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#25900 - 12/04/02 06:49 PM How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
Chey-Wy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/01/02
Posts: 241
Loc: Cheyenne, WY
I just got off the phone. I was talking to a good friend. Gary is a minister in the Evangacal Presbyterian church. My perp was a minister in the First Presbyterian Church U S A. Gary asked me how I was doing and I told him I was getting by. He told me that one thing that I need to do is to forgive my perp for what he did to me. I know Gary is right .... but I just can't do it. I think one thing that might help me to be able to forgive is if the Presbyterian Church USA would even acknoledge what was done to me. The church has told me "That it is my problem .... and I need to deal with it". As many of you also know, they have also threatened me with a slander lawsuit to keep me quiet. IT IS NOT SLANDER IF IT IS THE TRUTH. I also got an e-mail from Gary's boss. Peter is a great guy. I had asked him the same question and this was his reply

Quote:
I do know that Jesus wants you to intrust vengeance to God. That is, He wants you to forgive.
Forgiveness doesn't mean that you don't pursue church discipline or even legal action. It means that you are able to
act out of love rather than wrath. Whatever the case, It is NOT just your problem. The church needs to come clean and
if this pastor is still around, he needs to be disciplined by the church and also civil authorities. I'm very glad to hear
that you are willing to tell your story. Whatever is exposed to the light, becomes light itself (Effusions 4:11-13). Don't
let Satan shame you into staying quiet. Thanks for being bold. Tell The Lord how you feel. He already knows anyway
I need to get going. The phone just rang and I have to go do a few things. I appreciate all or you support and input.

Thanks guys,

John

_________________________
From the Song MOUNTAINS by Lonestar.

Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains,
So we could learn how to climb

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#25901 - 12/04/02 07:37 PM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
blacken Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 1285
Loc: Northern Ohio
Chey-Wy,
Though many will disagree with what I'm about to say, it's my opinion.
Perhaphs, one day, a long time from now,I'll be able to Forgive my Perp. But that's NOT today. I'm not seeking vengeance. I'm not displacing my anger onto others. Heck, I'm not really even angry anymore. I'm moving on in life.
But to say I FORGIVE him, would be a lie. I'm not sure I understand what is meant by "able to
act out of love rather than wrath." But my Perp is dead now, 5 years. And I'm just trying to keep going, feel better. I don't see how forgiving him is going to help. What he did will Never be "OK". I can't imagine ever being nonchalant about the abuse. I still have some healing to do. And yes, I can still get angry about it. But it's not something that Rules me, thats how I see it.

Maybe the difference is in the definition of the word. One day, I think, i will be at peace with the past. I'll be able to treat it like facts, without the emotional bagage attached.
But I don't really see, at this point, being at peace with the person responsible.

Perhaps, If he had come forward and admitted to his crimes. And demonstrated he was truely sorry and asked for my forgiveness, then maybe one day I would have.
But He didn't, and he wasn't.

And that's how I feel about "Forgiveness" today.

_________________________
Everyone is a genius! If you were to judge a fish, by its ability to climb a tree,
it would think it was stupid all of it's life.
~Albert Einstein

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#25902 - 12/04/02 08:24 PM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills
Forgiveness....

I have a problem with that word too. I don't forgive the older neighbor boy that took advantage of me but I understand now how it came about. I don't forgive my parents for not being there for me but I understand now where they were emotionally. I don't forgive all the others over the years that have taken advantage of me but I understand now how I became used to it and how I was set up for it. What I can do is forgive myself. I was ill prepared for what happened and I took the blame on myself and thought that I was undeserving. I kept this inside for too many years. But I can forgive myself for that too.

I haven't seen that neighbor boy for 39 years. I don't know what he's done since. I would like to think that he's sought help to deal with his problems like I've sought help to deal with mine. I'd like to think that one day he could come to understand the depth of what he did and how it affected me. Maybe then, just maybe, I could forgive him.

Right now I can forgive myself and I do.

Steve

_________________________
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

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#25903 - 12/04/02 08:29 PM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Hi Chey,

Several years ago I facilitated a men's group of batterers. These were the men who beat their partner and eventual were sent to us by the justice system.

We told the parents who were battered to with hold forgiveness. If forgiveness is to easy it minimizes the violation, (abuse)

I think it makes sense. The way I have handled it is that I tell God that if my perp is still in need of my forgiveness to be ok with God, then I forgive him--but I also say that in doing that it is not ok that he violated me and I do not forgive him in the sense that he could ever think that it really wasn't that big of a deal.

I could never forgive him if that is what it means. I do not cling to my anger at him. I try not to let him give me any more headaches or stiff necks or sick stomachs.

I think that when I say I forgive him I am saying that I understand how perverted he was and what a world class bastard. I understnad it--I don't condone it. I just don't want to give him and more room in my mind "rent free" as the saying goes.

I wish you peace John. I too think that it is great that you speak out. Every time a man breaks the silence we are all a little stronger and the kids are a little safer.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#25904 - 12/04/02 10:30 PM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Forgiveness...

