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#364034 - 06/12/11 10:58 AM Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason?
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
Forgiveness – Guns – or Reason?

On which would I rely if I found myself sitting across the table from my rapists? I’ve read posts on MS that indicate that all three are acceptable tools depending upon the situation. Out of the three, “forgiveness” seems to be the most bantered about on MS. I understand the argument that there is redemptive value in forgiveness, but for me and only me, forgiveness without understanding is void of redemptive worth. I see absolution as (often, anyway) an avoidance of doing the hard work the offender and the offended have before them – a journey which I believe to be necessary in order to arrive at complete and final acceptance. So, forgiveness would not be my choice.

So I find myself now mentally pacing between “guns” and “reason”. (I don’t actually mean using a steely cold object that kills, like a gun; I prefer to think of guns as a metaphor.) I have to ask, “What would be the value in pulling a verbal trigger and firing words designed to destroy my aggressor?” Once dead, would I then use the sharp edges of consonants to skin the hide from the bloody corpse? With the hide removed, then do I unfurl it and tack it on the hot wall of my psychological shed to scorch away what rotting, smelly flesh is left? Then, as a final show of disdain, do I slice off the head of the beast after the tacking is complete and mount it on the ever thickening barricade of protection I’ve built within my mind as a display of my valor and victory? No, killing either in the flesh or psychologically is not my choice either. If I could do the above with perfect moral execution then I’d do it, but I fear my failings would put me in the position of needing to return to the first choice because I would be in great need of forgiveness.

With the jockeying between forgiveness and guns behind me I’m left with the difficult task of dealing with reason. Not reason as in “why did this happen” or “whether the rape makes sense”. I’m talking about using the analysis of my life’s experience combined with the wisdom of others, such as the voices here on MS, to come to a resolve. For me to do this I need to turn my focus away from my rapist, an act not afforded by either forgiveness or guns, and seek an answer regarding the type of human I desire to become. One that’s morally superior and has the power to grant forgiveness? A man with a desire to murder or destroy? Or a man who pulls from every source granted him to comprehend the reasons and meanings behind what happened, to discover what he needs to do to rise above the painful and negative effects and to discern how deep into the dank swamp of memories he is willing to travel to find rich farmland in which to plant more fruitful and nourishing thoughts and beliefs? To me, the latter sounds the most reasonable.

_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

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#364049 - 06/12/11 06:59 PM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Earlybird,

I think there's a fourth choice, letting go, that is the optimal one. To me it combines all three of the choices you've listed.

I think it's important to get past the thought, "somebody did this terrible thing to me," and rage and screaming about it can be really useful for that, depending on how you do it (I guess this is what you mean by guns). You could make an effigy and really tear it apart. The key to making this effective is telling yourself: I'm doing this to express all the rage, to really pour it out. And when I'm done, the rage is done. I like to write my rage all over some paper, scrawling out all my varieties of hateful inner dialogue until I'm exhausted. Then I burn it, saying, "With this burning I'm burning up my hate and fear." This variety of guns is all about letting go of the hate and fear. I've had to do it many times, and it always relieves the tension a bit. One of the reasons we're so caught in the web of our abuse is the fact that we never got to really rage and fight when it happened, and as it comes back to mind we never to get to effectively rage (and I mean by seeing results in the other person). This technique lets us see the rage do something.

Reason is another way of letting go. It's a way of self-therapy, or being one's own friend. To me it's much better to do the talk work with friends or in a journal, where you can respond to yourself and see the story get a response. I've done journalling where I let my inner self talk to me. I ask myself questions then go back and the little abused guy talk. But friends have been really helpful, too. To me this part is Letting go of the story of the abuse.

Forgiveness is another form of letting go. The way you're discussing it, you're missing what is to me its greatest value. It's not about giving absolution at all. It's also not about understanding (which implies logical reasoning is needed and maybe justice, which are totally different things). To me forgiveness means: I understand the other person in this abuse situation was another human being and had problems he wasn't able to handle.. It means saying to myself: human society is filled with all kinds of people, good and bad and horrible and crazy. On a good day, I'll meet good people. On my abuse days, I met disturbed people, and their problems expressed themselves to me through the abuse they gave me. All of us are forces of nature. I don't blame the sun when it goes behind a cloud. Maybe should forgive it, too.

