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#336929 - 07/26/10 08:42 PM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: fhorns]
brokenheart Offline

Registered: 07/14/10
Posts: 12
Originally Posted By: fhorns
In writing this, you made me think, and I'm thinking now. Thank you for being so objective in it. It's easier to handle (much easier) than from the perspective of guilt, shame, or fear.

Hi Alfred,
I felt my case of abuse at the age of 13-14 put me in the spotlight and it did get attention - and from that - I did get a sense of justice. To me, justice was 'righting a wrong' and I felt that had been accomplished in my case. For the rest of my school days - I was constantly seeking out others who had been assaulted and trying to help them with their own personal case. It was very hard for them because of what you state. It was hard for them to lift that sense of 'shame, guilt and fear' from them. Mainly the fear because I learned there was such a stigma attached to this sort of 'abuse.' (Even I got some of that flak from some of the classmates.) Sort of an ugly truth no one wanted to look at. Sex was supposed to be good - especially in our teen years.

I was in contact with the older girls who had assulted me and I wanted to know what gave them the idea that what they had done to me was good. What I got back from all five of them was sort of shocking. Each one of them had been forced upon by a guy in their past. It was mild compared to some - but they had either a kiss stolen form them, a grab forced upon them, or in the case of one girl - an actual sexual assault that never got reported.

All five of them were victims of some sort of abuse themselves. One told me,

"We thought guys liked that because they are always doing it to the girls and getting away with it. We just lost control of our senses and felt it was our revenge on all the guys who had taken advantage of us in our past."

The cycle of abuse repeating itself. It didn't excuse what they did but it gave me insight to why they did it. It always gave me every reason to demand they learn a lesson for the sake of all there schools that were involved in the 'schoolyard' justice. Forcing 'sexual lust' on another for any reason was wrong.

Those of us who get caught up in that endless cycle had to break it and rid ourselves of that 'senseless sense of guilt, shame and fear.' Fear is what kept many locked away in a silent closet - feeding a vicious cycle of hate, anger and pain that never goes away.

Because my case was known about in the halls of my school as well as the offices and teachers lounge - private sessions at the local university was set up for me. (1973) This was rare because me calling such attention to this problem was rare. So I got to spend many years talking to trained, licensed professionals who were studying such cases after they reached the adult stage of life. They had access to the statistics at that time. They told me that I was probably not going to end up as one of the negative statistics because usually the pattern was for children who are abused - grow up to form abusive relationship themselves. With their wives or through other means. I was getting a chance to talk about and process my feelings.

At the time - the epidemic was so silent - my psychologists didn't know how to treat it - so they set me up with the principles in a 12 step program which was inspired by Dr. Carl Jung. (AA.) They felt that children who did suffer abuse issues in silence usually went on to abuse alcoholic or drugs as well.

As a teenager - they told me to search out other victims and look for fellowship with them - because they were the only ones in the world who were going to relate to my injuries. Just like alcoholics - we are never going to be able to change the fact that we were victims of sexual abuse. Instead of changing it - we had to learn to live with it.

A part of that recovery is - to reach out to 'fellow suffers' with a positive message of hope that recovery is possible.

Hopefully - I have touched you with that with a part of that message.


#337329 - 07/31/10 06:01 PM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: brokenheart]
fhorns Offline

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 706
I've finally got a chance to feel safe, as I've been out of state with relatives. (I'm in a isolated shack with noone home right now).

Fear...... Yes. All the time. I carry it, and actually feeling it makes me freer than denying it. I've stuffed it and other feelings all my life. In the last 10 years I've noticed people's odd(?) reactions to me, and since it's pretty common, I've wondered "Why?" My fear. I carry it. People see it, feel it, and thus usually back off. I'm communicating "I don't feel you're safe", and somehow, I'm encouraging them to leave. And either I or they do. I was reading something yesterday that confirmed this, and I'll post the link below.

For example, yesterday I was a neighbor's house up here. I had gotten to know a younger peer here last summer, and he's been tenacious about maintaining this relationship, as he's disabled and also living with his disabled father. As for me, fear often surfaces inside. While he and I were talking to his father in the room, I was near the friend physically for about 30 seconds. What's weird is that, for about that same time, my mind switched into a 5 year old mode. Instantly, I felt "drawn" to be held or touched by him, as that was what had equalled a relationship for me growing up. I felt fearful, and only stayed another 20 minutes. This wasn't a sexuality issue, but more of an old "normal relationship" issue. My brother was molested by a church member before he started experimenting with me. That went on with me for a few years, thus...this was normal. It's severely limited my relationships with guys, because some part of me was awake enough to know I was violated.

However, part of me wants to feel safer now. Maybe I'm not "forgiving" yet because I am still looking at safety issues for myself. Maybe. This was somewhat off-topic from forgiveness, but maybe..this is where I am right now. I'm both asking and wondering.

