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#429938 - 04/03/13 01:57 PM Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger*
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
I have always held the view that forgiveness of my abuser is off the table. That I would never even consider forgiving such an evil person. Moreover I wanted to see him tortured, die a painful death, and as others have imagined, piss on his grave.

But through some current circumstances where I am seeking forgiveness for some of my own bad behavior, I have had to revisit the issue. If only for my own benefit.

I can get the idea of forgiveness in theory, but where it falls apart for me is the question: is there an evil so great that its unforgivable? Where do you draw the line?. Is the evil done to me, forced oral sex, forgivable? If it is, what about the 5 year old boy who is forced into performing in child porn with multiple men? Forgivable? What about the 12 year old that was kept as a sex slave for 7 years and "rented out" to other men? Forgivable? Or the boys who have been forced into sex and then murdered to keep them quiet? Forgivable?

Just writing this gets me very angry. The idea of forgiving such acts of terror seems repulsive. So then how do you do it? Anyone?


#429959 - 04/03/13 04:41 PM Re: Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger* [Re: Jude]
Zug Offline

Registered: 02/18/13
Posts: 56
Loc: Progress
I have struggled mightily with this subject over the coursehwrongs of my life. As a kid, I held on to 'wrongs' because I wanted to redress them, becaise I felt that if I let go of them it meant that I wasnt brave enough to address them. I held on to everything from stepfathers beating me n ma to being jumped as a kid. I think CSA/physical/emotional abuse made me hardhead, not a bully, but someone unwilling to be bullied. I did not forgive and I was protective of myself and more so, my friends. I lived this way for some time, enjoyed the role of the 'weird white jock kid'. As I got older, I left that role and put a lot of the insecurity and things like attendance at punk/hard core shows. I channeled the aggression from CSA etc into sports as kid, as an adult I channeled it into the military, they appreciated me. I,held on to the idea that one should be polite, decent, unless others were not. I believed that if soneone crossed the line, they deserved whst they got. Fast forward to ASA, heavy alcoholic drinking as a means to deal w CSA ASA symptoms and basically handing over the keys to my life to the perps and alcohol and I was a mess. I was a mess before. The combined effects of ptsd, isolation by perps, drinking totally took me apart. I got sober, heard about forgiveness, thought it was stupid. That had been a long held belief; one does not forgive or regret, one teaches. I had no doubt that my attitudes abiut forgiveness had complicated my life, but was afraid I would end up like Alex at the end of Clockwork Orange. Some if the people that had beefs would never stop-that has not changed. What did change was that I heard people in aa that had what I wanted (different life, better person, different outcomes/results). Many of the old school dudes talked about forgiveness, hiw freeing it was and that it began w self. This confused and amgered me, I didnt understand. Even thinking about this was like trying to get myself to close my eyes and leap off of a 40 story building. I,kept listeningm read, asked questions, prayed. I still havent managed to forgive myself for all of it; CSA (other abuse as child), horrible marriage to sex addict that totally used me ($,sex, ruined rep, total emasculation), ASA, actions of other men that my xwife used as means to take revenge, etc. I can forgive and take it back in some cases, in others its a discreet event. This is a struggle, a bargain I make w god/whatever on a daily (sometimes more, lol) basis. I have found that my own happiness is directly related to things like; how much I pray/meditate, how well I can cultivate things like compassion and empathy in my mind and actions, and to what degree I can forgive some of the darker more heinous things that have been done to me by others. This is still cointerintuitive to me at times and I still struggle, but it doesnt steal my life. Foregiveness is different from 'holding accountable' reporting, prosecuting, etc. Whether they're caught, punished or not they can be forgiven. When I am able, I can find great spiritual and personal strength in this process. Just my .02, Im certainly no expert and fail, often. I notice I pay the price ffor this.
"what matters most is how well you walk through the fire"
-Charles Bukowski

#429962 - 04/03/13 04:45 PM Re: Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger* [Re: Jude]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Only have a minute to post, but I'm always glad when this subject comes up, Jude.

imo, "forgiveness" is most often used by religions to subjugate the sheeple or it's used to sell self-help books. And it perpetrated most often, imo, by people who haven't been thru the kinds of experiences we've been thru...that is, they're clueless at best, patronizing and presumptuous at worst.

Frankly, too, if the offender, as is often the case, has no clue or sense of his own offenses, "forgiveness" is irrelevant.

Best I've been able to do is to understand the dynamic: the person's own background, etc. And that's usually enuf for me.

I sure as hell don't need another reason from someone to hear that I'm wrong.

#429963 - 04/03/13 04:47 PM Re: Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger* [Re: Jude]
OCN Offline

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 400
Loc: Western Europe
I recognize this struggle!
Since i like buddhism i have learned the idea of forgiveness through buddhism. But i never really found anything on forgiveness with abuse.

My guess is that it is a personal choice, a personal journey. For in the end - albeit a hard way - if we dont forgive, we end up not forgiving ourselves.. and that what makes the whole thing so painful. But it seems to me that in order to forgive ourselves, we need to forgive all the things people have done to us.

That said, i know its so much easier said than done, for i'm struggling with exactly the same issue. How to forgive my brother? But i find that by holding on to the anger towards him i'm actually blocking myself, not him.. so in a strange way its all about letting go by working through all the pains..
Trust me, you are worth it to love yourself!

I now know who I am - I've never been anybody else!