In this way, forgiveness is part of letting go. It is letting go of the attachment to victimhood that forces us into the cycle of flashbacks. It says: The abuse was an act of nature, an act by a disturbance in the social network. It wasn't about me. When I forgive my abuser, I give him back his troubled humanity. It's like I'm saying to him, "dude, you're messed up, and you need some help. You suck, but you need some help. You did something bad to me, but I'm strong, and I'll get over it. You're human, and you need some help. Now go get it and get out of my life/mind." When he stops being a monster, I stop being afraid. Forgiveness is, thus, letting go of fear at the root.

Anyway, I'm babbling, but I hope it's useful.

Danny


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#364058 - 06/12/11 08:04 PM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: DannyT]
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
DannyT,

Your idea of “letting go” is a great addition to the equation one I will give full support.

There is a troubling aspect to it, as there is to almost any way of processing. In saying “one must let go” there’s an implication that we (the survivor) are holding on. Some might argue the case we, the survivor, is hung on to. If that is the case “letting go” becomes a rather ineffective, passive act.

I’m incline to think in my case, in the beginning stages of recovery, I was “held” by the act but as time went on I began to “hold” onto the rape as a type of definition of who I was. So under this assumption the thing for me to figure out how to do, as you elegantly suggested, is “let go”.

This said though, getting to that place of being able to let go, I still maintain one must wrestle with the three issues I raised. That it’s in the processing of the sexual assault and its affects is when we can arrive at what we need to do. There is the act of forgiving (as in absolution) or implementing justice (the gun) or reasoning of all the factors including the humanity and frailty of the offender. (I’d like to add that my definition of “reasoning” is not only a mental exercise. It incorporates all parts of our being, philosophical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual - if inclined)

Once I’ve accomplished this I believe I can “let go”.

Thanks Danny for helping me think this through some more. Earlybird




Edited by earlybird (06/12/11 08:06 PM)
_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

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#364059 - 06/12/11 08:26 PM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
Ever-fixed Mark Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 729
Loc: United States
I keep thinking that there are more than just those three options. One other that has occurred to me is Silence.

-efm

_________________________

Everybody here's got a story to tell
Everybody's been through their own hell
There's nothing too special about getting hurt
Getting over it, that takes the work

- "Duck and Cover" by Glen Phillips

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#364062 - 06/12/11 09:21 PM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Earlybird,

I'm glad my thoughts were useful. It's always interesting to think these things through.

The troubling aspect is, I believe, mostly true. We are the ones holding onto the abuse. The abuse doesn't have a mind or a body, so it can't hold onto us. Instead, we grip it very tightly to our hearts because it is unresolved trauma. It shocks us and we return to it. It's like PTSD. It's also like having a sore spot in your mouth that you can't help but choose to irritate. We don't know what to do with it, but we can't let it go. We mull it over and over and over, and even though we think we want it to go away, we bring it back again.

Letting go is far from passive. It is training the mind to disengage, and training the body to disengage, from this repetitive mental activity. It's a very active process.

I agree that the three issues you raised are important. My thoughts on their usefulness are slightly different than yours, so I'll spell them out in case they're helpful.

Processing by analysis can be useful, but it's also dangerous. It's an attempt to use reason to understand something that is not reasonable, and that is probably not truly comprehensible, in that the pain is not logical or philosophical, or even maybe emotional. It's a track we put ourselves on of being in the "state of being an abused guy". I think meditation is a more useful approach for this kind of processing than intellectual analysis. Meditation helps one train one's mind around managing the chemistry of the abuse responses.

Conflating forgiveness and absolution makes forgiveness much harder (to me). I actually don't think any CSA sufferer could really give absolution, since it is to free someone from the ramifications of being an abuser. A priest gives absolution as redemption from sin. Forgiveness is just separation from the act of blaming. It's hugely powerful. It removes victimhood from the self.

Implementing justice might be extremely important. It would be good to make the world safer. But I doubt it would aid in healing.

