Newest Members
RodrigoBR, MJ545, Marant, BeingFound, journey4two
12332 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
blueelectron9 (48), Grunty1967b (2014), highflight (42), jocks44 (54), kitm1 (47), Porrick (44)
Who's Online
4 registered (hike1972, 3 invisible), 14 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
12332 Members
74 Forums
63415 Topics
443365 Posts

Max Online: 418 @ 07/02/12 07:29 AM
Twitter
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#26309 - 12/06/02 09:02 PM do I forgive ?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
There's been a sudden flurry of posts on various forums touching on forgiveness and it's got me thinking.
Forgiveness is a big deal for us survivors, there are so many questions that hinge this complex deal.

Do we forgive those that abused us, those that moulded our childhood and made us susceptible to the abuse ?
Many of us were denied protection by people who should have done something - but didn't. I personally can't forgive the school headmaster who I told about the abuse and did nothing. Would I feel better for forgiving him ? I don't think so.
At best I think of him as a neutral figure in my life, but that's an effort on a very good day. On balance ? no - I can't. Fuck him and all who sail in him !
Why should I ?

My abusers, and there were many of them, I feel ever so slightly less hatred for. But it's no longer a consuming hatred, and it certainly doesn't stretch to forgiveness. Again, why should I ? I haven't yet figured out any gain from forgiving them, maybe someday I will.

I have no reason to forgive these bastards, how can I after over 30 years of hell ?

But I do know that forgiving is a powerful tool for survivors to use in our recovery.
To forgive someone for something that they did against us takes a giant leap of faith in ourselves, and we're not used to making gian leaps.
All we know as victims is keeping our heads down, thinking for ourselves is something denied us. Only during recovery do we learn this new trick of thinking for ourselves, and it scares the shit out of us.

But we learn it, slowly but surely we begin to think our own thoughts and make our own decisions, and we also learn to forgive.

Firstly we have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we surely made along the way.
Ok, most mistakes were under the influence of the abuse and the person that it made us, but we're human and make our own mistakes as well. I know I did, far too many to mention.
But I have to accept them, learn from them and forgive myself for them.

Do I forgive any other people then ? Yes, I hope I do anyway. I certainly try.
We all make bad judgements and find ourselves somewhere we don't want to be, hell I've done it and it hurts. But I'm learning to forgive myself for them, for I know where the bad judgements have their likely roots.
If I make bad judgements in my life then others must do as well, and if I try to forgive myself then I must try to forgive them as well.

It's hard, but I try. Do I succeed ? Ask me later........

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

Top
#26310 - 12/07/02 01:24 PM Re: do I forgive ?
Mark S Offline
Member

Registered: 08/25/02
Posts: 130
Loc: England
Dave.

You took the words out of my mouth.

For fifteen years, I blamed myself. I should have stopped my abuse, I should have told someone, anyone. I didn't even try to say stop.

I now realise that I wasn't able to do any of the above, I was scared, shit scared. I was convinced, if I did say anything, if I didn't comply, if I didn't thank him after the abuse (he told me to). He would kill me. Christ he told me often enough that he would.

I can't think about forgiving him. Or the hospital in which it happened, but I DO FORGIVE ME.

Mark S


Top
#26311 - 12/07/02 02:43 PM Re: do I forgive ?
Roy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
All this forgiveness talk has spurred a lot memories for me, mostly about the many years I spent in "non-forgive" mode. I recall how difficult it was for me to move into a state of forgiveness and how long that process took. I clearly remember feeling like I would be abandoning myself, something I have done my whole life, if I decided to forgive. Like it would be disrespectful of the injured part of me. I thought I would be doing the same thing to myself that others had done all along, particularly my abusers. I was afraid it would be a betrayal of self.

At the same time, I was feeling resentful and angry toward the rapist, and to a lesser degree my mother. It was normal and correct for me to feel angry, it was perfectly justified. Even now it flares up from time to time, and I honor the feeling by feeling it, then put it back where it was. I was tired of feeling angry, however, and it was causing problems in my life. I was tired of keeping my wounds and abusers so close to me. Choosing to forgive was something I did for myself and not for the benefit of the abusers in any way, shape, or form.

I would never tell anyone they should forgive those who harmed them. There is no "should" about it. This is a very personal thing for anyone to consider. I remember feeling very defensive toward those who suggested I forgive, even angry. I just feel so much better now that I wanted to speak up about it since you raised the question "how do I forgive?". To answer your question, you just do it. You just decide to move on, being careful to assure your inner child or whatever part of you experienced the abuse that they will not be forgotten. It's like you fold the experience into yourself as you would a crucial ingredient in a recipe for an elaborate dish. Through forgiveness I have decided to use what I learned from the abuse to better myself and those whose lives I touch, throwing the unused refuse into the garbage can. I hope this all makes sense. It does to me inside my brain, but it is difficult get it all out on "paper" in the same way I understand it. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to get this out.


