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The art of forgiveness

(7 Posts)
poshsinglemum Wed 21-Oct-09 18:59:24

Sorry - me again.

Has anyone forgiven anyone who has done something totally dreadful to them e.g; abuse etc. If so, how and did you feel a lot better for it?

Jux Wed 21-Oct-09 19:13:18

Can't help you, as I have been bending my mind on that very thing for the last 4 or 5 years and have come up with nothing useful or helpful yet.

Twintummy Wed 21-Oct-09 19:22:49

I've forgiven the lies and stealing addiction caused.

yournotalone Wed 21-Oct-09 21:07:34

if I can give you any help at all is to read my thread, please take care xxxx look for my inner core.

therealme Wed 21-Oct-09 22:52:59

Yes. As hard as it was I came to a 'sort of' forgiveness, if that is possible, towards the man who sexually abused me and my sister. It happened a long, long time ago, we were both pre pubescent children and wasn't properly dealt with until we were both in our mid to late thirties.

Anyway, when things reached crisis level because the abuse was 'outed' to my family it meant I really had to face what had happened and try to move forward. The only way I could come to terms with what he had done to me was to imagine him as a baby, born to a mother that loved and adored him, as I loved my own baby son at the time. I then pictured somebody doing something to him, damaging him through sexual or physical abuse or whatever... but causing him to end up being the type of man that went on to sexually abuse little girls.

By doing this I could at least try to understand why he had been capable of doing this hideous thing. I think I was able to partly forgive him when believing he too had been damaged and was repeating the cycle of abuse, as I have learned can happen with paedophiles. It doesn't excuse it, nothing will ever excuse it, but it makes it easier to live with iykwim?

What I can never forgive, however, is the knowledge that when my parents suspected something as to this individuals behaviour towards my sister and I, they did nothing. No. After having 3 dc of my own, I will never forgive or even try to understand that.

elastamum Wed 21-Oct-09 22:57:10

It is difficult and you have to work at it. I think the first step is to learn to deal with and put down your own anger as this is destructive baggaage you carry in your own life. I havent quite managed that yet with my ex. Once you have done that I think forgiveness is not so important, but probably comes easier. I dont think i will forgive my ex for how he treated me and our children but I can see a day in the future when it just wont matter to me anymore. The dali lama has written some very interesting stuff on happiness and forgiveness which has helped me

OrdinarySAHM Thu 22-Oct-09 09:13:27

I have absolutely no feeling that I should try to forgive my grandfather (dead now) for sexually abusing me. If someone sexually abused my children I would never forgive them.

I was badly bullied by my brother to the point of what my therapist calls abuse. He is in prison at the moment for crimes against other people (not me). I'm not sure if total forgiveness is what I have done but like TheRealMe said, I have thought about what I know about what he went through as a child and talked to him in detail about this and I can understand what made him the way he was. This does help a lot with the anger. As my therapist says though, things might explain why he has done wrong but they don't excuse it. He knew he was doing wrong. I'm in contact with my brother, giving him another chance, but I'm not forgetting what he has done.

Similarly to TheRealMe, my parents did nothing about what was happening to me, even when I told them, and this is very hard to forgive. I can see their reasons to some extent but because they talk less about things than my brother and I know less about them as people, I understand them less than him, and I think this has an effect on my ability to forgive them. I find it easier to forgive my brother than to forgive them. Also the fact that he was still a child when he was awful to me makes me feel he would have been less capable of dealing with his feelings instead of venting them on me. My parents were adults who should have been able to cope with doing something about it and teaching him how to deal with his feelings appropriately.

Also with my brother, I have talked to him about everything he did and how it made me feel and how it affected me long term and he has apologised. Since being in prison he has done everything he can to understand himself and change his approach to things so that he can deal with his feelings without hurting people. He has put lots of effort into doing positive things in the face of so much that he has gone through. He has shown remorse and is trying to make amends. Doesn't that deserve encouragement and a second chance?

I used to think total forgiveness was the way but my therapist thinks that if you go straight from anger to forgiveness you miss out processing your anger and you still contain it which can cause depression etc. He encourages me to allow myself to feel the anger and not feel I must forgive.

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