Thanks for the thread. Writing these things down is helpful.

Danny


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#364066 - 06/12/11 09:56 PM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: DannyT]
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
EFM,

I find the idea of silence as a tool intriguing but you were far too silent on the matter for me to understand its implementation. Are you willing to elaborate? The silence is killing me. LOL

DannyT,

You’ve said a number of things in your last two responses that has me really working overtime. Not as in trying to find fault in your thoughts. They are much too well thought out. Rather to integrate the strengths found within your method into weak places of my own. I particularly liked the line;

“Letting go is far from passive. It is training the mind to disengage, and training the body to disengage, from this repetitive mental activity. It's a very active process.”

I stand corrected when viewing “Passive” and “Letting go” through the telescope lens aimed to your setting.

I do believe we have a very different interpretation of what it means when I say I’m reasoning my way through the rape. Reasoning, to me, is not like a mathematical formula that once I’ve discovered the correct order of numbers and symbols the single correct answer will present itself. For me it is the combining of all that I am which is far more than statistics knocked out of order. I think if we were to be in a long conversation there is a chance that your concept of “meditation” will alien very closely with my concept of reasoning. In the end I believe we are both learning to “train our minds” and “end the abuse response”.

As to overlaying forgiveness and absolution you are correct, I’m guilty as charged. (My past Christian beliefs on the subject haunting me} I’ve tried to view it in the ways I often read here on MS and it simply doesn’t resonate with me. That is why I cannot nor want to forgive. It’s not necessary for my recovery. Despite what others may think to not forgive has nothing to do with not being able to incorporate the sexual assault, understands its influences and grow to be a stronger person, not despite the rape but because of triumphing over the “abuse” and becoming a person who has “managed the chemistry of his brain, the temperature of his heart and the kindness of his soul. (I’m not there yet but I’m working on it and your and other’s responses are helping further that goal)

Thanks to each of you, really I mean it thanks, Earlybird.

_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

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#364069 - 06/12/11 10:27 PM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
CruxFidelis Offline


Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
I don't know if I would ever really be at the point where I can address the man who raped me, even a psychological construct to serve as a representative of him.

But your work here is extraordinary. I don't know if you know this but this here is like the "magnum opus" of recovery work. I don't know how you do it.

just wanted to affirm you in the great work you are doing here even if I don't know what to say.

_________________________
“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

- Saint John of the Cross

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#364074 - 06/13/11 12:54 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: CruxFidelis]
Darkheart Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 331
Loc: Illinois
Earlybird,

Sorry it's taken me so long to form a reply to your post. This has really affected me deeply. The whole concept of sitting across the table from the perps that raped me ...it just blew me away...

I like to consider myself far along in my healing, and then BAM i get smacked upside the head with another lesson ...

What would i do? I honestly don't know. I keep a tight reign on my emotions, so as not to lose control. I have a darkness inside that scares me ...a lot

I can say that forgiveness is out of the equation ...that is one thing i have control over ..instead, i am drawn towards reason. Like you, i ask myself what kind of person do i want to become? I too want to pull meaning, but I'm not finding much ..

Silence? Not me...i like to yak way too much. And yell and scream and rage and curse ...so, silence won't work either.

So, what is the answer for me then? Letting go...it's harder than it sounds, painfully so. It's hard to let go of the persona of victim, and assume triumph over my past. I don't know why. Perhaps the pain has become familiar to me..??But i am trying day by day...

A dear friend of mine has taught me a valuable tool for my recovery : live in the Now...this second ..this moment. Not yesterday or tomorrow, but in this moment ...what do i want to accomplish with this moment?? That is the question i ask myself when my demons come haunting me...

_________________________
My Story...

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

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#364077 - 06/13/11 01:30 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: Darkheart]
OKIE MIKE Offline
Member

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 982
Loc: HULBERT OK
Early bird , I have often thought of what I would do if I found the SOB that raped me . I believe that I would beat the shit out of him . And if I had a wepon I would use it.
I have a lot of anger that has built up for 30+ years . And yes I want revenge . Because He did more than just harm my body . He destroued my ability to live a Normal Life.

