The book also talks about the importance of forgiveness and explains it this way:
"Since you cannot go back in time to change the past, forgiveness is about giving up the hope of a different or better yesterday. It relates to forgiving actions that were taken, that gave you the feelings of loss of control over your happiness. It’s about acknowledging those things that another did or said that caused pain and making the decision that you are not going to let that hurt or control you anymore.
Forgiveness can be very empowering. It can give you the chance to be free of another person’s emotional control. It has nothing to do with the other person. As was said before, it is something that is for you and you alone."
That all sounds pretty political, but everything social turns political above a certain scale.
Forgiveness is underrated, for sure. Take control over your self.
"...that you have in large measure conscious choice over the way you feel and can will it differently"
They then contrast this with gathering victimhood cards (my favorite example of this is the scene from Scrubs where Turk and Elliot are arguing over whether black doctors or women doctors have it harder, then both agree that their black woman colleague has it worst of all), which I think you would agree is the opposite of forgiveness.
I'm not sure I agree with their tone about victimhood cards, as another way to phrase that would be that some people have traumas they haven't fully processed. Sounds different when cast in that light.
I think that's antithetical to the term forgiveness, so I suspect that's not intended by the parent comment(s). In fact, the exact opposite is how I read their comment, that is that you take your grudges toward external targets and let them go.
Perhaps the original commenter will come along and clarify.
If anything, I was being peremptorily defensive, not redirecting to some other external target.
How is this idea, "to not take up the mantle of victimhood," meant to be useful in, for example, forgiving my grandfather for what he did that one afternoon when I was still a small boy, and everyone else was out on a day trip somewhere? - that one afternoon much of which I'm totally unable to remember, but still, thirty years on, makes me queasy to think about.
To be sure, what happened that afternoon is between me and my grandfather and not likely ever to be reconciled in detail, especially seeing how he died a couple of decades ago. But the facts of the situation are fairly obvious, especially since I'm not the only one in my family with a story like that. So I think it makes a pretty good worked example, or the basis for one at least.
If nothing else, I can attest that dealing with the emotional ramifications of having an afternoon like that in one's past is a long process - I've been working at it for some years now, and even that's just since I realized I needed to start trying. So what I'm asking is, what is "not [taking] up the mantle of victimhood" meant to have to do with a process like that? In what way is it meant to make that easier, or even make that possible?
I mean, this is a fair question, right? Maybe I've misunderstood somewhere, but as far as I can tell you've framed it as a general prescription, so it seems reasonable to think it should be applicable here. But I have to admit that I'm not seeing how.
There's an emotional comfort that lies in wallowing in grievance, and a variety of social rewards from sharing it with others - attention, commiseration, and a kind of cathartic semi-religious feeling of confession from the recital, which takes on the form of a kind of ritual if you've done it enough times; you need to set it up right so that the payoff delivers.
Of course I don't mean to deny your lived experience, and when I say "you" above, I don't mean you specifically. I'm simply aware, and wary of, the psychological traps that lie down similar roads. I especially don't want to let people who've hurt me in the past to get to define my identity or mental or emotional state; or I simply become a fragment of a mirror of their life, and not my own.
Don't be ashamed. You're the victim, and you're supported, mate.
Recently I realized I was poisoning myself with intense negative thoughts and feelings about someone. Then I also noticed those thoughts feelings were only impacting me, not the other person at all. Finally I decided to forgive that person for what they had done to me, and when I started that process it became evident that in order to accomplish it, I actually needed to forgive myself. I had to forgive myself for judging, for holding a grudge and for hating.
Then I wrote down a list of all the people that I felt even a little bit negative about. At first I thought it was going to be a short list, but it ended up including over a hundred people. So I discovered that hiding subtly in my mind and within my feelings, I was secretly holding anger/hate/negativity for a lot of people.
After putting together the list, I started wishing love and wellbeing to everyone in it, individually, one by one. Kind of like going through my body and taking care of every little wound or cut I could find.
I tried going through the list and having positive feelings about those people every day for a few weeks. It did wonders for me.
Forgiveness is setting down the coal.
I often think I'm aligned with something only to realize I'm telling myself I'm aligned (that I "know"), but I haven't done anything with that alignment. You have to do it too, even if it's working through the thought process.
I guess "transformation" is taking the "knowing" and making it "doing".
only true if the hate is affecting your life and taking over you
If hate is not affecting your life, it's not hate.
In that sense, forgiveness is about an internal change of your feelings so that you can lead a better life without hate. It is not about condoning what others did. And it's very helpful to differentiate between them.
> Reexamine your perceptions of life events that have trapped you in the role of victim.
well, what if somebody really truly was a victim? What if one's parents have condescended and belittled them for decades? What if one's mother is abusive and drinks too much? What if somebody spent their entire childhood planning their escape from their parents (successfully!)
That kind of stuff doesn't just go away. Is it even possible to forgive somebody who honestly doesn't think they've done anything wrong?
Yes, your parents were assholes.
What has to be realized is that yes: your parents were assholes and this probably did had a (severly) negative effect in your PRACTICAL life.
But what must be understood is that what is done is done.
This doesn't meat that you say "my parents are ok". This means that you, on a deep level, realize that your parents have issues, and that those issues caused them to act out. In other words: they didn't knew any better.
The side effect of their issues was that your life was misarable, so you moved away from them.
What has to be understood is that yes, you indeed were at a disadvantage. But now that you moved away it's only up to you what you make of this. You don't have to visit them or call them.
What is meant by "forgiveness" is that you have to realize that "yes, your parents have issues and there is nothing that can be done about it. But now I'm free of them, so from now on it's up to me".
Forgiveness also means that you don't actively hate on your parents: ironicaly hating your parents will NOT hurt them: you will only hurt yourself by hating on them because you yourself will create self-conflit & rage & hate withing YOURLSEF.
So it's more of a "what happened happened, I'm free of them now so from now on it's up to me" + the realization that actively hating on them will only hurt you, not them!
Worse, it implies a social pressure to "just deal with it" which is completely inappropriate and can be actively harmful.
Good therapists and good therapy can help a lot. The modality doesn't matter as long as it's clearly being helpful.
But cliches about forgiveness are utterly unhelpful to most people who were exposed to real emotional and psychological harm - whether it was a random drive-by crime, a work situation, a toxic relationship, or dysfunctional family dynamics.
I don’t think forgiveness is about pretending you are fine with something you are not fine with. It isn’t about covering something up or lying. It is about taking back control of your feelings about the situation so that you can move toward a place of healing. Most people have suffered some form of trauma in their lives, and some choose to dwell on it while looking for the person or situation that brought that trauma to apologize or try to make the situation right. This is giving control of your feelings over to some third party. Forgiveness is saying “I am releasing my own need for you to be part of my healing journey.”