Top
#26312 - 12/07/02 04:38 PM Re: do I forgive ?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Roy
you said two things that struck me there -
Quote:
"how do I forgive?". To answer your question, you just do it. You just decide to move on,
And I think that's what I've done - moved on.
But I haven't made any kind of concious effort to forgive the abusers. All I've done is move from feeling hatred and a need for revenge to a very neutral acceptance. I just don't give a shit about them anymore !
Personally I don't think I will ever move to a stage where forgivness becomes an issue. My abusers were older boys and a teacher at boarding school, so I have no contact with any of them although I do know where the main offenders live.
Maybe if it was a family member or someone I still had some kind of contact with it could be different, although that would be dependant on a certainty that they were no longer offending or in danger of offending and truly repentant.
And I think my standards would probably be set so high I wouldn't accept them easily.

Quote:
It was normal and correct for me to feel angry, it was perfectly justified. Even now it flares up from time to time, and I honor the feeling by feeling it, then put it back where it was.
This says much the same thing to me Roy, it's about moving on again.
I still feel the occasional need for anger at them, but I too honour the feeling - enjoy it even - and return it so I can use it again.
I like to do that because it reminds me of the circumstances that have made me what I am today.
I know I've had over 30 years of pain and crap, but the process of recovery has taught me so much about myself that I never knew before, and I don't think I ever would have learnt if I was 'normal' and didn't need to discover myself.

The only sadness is that I'm doing it nearer 50 than 20. But there's many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

Top
#26313 - 12/07/02 07:57 PM Re: do I forgive ?
Mark S Offline
Member

Registered: 08/25/02
Posts: 130
Loc: England
Anger. The only anger I ever had was aimed at myself. I became bulimic, I would cut and burn myself. All because I was angry with myself for letting it happen.

As I said in my previous post I have forgiven myself for letting it happen (though I realise I couldn't have stopped it) or not saying anything about it sooner and now I have stopped being angry with myself I have also stopped hurting myself.

I still am not angry with my abuser and sometimes that is frustrating. Though my Therapist has said maybe that is the ultimate in taking his power away. I wish I hadn't been abused but it has given me the opportunity to find out who I am and what I want to do. Though I think that may have been different had the abuse happend at an earlier age.

To me forgiveness was the key to my anger. I hope this post makes sense, it does to me.

Mark S


Top
#26314 - 12/07/02 08:57 PM Re: do I forgive ?
guy43 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 450
Loc: Minnesota
I think attempting forgiveness too early in recovery is a big mistake! It by-passes the anger and attempts to go right to resolution.

I believe that (some) Christian thoughts on forgiveness get twisted or are just plain misguided. Nothing like being made to feel guily if you can't "forgive properly".

I thought I needed to forgive my perp for a long time. Now I'm realizing that that is just another hook of shame and silence he has/had in me. First I need to put the blame and shame where it belongs - on him, not me.

I don't think I'll ever "forgive" my perp for the damage he did to me. Why the hell should I?

I do think I'll be able to some day, and even now, start forgiving myself.

This topic really makes me angry, because I prematurely tried to forgive my perp and it ended up hurting me even more.

Jer


Top
#26315 - 12/07/02 09:16 PM Re: do I forgive ?
Roy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
Yes, you are absolutely right in pointing out that premature forgiveness does way more harm than good. In that situation I don't think it would do any good at all. You would be fooling yourself into thinking your wounds were healed and the infection would start all over again. I also agree with what you say about being shamed into "having to forgive", like it's your moral responsibility or something.

One thing I am curious about is the fact that several guys have said they have forgiven themselves. I understand being angry with yourself. I was, too, for a long time, especially about allowing myself to get into a situation where I could be raped. But since I now realize I did nothing wrong, there is nothing to forgive. When you say you forgive yourself do you mean forgiving yourself for thinking it was your fault?


Top
#26316 - 12/07/02 09:51 PM Re: do I forgive ?
Sleepy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
Dave,
I'm glad you started this thread. For me it is irrelevant to forgive my perp. For one thing it was my sister and I see her quite often. We're not close but I'm not consumed by what she did to me. Rather, I have to accept my self for who I have become. And I have to accept the fact that I have to make a changes in order to become a healthy human being. I can no longer believe the lies that I've always told my self. I cannot believe that I am just a normal person without any issues. And that has been very hard. But at least I know what I have to do.

