Struggling with forgiveness

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1life68

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Struggling with forgiveness
« on: January 18, 2016, 05:22:54 AM »
I'm pretty new to this forum but I've shared a bit about myself in others.  I was recently diagnosed with PTSD which from everything I've read here, as well as other pages it is more likely to be C-PTSD.  I also struggle with OCD, Depression, Anxiety, and what I believe to be Disorganized Attachment Disorder.  Even though I've been in Therepy for over four years now, I feel like I've barely touched the tip of the iceburg, needless to say it's frustrating.   Throughout my childhood there were several different abusers, starting at about the age of five when my mom, my youngest brother and I moved in with my Grandparents.  My mom was sick with Cancer and needed help taking care of us.  In total there are six kids  I'm the youngest and the only girl.  My dad died with I was three leaving my mom to raise us on her own.  Up until we moved in with my Grandparents I don't believe I'd ever been abused in anyway.  My Grandmother was the first person in my life to make me feel unloved.  She had no tolerence for children and would often scream at me and my brother or drag us to her room and whip us with my Grandpas belt.  My mom was to weak to do much about it, and my Grandfather although he was nice never stepped up to defend us against my Grandmothers rage.  When I was six my mom died leaving me and brothers orphans.  No one on my mom's side of the family wanted us or could take us, and we didn't have any contact with my dad's side of the family who were all abusive alcoholics.  To make a long story a bit shorter, I moved around alot from one family to another during that time I was sexually abused and raped for the first time, I think I was around six.  When I was eight I was taken in by the pastor and his wife, my brothers had already been living with them for awhile.  Not long after I moved in my four older brothers ranging in age from 19 to 14 were kicked out so it was just me, and my youngest brother who was two years older then me as well as my foster moms son.   I was a tomboy, I hated wearing dresses or doing anything girly.  I would much rather be playing in the dirt, catching crawdads in the creek, or challenging my brother to see who could make a higher jump on our bikes.  My foster mom didn't like it.  She considered us problem kids, and made sure that her friends and family new how bad we were.  I wont deny that I had issues, back then people probably didn't know a whole lot about the affect trauma had on kids.  Although I had been potty trained, I would frequently wet my bed, or my pants, I argued alot, had trouble controlling my emotions, fought with other kids at school, had nightmares almost every night, and was fairly sneaky at times.  My brother displayed the same behaviors but was alot more stubborn then I was.  When my foster mom was angry she would scream in my face, if I didn't cry she'd slap me until I did and then slap me more when I wouldn't stop.  She'd do the same to him but it always took alot more to make him cry.  Other forms of abuse included, making me drink dish soap, standing me against the wall on my tip toes for long periods of time usually by the cast iron stove so it felt like my flesh was burning.  If I moved she'd scream and threaten me or sometimes shove my face into the wall.  Sometimes the punishments were more planned and not spur of the moment, she'd send me in my room and tell me to strip my clothes off.  I'd wait for her to come in with the switch or the paddle and she'd tell me to bend over the bed.  She usually said things like " this is the only way your going to learn to behave".  No amount of begging, pleading, or apologizing would change her mind.  If I moved or ran she would chase me around the room whipping me on my butt, legs, back, shoulder, and head.  More often then not my brother and I would sit together afterwards and compare the welts that covered us.  My foster dad was quiet, he never raised his voice or put us down and would often play outside with us, take us fishing, or let us drive the tractor around the garden.  I felt like he loved me even though he never got in the way of the disapline and at times when my foster mom insisted he did the whipping.  I wanted his affection and so when he started coming in my room at night under the pretense of just making sure I was okay I didn't say anything.  I still didn't say anything when he started touching me or when he started having sex with me.  Looking back, I'm not sure who I would have told, everyone believed that I had dicipline issues.  The abuse lasted until I was about 11 when after getting a beating for not doing the dishes right I went into the bathroom and downed whatever pills I could find in the medicine cabinet.  My foster mom caught me and started hitting me, screaming at me to just go ahead and kill myself.  Luckily, I didn't get enough down to do any damage and the next day they told me they were sending me away.  I was sent to live with another family where I stayed for about two years.  They treated me good even though I acted out in alot of ways, fighting, running away from home, having sex, argueing, etc...  It took awhile but I started to learn to trust them and feel safe.  My world was turned upside down again just before I turned 13, my foster dad had a heartattack and died.  The pastors wife convinced me to come back and live with them, she told me it would be better and easier on my foster mom during such a hard time.  She told me things would be different and that she wouldn't hit me anymore.  I was afraid to say no so I moved back with them.  Things were different for a little while but it wasn't long before she started hitting me, shaming me, calling me names, and threatening me.  I was with them for about a year before they decided to send me away again.   They decided to send me to live with one of my older brothers, that was the end of the abuse and the beginning of my self destructive behavior.  As an adult I've never been in a relationship that wasn't abusive in one way or another, I'm now a single mom of four amazing kids.  Although through my relationships, my children have been exposed to abusive behavior I have been working hard on breaking the cycle.  Thank you for letting me share :)

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Kizzie

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2016, 05:59:57 PM »
Wow 1Life68, you have traveled a long hard road to make it here  Many, many :hug: to you for surviving.  That you refer to your children as "amazing" and found your way here suggests that you are indeed breaking the cycle - kudos!  :applause:   

I wondered at the title of your post. Are you actively working on forgiving your abusers and struggling to do so? If that's the case then perhaps it's not the time to forgive, or  perhaps you will never forgive (some of us do and some of us don't).