For me personally, it feels oppressive to require anything from the person who wronged me. The fact that they wronged me indicates that perhaps they don't value my happiness as much as they should, and now my happiness is predicated on them acting the right way?
This isn't to say I wouldn't try to, say, get my money back if I got scammed, but making my happiness contingent on the contrition of the scammer seems to give them emotional control in addition to my money, which is even worse.
Thanks for that. That is a powerful thought and did help me right now.
A trite "I forgive you" isnt forgiveness. Forgiveness is a virtue, which means not everybody has it, or can do it. Forgiveness is not "forgiving" someone that didn't actually wrong you. Forgiveness is not pretending to let go but holding on. Forgiveness is not telling the other person they are forgiven, so the weight is off their shoulders.
Forgiveness IS "dealing with the PTSD", letting go, and if the issue is caused by someone else, feeling pity on or happiness for them.
>Worse, it implies a social pressure to "just deal with it"
Letting go, and bottling up are two opposites. The latter is not forgiveness.
>Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance.
>But cliches about forgiveness
Misunderstandings of cliches make it seem as if the act is something anybody can do at any time, and not a skill people learn or build through practice. Forgiveness is both the knowledge that "letting this bother me will cause me more hurt in the long run, I need to find a way to overcome it, to prevent myself from causing me more damage" and the ability to execute on that knowledge.
I'm perfectly comfortable ignoring that moral claim.
If people want to talk about letting go, talk about letting go. Talk of forgiveness is simply misleading.
That is what forgiveness is, moving on, but not bottling it up or pretending it didn't happen.
>Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), pardoning (granted for an acknowledged offense by a representative of society, such as a judge), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).
Forgiveness is more like pity. Understanding the environment around a persons life led them to do what they did, maybe feeling bad for them, that thats who they are. Reaching a state of forgiveness does not mean you think they no longer hold responsibility for what they did, or that they should be excused from consequences. You can forgive someone (no longer allow their action hurt you) AND still pursue consequences for their actions.
Redefining "forgiveness" from this bilateral way that we have come to traditionally understand it, into this unilateral context of letting go, not only makes language poorer (through dilution in its explanatory power), but also diminishes the bonds of society, which are preserved through various relationship mechanisms including apology and forgiveness (which serves as an improvement over having a physical altercation on the one hand, and an abandonment of relationship on the other).
I would argue that the bilateral requirement is the redefinition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgiveness
"In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead)."
>The injured party might now deem to forgive them, and restore the offender's previous status in the relationship--e.g. as a friend, good neighbor, etc.
That is more than forgiveness. It is reconciliation.
Which is why it must proceed through "understanding": you must clearly see the sitation for what it is, from both perspectives: yours and theirs.
The ego can get locked in a victim mentality and this will blind you from being able to see the truth about the situation.
So many here have not had to deal with extensive emotional trauma brought upon manipulations, oversights, ignorance, inexperience, etc. of a parent who was totally a victim too, but THIS DOES NOT NEGATE HOW DANGEROUS they can be.
My own mother whom was beaten and abused by an alcoholic grandmother will tragically never be capable of seeing her own faults due to the trauma that basically arrested her development at the age of 12. She has NPD and persistently bullied one of my sisters for being fat as a child, despite being the parent who kept feeding her McDonalds.
She would never admit how wrong they are to their own assumptions. She bullied and belittled my step-father when he had a medical emergency that forced him back into the family house after years of “mutual” separation.
I eventually figured out she had been lying to me for years and using my “blood relation” as an excuse to triangulate and manipulate my siblings into hating me, and me hating them, with disinfo, seperate sit downs like she was a fucking Mafioso, and other tactics a sick child would make in attempts to show that they “care”.
If you bring 9/11 up, there’s a good chance a histrionic anecdote that has nothing to do with the conversation at hand will pop-up and it will be about her, you will have to shut the fuck up while listening despite yourself being interrupted mid-sentence, otherwise speaking out against a narcissist is forbidden, and eggshell walking is the norm during rare get togethers.
She will instantly fall into victim and paranoid mode if challenged in any reasonable way: you don't really love her if you keep having issues with her behavior RIGHT?! So goes the maddening Cartesian logic.
And yet, according to this article, I should just “let go” of the following: anxiety disorder, binge eating / anorexia, depression, BPD w/ NPD CPTSD features (latest opinion I’ve received at least), the alienation of my family caused by the mother driving everyone apart, and most importantly the distortion lens that comes with being raised and essentially spoiled compared to my siblings, the emotional incest brought upon me when my step-father left at the age of 13 because I was the only man of the house and I guess that also meant hearing intimate details of love lost and her being unhappy and being treated like a therapist for the next 12 years until I was 25, wherein I became so maladaptiveley schizoid while dealing with the persistient and obvious fact that ONE OF MY CARGIVERS WAS ACTIVLEY NOT CARING AND BEING DESTRUCTIVE.
To her credit, she rarely lifted her hand to hit us; lot of reflexes and close calls that are then always minimized as “not that bas” and “you should try growing up in my life, you kids are lucky!!!!” which somehow justifies further incursions because shit, she doesn't drink and is disabled, she must be a fucking Saint in comparison to her mother, especially because of being physically disabled.
She loves to fall on the sword in a conversation about that all of the time. We have only the best parts of Mother Sorporano & Mussolini to thank for this.
She also “forgave” her mother and now all that my grandmother does is fill my mothers head with Trump garbage and YouTube conspiracies that I have to disassemble because she thought bleaching the skin would help against COVID.
So again, forgiveness is fucking trite. Anger about the situation as an adult helped me change my approach and saved me from a further path of self-destructive solipsism and drinking my trauma away excessively.
Anger as a kid was less useful and Was turned inside until another counselor at high school realized what was happening, which sadly didn't help as I quit the school in protest / denial of the chemical and emotional imbalanced brought upon me and my siblings by persistent emotional abuse and neglect.
In sum, she is emotionally manipulative and a vampire, and WHILE her maladaptions make sense in a shitty environment, at some point as an adult you have to take ownership of trauma or it will eat you alive. She will never reach the point of self-actualization and its tragic that she is the only mother my siblings and I will have known.
My sisters and father also deserved so much better than me being an unwitting victim and enforcer of her bullshit when I was too young to know better.
So I agree with any other posts that might more or less say: “fuck forgiveness.”
I'm still stuck on 'someone has to pay' and 'it's not fair' although I know these are childish hopes. Pay how... They don't even remember. They don't give a shit. You can pity (they're sick, they did their best) but it gets worse. now you have no-one to blame... No enemy. Left with undirected, unfocused anger.
Oh and the anger on the other parent figures around 'I had no idea', 'I didn't know it was this bad'. WTF?