_________________________
MICHAEL

"I HAD NO SHOES THEN I SAW A MAN THAT HAD NO FEET"

"All I can do is be me, whoever that is"

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#364085 - 06/13/11 07:47 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: OKIE MIKE]
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
Thank Crux and Darkheart,

I hear a similar theme in both your responses so I patched you two together. You have both been wonderful friends to me over the past year. Participants in my painfully slow efforts at growing, thank you. Your support is invaluable to me.

Crux, your sexual assault/rape, I imagine, is still very fresh, too raw to even attempt to try to visualize confronting your attacker. As many of you know I’ve had forty years at dealing with this. First I attempt to hide from it. Race away from it. Try to ignore it. Rage against it. Mourn because of it. Sit with it. Study it. Find meanings from it. Write about it. Share it. And now - use it.

I wish I was far enough along the path of understanding and I guess healing from this as to not slip back into some of my early attempts of hiding, running, ignoring, raging (especially raging), mourning, for I have found that for me to sit with it, which to me means sitting in my mind’s eye with my rapists, has proven to be the most valuable approach though extremely uncomfortable. I’m only able to do it because I know I have others sitting beside me, like an army prepared to go to battle.

Michael,

Please know I in no way wish to dissuade you from your anger or desire for revenge. Each of us must process sexual assault coming to our own individual conclusions. In many of my poems, especially a year ago, I spoke of my hate and desire for revenge, which is different than justice. (Justice is specific. Hate spreads) Anger is a reasonable response just not one I wish to maintain. I’m not strong enough to manage it properly or have the strength to lug it around. I think on this issue I came to a similar place as DannyT was suggesting – I needed to let it go before it, my anger, got a hold of me. (Easier said than done)

_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

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#364089 - 06/13/11 08:11 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
Darkheart Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 331
Loc: Illinois
Earlybird, you are so far along in your recovery ...you may not see it or feel it, but you amaze me with the strides you have made smile

_________________________
My Story...

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

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#364095 - 06/13/11 10:05 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
Darkheart,

I missed something important in your response and I wanted to bring it up for possible discussion. You said a friend taught you to “live in the now”. I find this extremely interesting and insightful. Kind of along the lines one hears from 12 step programs “one day at a time”. I’m not sure I can or want to take on this concept of “living in the now”. I do know I don’t want to live in the past nor is it helpful for me to live as if the only thing truly valuable is what is in my future either. So, you’ve idea of “live in the now” leaves me scratching my noggin. Would you like to elaborate? Earlybird

_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

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#364096 - 06/13/11 10:25 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6607
Loc: FEMA Region 1
I discovered that "forgiveness" feels incomplete or contrived IF it does not include "wishing them well." THAT was the missing key for me all those years that I could not even picture in my mind what "forgiveness" truly was/is. But think about it (and I got this from a pastor named Rob Bell), you are not TRULY forgiving someone until you wish them well too.

I forgave and then felt a TON of weight leave my heart. I am one-ton lighter today than a few years back. However, forgiving them did very little to address any of my trauma abuse symptoms. Rather, it sort of cut the anchor-line so I was not bogged-down with trying to pull THEM along with me on this voyage.

I have not however "let it go." It happened to me and there's no denying it. I think letting-go would be (for ME) contrived and difficult to work with.

Would meeting one of the four (especially the lead-perp) end up peaceful? I doubt it. I've found him and I now know a lot about him. His life went very well and continues to do so. Mine is not only a total cluster-fk of a train-wreck, but it’s a train-wreck of toxic-waste tanker cars as well. I'm not jealous, but I am confused as to how a guy that mean, that rotten, that perverted and that falsely loving to me could end up where he is.

_____________
I'm working on a short, action film on this very issue. Its a struggle as to what direction I take.


_________________________
Hell needs firewood too ya know!

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#364100 - 06/13/11 11:50 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
Earlybird,

I have some experience hanging onto the technique of "living in the now". It got me through some very critical times. I believe it has made the difference between being able to progress despite carrying this terrible fate, and eternal stagnation because of carrying this terrible fate. Allow me to hurl some walls of text at you, in an attempt to explain.

