What does it take for you to forgive?

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
Forgiveness isn't something I can do with some of the monsters in my life.
I hope they die painfully and burn in hell and I will never forgive them for what they have done
Everyone makes choices. Their CHOICES harmed me. They don't deserve my forgiveness

But.
What I have learned recently is that I can let them go. I can turn them over to whatever higher power is out there and take myself out of the equation. I can stop thinking that I'm somehow "wrong" by not giving them an out because they had some kind of past that made them into monsters.

I can let my pain go
I can let their choices go
I can let the damage they did to me go.

I don't have to forgive them
I have to forgive myself for not seeing them for what they were
Then I can finally release the pain I hold about their actions.

But for them?
this pretty much sums it all up.....
3 to the chest.
2 to the head.
yep.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
I have to forgive myself for not seeing them for what they were
that is me, thanks for saying it for me. i work and work on this but it doesn't happen. It is like ripples going out from a tossed rock, the first one is what reminds me of them, the second ripple is what they did and the third ripple is self torture for letting it happen, another ripple, another ripple, and more of the same negative thoughts about myself for signing up for more and more of it. Forgive them? possible, not necessary most of the time. Foregive myself? thats like trying to make the rock not make the splash.

3 to the chest.
2 to the head.
I was taught in the revolver days. 5 shots was a lot of ammo. I think Mozambique. MOW-ZAM.....BEAK. Two to the chest and one to the beak.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Forgiveness is not a prerequisite for healing and I kind of doubt anyone really does foregive. More like "let it pass" or "forget". The closest thing I personally have is maybe an awareness that the bad happened and if I have to I can choose to accept that there will be more bad and I live with it. we have all had people we knew were inclined to do something we didn't like but we let them keep doing it because we had to for whatever reason. we had to keep it in mind that the bad was probably going to come around again but accepted that as a part of letting them stay around.
Break the word foregive down and i see it as "fore" meaning before, ahead of time, in preperation, and "give' as in bend, allow, make allowance for, tolerate. After someone does me an injustice or two, I have to prepare to make an allowance for another if I choose to stick around for it. Whenever possible I don't.
In a sentence: There are lots of stores that have treated me badly in the past, but there are more stores coming on line all the time and I can get whatever I need from stores that I choose to deal with and avoid the ones that would require me to "foregive".
I disagree....forgiving yourself for your own part when one might have acted like a total jerk, can come with regret and shame-which can take the form of looping. Forgiving yourself stops a lot of that looping and really reduces anger and self-criticism. Making amends to those we've hurt and want or may want to reconnect with in the future isn't just as simple as "forgetting" or "pretending that whatever incident happened, didn't" making amends makes room for repairing relationships when everyone is ready-if that's a goal. I honestly can't say that my behavior has always been stellar or perfect in a hot moment. If someone hurts me, it still isn't okay for me to be a dick to them any time I run into them, even if they've continued to be nasty. If their behavior was so grevious that I never want to see them again, then it is simple, I just don't need to have contact.

"I'll skip over the last several years of BullS and we'll pretend it didn't happen, and move on" doesn't fly with me. This kind of behavior has a "white elephant" in the room, and will resolve nothing and will likely, when you see that individual who you are angry with or who hurt you, will bring up old shit.....and trigger unresolved anger.....and you'll likely find yourself in a similar angry situation as the past with that person.....because things didn't get resolved or forgiven by both parties...... Furthermore, I believe if something I did contributed to the collapse of a relationship, and I want to reconnect, then I need to own my own part.....own what my behavior did to the relationship, expect the person won't trust me, and it is up to the other person to accept or reject the apology I have to offer. I think forgiveness is important in being able to break the old patterns of behavior and is critical in the healing process itself.

If you are closing doors to your abusers permanently, then you still have to forgive yourself to offload the anger/rage, hurt, self-loathing and resentments that you may have, then get a new spin on being okay yourself in order to be able to think about whatever happened and not finding yourself looping and angry....finding self-love rather than carrying unhealthy self-hatred that is tied to the anger about the past.....and I feel that's got to be dealt with, too.