Forgiveness is hard. Grief is hard. Some of us have a very hard time letting go of those feelings. I can't do those yet. I can't let go of lots of things. I have an unforgiving memory for hurt and it prompts System 1 almost every day, to be on my guard, that something is fishy, I'm about to be hurt. False alarm 99% of the time. Can't work much on forgiveness when you're in survival mode...
I feel for you.
I hope we can both move on one day. Dog knows I'm trying. The anger is not good for your health, I'm learning now...
After ten years I'm almost there, but it got better after my first step of deciding to forgive, still get panic attacks though.
I sleep more soundly with each day that I remind myself "This other person does not live in reality, move on". Long stopped having "panic attacks" 10 years ago. Coincidentally, right around the time I began to question the abuser's facade.
And you do want a relationship with these people. But ideally one that doesn't make you want to stab your eyes out constantly with ice picks because they keep digging up the past and weaponizing your own failures against you in everyday fucking conversation.
Peace be with whatever nonsense you're on about.
Reason, rationality, empiricism is what brought clarity. Forgiveness is low hanging rotten fruit.
That is basically forgiveness. It's not a gift you give them, its not letting them off the hook. To forgive someone, they do not need to be aware you have done so. It's you taking control of the damage they did to you, and moving beyond it hurting you further.
Thats ok, and it's not forgiveness then. It's your choice to hold on to your anger, if you find it has purpose.
> they keep digging up the past and weaponizing your own failures against you in everyday fucking conversation.
I know that. You have no idea how much your post hits home. This kind of behaviour is exactly what I try not to replicate, because it is the best way to dig one's own grave. There is nothing good which can come out of it.
I think you have an issue with the word "forgiveness", and maybe it is not the right word. What I understand from its use in the article is being able to let go the hatred (way stronger than anger), and being able to focus on yourself in order to improve your well-being and to bring positivity into your present and future life.
Not a single PhD, degree, etc listed. A track record yes, but Pepsi and Coke both have their consumers despite anyone's individual preference over the other.
Sorry but hatred is a perfectly rational thing to feel towards an abuser. Letting it motivate you to take retributive action is of course not something to do if one wants to escape the cycle of abuse, but regardless: the body keeps the score https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Score-Healing-Trauma/dp/01...
> Fear leads to hate and hate leads to the darkside.
Is true for me, I understood that I can never feel good hating someone. Because every time I came in contact physicaly or mentally, I felt worse.
Is a certain degree of extreme childhood trauma simply a fork in the road in a person's life that is never completely reversible? Does that kind of harm cause the person to be trapped in their own mind with the mental damage it causes? I personally believe it can in some cases. There is only so much you can do if you have the mental equivalent of your limbs being dismembered.
If my definition of "forgiveness" is giving someone else something of mine, then there are some people I will never forgive so long as I'm alive.
But if forgiveness is just acknowledging mistakes and moving on, never letting them take anything more from me, then I've completely forgiven them instead.
But that doesn't sound like forgiveness to me.
This accurately describes having an attachment disorder from early age methinks, and the fork being realizing it after examining the evidence or never realizing it and being stuck in a hell of self-blame.
An attachment disorder feels like the organ for interpersonal relationships is impaired or amputated, and it occasionally feels like having emotional schizophrenia, particularly when one is triggered.
>If my definition of "forgiveness" is giving someone else something of mine, then there are some people I will never forgive so long as I'm alive.
>But if forgiveness is just acknowledging mistakes and moving on, never letting them take anything more from me, then I've completely forgiven them instead.
>But that doesn't sound like forgiveness to me.
100% this. Much more succinct than my anecdote.
Many of us made "surrogate families" and group houses well into our 30's out of our groups of friends probably for similar reasons. A few grew apart for similar reasons (i.e. one or more people having un-diagnosed personality disorders and/or un-dealt with emotional trauma that hampers their interpersonal relationships).
Our son was TEN DAYS OLD at the time. That was 18 months ago.
Since then she's been the nastiest, most unpleasant person to be around and my father is condescending as hell and still tries to boss me around at 35 years old.
This doesn't really feel like a "the past is the past, people have flaws". This more feels like an assault on my day-to-day life.
It has been like this since I was a kid and I see not even the slightest bit of progress or self-reflection. When do I just call it quits?
If your partner's mom was treating them this way, or if your son was being treated this way, when would you want them to call it quits?
I know you well enough to feel good about making a suggestion, but I can share my data point: I called it quits with one of my parents after putting up some boundaries (~"I love you but it doesn't feel good when you call and text me every few hours or unexpected show up at my work") and they responded very negatively.
My metric: if anyone (from a total stranger to a romantic partner) ever talked to me that way, I'd cut contact immediately. We have no obligation to be outlets for abusive behavior. I'm probably going to talk to a therapist about it because I want to make sure I'm covering all my bases, but most of the time it feels like a net positive to have called it quits.
I hope you can find some peace and balance, with or without the relationship with your mom. I'll be thinking of you, and I'm happy to chat if you're ever looking for perspective from the other side of the fence.
Ten years ago. The second best time is right now. You do not have to take abuse from them because they are family. "the past is the past, people have flaws" is only valid for things that are actually in the past. Sounds like your parents' abuse would be much easier to deal with if it was a part of the past.
If it's egregious, you'll need to cut her out permanently. I had to with my mother. (P.S. I've also forgiven her [I hold no grudge towards her and her shitty/abusive decisions throughout my childhood] but...she's still not in my life)
For me, it was the most difficult thing I'd ever done. The benefits for you and your family though are worth fighting for and it's the only way you might have some semblance of a relationship with your parents in the future. You don't deserve that treatment.
The book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend is what helped me work through this. It's definitely written for people who are Christians, but I've heard secular people recommend it heavily.
Finally, seek a therapist. If you're like me, you've been broken in ways you can't even identify and a professional will help you work through that.
And no, this is not an exageration.
Threaten her that she will never she her grandchildren again.
It's not your responsibility to try and help your mother.
The need/willingness for change has to come from her. If she won't even consider that it might be her fault and not yours she is a loss cause.
Until she realize this she is a lost cause and you are doing yourself a disfavor by guilt-tripping over her letting her upset your life.
Really. A baseless threat will put your mother in the role of the victim—and the power of the victim role will let her throw more abuse on you. She will feel entitled to say nasty things.
Getting the restraining order or some similar action that cuts her off is what will free you from the role of the victim. From this place you can take pity on her. You have taken action to eliminate the oppressor. Maybe more will be needed. If you are ever so frustrated as to feel helpless about doing that “more which might be needed” then you are back at victim.
PPS — look up the drama triangle and the corresponding empowerment triangle. Might be useful ;)
It may be helpful to view narcissists as having a mental disability rather than it being simply a part of their personality. And when people are destructive to others’ lives few cultures would say we should accommodate the minority to a fault.
what you are describing is not forgiveness. It's called moving on.
