Do we have to forgive?

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anosognosia

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Do we have to forgive?
« on: March 13, 2015, 12:50:32 PM »
My father has narcissistic personality disorder (and so does his father) and when I was growing up he was physically violent and emotionally abusive. My mother and I were in psychological terror but my brothers were spared (he liked to hate on women).

I'm almost through my stage where I mourn my lost childhood, and am almost at the beginning of redefinition. But I still have this urge to "want him to see how he's hurt me". I want him to understand what he's done to me. This is particularly difficult with people who have narcissistic personality disorder - they are delusional in nature.

So my question is - I'm quite happy not having my parents in my life. I am ok with never talking to my family again.  Is it ok to do this?  Is it ok to not forgive?

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keepfighting

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2015, 01:25:46 PM »
So my question is - I'm quite happy not having my parents in my life. I am ok with never talking to my family again.  Is it ok to do this?  Is it ok to not forgive?

Wholeheartedly: Yes, it's ok!

It's about you and what's best for you

I think it's important to do whatever it takes to get the feelings of 'bitterness' (for want of a better word; English is not my first language) or any other feelings that might be holding you back  from present or future progress - but I emphatically do not believe that absolving your f of his hurtful behaviour is in any way neccessary to your own recovery.

I was raised by Narents and like you, on some level I still wish I could make them see and understand the hurt they've put me through and the impact it had and has on my life. But alas, we're truly "children of the self absorbed" and there is no way of getting through to them. So the best option is to look ahead and take the best possible care of ourselves and allow ourselves to heal.

Forgive your f inasmuch as it's neccessary for your own sake - that's all you're responsible for IMO.

Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2015, 02:08:09 PM »
I second that.

Also, even if you were to forgive your parents, that does NOT mean you'll have to be reconciled with them. Forgiveness and reconciliation are two separate things. If you have grounds to suspect that they'll never realize how much they're hurting you, and that they can't or won't ever change their behaviour towards you, then you have every right to say no thanks.

And even reconciliation doesn't mean a return to the old ways. Bertolt Brecht wrote an excellent poem about this. He compares a broken relationship to a torn rope. Even if you manage to mend it, it's not the rope it once was: there'll always be a knot, "and in the place where you left me, you won't find me again."

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marycontrary

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 05:34:22 PM »
No, you don't HAVE to forgive, just as long as you are at a place where you are not eating yourself up, it is OK.

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anosognosia

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2015, 06:31:17 PM »
I was raised by Narents and like you, on some level I still wish I could make them see and understand the hurt they've put me through and the impact it had and has on my life. But alas, we're truly "children of the self absorbed" and there is no way of getting through to them. So the best option is to look ahead and take the best possible care of ourselves and allow ourselves to heal.

[...]

Forgive your f inasmuch as it's neccessary for your own sake - that's all you're responsible for IMO.

Thank you! I will take you up on this suggestion. Makes me feel better to have these opinions. I'm re-reading Susan Forword's Toxic Parents book - and she jumps to how to re-engage with parents either through a letter or confrontation. I just don't know if I will ever get there.  Certainly now is not the best time.  But I was starting to put pressure on myself.

Thanks again everyone.

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Charlotte

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2015, 05:41:50 AM »
I've had the same question(s) for a long time.  I also say no, forgiving an abuser is not necessary for healing.  It can be a good thing but there is already so much grace and caring going on that allowed you to come this far and separate and grow.  That in and of itself is highly admirable love.  Forgiveness may or may not happen, but it need not happen now.  Imo.

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anosognosia

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2015, 02:07:41 PM »
I've had the same question(s) for a long time.  I also say no, forgiving an abuser is not necessary for healing.  It can be a good thing but there is already so much grace and caring going on that allowed you to come this far and separate and grow.  That in and of itself is highly admirable love.  Forgiveness may or may not happen, but it need not happen now.  Imo.

Thank you!!!  I am relieved by your words.