#429968 - 04/03/13 05:04 PM Re: Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger* [Re: Jude]
bodyguard8367 Offline

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""

Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 03:01 AM)

#429969 - 04/03/13 05:08 PM Re: Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger* [Re: Jude]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 7011
Loc: FEMA Region 1
I hesitate to bring up ANY faith-based anything...but "forgiveness," for me, is a faith-based thing as revealed to me from the New Testament.

Well....the only people we can forgive are those who sinned against us. So I cannot and would not ever even pretend to forgive Hitler, the local sex offender registry members, etc. I have NO proximity to it/them. I say this obvious thing, only because SOME people think Christians need to forgive those who wrong anyone.

In My Story, there is a little girl who is a friend of my daughter, whom was molested for a very long period of time by an older boy in the church I use to attend. He was and is dangerous! The girl's family was forced out of the church like poop through a goose. The perp and his family, embraced for their trial and courage therein. "We all forgive him." Fuck T H A T and fuck Y O U!

There's only ONE person who can forgive him, and she chooses not to...and that's OK for now. And I guess her parents too.

The church people (of THAT church) have so embraced him, that he now has a job in a very busy SuperMarket, that the other families helped him get. I, we, us, them, can't go grocery shopping without seeing him. A perfect example of not only screwy forgiveness, but also screwy people who are dangerous themselves.

I forgave the perps in my life once I realized what could truly indicate true forgiveness. I heard "you are not truly forgiving the person, until you can wish them well."

I forgive them...and I wish them well.

...and I think NO person is compelled to do the same. NO person is compelled to forgive. But realizing the 'indicator' of true forgiveness (ability to wish them well) and realizing that Jesus forgives any and all sin laid before him, I felt that I needed to find my way to it...but I did not feel compelled.

EDIT: Oh....and I STill cannot forgive myself. Something the interviewer/producer could not even begin to understand.

Edited by Still (04/03/13 05:14 PM)

#429994 - 04/03/13 07:24 PM Re: Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger* [Re: Jude]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
At the risk of being out of step with some comments, I never "got" the forgive-them-forgive-yourself connection. But this is just where I am.

@Still...I like what you said about no one being compelled to forgive. Excellent point. ("poop thru a goose" wasn't bad either!) laugh

As far as myself, the reality is there was no way I could have said/done anything differently...because I was a kid! Kids simply aren't equipped to deal with this stuff. Yeah, to me it's that simple.

Aside from understanding the dysfunctional/abusive dynamic, best I could do - and did - was to walk away from those people. One of the best things I ever heard was from a T who pointed out my abusers create their own karma. In other words, when it comes to any sense of revenge...that's not in my job description. I apply it to a lot of things in my life, too...traffic, bad clients, etc. I let 'em dig their own hole. But it's not up to me to even up the score.

Quick example, the mommybitch abuser is now a widowed, isolated, bitter and relentlessly demanding old woman who otherwise won't let anyone near her (i.e., to stay at her house when/if they visited...and now they won't). It's unfortunate, but it's not my problem...and, yeah, definitely a sense of schadenfreude here, which I truly enjoy.

There are simply some people in the world, as my step-sister would put it, who are evil. Her term to describe the mommybitch, not mine...and she's a survivor of spousal abuse.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I see forgiveness as a personal definition, not one to be defined by others.

#430000 - 04/03/13 08:15 PM Re: Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger* [Re: Jude]
Magellan Offline

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 1595
Loc: California
I agree with all of the above;

No one should feel obligated or compelled to forgive someone at the frantic "shoulds" of faith.

Having said that, I also agree with the impact of forgiveness not on the person I'm forgiving, but on myself.

When I forgive, I choose to let go of resentments. But that doesn't absolve bad behavior by any stretch of the imagination.

I had an amazing experience a couple years ago in which I suddenly found myself at a place of forgiveness at my genetic father. I wasn't working to get to that place, but suddenly was there. And I felt this urge to let him know.

I wrote him a letter to let him know that I forgave him, but I still had no desire to have any relationship with him as he was not a safe person for me to be around. I also let him know that his choices were his to make, and mine were mine to make, and our value systems were very clearly at odds with each other. And that was okay. I just chose to not have anything to do with him.

He died 3 weeks later. During the proceedings I had such a profound sense of grace come over me, recognizing some of my inherited character defects that I got from him, and recognizing how much a better person I was than him.

I would not have had that incredible experience of grace and insight had I not forgiven him.

My 3 cents.

#430001 - 04/03/13 08:53 PM Re: Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger* [Re: Jude]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Beats me. I'm by nature an unforgiving person, I remember slights and fights and hold grudges forever. I really think the only person I've ever forgiven for anything is my wife.

A pederast? Unless s/he was like abducted by Neo-Nazis and "had to" do this for the greater good ("rape one or kill all"), or rendered insane by a blow to the head, some neurotoxic agent or mental degenerative / hallucinatory disorder.... I can't even imagine forgiving them.

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#430010 - 04/03/13 09:36 PM Re: Forgiveness Revisited *Possible Trigger* [Re: Jude]
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 541
Loc: NY

It's interesting that the forgiving of yourself is where you begin with the question of the very nature of forgiveness.

As I walk out of a 35 year old dissociative dream, I can't help but try to forgive myself for what I may have done in the presence of others that I couldn't really understand or begin to embrace until now. When those I love forgive me for what I couldn't control, and I hear it, it feels at first like something greater than I could have imagined. It scares me a little to think of what the possibilities are, but I'd like to see it happen a little more.

Hope you found some good stuff here.

Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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