Either way, if you are struggling it might be you telling you that's not possible/desirable right now and that inner voice is often smarter than we give it credit for. For many of us, recovery requires processing the trauma/abuse and that involves allowing anger and grief to surface.  If you are trying to forgive at the same time as that is going on it can make that work harder to do.

Just my own take on things so please take or leave as you see fit. All the best with your recovery  :hug:


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1life68

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2016, 02:33:02 AM »
Thanks,
It has been a long road, I just keep trying to move forward.  When I put that title, I was thinking about about a conversation I recently had with one of my brothers and was going to pose a question, somehow I got lost in what I was sharing and forgot to add the question... I struggle with forgiving the people who promised to take care of me and instead hurt me.  Not just my foster parents, but friends of theirs who knew what was going on and did nothing, other people outside my foster family who abused me, and the father of my two youngest children who was emotionally, and physically abusive to my older children and myself.   Recently due to an unexpected tradgedy I was placed the situation of being in the same room as my foster parents, it's been almost 18 yrs since I've seen them.  I made the choice not to talk to them, or let them talk to me or my children.  A week or so later I had a conversation with one of my older brothers, he asked me how things went and I told him I didn't speak to them.  His response to me was that it had been the perfect opprotunity to offer forgiveness.  I tried to explain to him that I've tried and don't know how.  I don't want to do it for them, but for myself so I can move forward in my recovery but for some reason I can't seem to figure out how.  He makes it sound so easy but then again he never had to live with them in that situation for a long period of time so he didn't go through what me or my other brother went through.  Sometimes I think that I'm just being stubborn.  I'm curios to know if anyone on here has forgiven their abusers, and if so how?  What do you say to another family member who seems to just accept how things were and manages to move on and expects the same from you?  Not sure if this made any sense and i have a tendency to be long winded when I'm frustrated. 

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betamax524

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2016, 06:09:44 AM »
Hello 1Life68! You've been through so much, and it's wonderful that you've been able to survive despite everything. You're amazing, and I think you should always remember that!

I'm still young, so do take this with a grain of salt, but I personally believe that some people aren't worthy of forgiveness. In my experience, it's been so much better for me to forgive myself instead. A lot of my self-guilting stems along the lines of "How could they do this? How could I let them do this to me?" I guess it's more of a personal choice? Some people heal better when forgiving people, while some people (like me) find comfort in their anger, in a way...

I was emotionally abused in school by teachers, and harassed by a boy who had a "crush" on me, and I dealt with that by cutting them out of my life. It's not for everyone, but I believe some relationships are just so toxic that the best thing to do is destroy them. Some people are jerks who don't deserve you and your forgiveness, and that's okay! You're not a monster for taking care of yourself :~) That's my opinion, at least.

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2016, 09:24:52 AM »
Forgiveness is a tricky subject for many.
Perhaps in these two threads you may find some posts that resonate with your experience:
Do we have to forgive?
and
Forgiveness

 :hug:
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 09:27:56 AM by Dutch Uncle »

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Kizzie

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2016, 05:45:38 PM »
Thanks for clarifying 1Life, I see what you mean now.  For the sake of younger me, I said "No" to forgiveness because it felt like I would be turning my back on younger me and all that I endured as a cild and carried into adulthood. I'm with Pete Walker when he suggests that it is a monumental loss and something we need to grieve and be angry about if we are to recover.  See here - http://outofthefog.net/C-PTSD/forum/index.php?topic=62.msg404#msg404.

I haven't forgiven my parents but I did find that as I recovered I began to feel compassion for them. I was not looking to feel that for them, it just came after a long period of anger and grief, and growing increasingly self-compassionate.  They developed PDs due to their own trauma as children and their parents before them.  I understand they were themselves traumatized and as a result were broken in some fundamentally human way,  but I cannot forgive the cost to me, it feels like excusing them at some level. Despite having a PD I still hold them accountable for their actions.

This is much different from how I feel about people who knew what was going on and did nothing.  My parents were/are broken, but certainly not all of the people around them were.  Most of them bought into the happy family thing my NPDM worked so diligently to maintain because it was easier, simpler - things were right with the world then.  If you haven't seen the new movie Spotlight yet, maybe see it (it may be triggering although it doesn't deal with abuse in a graphic way, instead it focuses on the efforts of the Spotlight journalists to bring the truth to light).   It's about a whole society and religion that looks the other way about children being abused by Catholic priests - 87 pedophiles in Boston alone.

As for your B and forgiving and moving on, perhaps forgiveness is what he needs to do, but you have a right to do what is best for you. And here you are, looking at whether and how you can forgive versus forgiving for the sake of  ......  peace, being a "good person"?  Do "good" people look the other way when children are being abused? 

So for me it perpetuates abuse if we look the other way or if we forgive but do not hold abusers accountable, but that's where I've ended up after much reflection.  Others as in the threads Dutch pointed out have different opinions on the matter so you have lots of views to consider.   

Phew, that was long - sorry!  I hope some of this helps.  :hug:
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 05:47:09 PM by Kizzie »

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1life68

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Re: Struggling with forgiveness
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2016, 07:49:41 AM »
Thanks for the feedback,  and the links, I guess when it comes down to it we have to do whatever works for us.