Forgiveness is moving on. It is letting go of your negative emotions. Needing someone else to apologize to "give forgiveness" is not how forgiveness needs to work.
There's a big gap in all the highly psychologized/desocialized talk of forgiveness in this discussion. That is one of its problems.
Because its something private with yourself, I dont see it necessary as something to share for it to happen. Forgiving someone without telling them will change your interactions with them, but you dont need to tell them youve done so for it to be forgiveness.
Yes you can. "I am beyond this event." Making forgiveness contingent on someone elses action removes your own agency. Forgiveness isnt a gift you give someone else.
says who? Never said forgiveness is a gift. You you have to earn it. One has to be deserving of it. In fact what everyone seems to be saying here makes it sound like it should be a gift, given with no conditions.
That removes your agency. You can't forgive without getting something from them first. If they never give, you never forgive, and you continue to live with the hurt.
Making forgiveness contingent on deserving, earning, or being worthy of it is something else entirely. The other person need not be involved in forgiveness in any way.
A gift is something you give someone else. Saying "they dont deserve it" implies you seeing it as something you give someone else. Forgiveness is only between you and yourself.
My agency is from moving on not based on forgiveness. you can't just blanket classify everyone's hurtfulness. Sometimes even after you forgive someone you're still going to continue to live in hurt. other times you can move on and not forgive someone and not be hurt anymore. It has nothing to do with forgiveness. Moving on is part of and a prerequisite for forgiveness, but not the other way around.
> The other person need not be involved in forgiveness in any way..... Forgiveness is only between you and yourself.
yep that is all true. and me and myself thinks that guy doesn't deserve forgiveness. I'm not losing sleep over it or suffering in anyway. Simply I don't associate myself with that person anymore and not have them be part of my life. Even if I forgive someone I don't tell them.
People in this thread seems to have different definitions of forgiveness and mix up acceptance/moving on with actual forgiveness of someones actions.
No, that would not be forgiveness. Forgiveness is you overcoming the negative emotion.
>other times you can move on and not forgive someone and not be hurt anymore.
That would be forgiveness.
>Simply I don't associate myself with that person anymore
That would be a lack of reconciliation. Reconciliation is not a requirement of forgiveness.
What you are describing is either excusing or pardoning.
>Moving on is part of and a prerequisite for forgiveness, but not the other way around.
There are multiple ways to move on, including forgetting.
I am generally a descriptivist. I acknowledge there is a second definition of forgiveness that is incompatible and mutually exclusive with the first, and that many people commonly use the word that way. That second definition however does not invalidate the concept of Forgiveness, with a capital F. It doesn't erase the first meaning of the world. I am not going to call it "misuse of a word" but the word is being used extremely loosely to describe other concepts that have other defined words. In this case, precision and clarity are required in conversation, and using definition two to have a conversation about the meaning of the concept in definition one, becomes a circular argument.
no its not
no its not, its called moving on
> That would be a lack of reconciliation. Reconciliation is not a requirement of forgiveness.
no forgiveness is between yourself so reconciliation has nothing to do with it.
> There are multiple ways to move on, including forgetting.
yep and forgiveness is one way to move on. but moving on is not forgiveness.
That you can put a label on an emotion doesn't make it go away, nor does it make the emotion unreasonable. It does make you look like an asshole without any empathy, though.
It's... not that easy. We're all wired a little differently and trauma twists that wiring even more. Some people are less resilient than others and need more help moving on. This is not a condemnation of those people. It's an acknowledgment that trauma has a real and different affect on people and we should treat individual needs.
You can apply the same line of thinking to humans. Everyone is a victim of their circumatances and experiences.
And while I understand that "everyone is innocent at heart" might be true to only some degree both with humans and dogs (nature vs nurture, etc), you can't really tell by the end result.
“For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are. Go a step further. In my most clear- sighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one. I can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing. So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do. Now that I come to think of it, I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man's actions, but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner.
For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life—namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.
Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. We ought to hate them. Not one word of what we have said about them needs to be unsaid. But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere, he can be cured and made human again.”
1. Be realistic about what is likely to happen. If someone has a history of drinking and hasn't committed to stopping then they will probably continue. 'Forgiveness' doesn't mean stupid.
2. Don't make the past emotional. If someone chopped my leg off, for a silly example, then there is nothing I can do. Revenge does not regain me my leg. Seeking vengeance for the emotional pleasure is tragic; if a matter must be pursued then it should be to prevent a future risk (eg, losing the other leg) or for meaningful restitution (maybe they provide income for me since I can't work as effectively).
3. Strive to create prosperity. If someone hurt me in the past and I have an opportunity to better us both, it is foolish not to take that opportunity unless they are likely to do future harm.
4. Negotiate terms - keep asking for what you want, and be strategic about what you give ground on.
Bundle those four things together and the result is a very productive perspective that is hard to differentiate from forgiveness. The past is ultimately subjective and people who make good decisions going forward will get better results than people who make bad decisions and justify them with history. It is hard in practice.
I wonder it would be more helpful to interview someone who has been through something hard and actually decided to forgive. For example, maybe one of the victims’ family members in https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/news/pos...
Even so, no one article or book can truly “solve” or “fix” pain, so we would be wise to carefully consider our words.
Calling forgiveness “a simple solution to all your problems” (https://www.radicalforgiveness.com/) feels condescending. Even if the statement is true, how would someone who is facing real hurt see that statement?
I prefer to think of forgiveness as releasing one’s attachment to the trauma and leaving those folk to stew in their own poison while moving onwards and upwards.
Just because you forgive someone does not mean you suddenly think he is a great person, or should forget that he is abusive.
Its saying I am done with all this shit. "you" (whomever wronged you) are not worth my time hating you.
At least that worked for me.
> A situation you may have misinterpreted as a child can taint your important adult relationships, Kennedy says.
This does not say you should free yourself of hate despite them being wrong. This says, hey, maybe it happened differently. What if I did not misinterpreted it as a child? Or as an adult? What if it is one of those very real situations where you was not stupid, but someone really harassed you, took credit for your work, whatever.
The article does not deal with such situation, rather, it wants you to convince yourself it did not happened.
> soul-level letting-go of our pain, our sorrow, our suffering," Holub says. "And we do that because we want to be free.
I'm not saying that it's easy or something you may want to do, but it will end up improving your life.
Personally I'm in a similar situation to the one you presented, with the overbearing insensitive parent. It's difficult to say that I've forgiven them, but it's a slow process of trying to rid my life of their influence and shedding that negativity and their nagging voice in the back of my head. The forgiveness isn't seeking reconciliation with them, but resolving the blame and anger you have within yourself directed towards the person in order to free yourself to heal. Of course the person will continue with their actions which will cause it difficult to heal, but I've found the strategy of divorcing emotion to the person helpful. Therefore you can heal yourself of the wounds caused by that person on your own even if the person is still ever present. I can't say this works out all the time, but I do feel myself getting closure without reconciliation.
