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#447724 - 09/20/13 11:37 AM Re: FORGIVE???????? [Re: Steven Heath]
Jacob S Offline

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 690
Loc: where the shadows lie
I'm 35. When I was 20, I knew a guy (lets call him Cal) who was 35. I basically worshipped Cal. I know I had a crush on Cal. Cal was athletic, smart, read poetry, and worked as a child-advocate (meaning a lawyer who defended kids from abusive parents). Pretty much my image of a superhero.

But Cal was also incredibly homophobic, had no apparent sex drive of any sort, and not at all in touch with his pain. Cal's father had abused him severly as a child. Then, when Cal was 14, his father had a stroke that instantly changed the family dynamic. Suddenly that strong angry man became slow, soft-spoken, clumsy and (whether because of neurological reasons or because he realized he couldn't be a bully anymore) kind and doting to everyone. For all practical purposes, he became a different person.

Following the stroke, the mother got Cal heavily involved in church, where Cal learned from his youth pastor about forgiveness.

You would think that would be a good thing. Cal always talked about it like a good thing. But the problem was, Cal never really had a chance to be angry first. No one let him be angry. Who was he going to be angry at? The dottering old man in the wheel chair?

At the time I knew Cal I didn't understand that what I saw as strength was really still repression. Not of memories, but of anger. People talk about being born again. His father had literally changed. His brain was for all intents and purposes the brain of a different person. So Cal had nothing to rage at. If his father had died, he could have spat on the ground. Instead he took it all inside of him.

I broke my ties with Cal after a few years because his views about homosexuals broke my heart. So I don't really know if he's ever dealt with what I've only in the years since come to understand.

But I do know that, whether or not forgiveness is the goal, you have to go through anger. You can't go around it or duck it or expect God to lift you over it. If you try that you'll be trading repression of memory for repression of emotions. You'll still be missing out on healing because you can't get anywhere if you don't first admit where you are.

Edited by Jacob S (09/20/13 11:38 AM)
I am a veteran of the soul wars.

#447728 - 09/20/13 12:26 PM Re: FORGIVE???????? [Re: Steven Heath]
newground Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 1141
Loc: michigan
hey man
you are absolutely right on. the unfortunate thing is that many churches teach a warped teaching on anger. it is in no way un christian to be angry or to express that anger. it HAS to happen as you say or you kind of die inside... (how well I know this) there is NO teaching of any kind in the christian bible that suggests that anger is wrong of forbidden or any of those things. so far as forgiveness I think that the understanding here is confused as well. forgiveness is NOT to let anyone off the hook. in fact it changes the SITUATION very little. it simply means that I refuse to allow this to become my life. I will NOT continue to allow someone else's actions to control mine. whatever moral imperative someone chooses to place on it forgiveness is really for frees us from taking the poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Just my thoughts
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

#447791 - 09/21/13 04:08 AM Re: FORGIVE???????? [Re: newground]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6387
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
anger is not hatred.
but it sure feels like it.

"Hard to see clear.
Is it me? Is it fear?
I'm madly in anger with you
- James Hetfield (Metallica)

"Anger is a mask for fear."
- Norman Fischer (Sailing Home)

"The things we fear the most have already happened to us."
- Deepak Chopra

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
- Marianne Williamson

"You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it."
- Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
- Yoda (Star Wars)

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me."
- Frank Herbert (Dune)

"Danger is very real, but fear is a choice."
Cypher Raige (After Earth)

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
- F.D.Roosevelt

"Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living in better conditions
- Hafiz

Handling Anger


#448060 - 09/24/13 06:34 AM Re: FORGIVE???????? [Re: Steven Heath]
Onesimus75 Offline

Registered: 08/22/13
Posts: 158
Loc: Minnesota
***Triggers*** not 'cause I'm going to say anything graphic as I'm pretty sure I'm going to get lynched if I answer honestly. I'm just explaining where I am, and how I see it. I am NOT demanding anyone agree with me, or behave as I do.
It's just that my thoughts on this are 100% grounded in my religion. My last T pointed out that religion is a valid normative force.

Ugh. This is probably going to be pretty unpopular since it's a minority view rooted in traditional religious beliefs.
But you asked. I'll answer.

Your abuser is a monster. He doesn't deserve forgiveness. Anyone who deserves forgiveness doesn't need it. Only the guilty, the horrible, and the wrong need it.

For me, I think I'm commanded to love those who hurt me. BUT love doesn't mean hugs and kisses.
1ST THING: Love yourself. Keep yourself safe. Get help. Get out! if you don't love yourself your neighbor is in BIG trouble!

Right off, the first thing that I have to do to love someone is to try and stop them sinning. If I came across a mugger, I might have to hurt him to make him stop, but that stops him being a mugger! If I encounter an abuser who's carrying on with their crimes, then the most loving thing I can do is to report them, or physically stop them if it's happening in front of me.

