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Has anyone managed to forgive someone who has done them serious harm?

(35 Posts)
superstarheartbreaker Sun 30-Nov-14 20:51:34

In terms of abuse. I'm still struggling to forgive my abuser for derailing my promising career in science. My mental health problems that resulted meant that I couldn't return to my field . Maybe I will in the future but tbh I'd rather I'd never met him... He spoilt my life.

If you have managed to forgive, how did you do it? Do you still interact with that person or are you nc? Stories please. I don't know if forgiveness will be good for me or if acceptance is more achievable.

Also, self forgiveness is tricky. I cannot fathom why I stayed with him and put up with his shit for 5 sodding years! I just don't get it. hmm

FreudianGymSlip Sun 30-Nov-14 21:13:49

Forgiveness is a very personal thing IMO and I don't think it's something you 'do' as such. For me it was a gradual diminishing of the emotions which kept me tied to my ex and prevented me from moving on. Part of that was acceptance, yes, but it was more than that, it was about me in the end, rather than him.

dadwood Sun 30-Nov-14 21:14:36

Is he still in your life in any capacity?

brokenhearted55a Sun 30-Nov-14 21:18:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheLittleOneSaidRollOver Sun 30-Nov-14 21:21:08

It is all about you not him. Forgiveness and acceptance are for yourself not him.

You have to understand your part, why you did what you did. If you can't do that alone there are plenty of counsellors who can help.

Meow75 Sun 30-Nov-14 21:21:38

My method of dealing with my abusive brother was to finally have the strength to go NC. He claims to have no idea why, and I don't make a fuss when tries to get in touch by liking the things I do on FaceBook or when he sent a fridge magnet that said "Life's too short to argue".

Okay, we haven't argued then. I just don't want anything to do with you. Luckily I live 200 miles away. Makes NC much easier.

FTR, he was physically, emotionally and sexually abusive when we were kids, and then after he was divorced by his first wife, she told me that he'd done similar throughout almost the whole marriage of 5-6 years.

Considering she was my best friend during secondary school, I wish I'd told her more of what he was like before he charmed her when she was 17.confused

Wrapdress Sun 30-Nov-14 21:23:58

I don't forget, forgive or accept what happened. My goal is always total indifference towards anyone abusive towards me. I usually have to go through profound anger to get there.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 30-Nov-14 21:30:50

I haven't had anything do do with him for 15 years but he blighted my late teens and early twenties at a crucial time when I should have been laying the foundations of a career and having lots of fun.
He didn't want me to go to uni. I did go but instead of dumping him, I kept him on and allowed him to manipulate me into dropping out with an eating disorder. He was very fussy about food and as a vegan he would lecture me extensively about food. He was awful. I cannot forgive.
I'm doing ok-ish and I have had therapy but I would definitely describe myself as scared for life. :-(

superstarheartbreaker Sun 30-Nov-14 21:31:36

Oh yes Wrapdress- I went through profound anger... I'm not so angry as I was.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 30-Nov-14 21:32:43

I think a lot of it is incredulity that I put up with him. Wtf????! I can't forgive myself really.

AnyFucker Sun 30-Nov-14 21:36:30

There are two people who have been in my life that I will never forgive. One of them is my father and we have minimal contact for the sake of my mother. I accept but do not forgive. The other is someone I haven't seen for 30 years, but I still feel hate and unresolved issues around what he did to me.

something2say Sun 30-Nov-14 21:38:00

I understand the crucible within which my mother was formed, and the resulting dance we all danced.... But it took a toll and I'll never know what I could have been...

A long time ago now tho op.....what can you salvage?

TonightTonight Sun 30-Nov-14 21:43:54

TalkingintheDark Sun 30-Nov-14 21:54:50

I think forgiving yourself is what matters, not forgiving him.

A really good counsellor or therapist could help you work on that. It's holding onto anger at yourself that harms you, IMO, rather than anger at those who have abused you.

Anger at the person who hurt you is a healthy response.

Being angry at/blaming yourself is a common reaction to abuse, but it's deeply unhealthy, and will stop you getting over the harm he did to you.

A good counsellor or therapist will help you understand the reasons why you were vulnerable to this abuser in the first place, and help you see that you made the best choices you could at the time. And will support you in finding compassion for yourself, rather than blame.

You seem to have been through a lot over the years, from this and other posts of yours I've read, but I don't know if you've ever had proper support around the issues you've faced? If not, then I would really urge you to look for it. You don't deserve to go through life feeling it was your fault that someone abused you. You've been hurt enough by other people, don't join them in hurting yourself more.