One of the changes that was neccessary for me was to tell my friends who and what I really am. With the acception of my best friend who lives a 1000 miles away, I have told all my friends my story. And that has been a very liberating feeling. I no longer have to hide behind these lies. It's kind of like coming out of the closet. This is just one of the many steps to recovery. Thanks guys,
mike

_________________________
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

Top
#26317 - 12/08/02 03:36 PM Re: do I forgive ?
RJD Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 326
Loc: jefferson City, Mo,usa
Working with men who batter I came to realize that many of the men tried to divorce themselves from their anger. The image they have of themselves is that of "men of peace" and they saw anger as something that was just plain bad. They came to this assumption the same way that many of us here have. Anger is terrifying. Their anger caused such pain in their lives and in the lives of the ones they loved. It felt like a paradox trying to convince them that anger was a valid human emotion when the cost of their anger was so high. Then I read somewhere that in order to be able to let something go, you first have to have it in your posession. = So if it is not in your posession you have nothing to let go of. = You have to have anger before you can let go of it. You have reason for your anger so lets look at why it is there. Then you have a choice whether anger is going to rule your life, or are you going to claim your life for yourself, with anger only being a portion of it.

Another piece here is that without conscious effort over many years I have come to a place where I can forgive my mother and older brother, and at the same time hold them accountable for their behavior. I can understand that she was a product, in too many ways, of her upbringing.
She has a right to be as f*cked up as anyone else in the world. She and my older brother just cant be around me while they are like that, because I have a right to protect myself. In an unimagineable world if they knocked at my door today and said they were sorry for the tortured life they left me with, they would have to endure for years, perhaps the rest of my life any appropriate rage that would well up around the pain they were responsible for. If they would agree to that as the cost of their transgressions without an apology from me at any time I could possibly hear their contrition. I say possibly because I would have to allow myself to be vulnerable with them again. I would have to decide if I could ever do that again. The boy in me still wants to be connected to a family, I loved them, they were all I had. Then I had no more.
About my mother the possibility of the unimaginable is moot, she has been deceased for many years. But if she were alive today.....

Even if she herself, and the whole world forgave her, my mother is still acountable for her behavior. My experience was with her alone, not with her grandfather or with her daddy.
For most of my life forgivness meant letting her off the hook. It does not mean that now

The mega piece for me is being able to forgive myself for being vulnerable. I do better on some days than I do on other days. If the unimaginable did happen, I know it would tap the rage the child in me feels toward myself for being so vulnerable at a time I deserved to feel so precious.

I accepted this lot from my little brother and he had every right to every bit of his rage against me, his other brother, our mother, and the rest of the world. Understandably he kept us all at bay. My love was big enough to be able to hear his pain, terror and absolutely justified anger. I listened until the day he died and i still listen and weep. ( My mother could not have done that. ) He died of rage focused on himself. He died of complications of diabetes for which he refused treatment. He was only 53. The lot I speak of is accountability. I am accountable for my behavior. My accountability is limited here because I was a child myself. I am not accountable for the behavior of the rest of my family.
He did realize on his deathbed a truth, when I flew a thousand miles to rescue him in his medical crisis. When he saw that I came for him he looked up with tears in his eyes and said " You do love me! " For just a moment i saw the little brother who saw the sun rise and set in me, his bigger brother, instead of a Brutus that I had been. What a blessing for me, after forty years, to see that love again in his eyes.
It is hard to write through the blurr of my tears. It is hard to feel that I deserve forgiveness. This is part of the legacy of my life, and that of those gone before me. --- Amen


Top
#26318 - 12/08/02 05:31 PM Re: do I forgive ?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
RJD
You're a lucky man to have experienced that special moment, however brief and tragic.
Moments like that are emotion filled, and I for one 'didn't do emotions' Now I have to revisit my past to experience them second hand, but that's ok - I find the emotions are still valid.

Roy
Like you I did nothing wrong, nothing that I need to forgive myself for as far as the abuse is concerned.
And even though the way I lived and acted towards those around me - and towards myself - was hugely influenced by the abuse there are still things I did that I think are pushing it a bit to lay at that door. I'm sure I could have done some things differently.

I also use 'forgiving myself' fairly loosely so I guess things like self acceptance and understanding why I did what I did can be included

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >


Moderator:  ModTeam, TJ jeff 

I agree that my access and use of the MaleSurvivor discussion forums and chat room is subject to the terms of this Agreement. AND the sole discretion of MaleSurvivor.
I agree that my use of MaleSurvivor resources are AT-WILL, and that my posting privileges may be terminated at any time, and for any reason by MaleSurvivor.