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#145797 - 03/17/07 01:57 PM forgiveness vs. accountability
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
I think that there is a big difference between forgiving our abusers (and anyone, by extension who does us harm) and holding people accountable for their actions. WE can forgive anyone at anytime and in so doing, take onto ourselves the burden of the effects wrongdoing. This does not stop us from requiring or demanding that a person be held accountable for their actions. What it does do is release us from the trap of needing something that we may never get from someone in order to make progress in our own healing. The sad truth is that many of us may never have the opportunity to hold our abusers accountable for their crimes, but that does not stop us from being able to forgive the crimes themselves and move forward in our healing.

That's the main point. I'll flesh it out below if you want to read through my thinking. But from this point on, I'm simply elaborating on what I said above. I cribbed some of this from a post I made in the spirituality forum, so I do use the term sin. If that's not a word you're comfortable with, subtitute the word crime, it still holds.

Personally I have come to recognize that forgivness is one of the most powerful tools available to the survivor. It can release the survivor from the vortex of past pains relived and give us a sense of empowerment.

One thing that really helped me understand the importance and power of forgiveness was to learn about the "debt" nature of sin. In brief, every time someone "wrongs" someone else, some kind of debt is created that must be paid off. For example, if a friend of ours breaks a lamp accidentally, the loss of the lamp is a form of debt. We are no longer in possession of something we previously had. Also if we are not given something to which we are entitled (nurturing, protection, an object which we have paid someone for) then a similar debt also exists.

If we ourselves are wronged we have two options, we can seek payment for that debt from someone else (by either going after the one who wronged us seeking restitution, or by passing along the burden to someone else), or we can assume the responsibility for the debt ourselves and pay for the damage out of our own resources. We can pay to replace the lamp out of our own savings; we can look within to find the resources and strength needed to nurture ourselves when that help will not come from those who were supposed to give it. Inevitably this second option is more painful, as it requires us to assume a burden that was not of our own creation, but it is the only way to kill off the legacy of any individual sin (or crime, if you prefer not to use the word sin).

But when we forgive someone, all that means is that we have assumed a debt that they are unwilling (or unable) to pay. This does not mean that the guilty party is absolved of their crime. There is still a need for justice and accountability that no amount of forgiving will wipe away. The problem is that, for many of us survivors, holding someone accountable for their crimes against us may be impossible. The perp may be dead, or we may have no way of ever finding or contacting that person. In this case you can still forgive the person who wronged you. Forgiveness and accountability are two separate actions.

Would I like to see every abuser strung up and held accoutable for their crimes? Of course. But I also accept that this fantasy has less to do with righting the wrongs they did than with soothing my own sense of injury. I may not have the power to see every criminal punished in this world, but I do have the power to set an example for all those who are victims.

I know this is likely to stir up some big emotions. I hope that if you disagree with me, you will tell me so. I freely admit I might be wrong, but I'll never know that unless someone teaches me. You are all my teachers.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#145800 - 03/17/07 02:11 PM Re: forgiveness vs. accountability [Re: tartugas]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11150
Loc: Denver, CO
tartugas,

I like what you say about the subject.

"But when we forgive someone, all that means is that we have assumed a debt that they are unwilling (or unable) to pay."

If I may offer...

I tend to think of it as more like canceling a debt that is owed me when I forgive it. I don't actually assume their debt to me as an unpaid debt that I now owe someone else. Either way, the end for me is a peace of heart and mind that I cannot achieve if I am still holding that debt over someone I cannot reach for accountability.

Thoughts?

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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#145801 - 03/17/07 02:14 PM Re: forgiveness vs. accountability [Re: tartugas]
pietie Offline
Guest

Registered: 01/23/07
Posts: 326
Loc: South Africa
Hi T

I hear what you say and i agree with you (no matter how painfull this truth is). The pain i am currently experiencing makes it so difficult to even talk about forgivness. I dont want to forgive but i know to be set free and move on with my life i need to do it. You are brave to address this issue :-)

Something i struggle with and dont understand is the fact that i have gone through forgivness and thought i did it. Yet every now and then (and especially now that i am facing the abuse) i feel as if i have not forgiven. All the emotions and yes, hate is back.

