This is a crazy powerful post. A 3 year boy was abducted recently in canada http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/09/07/...n_n_953183.html
Miraculously and ironically on such a sad date, there was so much joy. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/09/13/randall-hopley-arrested-kienan-hebert-alberta_n_960220.html
So through the tears of joy I read that this little boy's father has already 'forgiven' the abductor. "There's two ways that you can look at it: You can feed hate or you can feed love. They're both characters. Hate is a very hungry animal and I just don't choose to feed that animal," Hebert told reporters earlier in the day. Wow, thats a lot of resolution in so few words. All it did was piss me off.
How can you have forgiveness without contrition? Sasuva "we have made some mistakes" is not even close. Forgiveness is bullshit if it does not start with an act of redemption being sought by the perpitrator. Without it, the whole thing is empty and one-sided and again the victim is the one who is bending. What part of that pattern is any different from the powerlessness of the put upon child.
A perpetrator can NEVER ask for forgiveness. That comes from a place of ego. Only the abused can offer it, and to me that can only come when the abuser truly by deeds, not words shows remorse and a willingness to make things as right as possible going forward. And it must be upon much reflection, rumination, time and compassion. The abuser apologizing can't be knee jerk reaction or be puked out like some 24 hour flu.
In my case my perp is dead. But those tentacles still reached so far thru time. It took a lot of work to get to the point that I knew a pattern shift had to come, somehow?. I was lucky enough to find a great therapist, do bodywork recovery then only by chance at a mindfull yoga class did it all came together.
The thoughtful young man read the following poem b4 yoga as we sat on our mats having ginger tea:
"Forgiveness is the cash you need.
All the other kinds of silver really buy just strange things.
Everything has its music.
Everything has genes of God inside.
But learn from those courageous addicted lovers
of glands and opium and gold --
Look, they cannot jump high or laugh long
when they are whirling.
And the moon and the stars become sad
when their tender light is used for night wars.
Forgiveness is part of the treasure you need
to craft your falcon wings
And return to your true realm
of Divine freedom."
In that instant I knew that forgiveness wasn't about absolving anyone but me. I so desparately wanted my falcon wings. But I all too well understood the feeling of whirling to the addictions that made the moon and stars pale and indeed see life itself used for a purpose that goes against its very core. We all seek to know and return to what should have rightfully been our true sense of self and destiny. So many what ifs.
Later, I sobbed on the therapists table as we were going over why that little boy had stayed frozen, cold, isolated and hidden from even himself for so long. I can't remember what the trigger was but the emotion was all there.
The memory of those times and events and the effects it has had on me when all the time I just minimized it - " It was just something that happened". The words of the poem came to me and I just knew that the cycle and the pattern could go on into infinity or I could unshacle myself. It was time for me to craft my wings. So forgiveness really had nothing to do with him or them or whatever. It was about me lifting off the earth under my own lightness. The tears turned to paroxysms of release both of anger and joy. I was never going to be held down again.
Forgiveness is first and formost something that is about us. If time and compassion allow for more, even better. But physically forgiving someone in the here and now is almost irrelevant. Its about the little frozen stuck boy. Its about what he needs.
If you never have any expectations of how the abuser will or wont respond or make ammends you can never be hurt or disappointed. I just don't see how that risk of putting your eggs back in that basket could ever be worth it. I like what you said - you have to dress and care for your wounds, not keep pealing back the bandaid to see if the scar has healed.
Maybe we dont need to weigh the concept of confrontation so heavily. We can't know where their heads are really all we can do is hold their feet to the fire. But what happens after that is up to them.
Ultimately, I don't even know as its so much forgiveness as letting it go. Not just saying it happened, but understanding it and how it affected you but not letting it win. Forgiveness is about us forgiving ourselves, forgiving what happened to us, and forgiving that we didnt know how to get out of the abyss that encompassed us.
But absolution to the abuser to me thats not the same as forgiveness, thats got to be about them acknowledging what they did to us. But we have no power over that, and so its something we cannot control, worry about or be disappointed by. Their flippant "lapse of judgement" or having made " a few mistakes" to us is so huge and staggering that they will unlikely ever be even capable of seeing it. Like MartinB so elequently showed that even with the evidence in front of them, their eyes are shut. And quite frankly we can't let their pathological myopia limit our vision of ourselves. We have to unhook those concepts that somehow if we dont forgive THEM we can't go forward. What kind of psychobable bunk is that?!?
It took courage to survive, it takes more to know that the currency we need is in all of us.