"I think one thing that might help me to be able to forgive is if the Presbyterian Church USA would even acknoledge what was done to me." (John)

Personally, I refuse to allow whether others acknowledge my abuse, confess to it, ask forgiveness, or even give a sh*t, to determine whether I can forgive them, and thus as I see it free myself from them & their poison.

"I do know that Jesus wants you to intrust vengeance to God. That is, He wants you to forgive. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you don't pursue church discipline or even legal action." (Peter, to John)

Trusting God includes trusting Him enuf to let Him speak & act thru us, to bring about justice for ourselves (and maybe for others). That's why Jesus wants us to forgive--it's not so much about the other person(s) as it is about us, where we're at, how we're going to cope & live.

"It means that you are able to act out of love rather than wrath." (Peter, to John)

This I find necessary, becuz if I act out of wrath I am out of control, and my perp is still in a sense controlling me. Also that wrath, bitterness, hate, whatever is bound to spill over into other relationships & areas of my life.

"What he did will Never be "OK". I can't imagine ever being nonchalant about the abuse." (Blacken)

No it won't, & neither could I. Forgiving isn't saying its ok or taking it lightly. That would only harden the perps in their selfdestructive evil ways and be destructive to yourself. Forgiving is about taking care of you, which means acknowledging & declaring the truth that sets you free.

"Maybe the difference is in the definition of the word. One day, I think, i will be at peace with the past. I'll be able to treat it like facts, without the emotional bagage attached. But I don't really see, at this point, being at peace with the person responsible." (Blacken)

Me neither. For me forgiveness is not dependent on peace or anything else to do with my perps. Nor even with my past. It depends on me alone; it's about being at peace with myself in spite of the past, the abuse, the perps. I will probably never be at peace with my mother. I have pretty much come to peace concerning her.

"Perhaps, If he had come forward and admitted to his crimes. And demonstrated he was truely sorry and asked for my forgiveness, then maybe one day I would have. But He didn't, and he wasn't." (Blacken)

Most of my perps are dead or whereabouts unknown. Besides my mother whom I have broken all contact with as a matter of survival & health. Probably permanently. I can't afford to depend on my perps for my own peace of mind & wellbeing. Whether they confess or ask forgiveness is therefore irrelevant. It's not about them its about me; they must forgive themselves if they can. More & more I don't think forgiveness is a matter of forgiving specific someones as a matter of being forgiving yourself & for yourself.

"What I can do is forgive myself. I was ill prepared for what happened and I took the blame on myself and thought that I was undeserving. I kept this inside for too many years. But I can forgive myself for that too." (Steve)

That I think is what its all about, and thats what I'm focusing on doing.

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#25905 - 12/05/02 02:47 AM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
Roy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
I looked up "forgive" in the dictionary and it is defined three ways:

1) To excuse for a fault or an offense, to pardon.
2) To release from anger or resentment.
3) To remove a debt or obligation.

Forgiveness seems to be unique in concept and action for every individual in every situation. I can be very forgiving with some people but not so with others. I agree very much with The Dean that forgiveness which comes too easily minimizes the abuse.

I also believe that forgiveness is a choice, rather than a feeling or some sort of spiritual revelation. I chose to forgive my mother for her inappropriate behavior during my childhood. I chose to forgive the man who raped me. I did not do it for either one of them and I most certainly did not do it for Jesus. I did it for myself. I forgave them because it is in my best interest to do so. I simply did not want to go around being angry or resentful anymore. I do not think I am owed anything, since nothing could begin to replace what was taken. I excuse my abusive parents and the rapist for being individuals who were acting out of the result of unexamined damage which occurred to them at the hands of others. I don't really think anyone intended to mess up my life. Intention to do so implies sociopathy or evil and forgiveness is useless in the face of such things.

It took me a long time to reach a place in my life where I could forgive, and a lot of strife and struggle in the meantime. As I said before, I chose to forgive those who harmed me for my own benefit and no one else's. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I felt and continue to feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and infected bile has been drained from my system. For me, forgiveness seems to be an ongoing process as new memories surface or as I experience yet another manifestation or symptom of my trauma. It helped me transition into a state of acceptance.

My heart goes out to you as you give this enormous issue consideration. I do not think forgiveness is necessarily a goal to strive for or something that you have to do. No one would judege you for being unable or unwilling to forgive. It just makes life easier.


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#25906 - 12/05/02 04:02 AM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
Chey-Wy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/01/02
Posts: 241
Loc: Cheyenne, WY
Thanks everybody,
I am amazed at the response to this post. \:\) It lets me know that there are people in my life that care.
Quote:
I looked up "forgive" in the dictionary and it is defined three ways:

1) To excuse for a fault or an offense, to pardon.
2) To release from anger or resentment.
3) To remove a debt or obligation.
It is the first and the last definition that I am having the trouble with. I think I might be able to work with my T on the second one.

I want to say that I want to quote portions from all of your responses. But it is 1:00 a. m. and I need to be getting to bed. I have a 9:00 meeting in the morning for work.