And finally Brokenheart, thanks for sharing your story. It's giving me fuel to share mine more. Really, thank you.


P.S. Do people sometimes feel guilty for wanting to be safe? As I was writing and holding onto the need for safety, a little guilt surfaced. Is this normal?

P.P.S. This is the link I was reading yesterday. It's a T's experience using EFT with a traumatized man. His major need: safety. It's very well written and very insightful, IMO.

#337427 - 08/02/10 03:42 AM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: fhorns]
brokenheart Offline

Registered: 07/14/10
Posts: 12
Originally Posted By: fhorns
However, part of me wants to feel safer now. Maybe I'm not "forgiving" yet because I am still looking at safety issues for myself. Maybe. This was somewhat off-topic from forgiveness, but maybe..this is where I am right now. I'm both asking and wondering.

I have been going over my own 'traumatic' experiences and how psychologists explained their view of life - from their case studies. I was a victim of a medical condition and it would stop my heart in a very violent manner. For that reason - I was more of a 'victim of circumstances' due to the fact it was a medical condition. My Doctors told my parents it (heart seizures) carried the equivalent of someone blasting a double barrel shotgun into my chest on a bi-weekly basis. It was horrible.

The Doctors told me that being born into a human body - started out with trauma. That is why babies cry - due to the trauma. Our Moms hold us and nurture us with love to heal us from that trauma and just when we get comfortable - another trauma surfaces when the hunger pains hit our stomachs. We cry again from the trauma. We get our needs fed to us and we settle in until another trauma hits us and we have a mess in our diapers. From day one - we (as humans) are trying to balance out the two sides of the coin. Trauma and it's impact us physically, emotionally and mentally. We usually find our cure for those small traumas with a nurturing hand and love.

After we become adults - the trauma's never end. But usually we learn to bounce back and heal ourselves with a form of love that helps us nurse the 'inner wounds' back to health again.

I feel that those who are injuried in silence (or hidden from view of others) don't get the chance to properly treat that trauma when it occurs - and - hidden away in secrecy - it grows out of proportion because instead of feeding ourselves the love required to heal - we can feed the very 'fears, guilt, shame, pain and hurt' to continue the after effects of the abuse for years to come.

Fear is a perfectly nature emotion and it required to keep us safe in the future. But like all emotions - it can grow out of proportion and become an 'unhealthy' emotion. What it requires is that 'healthy' balance of love to bring it back into check. It may not happen overnight (as we would like) but taking one step at a time in the right direction - will bring you closer to that healthy balance again.

As children - we depend on others to provide that love needed. As adults - we have to become our own 'caregivers' and look for the responsible method to get the right nurturing to that inner and injured child.

The main person you have to learn to trust again - is yourself.

Going through and sorting out that 'guilt' is a process. You have to look at the 'guilt' as sort of tangled web that is trying to keep you feeding all the negative emotions involved. So - it is probably normal in the road to recovery. I feel it is important to look at that guilt - process it and let go of it in a healthy way.

I am glad you have found a safe forum to reach out to others and share. I feel that is a very important process in the recovery road. I hope you continue to have the courage to share and sort through your emotions and find the love that you need and deserve.


#337695 - 08/05/10 04:35 PM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: brokenheart]
somerandomguy Offline

Registered: 03/05/10
Posts: 10
Loc: USA
I am continually torn between feeling like forgiveness is a waste of time and desperately wanting to forgive.

If I let the flame of anger burn out, it feels like there will be nothing left in my life. But everyone says that forgiveness brings peace. I don't know what to think.

In the end, living with my anger is much, much easier, so I suppose that's my choice.

#337698 - 08/05/10 04:44 PM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: somerandomguy]
FormerTexan Offline

Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12162
Loc: Denver, CO
I believe forgiveness does bring peace. It's more for me than the debtor. It allows me to release a debt I cannot collect. It does not excuse the perpetrator for what they have done. In my case, one perp is dead, so how could I possibly collect anyway?

Forgiveness does not invalidate valid hurt and anger either. Those legitimate emotions need to be felt and expressed.

Money talks, but all it tells me is goodbye.

If I could meet myself as a boy...

#340941 - 09/27/10 05:35 PM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: FormerTexan]
Avery46 Offline

Registered: 09/23/10
Posts: 1243
Loc: USA
Forgiveness is MERCY for my soul. It is a letting go of the shame I have carried that belongs to the monster. It took me until this year to have enough strength and knowledge to put the shame where it belongs.

It is a continous act of Mercy. It is letting go of the affects of the abuse.