Originally Posted By: tartugas
Personally I have come to recognize that forgivness is one of the most powerful tools available to the survivor. It can release the survivor from the vortex of past pains relived and give us a sense of empowerment.

For example, if a friend of ours breaks a lamp accidentally, the loss of the lamp is a form of debt. We are no longer in possession of something we previously had. Also if we are not given something to which we are entitled (nurturing, protection, an object which we have paid someone for) then a similar debt also exists.

We can pay to replace the lamp out of our own savings; we can look within to find the resources and strength needed to nurture ourselves when that help will not come from those who were supposed to give it.


The above is one of the best illustrations i have heard about forgivness. Thank you so much for sharing.

_________________________
Not Perfect, just forgiven

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#145806 - 03/17/07 02:51 PM Re: forgiveness vs. accountability [Re: pietie]
philobat Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/31/07
Posts: 293
Loc: California
Bullshit. No one has to forgive the unforgivable. Screw that!

Let those perps live a life of suffering and shame and guilt.

We just talk it out and support each other. Forgiveness has nothing to do with freedom or moving on.

Read The Grief Recovery Handbook.


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#145818 - 03/17/07 04:06 PM Re: forgiveness vs. accountability [Re: philobat]
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
i second that philo! people here tell me im a good person that i have done ok to get to this point that its a miracle i survived , that its amazing im not a serial killer ,i think i have done ok without forgiving or giving up my anger. and nothing fires that anger up any quicker than being told i have to forgive to heal.to me forgiving is giving a part of me to the bastard that hurt me ,after all he took from me i will not give anything to him freely. i would rather die pissed at him than give him one more little piece of me.forgivness is mine to do with as i please ,its mine! i have control ! i DONT HAVE TO DO IT! ISNT THAT WHAT ABUSE IS ABOUT CONTROL?AND ISNT HEALING ABOUT TAKING CONTROL BACK? sorry not angry ,hit caps by mistake heh. forgivness comes from the heart ,there is nothing in my heart for that bastard .

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#145837 - 03/17/07 05:48 PM Re: forgiveness vs. accountability [Re: shadowkid]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
philo and shadow,

Don't get me wrong, I don't think forgiveness is being nice to our abusers. And regardless of whether or not we choose to forgive (and I'm not at all trying to say that we must forgive) we can, and should, try to hold them accountable. And trust me, I still have anger. If anything I would say that maybe I need to get more in touch with my anger.

shadow, of course you are free to do anything you choose to do, as am I. I would never try to tell anyone that I know what they must do to heal. I can share with everyone my own story and my steps towards healing, but some of what works for me, might not work for you.

ExTx,

I would say that in order to cancel a debt, there must be some kind of payment made. If you forgive the friend who broke your lamp, either you pay for it yourself, or you choose to live without it. We all hope to get to the same end of peace and happiness, but I think it's important to acknowledge that a price must be paid in order to achieve it.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#145852 - 03/17/07 09:03 PM Re: forgiveness vs. accountability [Re: tartugas]
jamie' Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/09/07
Posts: 125
Loc: Ont, Can
I ditto shadow and philo aswell. I'm more struck with questions like dose forgivness need to be made in order to progress and recover. Because frankly i dont think forivness would be possible for me. Ditto shadow for the serial killer thing aswell.

I'd like to see thing's in an uplifting possitive way but i cant. the way i see it someone by there own choice took control and abused someone else. Today the only one that i could probably see would be my uncle and i know i couldnt look in his face and say i forgive you. Forgivness by it's definition is the act of excussing a mistake or offense, a pardon. The only reason i might is if he had any guilt my act of forgivness would hurt him more. Possibly edge him towards suicide...yet thats wishful thinking. So if i cannot forgive then what price can i pay to achieve peace.

_________________________
No matter how long and dark the night is, Or the fear and hurt that it can bring, there will always be a dawn, where we can push the past aside and move forward with hope.

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#145866 - 03/17/07 10:59 PM Re: forgiveness vs. accountability [Re: tartugas]
Morning Star Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: Home


Our ability to forgive as a victim is a first and the only believable sign of our personal recovery.

Otherwise we might have spent years in therapy, and wasted so many precious trying to put the pieces together and we’d still be as wounded as we might have started, and sometimes even more. As often digging deeper than necessary, only leaves us more wounded and broken inside.