But it's not abstractly total. Not continuous. Forgiveness is a state I can work myself into. That working-myself-into is often a path toward understanding and empathy. Neither of which I mistake for excusing the behaviors. And when someone doesn't feel they've done anything wrong they're not in the market for forgiveness, so all my forgiveness is for me anyway.
So forgiveness severs the past and lets me move forward in the present and take the future with the understanding I found on my journey to it. The understanding shapes my future interactions and non-interactions with someone I forgive.
Forgiveness isn't trust. It doesn't abolish all the consequences of violating my trust. I've forgiven someone and cut them out of my life. Forgiveness doesn't change my boundaries except in so far as the understanding I've found on the road to it has shown my own unreasonableness.
Depending on your personality the following recommendation may be a huge turnoff, but Tony Robbin’s Netflix documentary “I am Not Your Guru” has a number of examples of reframing situations in this manner.
Good luck and I wish you peace and wellness!
Might be worth looking into whether it's worth wasting any brain cycles on whether or not to forgive someone.
This book is usually recommended , but you can discover your own style of setting boundaries by working with a therapist. (it will need to be tailored to your situation)
It's all a matter of perspective. You see, one day, your parents will show up at your doorstep and expect you do the mature thing and take care of them in their old age. You could then go off on a long rant, wash all the dirty laundry, and finally slam the door in their face. Or you tell them "I forgive you" and close the door in their face.
That's the power of forgiveness.
The working definition of forgive that I use is 'to give myself as before'. It's a useful test for me, I can just ask if I'm giving myself as I was before. It's not always possible to forgive. And religion makes light of it which causes problems for people that want more than just lip service.
'Holub calls anger a "secondary emotion," one that guards our more vulnerable feelings, such as grief, fear, abandonment and disappointment.'
Most of the time (but not always), anger is a barrier to self-consciousness.
Not meaning to trivialize your experience, but first sentence right off the bat you identify with your grudge.
Anything else, that everybody is clear and agrees on, might as well not be discussed at all...
If definitions are unclear or people disagree on them, then discussion may either be about the definitions and not about the real world, or be incoherent.
My wife suggested I ask God to help, which I hadn’t tried and didn’t think it would make a difference but I tried it. And it worked. The next day the anger was just...gone and remains so to this day.
I realize it’s anecdotal and I don’t expect most people to take it seriously but it changed my life.
"This great experience that released me from the bondage of hatred and replaced it with love is really just another affirmation of the truth I know..."
Having really experienced hatred first-hand, the nearly obsessive state of ongoing anger...
It bothers me every time I see people toss around the word "hate" with every disagreement or bias that they believe other people have. Without realizing it, these people are minimizing one of the most dangerous internal emotional experiences that we experience as humans by turning it into hyperbole that nobody takes seriously.
Too much of the ills happening in the world today is (I would argue) due to us responding to bad things by appeasing, forgiving, or simply "letting it go" without confrontation/conflict.
On the other hand, she also recommends that we cultivate that feeling because it often gives no benefit to not move on from the wrong that was visited upon us.
Interesting take. Friends of mine who grew up in poverty would tend to disagree - from what I’ve heard it becomes very natural to ignore hunger to the point of it going away entirely. This is more or less the only way to have a semi-pleasant life, given you won’t be at a healthy nutrition level regardless.
For some friends, this was more like 10+ years in the core development phase of early childhood. I think the two experiences are more or less incomparable.
Why? I can't imagine feeling this way for longer than some minutes.
And I would not write about this if I wasn't curious about how does this work. Why do some people are the first kind and the other the second? Isn't energy conservation and danger avoidance a fundamental program of every living brain? Why would somebody really want to hurt somebody who isn't a threat any more? That feels so alien to me I become extremely curious.
I personally have reached a breaking point in which I realize that if I don't do something different, then the people who've abused me will continue abusing me while all while I take the high road and try to be the better person.
I wouldn't call it revenge, because that sounds malicious. Let's call it tit-for-tat or "taking my ball and going home". If you repeatedly abuse me, you're out of my life. Call it revenge or call it whatever you want, but I'm simply not going to stand for it.
Refusing to respond at all and allowing abuse to continue can be construed as taking the high road but it isn’t the only way to healthily manage toxic people.
(Revenge imo is when one actively moves to harm an abusive person.)
In my experience, this is what people usually expect when they talk about "taking the high road" or "being the bigger person". It has zero to do with "healthily managing toxic people" and everything to do with comfort of whoever does not want to deal with conflict at your expense.
I had to unlearn these quite late, when I finally figured this out.
As a young man I encountered many people who were unkind, told me that my goals were impossible and mocked me for my ambition. Now that I have succeeded at those aims and continued to grow as a human being it is a great feeling to encounter those people in life and see that they haven't been as successful as I have. I can't help but think that I perhaps wouldn't of made it through all those hard years struggling had more people believed in me, the desire to prove them wrong and get my revenge remains one of my greatest sources of motivation.
There is much irony here. If you went ahead and hurt those who hurt you, they are supposed to let go, they are supposed to take the high ground and forgive you! So go ahead, rape, steal, murder and pillage, society will be you your side.
We don't get very far if we confuse forgiveness with letting go. It's a dangerous notion that only enables and empowers bullies.
If you have talent, use it to make the world better for yourself and others. What any given person thought years ago is completely irrelevant to any significant achievement you may have
But there's certain ways in which it could be "rational" - e.g. preventing them from doing you harm again in the future by scaring them off with your revenge, evening out some sort of competitive position so that you are on the same level again, or if your revenge actually re-balances some material loss you suffered at their hands.
Carrying out a threat is, therefore, always irrational. However, if I could make you believe that I would carry out the threat, then I could get you to not do X, which would be good for me.
If I can modify my own mind so that, if you do X, then I am obsessively driven to carry out Y—"revenge"—and I make this obvious to you, then modifying my mind in that way is rational for me to do. (Of course, the only key part is making you believe that my mind works like this. But as a species, I think humans are not especially good liars—probably for good reasons, so that threats and promises are possible—and the most reliable approach to making you think I'm like that is to be like that.) I think this is why there is a built-in drive for revenge.
Now, the drive for revenge doesn't always win. In the ancestral environment, carrying out revenge against the wrong enemy may simply get you killed. It's possible that "knowing when to back off" has been selected for. (Perhaps the neural circuitry sometimes perceived natural forces like rain, or stronger creatures like tigers (possibly the relevant evolving happened before we got good at hunting), as the "enemy".) Which then opens the door to trying to intimidate the other party even further so they don't try for revenge, or to bluffing that you're not intimidated, or to guessing (perhaps incorrectly) that the other side is bluffing, and so on.