TalkingintheDark Sun 30-Nov-14 21:57:23

Oops, sorry, just seen you have had therapy. But not all therapists are equal...

holeinmyheart Sun 30-Nov-14 21:58:15

I have forgotten about my emotionally abusive Father and forgiven him.
If I think about what happened to me it makes me shudder, so I endeavour not to think about it.
I am not a masochist and by thinking about it I am wasting precious time, when I should be using it to try and be happy.
I owe it to myself, to put what happened behind me and only look forward.
He took away a happy childhood and poisoned some of my adulthood so the way I look at is, I have spent enough time thinking about about him.
Now I must concentrate on myself and my nearest and dearest.
I forgive myself because I was a helpless child at his mercy.
It is wholly unproductive to look back and so is thinking ' what if!

FollowTheStarship Sun 30-Nov-14 21:59:36

I think I kind of have forgiven my dad for the years of many kinds of abuse, but weirdly, haven't yet forgiven my mum for enabling him and minimising and excusing it all.

I haven't forgiven anyone to their face, but I mean in my own heart, have forgiven my dad. I think this was easier because he's so clearly such an impossibly damaged person, it's easier to see him as barely human. And also because we have been NC for many years. I don't feel as bothered by him.

With my mum, she is still trying to cling to me and I'm trying to extricate myself from her so I still get upset by her IYSWIM. I think the type of forgiveness that is for yourself, to let you move on, maybe you need to have actually moved on from that person and have them right out of your life first. When you're talking about the kind of person who will never accept they did anything wrong, you do need to heal on your own terms and be "over it". (As far as that is possible)

FollowTheStarship Sun 30-Nov-14 22:04:47

TonightTonight that link is great, thanks.

I like this quote "I unchain myself from this crap" smile

AnyFucker Sun 30-Nov-14 22:08:01

Paraphrasing ArchBishop Desmond Tutu : to forgive is the best form of self interest

mineofuselessinformation Sun 30-Nov-14 22:14:49

Haven't read the full thread, sorry.
But, no, I will never forgive my xh for the lost years when he damaged the relationship between one of my dcs and I so badly that we were poles apart. (I'm thrilled to report that in the last six months, things have turned around and we're closer than I ever hoped for.) I don't really want to go into the long, long story of how and why before anyone asks.
I do think there are some (thankfully few) things that are truly unforgivable.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sun 30-Nov-14 22:56:02

Most of mine are dead, and if what they believed is true, are paying a higher price than any I could exact. If it isn't, then I've outlived them and their effects.

The ones still living? One has apparently turned out OK, so he's come to terms with his problems. Another is poor, so he's harmless. The worst I wouldn't cross the room to spit on.

nicenewdusters Sun 30-Nov-14 23:44:58

I wonder if in some cases forgiveness needs to be the goal. After leaving an EA relationship of 11 years I was full of anger, and used to have revenge fantasies in relation to my ex. Luckily once I left we never needed to cross paths again and never have.

I realised after a while I was actually more angry at myself. Like you say op, wtf did you/I put up with it ? 12 years on I don't really know why. I have a few good ideas why, a few guesses, the odd hunch. But actually now it doesn't matter. I don't put up with that sort of behaviour anymore from anybody.

It never actually occurred to me that I could or would forgive my ex. I don't want to excuse his behaviour, there was no excuse. I did however chose to move on from that episode in my life. I also now accept that I did what I did because well.........I did !

The best revenge really is to live well. My revenge fantasy turned from punching him in the face after shouting abuse at him, to hoping he'd see me with my partner and our lovely children.

Do you want to forgive your ex to make it easier to forgive yourself ? If that plays a part in it, sod him, just worry about yourself.

Re-reading my post I might sound a little glib, and I know "to live well" can be a bloody tall order at times. However, I just refuse to let that period of my life overshadow the present. I do still have the occasional moment where I can't believe it all happened, but it's all gone, and so's he. I know he'll still be the same sad, mucked up person now as he was then. But that's not my problem.

MonstrousRatbag Mon 01-Dec-14 00:26:40

If you make it your aim to forgive him then he is still central to your life. Why not make feeling ok about yourself and flourishing your goal in life? You can leave him in the shadows, where he belongs.

I haven't forgiven. I'm not bothered that I haven't forgiven others, I forgave myself. That was the most important thing.

RomillyJane Mon 01-Dec-14 01:31:04

I have forgiven. and forgotten. Because I have moved on . And I am peaceful because of it.

CariadsDarling Mon 01-Dec-14 03:34:25

I dont want to go into details but there is someone I will never forgive for the very simple reason that some things are unforgivable.

And to be honest I really dont get this business about forgiveness meaning you've moved on and you're in a healthy place emotionally because Ive achieved that without forgiveness. I will just never say to the other person that its ok it happened, and to me thats what forgiveness is. I dont wish the person any ill will at all but neither will I ever forgive.

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