While the brain might get hopelessly stuck in the past, our senses do not. Though they do sometimes appear to. Moments of flashback can make one believe the traumatizing experience is happening all over again, and experienced through the senses. This is not true. It's the brain filling in information normally received from the senses. The brain does this constantly, trauma or no trauma. The top-down construction of consciousness, scientists call it. It's just that most of the time there's no noticable discrepancy between what the brain's expecting, and what the senses affirm to be true. But if there is discrepancy, and the root cause is psychological trauma, then the brain is to blame for creating illusions of reliving the past.

The senses themselves are inherenty rooted in the present. Therefore living in the now starts with the simple premise of focusing on your senses. Feel, see, hear, smell, taste, experience the position of your body (albeit rarely mentioned, we have sensors for that as well). Do not evoke memory. Do not suppress memory either. If you do recall, simply acknowledge you recall, and acknowledge that recalling is not what you're trying to do right now. The past does not matter. For all you know, you have spawned into existence a second ago. You are just the feedback loop that exists between senses and awareness. This feedback loop can tighten to the point it becomes awareness directly feeding back into itself. These are the territories of meditation, transcending the concepts of time, even the concepts of the subject-object separation that forms our basic frame for experiencing reality. But in order to live in the now, we do not need to forget time, nor reality. We need to rediscover how sensing in and of itself is a pleasurable act. How merely perceiving the world through our senses feels like a sufficient reason to live. This feeling is the primordial emotion of power. The joy of mere being. You control this feedback loop of senses and awareness, for it is you. There is infinite beauty in sensing alone, and you control this infinite beauty.

Next, feel how your power wants to expand. Look at a messy corner in your room, feel how the chaos deprives you of your feeling of power over it. Then, orden it. Feel how you have recreated, or gained power over, this little space of the universe. Cleaning up your room might have been a waste of time in the scheme of your usual daily activities and long term goals. Yet, you feel nevertheless how valuable of an act it was to your modified consciousness. Congratulations, you now have succesfully lived in the now! Rinse and repeat! smile

I have used this little mind trick countlessly to force myself to study, despite the effects of trauma on my ability to concentrate. The feeling I was growing more powerful with each page of each book I absorbed, was a sufficient motivator to get me through an academic education. Well... almost. But that's another story, heh.

Be warned that this technique can be abused. It does disconnect one from more complex emotions rather effectively. I would not be surprised if I turned out to have described the psychological mode of functioning psychopaths get caught up in, naturally. But if used consciously and sensibly, it can be a powerful tool overcoming periods of emotional stalemate.

Just my take on the topic. It might resonate with you, or it might not. If there's anything you think I could or should clarify any further, please, feel free to ask.


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#364102 - 06/13/11 03:35 PM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: well-intended]
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
Hello Robbie,

by the definition of forgiveness that you have presented I would never, nor do I feel obligated to, arrive at a place where I “wish my rapists well”. I feel I’ve done my job, well enough, in that I do not wish them injury. That’s enough in my book. The rest is up to them,

As to your abuser “doing so well” while his victims suffer – I don’t understand and is what gives me pause as to what, and in what I believe. I wish I had a better insight I’ll have to leave that to others.


Well-intended,

It would appear, at least to me, that you and DannyT have arrived at a similar method of closing in on how to bring a certain amount of peace to this awful situation. I appreciate your de>
_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

Top
#364139 - 06/14/11 01:05 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
Darkheart Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 331
Loc: Illinois
Earlybird,

I will try to find some additional resources to help explain the Now concept.

To help put it into terms you and i both relate to, picture a tree. What do you notice about the tree? The tree as a whole, or that one red leaf on the branch? The same with the beach. Do you see the whole expanse of sand, or that shiny conch shell?

For me, this is the hard part of my recovery ...learning to live in the moment, to seize each new second, rather that continue punishing myself over and over ..learning to see the little things, and not the whole picture ...

_________________________
My Story...

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

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#364141 - 06/14/11 02:42 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: Darkheart]
Darkheart Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 331
Loc: Illinois
Hey bro...i found this for you...