Anyway, that is the mess we are left with.
(Yes, I know, masks aren't the perfect example because they do have a [smaller] prophylactic benefit to the wearer as well. But if they didn't, it would still be a good idea to wear them for disease containment, and "lol it doesn't benefit me" would be a dubious argument for the same reason.)
If I understand right, some people consider that justice is a form of revenge. If the process of administering justice is done by a legitimate third-party, which lets the victim focus on healing/repairing, then I agree that justice will help the victim.
If A's revenge took the form of damaging B's car (not while anyone was in it) and costing thousands of dollars in repairs... Well, it would depend on just what B had done to A, and what alternatives A had. But if B had previously inflicted the same magnitude of economic damage on A, and perhaps gloated that there was no way for A to prove it, then... I think the main thing I'd feel for A is respect.
Are you hearing a dog whistle that I'm not?
Wasps (the black and yellow flying kind, not the "control political discourse in the Boston-DC corridor" kind) in his example are obviously just a metaphor that's being used as a stand in for some thing that is uncontroversially considered harmful.
“Cleansing” nature is no different from “cleansing” people.
What I always say is "Forgiveness is a gift. Trust is earned."
I think people hang onto a lot of negativity precisely because we so often hear garbage like "Forgive and forget" and "let bygones by bygones" which are phrases explicitly used by abusive people to indicate you are the asshole if you use their track record of bad behavior to be skeptical of their latest empty promises. Such ideas get used to facilitate abusive behavior and tell you that the only way you can be a good and decent person is to set aside common sense and actively cooperate with their plans to victimize you again.
"Forgiveness is a gift. Trust is earned." helps make the distinction between the two things. It can say "I may no longer be mad and projecting a lot of negativity at you, but you haven't fixed anything at all from your end, so, no. Don't assume that means I will be a chump and fall for your garbage."
AKA: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
It's okay to say "I was burned by this person. There is zero evidence that they have changed and I will not trust them again." while also saying to yourself "I am sick to death of wallowing in my misery. I would like to leave this emotional pain behind and focus on other things. I would like to stop and smell the roses and be present in the here and now and enjoy today, regardless of what shitty things some asshole did to me in the past."
TLDR: Sometimes, clinging to old pain is a means to shield yourself from new harm. Realizing that can help empower you to protect yourself without wallowing in misery.
I am not an innocent party as I agreed to do something that I knew was wrong and stupid. Even kept saying such to him and everyone while we did such. When the stuff hit the fan he threw me under the bus to save himself from the cops. We tried to patch things up a few months later by continuing to run our outdoor recreation business, but the only day we were in business that season he stole portions of the profit.
When this all happened I was harsh and judged him.. saying i didnt even know him anymore and he's turned into a criminal. Thus, he won't ever speak with me again as I judged him (lol). The guy started doing some illegal scary stuff and as a friend I was pointing out he's going in the wrong and a very bad direction. Doesn't matter we will never speak again and I know the only way we will is for me to forgive him and reach out. But no he's become a criminal and ego/being revengeful/greed/being right yet he's so wrong is more important then 3 decades of friendship.
People change... him changing and the loss of our friendship hasnt been easy.
Maybe it was the gambling addiction that lead your friend to doing illegal activities? Addictions like that can cause people to go out of control, it's a compulsion and a very sad one.
Also, when you put out he's doing wrong and going in a horrible direction he says i am horrible for judging him. He already almost got thrown in jail once, yet didnt get time. Maybe time in jail is what he needs to wake himself up from his addiction. Unfortunately, both his parents died early due to drug addiction.
Hard to forgive and reach out when all i can see is he will do the same until he works on quitting his addiction.
What would others do?
*im here in the mid-Atlantic area of the US. Didnt watch the Sopranos that much, but on a different note running that business with him was the best job I ever had. Customers loved what we offered and not only paid us but would write reviews on Facebook without asking. As well I was selling a service I loved and working with friends outside. It could definitely could have become a 100k summer business and more, but he ran the business like a Soprano and I ran it like Walt Disney. The latter is still blossoming decades later ... mob bosses not so much.
What I've found is that I'm far less-willing or able to forgive people for doing things to hurt people that aren't me. For example, I haven't talked to my grandmother in almost 4 years because she said some really racist stuff that would get this post flagged if I repeated it. Do these comments hurt me, a yuppie white dude who's biggest problem is being bored from working at home? No, not really, but it's not just about me, and I feel like "forgiveness" would be insulting to the people who it does hurt.
I'll admit this might be a character flaw on my end, but I also don't see myself changing on that.
Someone close to me was raped a few years back. No witnesses (yeah, he was her boss and asked her to stay a bit longer), so the perpetrator could walk of free of worries.
It was enraging, but we simply learned not to care. What's done is done. Is this forgiveness?
However everyone i talk to in the city where it happened know that the particular restaurant is owned by a rapist, and i've said multiple time, to multiple people, to always ask the nearest formation center to know if they forbid/discourage female cook to apprentice in some restaurants, and if they do, which ones. It's not really revenge, it is just not supporting rapists.
For one thing, I seriously doubt I'm in position to judge “growth” of other people.
Do we really need to teach people that forgiveness, properly understood, is an act of virtue rather than some sort of bargain?
> In the new therapeutic dispensation, however, forgiveness is all about the forgiver, and his or her power and well-being. We have come a long way from Shakespeare’s Portia, who spoke so memorably in The Merchant of Venice about the unstrained “quality of mercy,” which “droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven” and blesses both “him that gives and him that takes.” And an even longer way from Christ’s anguished cry from the cross, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And perhaps even further yet from the most basic sense of forgiveness, the canceling of a monetary debt or the pardoning of a criminal offense, in either case a very conscious suspension of the entirely rightful demands of justice.
From: https://hedgehogreview.com/issues/the-post-modern-self/artic..., which I highly recommend reading, as it's super relevant not only to our personal lives, but to the cultural moment we find ourselves in.
From a more basic approach, I don't know what playground Holub was on as a kid leading her to say "we're taught what we'll call "traditional" forgiveness when we're 4 or 5 years old," but I was taught based on Mr. Rogers (and my daughters were taught based on Daniel Tiger), that forgiveness still requires consequences. (See: "Saying sorry is the first step, then how can I help": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oICZVpmtL4c).
I don't like the part where you have to make yourself responsible for it either.
No one denies that people really are victimized. But whether they let that victim vs. perpetrator mindset play out in their other relationships and lived experiences is (with time and practice) up to them.
Most of this is about denying that you might be victim of something either to yourself or to others.
