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Forgiving and not Forgiving

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rachelc posted 2/7/2014 10:22 AM

this book was recommended down in the Book Club forum. I appreciate the following words from the author:

"to insist on forgiveness in all cases is to confuse forgiveness with resolving, to equate unforgiveness with vengefulness to ignore the critical role subjectivity plays in determining what is forgiveable and what is not."

also "....strive to be a "good enough" forgiver, come to terms as best we can with our betrayers. Forgiveness is about recognizing the humanity and the limitations of the other; the person doing the forgiving deserves the same consideration."

This validates my own thought that people don't have to remain bitter or resentful when they don't forgive.

Interesting book.

PinkJeepLady posted 2/7/2014 10:31 AM

Very interesting! Thx for the thought.

DixieD posted 2/7/2014 10:45 AM


The reasons I've not forgiven.....yet are tied to me and my past and my nature, nothing to do with my husband and what he is or isn't doing. He's remorseful and busts his butt, but he equally doesn't work to garner my forgiveness. He neither asks or expects it.

I will forgive when it feels right for me. I will know it. It may pass and I not even realize it. It's not in the forefront of my thoughts. It does not hold our relationship or reconciliation back. I'm still loving and caring towards him as he is with me.

I still have some bitterness and resentment about some things to work through, but I don't act resentful or bitter or vengeful towards him.

Rebreather posted 2/7/2014 11:13 AM

Do you recall the book, Rachel?

rachelc posted 2/7/2014 11:21 AM

it is Forgiving and not Forgiving - Safer I think.

[This message edited by rachelc at 11:22 AM, February 7th (Friday)]

SisterMilkshake posted 2/7/2014 11:24 AM

that people don't have to remain bitter or resentful when they don't forgive.
I immediately thought of you, Rebreather, and that this book would be interesting to you.

Rebreather posted 2/7/2014 11:28 AM

Ooooh, the title was right in the title. derp

Sister, maybe I wrote it! Ok, not. But yeah, see, I'm not so crazy after all!

SisterMilkshake posted 2/7/2014 12:10 PM

But yeah, see, I'm not so crazy after all!
I feel you are very sane! And, I agree with this
that people don't have to remain bitter or resentful when they don't forgive.
I just, by nature, am more of a forgiver........eventually. Don't feel I will ever forgive OW, though, and I know I won't be bitter or resentful.

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 12:11 PM, February 7th (Friday)]

truthsetmefree posted 2/7/2014 13:01 PM

A few days after D-day, I called OW to confront her, to put her on notice that I knew...basically come crashing into her life the same as she had mine.

The call was relatively uneventful. And though she neither asked for forgiveness nor demonstrated any hint of remorse, I ended the call with, "For what it's worth, I forgive you."

And then I hung up the phone and thought, WTH?

I knew I meant it with every single ounce of my being. But... HOW???

My upbringing had conditioned me to forgive - as a moral duty - so that's what I went with. I took the higher path, silently prided myself on having the moral superiority, and worked diligently toward actually feeling forgiveness.

I made all kinds of suppositions about her life and likely gave her credit for all kinds of qualities that she didn't deserve. And while I struggled to actually have feelings of forgiveness toward her, I also equally struggled with my own sense of being a shmuck in the whole situation - a doormat that just allowed such treatment.

That what happens when forgiveness masquerades as morality. Struggle always ensues.

Since this whole experience I've since come to understand that I really did mean what I said to OW on that day. It was just my definition of forgiveness that I didn't understand. Forgiveness had really nothing to do with her or her actions. It was simply my self-declaration that I would not allow this - her, her choices - to define me in any way.

Forgiveness allowed me to let go of that I didn't become the same monster.

[This message edited by truthsetmefree at 1:16 PM, February 7th (Friday)]

SisterMilkshake posted 2/7/2014 13:11 PM

Forgiveness allowed me to let go of justice.
Very interesting pov, truthsetmefree.

bionicgal posted 2/7/2014 14:48 PM

Forgiveness allowed me to let go of justice...

Wow. I have to quote this same thing.
And I think it is true, that I will never feel justice in my case with the AP. She was a friend who, knowingly or not, preyed on my H and family. She can succeed in life and I will feel bitter, and she can fail and I can feel Schadenfreude, but will that ever feel like justice? Is justice even mine to determine?

This puts it in the realm of spiritual matters, I suppose. I think I have to let go of the need to feel justice, as I think it is unwinnable, and if I understand truthsetsmefree, turns me into someone else - someone I don't want to be.

Thanks for the thinking on this.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 2:50 PM, February 7th (Friday)]

truthsetmefree posted 2/7/2014 15:41 PM

turns me into someone else - someone I don't want to be.

Yep. Unbeknownst to me, my original declaration of forgiveness was spot on and absolutely rooted in the right motive - I wasn't going to let this change me into someone I didn't want to be.

I did get sidetracked along the way because I had the wrong idea of forgiveness.

How I finally got there was to just simply give up trying to extract justice.

It really had absolutely nothing to do with her. Ever.

Scubachick posted 2/7/2014 15:56 PM

For those who have what point do you realize you have actually forgiven. I don't put too much focus on forgiving or not forgiving but my husband does. I feel like the fact that I'm still in my marriage and trying to move forward means I have already begun to forgive. I have set backs though and some of them are really difficult. My husband takes them as a sign that I will never be able to forgive him. I've tried to explain that forgiving doesn't take away the fact that it hurts.

rachelc posted 2/7/2014 16:17 PM

See and my not forgiving is to align with my own moral code. It has nothing to do with justice, because there never can be justice when affair happen.

LadyLove posted 2/7/2014 20:19 PM

I'm 18 months out.. WH is remorseful, we're trying our damnest to move forward.. we have difficult days and setbacks too.. but we know that where we want to be is with each other. So we don't give up.

Forgiveness is not part of the equation. And he doesn't expect it from me.

And I will never accept what he did, because to me that is the same as saying I'm okay with it. Just my opinion. Yes, it happened and he's working on making sure it never happens again.

I don't believe that forgiveness is a requirement for recovery. I think too many people get hung up on forgiving.. it doesn't have to mean that you become bitter and resentful, I'm not... I have pain and anger sure, who doesn't?

RidingHealingRd posted 2/7/2014 20:41 PM

This validates my own thought that people don't have to remain bitter or resentful when they don't forgive.


On dday I informed my WH that I would never forgive him. 3+ years out and I am proving to be a woman of my word, although we are in successful R, I still will never forgive him. This does not mean that I spend my days fighting, plotting against, or hating my WH.

I firmly believe that some things are just too huge to forgive.

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