We can't and it's not always practical or possible to have a discussion with one's abuser. In those cases, we just have to forgive ourselves.....and know we did the best we could in whatever situation that happened.

On a different note: Spelling: Foregive (wiki dic) means to pretend......the spelling of forgive, as this thread implies, means to pardon and to be willing to let go of the negative feelings attached to the incident causing one's conflict. There are abusive people who don't want to forgive or don't think they had any part in hurting you..., and those people need a scapegoat and need to be angry. That's them and that's their issue.

But if we, as the recipient of their abuse, blame and anger, remain angry, too... , and we have children or grandchildren, neices and nephews, or other loved ones, our own anger/unresolved rage can unconsciously perpetuate the abuse cycle. Letting go of the anger.....and creating boundaries, has the potential to change the abuse cycle and I believe is the road to finding inner peace. I hope this made sense.

@joeylittle I think being able to step in the other person's shoes, is the ideal way to get there.....but there are many abusive situations that might not work for that....but I totally agree with this where it is possible.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
Good points and taken well. Maybe a big distinction for me comes in when I am dealing with a family member or an acquaintance, and a sub set distinction of family member between wife/ kids and parents/siblings. I was not at fault expecting better treatment from my parents, or for eventually deciding that not only did I not choose to forgive, I didn’t need to because I never wanted to see them again and never did. I guess the same could be said for most acquaintances, but no way does it apply to my wife and kids! I realize now that I forgive immediately, and would endure injury from them without an end. Boundaries can be laid out, and conflicts can come up, even angry and hurtful things said but at the end of the day these people are my flesh and blood and my heart and soul and I stand back up and forgive it all as it happens. So yeah, some forgiveness is necessary, but it comes easy and naturally. I am maybe not capable of any other kind, and maybe can’t be convinced there truly is another kind, unless it is the diluted, prepared to see it fail, only here because I choose to be in spite of the past kind. The “ pre disposed toward making allowances” kind.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
@joeylittle I think being able to step in the other person's shoes, is the ideal way to get there.....but there are many abusive situations that might not work for that....but I totally agree with this where it is possible.
Agree.

And to me, the empathy is just the best tool I've found, to get me to acceptance of their actions. But when empathy doesn't work or just isn't applicable, I can also go with behavior chain analysis. Find the underpinnings of how they made choices that follow in a progression...even if it's a warped logic, there's always some kind of logic to it.
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
but no way does it apply to my wife and kids! I realize now that I forgive immediately, and would endure injury from them without an end.
interesting! I have had little to forgive DH for , but it’s pretty unconscious and inevitable when it happens . I think it should be with kids and pets too, dependants . But I don’t think a romantic relationship should be unconditional. Ideally I would not ‘endure injury without end’ from a partner - because ( presuming we are talking about something genuinely hurtful - physically or emotional) that feels like it’s leaning towards abusive? I think love that isn’t between us and a dependent should maybe be conditional on reciprocally ‘fair’ behaviour for the majority of time - with a sort of health clause maybe? I’m sure that’s not what you meant you receive! I absolutely do not mean to put meaning in your words that’s not there - I just think it’s interesting how the meaning that can be read into stuff like this that most of us say ( me very certainly) shapes us .

And it doesn’t even solve the issue entirely if we do say exactly what we mean because others still hear it in their interpretation of the word. I think maybe ‘forgive’ is an example? I think many people perhaps do mean ‘accept and move on’ Not, ‘absolve
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
think it should be with kids and pets too, dependants . But I don’t think a romantic relationship should be unconditional
Agreed. I should say they have never done anything unforgivable, and that I predict they never will. As for MY romantic relationship the problem isn’t forgiveness, more like just plain stubbornness as we have been together through too much to hold grudges and withhold foregiveness. Foregiveness just plain beats any alternatives for us. Good thing it’s easy
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Interesting thread. I too, as someone mentioned, had to question if I really forgive, if I equate to re-establishing a relationship. True forgiveness does give another chance, at least to not repeat it. Idk, maybe I thought I forgive and sometimes I don't?