Plus, people actually really do deny that. If you read this article in full, majority of examples are about trying to figure out whether you don't misremember or misrepresent what happened.
* That conversation really spiraled out of control. We should get together, understand what went wrong, and make up.
* I'm an abuse victim! She emotionally abused me and then lightly physically abused me. She'd better apologize for the trauma she put me through.
The first attitude is especially important when I might be misremembering how things went or forgetting about what I was yelling back. But even if I'm 100% confident that my summary is fair and accurate, I don't think the second strategy is healthy, and I'd call the idea that I should embrace it "victim mindset".
The big issue with calling 2 unhealthy mindset is that if you are actually in 'toxic' situation, it prevents you to find solution. This is one of things that makes people stay in abusive relationships. It prevents you to set boundaries, leave or cut people that needs to be cut. "It is just passion spiraling out of control" is real world way how people rationalize staying in abusive relationships. And then everyone is like "why did you not left", well because he/she did not wanted to be victim with unhealthy mindset.
And part of healing is to learn to recognize the situation for what it is and learning to leave.
This is exactly one of my reasons why I object. Because even if you are dealing with narcissist or someone who has abusive habits, you will insist on fault being in the middle, making up, reconciling, enabling.
Also, even in case of conversation spiraling out of control, it should not mean that I have to bend over to make up nor have to have boundaries pushed a bit again and and again each time it spirals. Sometimes, when conversations spiral out of control due to one person lacking self control, it is perfectly ok to NOT make up and decide that I don't have to deal with this.
But that does not make abusive situation matter of victims mindset, it is still matter of acts of the one who is doing it.
And when non narcissist acts abusive or have such habits, the very same person acting differently with different people makes no difference. You still have to solve the abusive situation you are in, nit the mutual misunderstanding nor things "spiralling out of control of no one's fault".
Some people inappropriately generalize those experiences, and instead of being (appropriately) aware of the possibility of mistreatment or risk, they expect such treatment or interpret all treatment through such a lens.
There's no need to deny that you might be a victim. My ex-girlfriend cheated on me, and maybe my current one will too. But recognizing that possibility doesn't mean orienting my approach to the relationship around it, and in fact being clear about what boundaries/behaviors make me feel safe empowers me. Viewing myself as (fundamentally) a victim rather than someone who was a victim in a specific past circumstance does the opposite.
The article might get it wrong in some ways, but the fundamental responsibility for one's self and one's emotional well-being is still an important point.
Responsibility for yourself also means that some things are not your doing. You and I are not Gods moving everyone else by our actions.
The whole "perpetual victim" complain exist just to shut up people who tell uncomfortable things about what happened to them.
Sometimes other people do have power over you, other times they dont. Pretending that other people cant affect you and cant harm you is just nonsense.
Yes, that's right. Which is why I mentioned thinking about "others as having more power over you than they do" and acknowledged upthread that "There are situations where you're disempowered, taken advantage of, or abused."
I think you're hearing me say something like "no one is victimized." Far from it. People really are victimized, and they are victims in those situations.
But the question is whether, over time, they continue to engage with the world primarily as victims or whether their victimization is an event that's placed in the past.
I mentioned being cheated on. I do not believe that "maybe cheating was my fault or maybe I remember it wrong." I remember it very well, and I am absolutely confident that my ex's decisions and actions were hers and hers alone. I also spent a fair amount of time in pain.
Now, I could go forward in the world continuing to feel that pain. I could go forward in the world thinking things like "I won't ever be in a healthy, trusting relationship" or "next time, I need to have more control over my partner" or "it must be that I'm an inadequate man."
But I don't. Was I a victim? Yes. Do I have that victim mindset? No.
I was bullied as a child. Well into adulthood, I held on to a number of victim-oriented views, such as: people probably don't like me; other men are threats; I can't be friends with men. That's the bullshit. This painful series of events happened to me when I was young, but I took lessons about how children treated me and overgeneralized from them.
Can people still affect me and harm me? Yes, of course! But I don't need to go around looking over my shoulder and expecting that from everyone. I can remove myself from situations; I can fight back; I can call out the harmful behavior. I'm not in the victim mindset of "other people are hurting me and there's nothing I can do." I'm in the empowered mindset of "other people might hurt me, but there are things I can do about that."
Along with that, I've realized that some people won't like me, but that's up to them, and others do like me. And that some men are threats, but others are kind, and I can choose which men I associate with.
Like I said earlier, no one is denying victimhood. But it's a victim mindset to generalize painful and disempowering experiences, and make those the primary lens in your mental view of the world.
If someone has told you to shut up about uncomfortable things to hear that have happened to you, I'm sorry. That's wrong. In fact, changing your worldview generally requires digging into those things that have happened to you. But a lot of people take and advocate the unhealthy approach of "just suck it up" or telling someone to "stop playing the victim" without recognizing the hard and somewhat lengthy journey it can take to actually develop and reinforce a healthier more empowered worldview.
None of that is "victim oriented". It seems to me that you are seriously invested into making the word "victim" into something bad.
The mindset you describe is "victim mindset" only because you want that word to mean something bad. You do project everything bad you possibly can into it. I mean, yeah, fear and over-correction are all withing range of normal initial reactions to disempowering situation. Just like they are perfectly normal reaction to getting into car crash.
Then again, other people do get themselves into same situations again and again because they just cant admit to themselves that they are victims in those situations. Which is less likely to happen with car crash.
But only in one case people do work hard to stigmatize the descriptor word. When you are afraid of cars after car crash, people do generally recommend you therapy, but they wont be like "victim mindset you are bad one it is all supposed to be always under your control".
I don't want to turn "victim" into mean something bad—rather, as you've made pains to point out, victims have legitimately bad things happen to them, and that's... bad.
Holding onto that pain in the long run is bad, too. It's not about the "initial reaction"—of course fear and anger and whatnot happens! It's about whether one reifies and adopts those initial reactions as a worldview, or whether one places the event in context, learns the appropriate lessons, and moves forward.
I mean, do you think the following views of the world are good and healthy for people to hold?
- that their lives are a series of challenges directly aimed at them;
- that most aspects of life are negative and beyond their control;
- that because of the challenges in their lives, they deserve sympathy;
- that as they have little power to change things, little action should be taken to improve their problems.
In the US in particular, apologizing usually implies taking the guilt or responsibility (and sometimes even liability) for what happened. Unfortunately, this creates a huge incentive to not apologize, which then easily turns into bad feelings, grudges, anger and sometimes even lawsuits.
Interestingly, in the case of malpractice, apologizing reduces the chances a patient will file a lawsuit. I wonder how many fewer lawsuits we would have, and how much healthier of a society we would be if we all apologized more.
I'm not sure it's popular opinion to receive some sort of apology or show of remorse. What are other perspectives on this? My view has been that forgiveness is independent of an apology. An apology might lead to forgiveness for some, but shouldn't be expected nor is it a requirement.
