This is such a difficult concept. Forgiveness that is. Some think if you forgive then you forget and pardon the person. Others believe you can forgive and it does not mean you pardon the perp. Others believe you can't recover unless forgive your abuser.
Forgiveness is a difficult concept; it will also have a varied meaning and definition to each of us.
Is there a scale of severity that says when we should not forgive? Is there any objective standard by which we can judge a person's level of responsibility? These questions too have a multitude of answers.
My personal life perspective is one of responsibility assumption
. I believe that nothing
happens for a reason and that the overall meaning of life
is to give life meaning
That being said - I also believe in the concept of neutral props
. In short, no
thing has any inherent value to it. All experiences, foods, stimuli, movies, etc. no
-thing is neither inherently good
It's taken over a decade for me to understand that concept.
But where this ties into this thread is; I was able to discover what was good
about the consequences
of my abuse. Once I was able to view this in a positive manner then, and only then, was I able to forgive my father.
My experience with my father left me in a physically painful state. Growing into my body as a teenager and then adult resulted in disc herniation, arthritis in my lower spine, patches of skin numbness (after the surgery to put my collar bone back together - several nerves got, I suppose, screwed up), and overall desensitization on the right side of my body.
My choices, as it is my body and my life, as an adult were, essentially, hold a grudge, remain spiteful, grow angry at my father or
learn pain management to the best of my abilities and get on with my life. I chose the latter. I found PT, I found Yoga, I found meditation, I dated a masseuse, I learned ways to calm my nerves and muscles, on several occasions I got to try some pretty neat drugs from my doctor - at one point I was given morphine in the hospital... WOW - I totally understood why/how people getting addicted to that crap... Anyway...
The journey led me to an extremely flexible and highly functional physical body that, when it experienced pain, was able to manage its stress quickly and effectively.
From my father's end; that night he put me in the hospital was his rock bottom. He had the nurse on hand call the police so that they would come arrest him.
Between our social worker, my father's mandatory anger management classes and his therapist - my father had one of those enlightening breakthroughs that seem to cinematically illuminate a person's inner being. He moved out, got a small apartment and, as he later recounted to me, cried his weight in tears nightly for years.
Years later, around the time my mother, his ex-wife, had committed suicide - we reconvened as adults and discussed, openly, maturely, safely and vulnerably our past together.
We both saw something terribly wrong with our lives and we both fixed it.
It took a few years of us talking for me and him to find a common ground with each other. Many apologies were given, many mornings were spent over coffee. And then we started to share what we had learned...
I'm rabbling again, sorry, this is not the post to do so...
To make this long story slightly less long - it is now 16 years after that night in the hospital and though, when I have painful flare ups, I still feel some pulses of anger towards him, we are closer than we've ever been.
I suppose forgiveness came because I went and stole my abuse from my abuser and didn't let him take any responsibility for the effect it had on me. I took responsibility for the effect it would have - and I became a good man because of it. I was able to let go this way.