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How to forgive the unforgivable?

(13 Posts)
toptramp Sat 03-Sep-11 23:34:40

I was severely abused by an ex partner, resulting in mental ill health, a lost career and physical ill health. I am now back on track and well rid but I still feel so angry towards him. He has apologised and this anger is hurting only me. How do I forgive him and myself for putting up with his abuse. i have read ''Why does he do that?'' by Lundy Bancroft and even though I know I was traumatically bonded to him, I still feel angry that I took his shit. My mum died recently and I am livid with him for hurting my mum by hurting me. She had to be sedated when she saw what he did to me. grrr.

toptramp Sat 03-Sep-11 23:35:23

I don't want to end up bitte and I have been to cbt, councelling etc but this nugget of hate and resentment remains.

toptramp Sat 03-Sep-11 23:35:34

bitter sorry.

madmouse Sat 03-Sep-11 23:46:50

Can you explain what exactly you want? Forgiveness in my experience and from what I have read is an act of the will, and a journey. It takes time to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean no longer being angry in my book. I'm in the process of forgiving the man who badly abused me as a child and I still feel angry at times. For me it means handing him over to God and letting go of any entitlement to punish him.

Little bit of devil's advocate: Are you angry with the way he hurt your mother because you find it impossible to be angry with him for what he did to you? I say that because you are angry with yourself for letting him abuse you. That anger is misplaced. If you could have defended yourself and stopped it you would have. That's the whole problem with abuse. I think that's where your work lies: to be honestly angry with him for the pain he caused you and then from that place start letting go. I wasn't able to start a jouney of forgiveness until I understood that everything he did was his fault, that he had damaged me really badly and that it was ok to be angry with him for my own sake.

nickschick Sun 04-Sep-11 00:05:35

I worry that you will think I sound a little trite,a little stupid even but I had a truly dreadful time as a child was in very horrid situations and as a result have 'issues'.

Its taken me a long time to stop making allowances for all this abuse - at first I used to think my mum didnt know what was going on she was just a poor parent,her life too must have been hard as we trudged from gypsy site to refuge to squat ,then after she died my stepfather didnt want me and made it show sad so I took the first 'out' I had which has resulted in my lovely dc but perhaps my not so ideal relationship with dh.

None of this was my fault,I cant change it but can I can change how i deal with it -that means that the abuse 'bruise' stops there its not carried on through my dc,it was really hard to suddenly think to myself ok they fucked up my childhood but now im letting them fuck up my adulthood too.

I kind of fixed a date in my head whereby from that day I wasnt going to accept blame for the past,I wasnt going to excuse their behaviour I was simply going to turn the page and move on.

I find helping children at the age I was most neglected helps in a weird way - thats why so many of the local teens turn to me for help this week alone ive rang colleges for one,spoke with about 10 about college choices,wrote references for one,turned some trousers up for another,another has got the keys to her first home because i managed to help her (its my godmothers house),visited an elderly man in hospital - not because im an angel but because im putting some effort into living.

toptramp Sun 04-Sep-11 10:01:36

hi all thanks for the advice. Just to clarify; I was not a victim of child abuse by this man -it was my first rellationship in my teens. I should have known better surely? He did kind of stalk me though and pressured me into a relationsip which I found hard to escape from and noone helped me out of it.

toptramp Sun 04-Sep-11 10:02:26

I would like to do something for women's aid though to help.

nickschick Sun 04-Sep-11 10:21:32

Oh god no this is what comes of me answering late night posts ....blush I was trying to say you can survive and get through the aftermath of emotion iyswim? <sorry>

madmouse Sun 04-Sep-11 10:24:50

toptramp I know it wasn't child abuse, although teens are still very much children. But that doesn't matter, that was just my experience. I was also in an abusive relationship in my late teens. I believed that because I was 18 and had not stopped him that it was my fault. It was eventually my dh, when I told him, who brought it home to me that it was abuse.

I'm interested that you want to do something for Women's Aid, as if you can accept that other women can be victim of abuse but not you, with you it's your fault? Abusive relationships are relationships where the exercise of power is so skewed that the one party ends up controlling the other to a point where leaving becomes just too hard. I've worked a lot with women who have escaped domestic abuse and it is without fail the hardest thing they've ever done and some of them still end up going back to their abuser knowing what they will face. You say you have had counselling but I think you need some more, possibly via women's aid, to understand that none of this was your fault.

toptramp Sun 04-Sep-11 21:39:49

Hi all. Thank you so much for all your advice and shared experiences. I think for me the hardest thing about dealing with the fact I was abused is that I chose to stay. I chose to stay even though he put me down, I chose to stay even though he slagged off my parents and drove a wedge between me and them, I chose to stay even though he ridiculed my beliefs and tried to make me see taht his were right. I even chose to stay when he was blatantly nasty and rude. i have read Lundy Bancroft's excellent book and I know that I probably experienced traumatic bonding but deep down I can't reconcile the fact that it was partly my fault for chossing to stay. I mean how stupid can you get. I feel liek thet time was like throwing a pepple into a smooth pond; I am still feeling the ripples now when I really just want that stone to sink without a trace. I don't want the butterfly effect rippling through my life into eternity. I hope that makes sense.

colditz Sun 04-Sep-11 21:41:38

You don't have to forgive him if you don't want to. You need to allow yourself that. You can spend the rest of your life hoping he gets run over by a bus-cactus hybrid, and dies in a patch of fox poo.

NanaNina Sun 04-Sep-11 22:41:25

I have worked with women who have suffered domstic violence as a worker in a Refuge. I was initially amazed at how the women could be lured back to the abusing man with a promise of a trip to Blackpool in one case, also endless promises of it never happening again etc.

I agree with Madmouse's description of the dynamic in an abusive relationship and how this somehow causes a kind of emotional paralysis in the victim. Also of course many women are told they are ugly, fat, stupid etc by the abuser that they actually believe it and this lowers their already low self esteem to rock bottom.

I was talking to a mother recently whose daughter was being abused by her partner and she had tried and tried to get the daughter to "see sense" without success. I said that sometimes I thought an abuser and a victim were a bit like a radio controlled car (or other object) that the abuser holds the remote control and the victim is propelled by the abuser - it wasn't thought out - it just came to me at the time. The woman phoned me a few days later, absolutely elated because this metaphor had enabled her daughter to "see" exactly what was happening - it fitted for her and it was something tangible, rather than an abstract concept that she wasn't really able to understand. Apparently the daughter said that she had told the abuser she was smashing the remote control and that was it. He of course didn't understand but it didn't matter, because the daughter has moved in with her mother. I have warned the mother not to be too complacent because of promises he might make and other attempts to get her back.

Apparent the mother has bought a large red car that is controlled by a large black and red remote control and she is hoping that this will serve as a reminder to her daughter.

Sorry if I'm not making any sense to some of you - it was just something that may have helped one victim to get away.

madmouse Sun 04-Sep-11 22:43:07

You do need to forgive yourself - that's the only person you absolutely must forgive.

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