Mostly, I would want to be forgiven if it were reversed. I do usually find some empathy or possible understanding of sorts.

But mostly, I suppose the kindest thing I can say, is that I don't understand them, +/or they don't understand me at all. Some things are big, some harms are small, some I'm sure are not intentional, and sometimes even smaller (or larger) ones hurt more because the person was more trusted, or it's more frightening, or when you're beaten down or in need.

I suppose all I can ultimately say, is I don't normally harbour retribution. But reading this thread I may range from hatred- fear- indifference- not caring- finality- dead to me.

I think a lot of things happened people wouldn't forgive, They are probably more wise than me. It used to bother me a lot if I was forgiven, until I realized recently I mostly looked at what I hoped to be forgiven for, and for them they think they are quite justified in all they think and do. I do know I'm not up to any relationship that involves rage, violence, lies or deceit.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
ETA @Mee , I remember my mom saying anger can be the beginning of courage.

I relate completely to your description re: avoidance/ relationships, returning/ not returning, fear.

I don't think returning to visit your mother would be a requirement of forgiveness if you knew it would make you backslide. If you felt you should or could, and could in essence view what she did from afar, if that's what you wanted then that's fine. But there are consequences to behaviours and re-putting yourself in harm's way would not make sense. (Then you could say you'd have to forgive yourself for doing it!)

The only other thing that makes forgiveness easier for me is a bad memory, and not really caring, aka, "What does it matter?" One day, maybe soon maybe not, we'll all be at the end of our lives, and I am the only one who's going to have to account for, or deal with mine. And I'd sure not prefer to waste more time than I have to between now and then remembering what makes me feel like sh*t (I can manage that on my own, thanks), or is negative, as to how others have hurt me, even if an impact remains despite myself.

Far as others go, I try to let them know I am sorry (as long as I am sorry), be responsible for my part, make ammends. Understand their part if they share it. And at the end of the day, if that's not good enough, well, I can't go back in time, even if I wish I could. That fact sometimes hurts even more- shame usually, and regret always.

I am in a position I can't escape where I am reminded nearly daily, the horrendous thing I did and the damage it caused. Over time it has morphed in to near a constant telling me of the litany of all I've done wrong, do wrong, is wrong with me. It is like the closest thing as to living in hell, tbh. At times I feel it's deserved; other times Idk what else to do or say. But I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, and Idk what it accomplishes.
 
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Sideways

Moderator
Dipping my toe in to an uncomfortable situation.
I have a very difficult relationship with and struggle to accept as important in dealing with trauma.
Me too. Forgiveness? Why? I genuinely don't think it's always necessary. Especially if they're not sorry.

If I'm struggling with ongoing resentment directed towards a person? Sure. I can see that it might be one way to move forward. That's impacting my happiness now.

But, I don't really have a lot of resentments, so forgiveness? Nah, I'm not persuaded I need to put energy into that.
forgiveness of past behaviour saw me stay for more
For me, it wasn't forgiveness made me stay. It was not realising I deserved better. But, that's my relationship with me, not them.

Working on self worth, self acceptance, are big ticket items for me. Me working on me.

With your example about forgiving your mum? I can kind of come at that. My mum did a lousy job. Wouldn't say she was abusive beyond a few bad days, but she was a shitty mother for sure.

I'd say that I'm getting closer to accepting that. She did her best, motherhood wasn't her strong suit, and her best was lousy. It's not okay. And she definitely isn't sorry.

But, rather than framing that around forgiveness, for me it's about reframing how I see her, and me. I accept who she is. I know the limits of what she has to offer. And I'm a different person now - I'm an adult, and I don't need her for my survival any more.

