To forgive or not to forgive?

Old 01-14-2009, 03:04 PM
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To forgive or not to forgive?

Alot of people say forgiving is one of the biggest steps to getting through your anger of the past. this statement always made me feel terrible. because honestly, i dont know that i can forgive him. My father was an alcoholic and i have not seen him since i was 9years old.

I keep asking myself questions every day. How could a father just basically give up his child? Why didnt he think that i was his number one priority? I remember one day when he called up to my highschool... (that was the only way he knew he could talk to, he didnt know where i lived or any phone numbers to reach me since he was out of my life for so long) He always called me his "baby girl" and would tell me how much he loved me... blah blah blah BULL CRAP! the only time i heard from him was when he needed something!! if he loved me he would have been there for me.

Basically... how do you forgive someone who has cause so much pain in your life? How do you forgive someone who doesnt even think they have done anything wrong?

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Old 01-14-2009, 03:42 PM
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You are decribing my father. After years of therapy, I can tell you that perpective taking will help you with this. Your father is an alcoholic. That is a disease that puts alcohol above all else. It is not a reflection of you. It does not mean that you were not lovable enough. It does mean that he is sick. You will need to work on your empathy for him. Truly try to see him as a human being, vulnerable just like the rest of us.

I know for my dad, his alcoholism took him from 12 years to 60, when he finally died from it. His skill set was f-ed up from the get go. That didn't stop him from screwing up 7 kids that all have abandonment issues. My point being that I learned to forgive and not be so pissed when I was finally able to see my dad as the vulnerable child that did the best he knew how. And, that is key. He did the best he knew how. Says a lot, doesn't it?

I really wish you tons of luck with this and remember your screen name: PEACE AND LOVE...............
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:47 PM
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Hello PeaceNLove,

In my experience forgiveness was the last step. I had to work through the pain and anger first and then I could forgive. Forgiving does not mean I accepted unacceptable behavior. Nothing my family did to me was acceptable behavior.

The first step for me was owning my own pain and anger. Even though someone else caused the damage it was now mine to fix and no one was going to fix it for me. My pain and damage now belongs to me and it is my responsibilty to work through it. I had to stop blaming and take responsibility for my own healing process. Blame just kept me looking outward and kept me from healing.

I learn through images a lot of the time. The image I got at the time was having a container within me that everyone filled full with trash my whole life. I kept wanting them to fix it and remove the trash because the trash was causing me pain. I kept looking at that trash and saying look what you did to me. I realized then that it was my container and my trash now and I had to take the trash out and then fill my container with good things. Forgiveness ended up to be one of those good things in my container. It was something I did for myself and no one else.
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:19 PM
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Forgiveness is critical to healing for oneself. I had to go through the forgiving process for both of my parents and one former friend. I read through several books on forgiveness and did a lot of praying.

This is paraphrased a bit, but this is the central importance of forgiveness:
If you hate someone, they control you.
And they are controlling how you relate to other people in your life (not forgiving others because 'that is exactly what dad did to me'). And they keep you looking backward into the past instead of focusing on the present ('he/she is acting just like my jerk of a dad used to act').

You can forgive and not forget. You tell him that he is forgiven but that you will not forget. One of the biggest challenges that I had was not allowing a rewrite of the past, which allows them to say they didn't do anything wrong. If you find his behavior in the present time (drinking, lying, rewriting the past, not admitting fault) to be harmful to your sanity and peace of mind, you don't have to put up with it. You can establish boundaries with him and if he crosses them, you walk away. This is about what is important to you.
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:52 PM
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Hello there PeaceNLove, and pleased to "meet" you?

I had a very hard time with that forgiveness thing. Here's a little something about how I worked it out, see if it makes any sense.

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Old 01-19-2009, 12:11 AM
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