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#349381 - 12/31/10 01:20 AM Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser?
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 952
Loc: southern California
An opportunity presented itself in 1993 and as a 35-year old adult I discussed my childhood abuse with my parents. My mother blamed me. Dismissing the fact that I was not yet 6 when the weekly abuse took place over 3 years, she said I must have done something to entice it. My father laughed and said, "Well, you got what you asked for." He has publicly made light of it ever since, retelling episodes of my anxiety attacks to make people double over in laughter...at church, at restaurants, in line at the bank...people don't know the background of what they're laughing at.
My mother died and my father got worse at the emotional abuse. I had enough 5 years ago and stopped seeing my father. Now I feel like I am in a place to write him the letter therapists over the past 25 years have suggested, granting him forgiveness. Has anyone done this? Was it helpful to you?

_________________________
"A burned bridge can be a gift; it prevents us from returning to a place we should have never been."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JfvAPZGjds

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#349384 - 12/31/10 01:59 AM Re: Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser? [Re: WriterKeith]
Darkheart Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 331
Loc: Illinois
From my personal experience, forgiveness doesn't help unless it is really felt, if that makes sense? Writing the letter but not feeling the truth in the words may hurt later in the long run?

Forgiveness i believe is for the benefit of the person doing the forgiveness, not the one receiving it...if you are at the point to forgive, it can bring you some closure.

Just don't want you to do it merely because the T has been pressuring you to do it...

Forrest

_________________________
My Story...

http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthr...8711#Post348711

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#349406 - 12/31/10 12:14 PM Re: Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser? [Re: Darkheart]
catfish86 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 825
Loc: Ohio
Forgive me for bringing religion into this but it is a necesary part of the issue. In christian teaching forgiveness is important because the same measure you use to judge others, including your father and your abuser, will be used to judge you. I am struggling very hard with this. I would smile with satisfaction to hear my uncle screaming in hell.

It sounds like your father is still abusing you in this manner. Have you confronted him forcefully? His behavior is patently ridiculous and despicable, especialy towards his own son. Might want to ask where he was and why he let his child be abused. You can forgive without condoning or accepting his actions.

_________________________
God grant me
The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

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#349408 - 12/31/10 12:37 PM Re: Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser? [Re: catfish86]
prisonerID Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/08
Posts: 1247
Loc: Oklahoma
WriterKeith,

You did a very healthy thing by severing ties with your father. It is not easy for many to cut ties with family members who are abusive towards them. Basically, in my opinion, your father cut himself out of your life by his continued behavior.

When you did stop seeing him did you tell him you were pulling away and why? Was there a finality then?

For me I do not believe closure has to include forgiveness. To me it is my letting go of my assailants and not feeling like they still have hold of me. Is it closure you are seeking with your father?

Again, I applaud how you took care of yourself concerning your father.


Daryl




Edited by prisonerID (12/31/10 12:44 PM)
Edit Reason: grammar
_________________________
Broad statements often miss their true mark.

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#349419 - 12/31/10 02:39 PM Re: Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser? [Re: prisonerID]
WriterKeith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 952
Loc: southern California
Daryl (and everyone)
It is amazing how you seem to know so much detail about my experience before having heard it. This site is amazing me.

No, I didn't finalize anything; I just phased out of his life. He has been furious about it. His lifelong game was, "If you don't come here so I can be mean to you, I'm going to be mean to you."

Yes, my parents raised us Pentecostal Holiness, a Protestant denomination that relies heavily on emotionalism to validate faith, with>


Edited by WriterKeith (01/01/11 11:20 AM)
_________________________
"A burned bridge can be a gift; it prevents us from returning to a place we should have never been."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JfvAPZGjds

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#349422 - 12/31/10 03:25 PM Re: Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser? [Re: WriterKeith]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Check this out regarding confrontation. It is unfortunate that your parents were so harmful to you.

http://www.malesurvivor.org/ArchivedPages/singer3.html

Regarding forgiveness, there are discussions in my book, "Evicting the Perpetrator" about forgiving perpetrators (or not) and self-forgiveness.


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#349424 - 12/31/10 03:50 PM Re: Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser? [Re: WriterKeith]
westchesterguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 421
Loc: Westchester County NY
Originally Posted By: WriterKeith
...Now I feel like I am in a place to write him the letter...


omg keith... i had to reread your post three times, because i still can't believe parents (in blood line only) could say such things to their offspring.

nonetheless, i did the letter in 1988 and recommend the move. i sent my letter to all of the rapist's neighbors at his (and my parents') current neighborhood as well as his former 'hood out their in mission viejo and to the priest that protected him.

now, i also understand how dynamics with family abuse can be so different to what i went through and can sympathize why the forgiveness part enters this equation. i had no issue with my parents, and since my rapist also molested my sister, my sole purpose became exposing him to the community at large.

i purposely opted out of forgiving. maybe for no other reason than i was able to hold that over him? it empowered me with some kind of control telling the world -- "nope, i'm not forgiving him for what he did to me, my sister, and 60+ other children in the capistrano valley."

that is where i left it. time marches on and truth be told - i really feel indifferent today. he is dead, so is the priest. it just no longer matters to me whether i forgive or forgave. but i'm "very proud" of myself for confronting him and exposing what he did to the community that he took for granted.

_________________________
Jeff

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#349427 - 12/31/10 04:16 PM Re: Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser? [Re: westchesterguy]
Avery46 Offline


Registered: 09/23/10
Posts: 1243
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: westchesterguy
omg keith... i had to reread your post three times, because i still can't believe parents (in blood line only) could say such things to their offspring.


My MOTHER told me I deserved it. oh well. I did. Just not big enough at the time.

Peace to you all and have a safe journey.

_________________________
aka DJsport

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#349428 - 12/31/10 04:17 PM Re: Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser? [Re: westchesterguy]
weharry1959 Offline


Registered: 11/13/10
Posts: 70
Loc: N/W Pennsylvania, USA
I have had a real issue with the whole forgiveness thing until two things were shared with me. First, forgiveness doesn't mean everything goes back to the way it should be that "all is forgiven" as far as East is from the West. I became so anxieties that I was afraid to forgive. Once I realized that I am not Christ and at best to be Christ-liked, meant for me, a human being made in the image of God, that I have to forgive and need Gods help to make it through. Second, is that sometimes, the best I can do, is just forgive for today. Something will always trigger a thought or emotion and I get mired in it and feel that forgiveness is not in the cards for me. But, if I can forgive today, it'll last until I need to forgive again. Maybe I'll make it two days, maybe a week. But I am a happier man knowing that I can forgive and that the oweness falls upon the offender to work out their problems while there are always a natural consequence for their (our) behaviors.

_________________________
Forgiving does not always mean everything goes back to the way it was. There are still natural consequences for what was done.

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#349429 - 12/31/10 04:21 PM Re: Does it help to confront &/or forgive your abuser? [Re: WriterKeith]
prisonerID Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/08
Posts: 1247
Loc: Oklahoma
Keith,

I am so sorry about the loss of your sister. I admire the strength you must have to have dealt with all you have been hit with family-wise.

I usually do not enter into discussions concerning confrontation since I was assaulted by strangers. The possibility of ever seeing my assailants is nill after all these years.

I really hope you do gain some finality in this and do appreciate your honesty. I am really rooting for you in this whatever you decide to do.



Daryl

_________________________
Broad statements often miss their true mark.

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