Never mind...was a dead link...



Edited by Darkheart (06/14/11 02:46 AM)
_________________________
My Story...

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

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#364144 - 06/14/11 05:00 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: Darkheart]
max52 Offline


Registered: 05/08/11
Posts: 32
Loc: usa
Forgivness? To me it means that I do not seek revenge.
I do not take an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
Wish them well? Jesus said "pray for your enemys" note they are
still your enemy, pray for God's mercy and their salvation.
Even Paul the Apostle called it like it is, "beware of Alexander the coppersmith, he has done me much evil" does that mean that Paul had not forgiven Alexander? To the extent that he did not seek revenge, yes.
I in my own life have noticed a cycle with abusers, I would forgive them and let them into my life again, as though nothing had ever happened, they would interpet this as weakness
and try to keep the dynamics of verbal and emotional abuse going.
The only remedy I found was to keep these folks out of my life,
I do not seek revenge, niether do I drink from a poisoned well.
Max


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#364146 - 06/14/11 06:25 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
well-intended Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Belgium
Indeed, living in the now is similar to meditation. You could say it's a mild form of meditation. At least that's how I have come to see it.

I absolutely understand how you can feel uncomfortable about the topic. I myself have travelled the road from strictly analytical thinking to this esoteric kind of thinking, and I don't think there has been any bump on the road I have not duly felt. But I have never ignored my inner sceptic, and neither should you. Inconsistencies with your personal attitudes, or with what you think is scientifically sound, have to be taken seriously.

That said, if you're looking to enhance the flexibility of your mind, I can wholeheartedly advise a tour through the literary tradition of philosophy. It's extremely insightful to witness minds, with varying levels of congruence to contemporary Western thinking, play with themselves, look for the boundaries between the knowable and the unknowable, and try to maximize the internal consistency of their respective world views and beliefs. It's helped me to deepen my respect for world views very dissimilar to my own, and taught me how granting the benefit of the doubt to whom I did not consider granting it before, can lead to surprising yet valuable insights.

Just an idea. If there's a lingering interest in philosophy down there somewhere, and I imagine in someone with such an eye for the sexiness of words there just might be, then perhaps it's time to stop postponing that trip to the library. smile


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#364148 - 06/14/11 07:36 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6607
Loc: FEMA Region 1
Originally Posted By: earlybird
Hello Robbie,

by the definition of forgiveness that you have presented I would never, nor do I feel obligated to, arrive at a place where I “wish my rapists well”. I feel I’ve done my job, well enough, in that I do not wish them injury. That’s enough in my book. The rest is up to them,


Earlybird,

I fully understand and support your position. For me, the missing-link of my 'understanding' of what forgiviness actually 'is,' became clear to me once I heared that extra component. It resonated with me, but does not have to become a required component at all for anyone. I think we all find the forgiviness that we can muster without feeling we've betrayed the child we were. Betrayal of Little Robbie was what I feared most. I use to get physically ill just thinking about forgiving them, because I had the act so firmly attached to a perceived betrayal of self.

I often wonder how they would react to hearing of my forginess. I fear it would be just like it would be received when I was a kid and they were teens, devouring me. I fully believe they would have taken it as yet another sign of undignified weakness and another reason to mock me and disgrace me in public. Such things had to always be avoided back then.

_________________________
Hell needs firewood too ya know!

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#364153 - 06/14/11 08:13 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: Still]
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
Good morning Darkheart,

Thanks for using nature as a means to work with me for you know my love of it and its ability to give us meaning and meanings. But is not seeing the little things such as the conch shell tucked in the grains of sand and how his existence relates to the movements of the ocean’s tides (the big picture) equally important. I’m puzzled for to live in the now by not reviewing the past in order to seek the rhythms of the surf am I not then poorly prepared for the tsunami that the excessively receding tide is giving me warning of a future calamity?

I mean no disrespect only I do not fully understand. I’m only digging in the sand looking for buried treasure I suppose.