It is being free for me to be me.


aka DJsport

#341122 - 09/30/10 12:33 AM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: brokenheart]
brokenheart Offline

Registered: 07/14/10
Posts: 12

#344457 - 11/08/10 08:58 AM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: brokenheart]
john38 Offline

Registered: 10/21/10
Posts: 90
Loc: Pasadena CA
For me forgiveness is a journey. Where I'm at at this point in my recovery (16 years and counting) is not worrying about forgiveness of my perps. The chief one that I've had to work to forgive is myself, and that act of forgiveness every time I behave like a f'd up survivor is a godsend. I deserve love, regardless of what mistakes I make because in my family or origin no one taught me how to behave in an emotionally healthy manner--all I was taught was dysfunction.

With regards to the anger/resentment piece, I simply don't sweat it or try to contol it any more. Instead, I let the anger out. I have every right to be angry when some event triggers my PTSD and puts me right back into that small body's profoundly painful violation. What was done was wrong. When I do experience anger, I don't go through it alone. I write; I call a survivor friend; I go to an anger release Survivors of Incest Anonymous support group meeting. I let it go, and get love for myself. Every time I let go of anger, which many psychologists feel is a hybrid emotion that covers over grief and fear, I immediately go to grief and sadness. During my abuse, and afterward, there was no one to console me. So by naming and expressing my anger when it comes up, I give over to my grief, usually cry, and here's the wonderful part, allow myself to be consoled by my Maker, by other safe others (survivor friends), and ultimately by myself. What I feel is what I feel. It's my birthright to be a feeling human being. I don't want to be a male who is cut off from his emotions because when I cut them off, I strip myself away from all the joy, hope, and beauty of this life.

Some people, myself included earlier in recovery, seem to go to forgiveness in order to try to hop over repressed emotions that they don't want to do. Mind you,it's just my belief, but I don't truly think I can forgive if I don't allow myself to feel first.

I guess the last thing I want to say about this topic is that I've done hundreds of pages of journaling about my perps to try and understand them, and get a sense of how they could have abused the beautiful child that I was. What I ultimately arrived at via that process was this: I gave my perps back their humanity. I allowed them to be human beings again and in the process gave myself back my humanity. I realized my perps had probably been abused which is why they became abusers. Thus what they did to me wasn't about me, it was about them and their inability to acknowledge their pain, anger, terror and helplessness. As a consequence, I was able to let them go, much like the act of forgiveness is supposed to allow one to do. Most importantly, I was able to reclaim all of me, even the parts that I thought they had killed.

Yes, forgiveness is an important topic. And like I said, I don't worry about forgiving my perps any more, besides they never came to me to ask for forgiveness nor to make amends. What's most important is that I learned to forgive myself for being a victim and responding like sexual abuse victim. When I did that, I was able to finally move on.


Edited by john38 (11/08/10 09:40 PM)
Just for today I will treat myself with respect, compassion and acceptance.

#353590 - 02/14/11 04:13 AM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: brokenheart]
RecoveryReady1 Offline

Registered: 12/05/10
Posts: 433
Very much appreicate the depth and insight in your post....

Something that comes to mind for me is that I have never been

able to think myself, force myself, or reward myself into

I get the sense that there is a part of me that is hanging on

and without actually getting to that part of myself and allowing

that part to be heard and validated...Without actually reaching

this's just surface (bandage) and will continue to

come back....In this way, it's a process, getting to that part


having it feel safe enough and to have the patience to not

cooerse it or force it....

I find that without a spiritual belief it is

difficult to have that shift with that part of us ......

and with the anger (lack of forgiveness) it is

hard to have a spiritual base....

It takes patience and willingness to be in the process.

#353745 - 02/15/11 06:00 PM Re: What is forgiveness? [Re: RecoveryReady1]
Morning Star Offline

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: Home
CSA is often and can be describes using the classical term - the "Dark Night of the Soul", because it is stripping down of not just our sense of justice and reasoning but also our power structure, leaving us feeling powerless and filled with a deep sense of injustice. The way out as was the case of the author of this medieval work was prayer, for being freed from his own anger and sense of injustice as he found himself being consumed it...his work over the centuries has remained a spiritual classic as it provides the framework and vocabulary for our journey back home to the castle, because it teaches us about the imperative of swimming through the moat first, which demands that we drop the heaviness of the reasoning mind, lest we would sink ...or refuse to step on to the drawbridge or a helping that is stretched our way...
We know the author today, as St. John of Cross! A recent book that employs this work is "Defy Gravity" by Caroline Myss. Though previously it has been adjudged as an essential passage to the centre of our soul by numerous mystical authors including Evelyn Underhill's "Mysticism" (1911), so go explore...your soul awaits your return home! This is not a recovery path rather a pilgrimage, and each moment of it is sacred!....God resides in you as you; do not look anywhere but be still and step into the resplendent kingdom within...!

~ It's over!...Let go of Thy Past, Remember Thy Self ~

Why Don't People Heal, by Caroline Myss; 30 days to clean up your vibrations - Abraham-Hicks

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