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Working On Forgiveness

Thread starter #1
My T has me working on forgiving all the people who have hurt me, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. He gave me some info. It's a three page summary called Psychologists Explain How to Truly Forgive Someone and Let Go. There are eleven steps in doing this. This info can be found at: power of positivity website

I am compiling a list of the people right now that I will need to forgive. Part of me does not want to do this, my inner child, but adult me knows I need to do this.

So this is my forgiveness journey. Have any of you done something like this with your T?
 

joeylittle

Administrator
#2
I personally don't believe in forgiveness as a way to accomplish healing.

I believe in acknowledgement and acceptance of the event itself.

But, I suspect the end result is the same - it's a question of the individual's value system - what they believe in.

I'm curious what other kinds of framework people use for the part of the process that involves some kind of letting go of past pain.
 
#3
I can’t do forgiveness, personally. I’m not sure I would ever want to either. It’s too close to “allowing” for me. Which I know isn’t the point and it’s supposed to be different and helpful and all that but I just don’t feel it.
 
#4
If we define forgiveness as ‘Giving up all hope for a better past?’ :cool: Rather a lot of work on that, mostly with lovers who’ve shared my life, rather than therapists. But one therapist in particular had the knack for settling pieces, no sex necessary, but a lot of laughter was involved.

If we define forgiveness as ‘Screaming, and then silence’ :smug: I try and avoid that one, as it’s rather illegal in most places.
 
Thread starter #5
If we define forgiveness as ‘Giving up all hope for a better past?’ :cool: Rather a lot of work on that, mostly with lovers who’ve shared my life, rather than therapists. But one therapist in particular had the knack for settling pieces, no sex necessary, but a lot of laughter was involved.

If we define forgiveness as ‘Screaming, and then silence’ :smug: I try and avoid that one, as it’s rather illegal in most places.
I guess I don't know what you mean by screaming and then silence. I'm guessing that it might mean that you think I'm to do forgiveness in person. Nope. This a mental process, not having to tell the person anything. I guess it is a reframing kind of thing.

I can’t do forgiveness, personally. I’m not sure I would ever want to either. It’s too close to “allowing” for me. Which I know isn’t the point and it’s supposed to be different and helpful and all that but I just don’t feel it.
I guess that's like me not getting meditation and not being able to do it. When I try it, my mind overwhelms me and I end up just about trapped in some trauma or incident in the past.
 
#6
I guess I don't know what you mean by screaming and then silence. I'm guessing that it might mean that you think I'm to do forgiveness in person. Nope. This a mental process, not having to tell the person anything. I guess it is a reframing kind of thing.
Not meaning for you to do anything... just explaining the 2 types of forgiveness I tend towards. Although there are a few others as well, those are my 2 primary.

‘That’s what forgiveness sounds like; Screaming. And then silence.’ Is just a bit ;) on the Old Testament side of things. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. Blood debt. People often take that wrong, not understanding it’s about parity. You don’t kill someone for knocking out your tooth. You take their tooth. You don’t burn their family alive, for punching you in the eye. You punch them right back in the eye. I’ve written off all but one of my blood debts. I would rather not collect on it. But the debt is still open, until I decide to tear the ticket or collect.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
#7
I don't forgive in the traditional sense. There are two people in my life that I would never forgive if I had to do it that way.

Mine has evolved into being 'indifferent'. One I have succeeded at being in 'indifferent' to, the other will happen eventually because I don't like anyone that caused me pain I had a lifetime of work to heal from, that space in my head. They don't get to live there rent-free.

The one remaining rarely comes to mind anymore, nor do I have 'reactions' to people who remind me of them. So I'm getting there.

Our journey to 'putting things to rest' is personal. I used a simple term just now and it's anything but simple.

But ya, I'm not carrying around a bag a pain that stinks because it's so OLD and not needed in my life in any shape or form. I used those two as a motivator to get my life back. That's how much I hated both of them. They just were not going to be my 'truth' any longer.

The day to day stuff. The more minor stuff. It's just me asking myself 'how important is this to carry it around to remind me I've been hurt by this person?'. I can usually do that fairly quickly when I get enough sense about me to let it go. Just let go of the power that the person thinks they have.

I made it sound simple. The two major ones were anything but simple. But I can let go quicker today because I know who I am, and what is NOT ok in my little world. It does free up some tremendous space to enjoy the life I've worked so hard to create. That is my end goal in 'forgiveness', 'letting go', whatever we call it. Is to regain space that someone else has spent too much time and done too much damage for me to let them remain in my head and heart.

Ya, indifference is what works for me.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
#8
This always comes up in therapy, every T gets to it eventually and I lay it out for them like this. Hasn't been a stopper yet.

I have a limit for forgiveness. hurt me once, we will talk about it and decide if it is over and if it is, you get forgiveness. hurt me again, now we are going to talk about why it can't happen anymore, why the first talk was a waste of time, and how forgiveness is a choice now and you had better talk me into it if you want it. Hurt me again and the best you can hope for now is indifference, as in I wouldn't cross the street to kick you while you were down indifference.
Thats my real-world understanding of forgiveness, a willingness to allow people an opportunity to hurt me after I have already seen that they are capable of it, and when repeat offenders come along, a willingness or legal limitation to let them go in peace knowing that I am not as I first appeared to them, a prey animal with eyes to the sides, but a predator with a forward stare that will be looking for them and will see them before they even get close.