Upshot is our relationship has changed. I have very different boundaries now, and they seem to work better for me. Accepting (as opposed to forgiving), allows it to be - it is what is, even if it's shitty - but also embraces change. If I accept that she's never going to x (never has, never will) then I can reconstruct our relationship based on that.

In that respect, if forgiveness means I go back to what it was like (the things you did are behind me and we can carry on like before)? I have zero interest in that. I've learnt from how she's treated me, and make decisions about the dynamic of our relationship going forward based on that. It ain't never going back to what it was. That stuff is behind me, but it happened, I learned from it, and necessarily changes things between us.
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
I am in a position I can't escape where I am reminded nearly daily, the horrendous thing I did and the damage it caused. Over time it has morphed in to near a constant telling me of the litany of all I've done wrong, do wrong, is wrong with me. It is like the closest thing as to living in hell, tbh. At times I feel it's deserved; other times Idk what else to do or say. But I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, and Idk what it accomplishes.
Thanks for the rest , it was lovely 😊. This also applies to me though , and I guess I also understand that self forgiveness is difficult. I am also ‘accepting’ and ‘understanding’ how things happened - I am more relenting on my self . Truly forgiving? I don’t know. No.

Dipping my toe in to an uncomfortable situation.

(Ruthles edit by mee)
In that respect, if forgiveness means I go back to what it was like (the things you did are behind me and we can carry on like before)? I have zero interest in that. I've learnt from how she's treated me, and make decisions about the dynamic of our relationshipgoing forward based on that. It ain't never going back to what it was. That stuff is behind me, but it happened, I learned from it, and necessarily changes things between us.
Thank you - I’m not sure why i didn’t see this earlier- your area of discomfort Helps me .

Yes - I think I sort of feel somewhere in this ball park? I survived childhood and while I’ll prepared I have some regard for some aspects of myself - I accept my mother for what she is but it’s not ok . She has tried really hard in recent years but when she slips she slips badly . Her last ( verbal only - on the phone) lash out at me was something I would have ‘forgiven’ in the past but I find I just no longer can. Things had already changed between us. I am different now and still changing . But if I keep going back for more it’s just going to keep tearing me down . Tbh not being in touch still feels like a terrible choice - but of the two horrid choices it’s the least detrimental to me. And that’s so sad. No one in my family talks to each other , accept my father and I , under the same roof but barely knowing each other and with no love lost.


I wish like you I could say I do not hold resentment. I M not sure Where resentment and sadness begin and end though , or fear . Or maybe shame in that mix too . I’m resentful I don’t have a family , a living family but also ashamed - why wasn’t I good enough to love? And fearful - who do I have if something goes wrong in my life ?

Sheesh .it’s another way not forgiving self protects - if it’s me being unforgiving they cannot hurt me again
 

Sideways

Moderator
But if I keep going back for more it’s just going to keep tearing me down .
(Ruthless edit by Sideways!!!)
I M not sure Where resentment and sadness begin and end though , or fear . Or maybe shame in that mix too
Definitely my Shame Monster feeds off the ever-present family dynamic with me. But there was also a period of mourning involved (rather than forgiveness...very different I think).

The inner child that (necessarily) that believed my parents were fantastic, and that family is incredibly important, and how lucky am I that I have this awesome family, and how sad it must be for people who spend Christmas alone or have no one to put down as their Next Of Kin...

Yeah, there's both survival and cultural dynamics at play there. Growing up believing in the centrality of family, and how great mine is, and I must be the issue when it's not great. I had to accept that was all not much more than the embedded beliefs of a child who needed to believe those things, even though they weren't true.

And then once that need for acceptance (in laymans terms: a reality check...Sideways, your parents suck, and they always have) started to appear on the radar? Wham! Grief, and a need to mourn this epic loss.

Still sad about that.

But also, still don't need to forgive them!
 
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