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What does forgiveness feel like?

(119 Posts)
snowflake02 Mon 15-Dec-14 13:34:27

How do you know if you have truly forgiven someone?

CogitOIOIO Mon 15-Dec-14 13:42:06

I would say it's when you can think about whatever it was they did to hurt you and it generates no negative emotions - no sadness, regret, anger etc.

ChilliCrouton Mon 15-Dec-14 13:50:02

It's not saying that what they did was ok, but that you're not going to hold it against them any longer. It feels like no longer chewing over things and letting the anger and rage boil up inside you.

snowflake02 Mon 15-Dec-14 13:51:57

Thank you, that is a really helpful answer. Probably some way off then.

overslept Mon 15-Dec-14 13:52:55

I don't know, I've never managed to truly forgive anybody who has treated me badly.

Tobyjugg Mon 15-Dec-14 14:00:26

It's when you stop thinking about them and/or what it was they did to you.

CogitOIOIO Mon 15-Dec-14 14:05:36

The point where you stop thinking about it may just be the point where you've acclimatised and learned to live with whatever happened. Forgiveness is something rather more positive, I believe.

snowflake02 Mon 15-Dec-14 14:13:44

So if I haven't stopped thinking about it yet then I guess there is even further to go.

Is trust part of forgiveness? Do you need to trust someone again if you have truly forgiven them?

Sorry for all then questions, I have a lot to work through.

Quitelikely Mon 15-Dec-14 14:15:57

Forgiveness is the best form of self interest.

I read that somewhere. Very wise words IMO

pinkfrocks Mon 15-Dec-14 14:17:33

It's where you can think about what happened and bear the other person no malice. You accept what they did and rise above it, and may even feel pity for them.

pinkfrocks Mon 15-Dec-14 14:18:10

No trust is a separate issue.

Is this a fidelity-based question?

CogitOIOIO Mon 15-Dec-14 14:22:03

Context is everything. A lot depends on what you're trying to forgive and what the risks are. I don't think trust is part of forgiveness necessarily. You can forgive someone for stealing your money, for example, but it doesn't mean you'd put them in charge of your bank account... Forgiveness is not naivety.

I take it you're talking about infidelity?

queenoftheknight Mon 15-Dec-14 14:23:21

Tough one this.

I don't ever think about my first husband, and probably wouldn't even recognise him on the street. Have I forgiven him? Not a chance, He is an evil cunt of the first order.

I fully expect him to appear on the news at some point.

Does it torment me inside? Nope.

I feel a similar indifference to my mother and sisters, and if I feel anything at all, it's pity. Do I forgive them? No. They are adults who are quite capable of taking responsibility, and they choose not to. They do not deserve my forgiveness.


snowflake02 Mon 15-Dec-14 14:38:47

Infidelity comes into it in a way I suppose. But it is mainly about other things which I know most people would probably say are not forgivable. He is getting specialist help now but I have to at some point decide whether or not I can or have already forgiven him. And I realised that I wasn't really sure what forgiveness looked like as I have never given it much thought before.

CogitOIOIO Mon 15-Dec-14 14:40:12

Is violence or aggression involved?

Georgethesecond Mon 15-Dec-14 14:41:26

I think forgiveness is when you can think about what happened and feel calm. At peace with it.

PaleoTillChristmas Mon 15-Dec-14 14:42:03

Exactly what queenoftheknight says - Do I forgive them? No. They are adults who are quite capable of taking responsibility, and they choose not to. They do not deserve my forgiveness.

I feel that forgiving my abusers would be somehow being disloyal to myself. I certainly wouldn't forgive anyone who did that to someone else. Doesn't have to mean I think about it all the time though, or wish bad things for them.

For me, recovery feels much more like allowing myself to believe I was "ok" and what they did was wrong. TRULY accepting that seems to settle the issue best, in my experience. Looking back, for many years I felt in the wrong and that led to feeling unsettled and having low self esteem. Now as an adult, if I look impartially at what happened, I think "Jesus Christ that was awful", and having that perspective has really reduced my sadness and anger.

Hope that makes sense.

pinkfrocks Mon 15-Dec-14 14:44:10

Is it something that caused you hurt- physical or emotional- or something illegal he did to other people or their property?

snowflake02 Mon 15-Dec-14 14:45:56

He has been verbally/emotionally abusive, so yes, there has been aggression. But no violence as he has never hit me. There have also been some other incidents that I think people may well say I should not forgive. Don't feel up to going into all that right now though as I am exhausted. Sorry.

VitalStollenFix Mon 15-Dec-14 14:52:19

Do you need to forgive him?
I guess is the first question.

Forgiveness imo is something we do more for ourselves than for the other person.

It's ok to not forgive someone. What is important is how that affects you.

C4ro Mon 15-Dec-14 14:52:49

Trust doesn't have to be part of forgiveness at all. You can forgive someone wronging you at the same time as not being prepared to put yourself back into the position they could do it to you again.

VitalStollenFix Mon 15-Dec-14 14:53:09

are you still in a situation where he could continue to hurt you?

pinkfrocks Mon 15-Dec-14 14:53:12

I think you have to focus on two stages here: detachment and forgiveness.
In order to forgive you need to detach yourself emotionally. That may also mean physical detachment - not under the same roof- or legally married or whatever.

Time is a great healer and you may eventually be able to forgive. But that doesn't mean you go back for more or trust someone to behave differently - leopards and spots etc.

Being able to forgive puts you beyond the pain and should close the door on what happened. This doesn't mean you accept that type of behaviour, just that it no longer has the power to upset you.

Meerka Mon 15-Dec-14 15:08:17

I don't really know what forgiveness is.

But some of the things it isn't:

- you can't put things back to the way they were before. You can only go on.

- it's rarely an all-at-once job. From what I gather, if someone hurts you so badly that it's a deep wound, then it rarely goes away quickly. It tends to come up again and again, and you have to keep forgiving them all over again (whatever that means). Over time the feelings should become less intense, less frequent and be slightly easier to manage to handle.

-forgiveness starts in the head but the heart lags some way behind.

- if you forgive someone, it doesn't mean you're going to walk back into the situation to be hurt all over again. So regarding trust - well, if you know they are untrustworthy, don't trust them again. If you aren't sure ... think carefully and cautiously. It's not lack of forgiveness to protect yourself. If trust is essential between you then maybe trying to forgive means being willing to try to trust again.

- the other person being genuinely sorry really helps forgiveness but it can still take you a long time.

- It can't be forced, or rushed.

CogitOIOIO Mon 15-Dec-14 15:14:04

If you're exhausted OP does that mean you're being put under some kind of pressure? This person who is unfaithful, abusive and aggressive. ..... are they saying you're obliged to forgive them? Do you believe that you should forgive?

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