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click4it posted 7/22/2014 22:08 PM

You must forgive in order to be forgiven.

Just let that sit for a bit.

I'm still sitting with it.

GotPlayed posted 7/22/2014 22:53 PM

You're right, and it's very true, but forgiveness is often misunderstood.

The gift of Forgiveness, by Charles Stanley is a great book on the subject.

My takeaways:

Forgiveness is to Heal my soul. If she doesn't ask for it, I shouldn't tell her because it may backfire or be seen as either weak or condescending. So better forgive in your heart, until hers is ready to hear it (I.e. out of the fog completely). She's not there at all yet.
Forgiveness doesn't mean they stop facing the consequences of their actions. D is the consequence of her waywardness, because she's unrepentant. I just will be fair with it and not hold the A against her and OM or get mad if things don't go my way in the D (or beyond, as we have young kids together). In fact, not having her face consequences while she's unrepentant is enabling behavior and worse for her. It also sets me up for more hurt. In other words, forgive not equal doormat.
Forgiveness doesn't erase pain, those two are separate tracks of the soul, so to speak. The decision to forgive can be made while still in pain, and in fact it's probably a prerequisite for true healing. Everything else is a stop gap.
Forgiveness is not a negotiation, she may not forgive my own behavior during the M, even when I forgive the unforgivable. And that's OK. Because my forgiveness of her is not predicated on her attitude towards me. I need to be aware of this because she still blames her mom for stuff she said she had forgiven, and blames her A partly on her mom. So I can tell that her forgiveness was never complete as it related to her own mother - what are the odds she'll truly forgive me?
Finally forgiveness is for specific wrongs. You can forgive a time span or general behavior (the A) but it's best to be specific (which is why I think we BS need a time line and general description of events - how can you forgive what you don't know? ).

Anyway, you can tell I think about this a fair bunch too.

caregiver9000 posted 7/22/2014 23:11 PM

I think I view forgiveness as detachment. I have "let go" of the moment and the person that caused me so much trauma. When I did that, I stopped dragging the pain around and I was freed from the pain, or "forgiven" of it.

I have a hard time reconciling forgiveness and accountability. When I decided I wasn't ultimately responsible for either (regarding my ex) I found every day living easier to get on with.

click4it posted 7/22/2014 23:50 PM

gotplayed - thanks for sharing those phrases from the book. they are good. a little too intellectual for me, but that's me. And seriously, I've been on this *not* forgiveness path for the last 12 years. Everytime I heard the topic of forgiveness, I read it, then shook my head and said nope not for me. and when you are only months out from D-day, forgiveness is not even something that should be pushed because you have other things to do first, like pull yourself out of the tornado....

12 years later and I heard this phrase in a movie theater and it was so simple that I it struck me so hard. I had never realized that I must forgive if I want others to forgive me. so in terms of my ex, I ask do I need his forgiveness? Not really, but perhaps if I forgave him just a little then maybe JUST maybe he'd start to pull his head out his ass and find some forgiveness for me and start to relate to his boys better. It might be too late, but this doesn't only apply to him. If I don't forgive in general, I can't accept people to forgive me.

anyway, I'm not saying I fully want to take this on because I'm still shall we say "pondering".

caregiver- you make a good point. thank you for sharing that.

caregiver9000 posted 7/23/2014 00:07 AM

Not really, but perhaps if I forgave him just a little then maybe JUST maybe he'd start to pull his head out his ass and find some forgiveness for me and start to relate to his boys better.

I don't think forgiveness has anything to do with an "if, then" statement. Not in this case ^ which comes awfully close to trying to control him with your actions. The BS is told over and over that their actions or failure to act does not have anything to do with the Wayward's behavior. Holds true here too.

Taking it one step further to your next statement

If I don't forgive in general, I can't accept people to forgive me.

I don't think this is true either. I think it would make you a hypocrite, and perhaps not a very nice person if you were needing forgiveness all the time but also not a tolerant person.

The biggest thing that I think causes problems is when people try to chose forgiveness over anger. There are certain acts that are legitimate causes of anger. Even rage. Righteous indignation. Forgiveness? I think it is for YOU, and not for the person who caused harm. It signals the end of the anger, which is not healthy to sustain forever.

Just my take.

Sad in AZ posted 7/23/2014 01:08 AM

My opinion, take it or leave it, is that this is not 'forgiveness'; it's acceptance. True forgiveness IS a gift for someone else. Acceptance is recognizing that a shitty thing happened and you no longer hold animosity about it--that is for yourself.

Like caregiver said, it's not a tit for tat thing. Your forgiving him will not cause him to forgive you--ever--so don't hold out hope for that. Your acceptance of the situation means you can move forward, hold your head up and not wear him like a chain around your neck any longer. Giving up a grudge has nothing to do with forgiveness; it's all about acceptance.

click4it posted 7/23/2014 01:48 AM

No, actually its just that simple for me.

and I'm not just relating this to my ex specifically. This can go for anyone.

and I'm not saying I need to go on a mission to forgive expecting, needing people to forgive me.

I'm just simply stating that is really makes sense to me in the simplist of terms.

NaiveAgain posted 7/23/2014 06:56 AM

I think it makes sense in the simplest of terms, because we always hear things like, in order to receive love, you have to give love. That is true in some cases (but not all; unrequited love, a BS that loves their partner but their partner's a psychopaths or narcissist...etc...) So if you substitute forgiveness, it makes sense like that, but seriously, I think it is just one of those sayings people like to throw around because it sounds good.

In reality, for me.....forgiveness is a gift I choose to give or not, and I honestly won't forgive someone unless they earn it. If someone does something shitty to me and then is truly sorry about it and tries to make it up to me, I can forgive them. But my WS, who I am currently being sued over his bills for and may have to declare bankruptcy or have a lien put on my home because of him, he isn't sorry, last night told me to take a 3rd job at McDonalds to pay for HIS bills, so why should I forgive him? I hope he rots in hell. Not kidding.

that this is not 'forgiveness'; it's acceptance.
Yeah, more important for me is acceptance. At some point, I will hit acceptance. But I'm not there yet because I am currently still sorting out the damage that he has done and dealing with a bit of anger .

I think the thing about forgiveness that people worry about is when you hold a grudge and harbor hate in your heart, it does something to you. It doesn't hurt the person that harmed you (unless you act on that anger, which I am thinking about), so when you forgive, it lightens your heart. But so does acceptance. Either/or is fine. You don't have to forgive to accept.

ETA: Oh, and for people to forgive me for my screw-ups...that is their prerogative. I can do what I can do to make up for a mess I make, but then it is up to them if they choose to forgive. That is out of my control. Cleaning up my messes is something I do for me, to make me feel better if I hurt someone else. I don't do it to try to "buy" forgiveness. I do it because it is the right thing to do.

[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 6:58 AM, July 23rd (Wednesday)]

norabird posted 7/23/2014 08:26 AM

Where this gets sticky for me is the idea that you have anything to be forgiven for. Your ex probably isn't being a bad father to your boys because he hasn't forgiven you (or because of any wrongs you did)--it's because, well, he's a bad father.

Don't take on blame or guilt for his behavior. You are making his decisions about your internal inability to forgive, and that's not fair to you.

Why do you think *you* need to be forgiven at all? Are you stuck on people-pleasing? Do you always feel you must be obscurely at fault? That's what I wonder, reading your comments.


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