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#279234 - 03/12/09 07:51 PM problem with blame/reason for forgiveness
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Hi Guys,

A couple of recent threads on forgiveness prompted this alternate take. I'm surprised how strong my feeling are on this. It might be triggery because of that. I know how touchy an issue this is.

The abuser is responsible for the abuse itself. I am responsible for my response to it. Of course I知 angry. Of course it hurts. Of course I知 bitter. Of course I hate. So many terrible feelings. So many years of terrible feelings.

But I知 the one who makes that pain.

My abuser did some really terrible things. But once he stopped molesting me, his part in this story ended. Once he stopped messing with me, I started the next stage of the abuse. I refused to talk, I refused to seek help, I withdrew. He didn稚 do those things to me. I did. For I don稚 know how many years, I made myself miserable holding on to anger and hatred and fear.

We値l all seen how abuse locks people into a post traumatic holding pattern where they mull over things. That mulling, which I did to myself, kept me in victim mode. It kept me screaming in anger and fear and self-doubt. My emotional clock was always set at 的致e been abused!

That痴 why blame and hatred and anger are poison. They池e a trap. They remind us, yet again, 滴e did this to me! Motherfucker! I want him dead! And there we are, or I am, crying again about 杜y ruined life! I can so easily hear myself: 滴e stole my childhood! 滴e took it from me! 鄭sshole! Why can稚 I have a sex life like anyone else?! There I am abused again, thirty years after the fact, only this time, I知 the one creating the pain anew.

So, my truth is, he abused me. But I知 the one wrecking my life by dwelling on it. Not him. He痴 dead.

To me forgiveness means admitting it happened and that it痴 done. It means finally letting go of the inner voice that screams and cries all the time. The voice that hates the unfairness. It means saying 的知 strong enough to stop screaming. 的知 strong enough to stop blaming. 的知 strong enough to get over it and get on with my life.

To me forgiveness never means saying, 妬t痴 OK that you abused me. It never comes close to that. It simply acknowledges that the event happened, that it痴 over and that the grudge has to be gone.

If we mix this up and make it out to be some kind absolution, we have it all wrong, and we keep ourselves from a really important truth. I say this strongly because it痴 my experience, my truth: the anger, the hatred, the self-image, the misery are mine, not his. And they were the real worst thing. My dad doesn稚 think my thoughts for me or make life. So I have to take responsibility for clearing my head of all the garbage I put there. And to me, the best way to do that is to recognize my own part in making it happen by letting him go.

Forgiveness makes that clear. It makes the event in the past. It says the event is over. Now I can deal with the patterns of mind that I create and that are my reality. It means: I am committed to putting in the past.

The best thing about it if you can do it: The abuser isn稚 really in your life anymore. That is a blessing. I知 no longer his victim.

Danny


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#279247 - 03/12/09 08:51 PM Re: problem with blame/reason for forgiveness [Re: DannyT]
Charlie24 Offline


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 562
Danny thanks so much for posting this topic and information. I find this be blatantly honest and open. Kudos buddy, good job. What you've described I've felt so many times. Getting out of that "victim mentality" I so often fall into when life is getting to me. The easiness of just falling into verses trying to get out and live my life. These words are truth to me buddy. What you've described I seem to deal with when I get stressed or overwhelmed in life and this just says STOP!. Thank you.

Charlie.


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#279248 - 03/12/09 08:57 PM Re: problem with blame/reason for forgiveness [Re: DannyT]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Danny,

You make some excellent points. Of course one has to be careful of taking on too much blame, i.e. your statement:
Quote:
Once he stopped messing with me, I started the next stage of the abuse. I refused to talk, I refused to seek help, I withdrew. He didn稚 do those things to me. I did. For I don稚 know how many years, I made myself miserable holding on to anger and hatred and fear.

While that is true, I reacted to the abuse in the only way I knew how, by withdrawing, making myself miserable, etc. The way I look at it, some of those things are still a result of or an extension of the abuse and the abuser.

A child who is abused often does not have a good support network available to him in the first place so those problems and reactions to the abuse are compounded multi-fold. There's no one to guide him through the aftermath of the abuse. He's left twisting in the wind so how can he accept the responsibility for how he handles it? He's not capable of the adult minded thought that could help guide him through the mine fields.

So..... While I agree that as an adult I'm the one that's responsible for making the decisions that will get me out of the mess the abuser left me in, little me can accept no blame for being there. My reaction to the abuse is no more my responsibility than was the abuse itself.

Now that I'm an adult the picture changes. It's now up to me how long I'm going to stay broken. It's now my decision when to put an end to being trapped there and begin the recovery process. The journey can be life long for some, and some progress further along the path than do others, but the journey is infinitely better than the brokenness and we're all equals on the path regardless of our progress.

You said it well when you stated that the blame, hatred, and anger are poison. There comes a time when we need to dispense with that and move forward with what we have. As you say, to do otherwise just keeps us stuck in victim mode.

Forgiveness? I'm not sure I even like the word in this context, but if it means letting taxi guy be dead and gone and not spend a moment's thought on him for weeks at a time, and if it means working on the things I can change and if it means understanding that some things I cannot change and if it means having the wisdom to know the difference, then yes, I can and have forgiven.

_________________________
鏑ife痴 journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 践oly ____! What a ride!樗 ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#279270 - 03/12/09 10:52 PM Re: problem with blame/reason for forgiveness [Re: WalkingSouth]
1islandboy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 858
Loc: washington
Danny,

I have, on more than one occasion tried to compare/contrast/associate the word "pardon" as it relates to forgiveness.