Max,

It’s hard to have a conversation about forgiveness without “God’s mercy” being part of the conversation. I appreciate your willingness to bring it to the post. Your definition which was “not seek revenge” fits nicely with what I arrived at on my own where I do not wish my rapists harm. I imagine we both would like justice to be enforced which in your belief system I believe there is a final version of justice. But then again I understand the perpetrators against me can even avoid that justice without ever having to apologies to the ones they crushed which seems wholly unfair to the persons injured. I enjoyed combining your thoughts about praying for your enemy, who now is no longer your enemy, but keep him far, far away and not drink from his cup. On this we both agree, accept I don’t have the ability to pray for him for by choice that is not a tool within my (as well-intended is about to point out) rather light tool box. :-)

Well-intended,

I hope you don’t mind I couldn’t resist playing with you a little in my comment to Max about your suggesting I need to improve my education by visiting the library. You’re making an assumption that I don’t. Dang, I hate it when someone assumes something, especially when their assumption is spot on! My town does not have a library and I’d like to use that for an excuse but then I’d be setting myself up wouldn’t I? So I’ll just do a map quest and see where the nearest library can be found. I won’t visit it but at least I’ll know where one is. All kidding aside, I’m not much of a reader I wish I were.

I do like your challenge to lower my guard and allow other types of more esoteric kind of thinking into my thought process. The interesting thing is if I along with the majority of others did this it would no longer be considered esoteric so are you sure you want to invite me and others into the pool?

I’m a bit lost as to why both you and DannyT (undoubtedly others as well) want to label me as an “analytical thinker”. I don’t see this about me at all. I love to write poetry which would be even more painful than it already is to read if I were to write it from a standpoint of boring analyses. Please be careful not to write me off as dry repeater of facts – I’m more than that.

Of course I use my intellect to rule out what I see as silly or mystical thinking that believes something based on nothing except they believe it because they want to believe it because if they believe it truth it will then be true so it is therefore the only true truth that is allowed to be believed.
So after “analyzing” what I believe you have said I think you may be right. In the process of resisting mythical or religious types of thought processing I’ve undoubtedly closed myself off to some esoteric kinds of thinking that might be useful to my growth both as a human being and a survivor. So do you know any good online library’s? (Never mind the truth is, I won’t visit them either)

Thank you Robbie Brown

I appreciate the added component and I’m glad that it has helped you and your inner child find some peace. It is interesting that both you and max have a similar concern, that your abusers might view forgiveness of them and their actions as a weakness and attempt to turn it against you. Forgiving or not forgiving is a powerful act either way a show of strength when it is used by chose not forced or mandated. (A free will kind of thing) I think Max nailed it when he said forgive and create distance. I like that though it does beg some questions but that’s for a different thread in a different forum I’m not apt to visit. Thanks Robbie, Earlybird

_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

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#364163 - 06/14/11 10:29 AM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
To me forgiveness is part of a wider ranging letting go, as I mentioned earlier, and meditation plays a role in it.

People often think of meditation as a mystical thing (and it certainly can be), and even further they often think of mystical meditation (as in Starhawk's work) as somehow soft or mumbo-jumboish.

People resist these ideas because they seem "unscientific," and most of us in the west accept scientific thinking as the ne plus ultra. The difference between Western logic and Eastern meditation is in how knowledge is gained. Science looks outside the self for understanding, typically (even it's psychology does this). Meditation as a science is about looking in to the self and coming to terms with the patterns one finds in the exploration. Both eminently based in the real world.

After many years of experience with it, I can say, more objectively, meditation is a means of bringing one very firmly into the present moment so that one can deal with whatever is going on in one's body or mind. In Buddhism this is called Mindfulness of the present moment, and it is the first stage of meditation.

This can really help with healing for us with abuse issues because so much of our inner dialogue is about past events. So meditation helps us to stop the cyclic thinking and get control of the inner dialogue by returning us to the present moment so we can listen to it talk and gently guide it into safer, healthier, more (self and other) forgiving places.

I remember one meditation book talking about it as training the puppy, where the mind is the puppy. This kind of meditation involves things like focusing on the breath and deliberately calming the breathing, then clearing the mind of all thoughts in order to begin to work with the thoughts as they arise. It's very challenging and wonderful training.