As an aside, it also seems forgiveness has fallen out of favor as a public virtue, if not in popular opinion, then in practice. When someone makes a public mistake, many people want to make it as difficult as possible to move on, a vindictiveness that is the polar opposite of forgiveness. Or I'm mistaken, and the change is that everything is more public now.
Also, hope everyone had a laugh at "certified forgiveness coach."
It’s very common for victims of rape to be told to forgive the family member who raped them and not “cause drama” in the family.
That said I really do forgive even if I don't always forget:
- the person will get cake/discounts/etc and I won't seek revenge
- I might not however hire them / defend them / etc
I've struggled a bit with this and a number of similar problems since according to my religion there's no forgiveness for me unless I forgive others and I actually have a past so I better not void the deal ;-)
I really regret what I did to them, and I regret what it did to me too.
No amount of forgiveness on their part will end this burden.
If you want to accept, no longer demand anything be said or done and move on wiser—and this is your definition of forgiveness—then I can understand that.
But forgiving someone implies you do, say or treat someone a certain way. Most of the posts imply the opposite.
I generally accept someone’s destructive past actions without demanding an apology and then move on with newfound caution and anger-dissolved-into-disappointment regarding that person, but would you say that is “forgiving someone”?
I mean, it can even be hard to accurately model someone who you’re having a conversation with.
Our family’s cultural/religious background instills this process from a young age. Every evening, starting with the youngest child, everyone has a chance to say what they are thankful for that day and they are also given space to say ‘I’m sorry if they feel they have wronged anyone.’
We teach the other children not to respond “that’s okay” but “I forgive you” to properly acknowledge the wrongdoing.
It’s amazing how joyful children get with these simple rituals.
-- Ephesians 4:26-27
This is something that Christians have proclaimed for a long time.
A core thing I want to mention is that Forgiveness doesn’t excuse actions, nor does it mean you need to associate with people. Forgiving is purely about letting go of anger.
I Can Tolerate Anything Except The Outgroup
by Scott Alexander
I hope we can be compassionate toward the skeptics in our replies.
But this is probably just my view of existence.
Without snake oil your accumulated borxins extract a toll on your health, says snake oil salesman.
We get angry to have an emotional STOP sign attached to certain experiences, people, things, etc. You should always forgive like you should always forget that fire burns. Go ahead, put your hand back in, get it out of your system.
Not forgiving does not mean you always think and remeber of. This yet another issue.
Not forgiving means just that. If anybody asks you if you forgave you answer no. Not that you despair every moment thinking about who wronged you when.
Taking steps to heal yourself from damage, such as a physical burn or a psychological wound, doesn't necessarily mean not taking the threat seriously in future. Pain is a signal that teaches us a lesson. Once the lesson is learned, holding onto the pain can just be needless suffering.
Forgiveness is the letting go of the past. It doesn't mean going back to or repeating the situation.
When you heal your broken leg, you don't necessarily go back to skydiving.
This is advocating forgiveness, not forgetfulness.
After all, they haven't done anything harmful in your revised opinion.
So you might not have further dealings with them because emotionally releasing the power their actions have over you doesn't mean you're going to grant them power over you again. You can forgive and still distrust; you can forgive and set/enforce boundaries; you can forgive and still change how you pick the people you open up to or allow to influence your life. There's lots of ways to both forgive and move forward, rather than backward.
- Those who are generally in good health (mental and physical) and who may have experienced difficulties in the past but do not dwell on them
- People who are victims and who encounter regular struggles as a result -- likely the intended audience of articles like this
- Sociopaths who at best do not understand the emotional pain of others, and at worst enjoy inflicting it
I hope the advice in the article is genuinely intended to help people in the second group.
Sometimes I fear that content is authored or perpetuated by people from the third group who would prefer to place the responsibility for repair on the victims.
And frequently I find that the audience who reads and discusses it is the first group, without really understanding the others and in particular how charming, reasonable and attractive the third group can appear.
In short and in my experience: it is probably good advice but it should not detract focus from the harm that some people willingly cause.
What is a peace educator?
I think that "Forgiveness" and "Acceptance" are often confused. I feel that the important part, for ourselves, is "Acceptance."
I won't go into details, but Forgiveness and Acceptance have been a significant part of my life for about 40 years.
I have been on both sides of the coin. There are people who have had to Forgive me (or not), and have had to Accept wrongs that I did them, and I have had to Accept, and, in some cases, Forgive, trauma inflicted upon me.
A big part of my life has been dedicated to making sure that no one needs to forgive me, or accept unacceptable behavior, on my part, and in making sure that I don't set myself up for needless trauma.
In order to move past trauma, we need to "defuse the time bomb." We need to Accept it. We may never be able to Forgive it, though.
I'm thinking about genocide survivors (I've known a few, including from events other than The Holocaust), soldiers (including child soldiers), families of murder victims, and rape/sexual assault/assault victims (I have known many; including a number of males).
It's unreasonable to expect trauma victims to Forgive their trauma-inflictors, but they must get to a point of Acceptance, if they ever want to live a life that's halfway normal.
In some cases, it's because many cultures on Earth (including family/clan/tribal cultures) consider Forgiveness to be weakness, or trauma victims to be "at fault" (I won't get into the specifics, there, but it happens -a lot). Even in those cultures, if we can separate Acceptance from Forgiveness, there's a chance that people can heal.
Despite all that, I have seen some that have truly Forgiven what I consider to be unforgivable acts. Before they can Forgive, though, they have always first reached a point of Acceptance.
Those people are my heroes.
Acceptance means coming to terms with trauma. It happened. It sucked. It was deeply unfair. It was wrong. It may even have been downright evil. It left scars (sometimes, literally). It may even have been self-inflicted, or exacerbated by our own complicity. The perpetrators "got away with it," and are still walking around, unconcerned, unrepentant, and unpunished. It's not happening anymore. Despite all that, it still needs to be put into a place behind us, and no one is going to be able to do that, except ourselves. Time won't heal this. It needs some elbow grease.
A very valuable part of Acceptance, is that it frees us to help others that have gone through (or are going through) the same trauma. If we can't Accept, we can't help others.
Another aspect of non-acceptance, is that unhealed trauma can actually make trauma victims dangerous. Hurt people hurt people.
I know many folks that have never learned to live in Acceptance, and their lives are a vale of tears. When the external trauma stopped, it was replaced by internal trauma.
There's a story I was told (completely made-up):
A man walks into a building, is immediately beaten badly by another man, and thrown out into the street.
They get up, dust themselves off, put up their fists, and walk back in.
Same thing happens.
This is repeated a number of times.
Then, one time, they walk into the building, and the other man is no longer there.
So they go looking for them.