It's too bad that the majority of society would take the stance of "they are your PARENTS, you should be nice to them". "You will regret it when they die".

In all honesty, I'm not sure I would be devastated if they were gone. It sounds harsh, but right now I could take it or leave it.  A part of me would probably be relieved too.

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mourningdove

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2015, 03:43:28 PM »

It's too bad that the majority of society would take the stance of "they are your PARENTS, you should be nice to them". "You will regret it when they die".

In all honesty, I'm not sure I would be devastated if they were gone. It sounds harsh, but right now I could take it or leave it.  A part of me would probably be relieved too.

I relate to this. A part of me would definitely be relieved. In fact, one of my parents is dead and it's actually a huge relief in a lot of ways. They cannot hurt me anymore and I don't regret anything. So ambivalence doesn't sound harsh to me.

So yeah, the "common wisdom" about regretting when parents die doesn't ring true for me if said parents were abusive. I wish people would stop assuming that just because THEY had parents who were okay, that everyone else does, too. This belief just heaps further stigma on top of people who have been mistreated by parents. It's gas-lighting on a societal level.

I do not have to forgive.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 03:46:12 PM by mourningdove »

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keepfighting

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 05:28:39 PM »
It's too bad that the majority of society would take the stance of "they are your PARENTS, you should be nice to them". "You will regret it when they die".

In all honesty, I'm not sure I would be devastated if they were gone. It sounds harsh, but right now I could take it or leave it.  A part of me would probably be relieved too.

I can relate - have been  confronted with these kind of statements and many other judgmental ones like that myself. Somehow, it's ok in 'society's eyes' to 'divorce' toxic friends and partners, but when it comes to toxic parents they judge you for sticking up for yourself.  :stars:

But how can you forgive a person who doesn't ask for forgiveness? How can you be expected to forgive someone who does not even have a concept of ever being wrong him/herself let alone owning up to it and trying to mend the hurt (s)he caused you?

I don't wish my Narents ill and I don't wish my them well, either. I just don't wish them to be a part of my life, that's all. --- And I don't even feel guilty about that. I deserve to concentrate on myself and my FOC and allow myself to heal and grow.


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Kizzie

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2015, 11:28:18 PM »
I don't wish my Narents ill and I don't wish my them well, either. I just don't wish them to be a part of my life, that's all. --- And I don't even feel guilty about that. I deserve to concentrate on myself and my FOC and allow myself to heal and grow.

Well said KF!  :thumbup: 

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marycontrary

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2015, 02:27:52 AM »
Well, if people want to judge us for sticking up for ourselves, I say screw that! So what? Don't need  people around who do not support your recovery.

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Convalescent

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2015, 12:14:03 PM »
I felt relieved when my dad died, five years ago. The immediate feeling I got was that I felt relieved. And I don't feel guilty about it.

And... I've actually, well, at least partly, confronted my dad with the past. He talked with me about it and it seemed like he had changed. Well, I've felt that way before, but it was never true. It was just a display, for as long as it lasted. He never changed. I'm not saying it's the same for your parents, but that's my story anyway. It's a scary thing.

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anosognosia

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2015, 01:56:37 AM »
I was a few days away from death from their parental neglect, if medical help hadn't stepped in.


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Whobuddy

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2015, 01:13:09 PM »
I was a few days away from death from their parental neglect, if medical help hadn't stepped in.

Pete Walker in his book, The Tao of Fully Feeling, writes: ...I believe the fourth commandment should be retranslated as "Honor your father and mother if they honor you."

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anosognosia

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Re: Do we have to forgive?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2015, 03:32:00 PM »
Pete Walker in his book, The Tao of Fully Feeling, writes: ...I believe the fourth commandment should be retranslated as "Honor your father and mother if they honor you."

Does anyone know where I can purchase an ebook reader version of this book?  I can't seem to find it anywhere!

Thank you so very much!