone a priority if your only an option

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#299376 - 08/15/09 11:23 AM Re: Not for the religiously squeamish [Re: Freedom49]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Roger,

Originally Posted By: Freedom49
I know deep down there is a part of me that still loves him and realizes that he may not have been strong enough on his own,(and he very much was during those years). to prevent what he did to me, I just don't know. It is all so confusing.

I think it's a kind of instinct in a boy to look up to and love his father, and even if it were purely a matter of will, if you still love your father that's up to you. In fact, if you can do that and see there was more to him than the abuse, that's a sign of growth. All-or-nothing thinking is common among survivors, but is harmful to us in so many ways. After all, the world is out there in color, so to speak, so viewing things in black and white isn't helpful to us, however reassuring it may seem at the moment.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#299843 - 08/19/09 04:11 AM Re: Not for the religiously squeamish [Re: roadrunner]
Tedure Offline


Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 204
Loc: Utah
Roger,

You have received some very good advice.

When I was able to defuse the self hate and anger that I had for myself. I was able to start forgiving myself then it was easier for me to forgive others... I am still working on it too.

Take care, Ted

_________________________
When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.

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