Thanks for all the support. You are all great friends

John

_________________________
From the Song MOUNTAINS by Lonestar.

Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains,
So we could learn how to climb

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#25907 - 12/05/02 07:49 PM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Roy, thanks for your good ideas on forgiveness--they make a lot of sense--we do what we need to take care of ourselves, not to make a perv feel absolved.. Very good.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#25908 - 12/06/02 02:54 AM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
Chey-Wy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/01/02
Posts: 241
Loc: Cheyenne, WY
I want to thank everybody that has responded to this post. Unfortunately, things have been crazy this week. Between work and meetings every night ( I have another one tomorow night) I haven't had the time to respond to everybody's input on this subject. I did get a private response from someone. I won't divulge confidentially ... but this was my reply to him:

Quote:
The perp at the church is dead...... but I have had three perps. The other two are still alive.
The police tell me that they won't go after the one because he has moved to Phoenix and
they won't cross state lines. I know he is doing what he did to me to someone else ....
probably right now as we are " talking" The other Perp I see occasionally. I still haven't
gotten up the courage to confront him. The perp that is dead is so troubleing .... because I
went to him 10 days after I was raped by the first perp .... for ( as my lawyer put it )
spiritual and professional help ( He was a presbyterian minister with aPhD in Pshchology)
Instead of getting me to a Rape crisis center ... he raped me again.

That is what is so disturbing .... he could have broken the cycle right then and there .....
Instead .... he chose to continue the cycle .... a cycle that has continued for 20 years .....
until I finally ...... with perp # 3 ...... I said ......"NEVER AGAIN ..... NEVER AGAIN"

Thanks for responding

John
Thanks for all the trememdous suppport that everyone has given me. especially since my T called in sick for my last appointment and now he is on vacation until after Christmas. Also, ...it looks like it could be " Showtime " with the church very soon. My lawyer sent out a certified letter to the church on the 27th of November. He told me that if we don't get a response by Monday he is going to call them. I thought I had prepared myself for this .... but things are not happening the way that I had envisioned them happening .... however, every day I am getting information from friends and friends of friends that strengthens my case.

Thanks everybody. I wish I could thank every one of you personally.

John

_________________________
From the Song MOUNTAINS by Lonestar.

Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains,
So we could learn how to climb

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#25909 - 12/06/02 05:00 AM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Chey Wy
I know you want things to move at you speed but that is not the way it will go down, I put my self through all kinds of self infected pain these last 6 months as I tried to move the church along at my time frame. It is not wroth the pain you put on your self to try and rush it. It is truly in GOD's hands and he will move it along. Your on my mind ,all my power. Muldoon

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#25910 - 12/09/02 02:20 PM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
Chey-Wy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/01/02
Posts: 241
Loc: Cheyenne, WY
I don't know if I started something good or bad. There have been a ton of post on forgiveness and forgiving since I wrote this.

I know that I need to forgive. Someone just did a post called "Forgive and you will be Forgiven"

Here are a few things that I said as a reply to that post:
Quote:


I want to forgive. I need to forgive. But, there is something in me that can't forgive.

Now .... coming to today ..... when I approached the church about the situation .... seeking
help dealing with the S A's .... the church tells me " that it is my problem .... and I need to
deal with it." I thought that the church was supposed to show love and compassion. To be
a comfort in times of trouble.

Instead of the cycle STOPPING with Ted it continued. I continued to a third perp Tom. And
again ..... I got victimized.......

There is one person that I need to forgive and I am working on forgiving him. That person is myself. I have felt that there was something that I did to allow the events that happened to happen. I know it was not my fault. I can forgive John. But, and yes I need to,
I can't seem to be able to forgive others. If they showed some remorse for their sins maybe I would be able to, however, I saw Ted Friday night at the theater .... and given the chance Ted would rape me again. The same goes for Tom, given the chance he would rape me.

Maybe someday I will be able to forgive them. I am going to talk to my T about it.
I think that what it is is there are some things that are easier to forgive than others. If someone accidently kicks you under the kitchen table ... says they are sorry ... pretty easy thing to forgive. I think if any of my perps were to say they were sorry .... I might be able to forgive them. But when someone shown NO REMORSE .... then, how are you supposed to forgive them?

Wishing everyone the best,

John

_________________________
From the Song MOUNTAINS by Lonestar.

Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains,
So we could learn how to climb

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#25911 - 12/09/02 05:18 PM Re: How do you forgive someone who has Ruined your life?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
I don't know if I started something good or bad. There have been a ton of post on forgiveness and forgiving since I wrote this.

I know that I need to forgive...But when someone shown NO REMORSE .... then, how are you supposed to forgive them?
John, you need to forgive--becuz you need to. It's not about them, whether they show remorse or even know you've forgiven them or not. It's about you, your need, my friend.

This is one place where they have no control over you & nothing to say about it! The power is yours!

BTW, IMHO you started a good thing!

The best to you & take care of you

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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