Ya, indifference is what works for me
I would add that boundaries are an act of kindness that shows people where the tolerance stops and the consequences start, and forgiveness (indifference) is a willingness to allow trespassers a clear retreat but not an inch of movement of the boundary.
 

osiris

MyPTSD Pro
#9
I haven’t looked at forgiveness with T yet @Changing4Best and if they were to mention it at the moment I would shoot it down. So I guess take everything I say with a grain of salt and feel free to totally ignore me ;)

Forgiveness is a such complex thing but I think the Jewish concept of repentance and forgiveness is one I see strength in (not Jewish, so others are likely to be able to explain this better than I).
Ignoring the Religious/God aspect of it and looking at how it works for the community - it cannot be done passively. The one who has done something wrong has to actively seek forgiveness, in order for it to work as a result.

The person who has wronged someone must regret their actions, actually see the reality of what they have done and then apologise and seek to make it right. They must choose to reject their past behaviour and live differently in the future (repeated wrong behaviour shows they have made no change and don’t deserve forgiveness).

It’s only the victim of the wrongdoing who can do the forgiving, and you don’t have to do that unless you are asked for forgiveness.

I suppose the hard thing there is if someone asked for forgiveness and you didn’t believe their words. It’s the repentance and non repeated behaviour which is important - coz obviously there are terrible people out there who ask for forgiveness (like in DV) but don’t mean it/carry on/play mind games etc.

So in my mind it’s an active process that can’t just be done by a victim, and it’s not on us to have to forgive the terrible things that have been done to us. So maybe moving on or letting go of past hurts doesn’t have to include forgiveness at all.
 
Thread starter #10
I haven’t looked at forgiveness with T yet @Changing4Best and if they were to mention it at the moment I would shoot it down. So I guess take everything I say with a grain of salt and feel free to totally ignore me ;)

Forgiveness is a such complex thing but I think the Jewish concept of repentance and forgiveness is one I see strength in (not Jewish, so others are likely to be able to explain this better than I).
Ignoring the Religious/God aspect of it and looking at how it works for the community - it cannot be done passively. The one who has done something wrong has to actively seek forgiveness, in order for it to work as a result.

The person who has wronged someone must regret their actions, actually see the reality of what they have done and then apologise and seek to make it right. They must choose to reject their past behaviour and live differently in the future (repeated wrong behaviour shows they have made no change and don’t deserve forgiveness).

It’s only the victim of the wrongdoing who can do the forgiving, and you don’t have to do that unless you are asked for forgiveness.

I suppose the hard thing there is if someone asked for forgiveness and you didn’t believe their words. It’s the repentance and non repeated behaviour which is important - coz obviously there are terrible people out there who ask for forgiveness (like in DV) but don’t mean it/carry on/play mind games etc.

So in my mind it’s an active process that can’t just be done by a victim, and it’s not on us to have to forgive the terrible things that have been done to us. So maybe moving on or letting go of past hurts doesn’t have to include forgiveness at all.
To tell you the truth, I'm not sure I want to do this either. How to say no though, that is the tough part for me. I'm not crazy about the amount of time it will take, in terms of therapy hours. I know that it's for my own sake to do this, that is the only reason I might agree. According to my faith though, it is advised strongly.
 
#11
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. Blood debt.
After getting the chores done, I was still thinking about this. You are a warrior Friday, a force to reckon with. Once upon a time I felt the same way, I loved the Scene in "the untouchables" when Sean Connery explains the "Chicago Way" to K.Costner.
My go to was to tell an offender the story of the small dog:
When an ankle biter bites your ankle, you know what I do? I say "nice doggie, good doggie" and hope it works. If it doesn't work I look around in hopes of finding the owner and I say"Hey, you should come get your dog over here". You know what I do if that doesn't work? I step on it and break it's neck.
Message sent. I have never killed a dog in my life, big or small, but the story always helped me sort the froggy jumpy humans from the talk the talk but no walk ones. "break it's neck" was the last words you heard from me that night, one way or the other. Now I'm older so much older, I long for those young boy ways at times, but not very often and I am a long way from Froggy anyway. ;)
 
#12
To tell you the truth, I'm not sure I want to do this either. How to say no though, that is the tough part for me. I'm not crazy about the amount of time it will take, in terms of therapy hours. I know that it's for my own sake to do this, that is the only reason I might agree. According to my faith though, it is advised strongly.
I wondered if it was faith based. Maybe the timing of it isn't right for you at the moment? Is it acceptable in your faith to say you will work towards forgiveness at another point?
Maybe the word 'forgiveness' needs reframing? But idk.

I'm not religious so I think there might be a big difference for people who are? Idk.

For me: I forgive (I think) one of my abusers. But that is purely because he was a child and the same age as me. He must have been abused himself to have done what he did to me. So that makes it easy for me to 'forgive' (if that is the right word). I think a better word is: get some understanding about why he did it.

Other people, who were adults: nope. No forgiveness. I'm only just finding my voice, and forgiving someone who has never acknowledged what they have done - nope.
If someone was sorry and said sorry - then there might be something to forgive?
But if they are denying your story. Hurting you by lying or ignoring? Nope.
 
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