So, for me, I can't have anything to do with someone if it's going to hurt me or them. I pray for my major perp every time I remember him, but if I found out that being around me made him struggle all over again, or remember stuff that was sick and wrong, then I would have to stay away as long as that was the case. If I wasn't ready to see them, it would hurt me, then I would have to stay away.

I think that for a lot if not most victims of sexual abuse, they're sort of covered in that paragraph.

But my worldview states that my own forgiveness is dependent on how I forgive those who have hurt me. My example is someone who asked forgiveness for people who were torturing him to death when he could have killed them easily.

THAT EXAMPLE HAS LIMITS. My religion doesn't have forgiveness for people who aren't repentant (repent = turn around. Not I'm sorry. Not I feel bad. But the original words mean to turn around 180 degrees.) So most perps who live in denial or continue to abuse, i don't have to forgive. In fact I can pray for them to hurt. I can pray that God gets them back over and over until they hurt so bad they need a way out, and that way out has to be stopping, turning around. I'm afraid I think that many, if not most, will never do that. But I know those who have.

Right now, I don't have a way to have any contact with my abusers. One I only knew at camp. One was a pervert who chased me around in a car masturbating and trying to get me to go with him. One was a long term relationship date-rape but I don't know where the guy lives or how to contact him even if I did want to.

But I'd talk to him if I could. When I stopped wanting to kill myself over my body's reaction and the long-term effects of what he did to me, I had to say, "This guy owes me a debt he can never begin to pay." I started learning how to forgive myself for my reactions (that weren't my fault) and the adultery, rage, manipulation, and hate that I gave myself permission to do because of it (those were my fault.) I couldn't undo what I had done either.

So, forgiveness didn't mean saying what he did to me was OK. It was saying that he deserved to die for what he did. (Adultery, rebellion, and my other sins also deserve death according to the old codes of my religion.) Forgiveness doesn't mean never feeling anger. Sometimes I still feel rage at myself for my sexual reactions, mostly that I sometimes still feel them. Much more often I feel anger and rage over what was done to me. I didn't deserve it! I was 11 / 13 / 16! It wasn't my fault.

My worldview gives me a target, a place to vent all that rage and anger whenever I need to. So forgiving doesn't mean i'm not allowed to feel that. It just means that I can yell and scream to my higher power who wants to hear how I feel.

Forgiveness doesn't mean letting them off the hook as much as saying that their price was paid when mine was (Christianity's weird among other religions on this point.)

Anyway... after I started letting myself off the hook, I started feeling different about my abuser. I saw and understood the things that hurt him, and that he was trying to get out of the abuse. I could understand, and since I didn't have to say it was OK, and I didn't have to not be angry, it took a lot of the challenges away.

Right now I just pray for the guy whenever a flash-back or hurt comes up. If that means God torturing him until he repents, I'm really cool with that. If that means he repents, it doesn't mean that he has paid the price for what he did. He can't. Couldn't. No one could possibly pay for all the years of suffering, shame, and pain he did to me. When I think about the effects, I want to beat the guy to death sometimes. But someone was beaten to death in his place, as a substitute. So... I have come to accept that the torturous death in agony that my perp deserved has been dished out. It's just that someone who loves us both took the beating.

So... forgiveness isn't a lack of anger, or a lack of judgment, or a lack of vengeance. For me forgiveness is venting the anger, knowing the judgment and vengeance has been carried out.

And after a while (For years when I had the opportunity, though my 20's I didn't have anything to do with the guy, so this is like 15+ years after the fact...) I started to feel compassion for the abuse he suffered. Not excusing him, just understanding. I think he has wounds a lot like mine. So I can pray for those. And I do.

It's tangled.
It's 100% opposite of how every other religion or philosophy I know does it. And I know it's not the American way of doing things.

It's just what I believe, and how it works for me.

But it gives me peace about him, and lets me put more energy to coping on a day-to-day basis. And I hope that some day everything horrible about him will be burned away and something good will be grown out of what's left. That, too, is both vengeance and hope. But it works for me.

It gives me the ability to ask for him to be delivered from who he was, because I think he doesn't deserve it. No one does. Including me.

And I want hope, help, and healing. So I want it for him.

and I feel like I should say goodbye to everyone before I get kicked off for saying this...

It's been real.
We are not defined by our faults, or our wounds, but by the truth within us, which nothing can take away.

#448180 - 09/25/13 11:36 AM Re: FORGIVE???????? [Re: Steven Heath]
WriterKeith Offline

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 980
"But I do know that, whether or not forgiveness is the goal, you have to go through anger. You can't go around it or duck it or expect God to lift you over it. If you try that you'll be trading repression of memory for repression of emotions. You'll still be missing out on healing because you can't get anywhere if you don't first admit where you are."

Perfectly stated, Jacob.

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