The mystical version uses ritual and symbol to focus the mind. For example, meditation in Starhawk begins with gestures that consciously create a safe place within which to meditate, for example on letting go. One of her meditations is on banishing bad thoughts. In this one you create the safe space, then you call up an image of what you're trying to release and begin to draw or write about it. As you're drawing or writing, you say "in drawing (or writing), I am relieving my pain, I call it up from every part of me and cast it out into the drawing (or writing)." Then you burn the drawing, banishing the ill effects. This is a psychologic tool for pulling the pain out.

Both of these kinds of letting go are extremely powerful techniques for managing the mind. They embed deep psychology and are created out of years (if not millennia) of studying the mind and working with its structures.

In Buddhism this idea of forgiveness then becomes part of a larger technique for managing conflict of any kind. You use the breath mediation to come into the present moment and work a series of stages of recovery that are as analytical in a way as Western logic.

You start with Recognition. Here you just state all the parameters of the thing you're trying to resolve. Anyone trying this here might spend a few days or weeks recognizing all the issues. You use the breath meditation to do this in order to keep the mind still rather than raging while recognizing. You're looking for patterns in your thinking, in your behavior at the same seeing the actual moment of the abuse. As you're recognizing, the meditation keeps you in the present moment, where you are safe. You also recognize that your fears are mostly about returning to the past, when in fact you are in a safe present place. Present moment: wonderful moment.

From the recognizing you move on to Accepting. Consciously you review what you've recognized and accept that it is real, that it is irrevocable, and even more importantly that it is totally OK that it be real and irrevocable. In otherwords that you are safe in its reality (not that the happening was just). All the while you're doing the breath meditation and calming the arising pain. You accept that what is past is actually past, that the patterns of mind one has developed holding one in the past, when the present moment is actually safe. Each acceptance breaks a link in the chain of attachment to the abuse.

THen you move on to welcoming it. This is most counterintuitive but powerful part. I used to have anxiety attacks, and I found that welcoming them would turn them into amazing surfing experiences. I'd sit there in a ball on the floor of my room, kind of rocking back and forth in total panic saying, "bring it on! Give me move! I welcome every wave!" It was amazing! It was like I was surfing on the waves of emotion pouring through me. I could feel their rhythm. In welcoming you are forgiving the whole situation. Welcoming dissolves the chains of the past. Because the mind is constructed out habits of thought, the chains will reappear, but they will be weaker chains, more easily dissolved. The welcoming is a vital tool in weakening the chains.

In meditation you observe your feelings from within the Now. So you'd see your own resistance arise, you see the cloud of confusion and fear. The meditation gives you a safe space within that cloud that is totally unaffected by it.

From the welcoming there comes the next stage, which is transformation. Here the first three stages reveal their power in that one's understanding of the situation is necessarily transformed. It moves from being horrible and beyond one's control to having been seen fully, accepted and welcomed as part of the experience of life. I can't overemphasize how important the welcoming is. Until we can welcome this, I feel that we are some level shunning our own abused selves, trying to distance ourselves through healing from a profound part of our experience. That shunning leaves pus in the wound to continue to cause problems later on. We shun because we're afraid, even though there's nothing to be afraid of any more. Welcoming transforms the experience by saying: I might as well open my arms to every element of my life: let them pour through me: I can't be harmed any more.

Then the past has no more power over us. We are no longer victims.

You could say that the stages I just outlined as a guide forgiveness mirror the stages of healing in the body. For example: a wound occurs. you get cut. The body recognizes this and accepts that it's real. It constructs something like a scab that welcomes the harm, like it sends out a greeting party. Then the scab is taken back in, more fully welcoming the injured tissue and forgiving the wound itself. Then ideally the whole wound is transformed back into whole flesh. Forgiven.

Danny

ps: Earl, I think you're actually the one creating the label "analytical thinker" because you're using words like analysis and reason. We're just echoing your presentation of yourself, and there's definitely no criticism implied. I'm a very analytical thinker myself, and everything I've talked about here, in this thread anyway, is also extremely analytical. Growing up, Mr. Spock was my hero.





Edited by DannyT (06/14/11 10:38 AM)

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