I think you said it better...


More than Words (Extreme)

island

_________________________
Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine ~ M.F. Fernandez

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#279271 - 03/12/09 10:59 PM Re: problem with blame/reason for forgiveness [Re: WalkingSouth]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
DannyT,

Great post.
I totally agree with about that he (Mr Candale) was responsibile for the sexual abuse he did to me as a child.
But I am responsible to how I chose to allow it to effect my life today.
Survivor or victim it is my choice each day of my life.
He or his actions have no power over my life unless I chose to allow it too. Took me along time to get here but here I am.

Thank God.

Mike



_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#279291 - 03/13/09 02:26 AM Re: problem with blame/reason for forgiveness [Re: DannyT]
Survivinguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 310
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: DannyT
It kept me screaming in anger and fear and self-doubt. My emotional clock was always set at Ive been abused. Thats why blame and hatred and anger are poison. Theyre a trap. They remind us, yet again, He did this to me! Motherfucker! I want him dead!; And there we are, or I am, crying again about my ruined life!; I can so easily hear myself: ;He stole my childhood!; ;He took it from me!Asshole! Why can;t I have a sex life like anyone else?!; There I am abused again, thirty years after the fact, only this time, Im the one creating the pain anew. To me forgiveness means admitting it happened and that its done. It means finally letting go of the inner voice that screams and cries all the time. The voice that hates the unfairness. It means saying Im strong enough to stop screaming.Im strong enough to stop blaming.; Im strong enough to get over it and get on with my life.


I think I agree with your definition of forgiveness but I can't help but recognize that for myself and I think for a lot of survivors - there are a few natural and I think necessary steps between the abuse and forgiveness.

I do hope to reach a stage of forgiveness but I can't imagine there's any real way to get to forgiveness without screaming, crying, blaming, raging, hating, etc.

I don't think you are suggesting that but for me, having just accepted that I was abused by someone else in my life that up until this week I didn't really piece together all the different times - for me to try to skip ahead to forgiveness without feeling and expressing the anger and deep sorrow I suffered as a child and couldn't express then - that'd be no less than abusing myself in a way.

My two cents


_________________________
Survivinguy

============================================
I have to survive and I hope to thrive.

Alumni Dahlonega WoR May 2010
Alumni Sequoia WoR March 2012

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#279295 - 03/13/09 03:46 AM Re: problem with blame/reason for forgiveness [Re: DannyT]
jazzaheadandbehi Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 22
Loc: California
Great topic! Why does the past have to get in the way of the future and decide what I do!


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#279357 - 03/13/09 04:49 PM Re: problem with blame/reason for forgiveness [Re: jazzaheadandbehi]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the responses. This has been on my mind, and it's great to talk it out.

Walkingsouth, I don't presume to know what it's like for you, but for me it really helps to take full responsibility for my actions even as a kid facing the effects of the abuse. I don't do it to blame myself for it, just to know the reactions were mine. I made them, he didn't. That I hid away by my choice, even if the choice would have been almost impossible not to make. I think this way because I hate the idea of being someone's passive victim. I'd rather be an active screw up trying to make my own way. And if I don't take the responsibility then, I can't understand when control ever becomes truly mine. As an adult, I could still say I wasn't ready yet.

It's because of the fact that I was twisting in the wind that I want to give myself ownership of the choice. Then I can look with compassion at myself as a strong person trying to make do and failing, and I can forgive myself for that fact. And in the forgiveness there are no strings attached. I can then recognize that it was a bad choice and seek the help I need without any out of blaming someone else for my problem. Otherwise there're always the strings leading back to the abuser, and I can then point my finger at him and say "He's why I'm still so messed up!"

Forgiveness as I think of it is for everyone involved in the situation. It lets the world go back to spinning.

Survivinguy, I totally agree that there are big and necessary steps between the abuse and forgiveness. Yes, we need to scream and yell and cry for a while. It's like we have a deep, pus-filled wound and the scream, etc. lances it. It may need to be lanced many time. The real danger to me is the point where the screaming and crying become a habit. That's the time for forgiveness the way I see it. The habit can be the worst rut of the whole abuse story. The continued misery just keeps us abusing ourselves over and over. I bet most of us have experienced the difference between these two states of mind, I know I have.

I think forgiveness lets the habit die.

Danny



Edited by DannyT (03/13/09 04:53 PM)

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#279366 - 03/13/09 06:46 PM Re: problem with blame/reason for forgiveness [Re: DannyT]
blueshift Offline
Guest

Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 1242
Loc: infinity
I don't think the word "blame" necessarily has to mean not taking responsibility for what one can and should take responsibility for. For me, blaming my abusers instead of myself is an important part of my recovery that gives me the self-acceptance to deal with the things I have control over and not beat myself to death for all the things I still have very little if any control over.

I wish I could just take responsibility for my PTSD symptoms and just stop with some great effort of will, but that didn't work for me. I still have nightmares, flashbacks and sexual problems despite my greatest efforts to control them. I don't know if I will get control of all of them in the future or not, but if it doesn't happen, I do not plan on blaming myself for that.

I'm not trying to invalidate the point, which is a good one regarding some aspects of recovery, but there are often two sides to a story and I feel it's important to see both sides of this one.


_________________________
My Story
My Art

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#279378 - 03/13/09 09:11 PM Re: problem with blame/reason for forgiveness [Re: blueshift]
ericc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 1961
Good points of view in this thread. I agree that there are things in my life that clearly stem from the abuse/violation. I also agree that there are many things that I have to try and take control of because no one else will and for that matter I wouldn't want anyone else to.


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