The result? We remained filled with anger within, as our resident anger is only a symptom of wounds lying unhealed within. Our goal then, has to be healing ourselves and not get even with our abusers. They will be taken care of, by the wheels of Karma itself.

If we focus so much on the abuse and abusers we forget to live or heal ourselves. And continue to live the life our abuse condemned us to, we live our entire life as a victim.

Have you ever wondered why healing takes so long to occur in so many victims, when all we need to do, is to forgive and move on?

The answer I received is that even willingness to forgive comes with Grace.

Otherwise we continue to only fester our own old wounds, and live the life of hurts and repeated old wounds. It is a cycle every victim has to opt out of, on his own, and in his own time.

God’s time is eternity.

Because the ultimate lesson in surviving any kind of abuse of power is to know that the only power we have as human being is to switch from our physical and mental power to the power of the Self within - the power of our spirit within.

That is what the famous animation flick 'Final Fantasy - The Spirit within', elaborates so amiably. That the only true victory, we can ever achieve in life, is by surrendering and making peace to our demons within. That is when all the demons on the outside, disappear on their own.

It is tricky to understand, yet that is the way out according to me.

As for Grace, it comes easy with Humility.

As to forgive, we first need to be humble enough to receive the vision of our past follies that resulted in our present predicaments.

No soul is bright enough to condemn another fellow soul, and no soul is dark enough to not be retrieved from its darkness. We transcend as race only when we step into t he light together, no one would be left behind eventually, as that is what true Grace means, and does.

We are all in this together, what we hate in another so vehemently lies within us, till we make peace within, we will continue to fight this loosing battle.

As always, the true enemy lies within. And making peace within is the only known pathway to a healed self.

That is why Self forgiveness is what freeing ourselves from our own curse of the past. Only when we can forgive ourselves, do we find enough courage to forgive anyone else.

I have also realized that, as long as I remained angry, I could blame someone else for all the mess I personally brought myself into, but always had ready excuses for not going right out and making all the right efforts to save myself.

It is courage and humility to accept that we are as condemnable as human beings as any one else on earth, so what gives us the right to condemn any other?

We are equal in God’s eyes, as we are al sinners of the past and all his beloved children, he preferred no one to another.

Who know what we have gone through is also a part of a past retribution against us? So ask got to free yourself from the pain, and the first thing he will do is to give you the strength to forgive and move on.

If you cannot forgive, simply ask for help from the One who forgives us all instantly.

To learn to forgive, we need to be willing to let go the power of a righteous victim has - the power to condemn anyone who has hurt us.

Who knows what crimes of ours we are ourselves paying for in this life?

So to forgive, really is to forgive ourselves, as for anger when we really go to its core, we realize that all anger is merely emanating from anger at one self.

Otherwise we continue to speak the language of our past wounds for the rest of our lives, and keep the wounds alive and abuse continuing in various ways than we can ever understand right now.

What we do not let go stays with us, forever. It is our power to let go, only then we can free ourselves to step into the life we were meant to live, once the night is over.

That is why I believe the most breakthrough argument in healing is provided by Caroline Myss (herself a CSA survivor), in her landmark book - WHY DON'T PEOPLE HEAL.

Where she mentions that so much is the power of the victim archetype that it immobilizes us into our own worst nightmare, and we continue to recreate them, again and again, knowingly and unknowing, till we learn to willing let go. Till we are wiling to go down on our knees and ask for redemption ourselves, we stay victims forever.

Humility is one big lesson of being a victim, who else would have gone through most disempowering experiences in life, and still feel powerful because he has just connected with his inner power - the divine Self. There is no greater power than that, believe you me, not even the power to destroy all evil in our life.

Surrender is the most powerful tool, we human being will ever have, as what we embrace in ourselves dissolves completely. So when we accept whatever has happened to us, completely and it is gone forever.

We not just release our abusers; but also ourselves from memories of abuse, forever.

It is the gift of freedom we owe to our self, from our worst possible nightmare and our darkest prison.



_________________________
~ It's over!...Let go of Thy Past, Remember Thy Self ~

Why Don't People Heal, by Caroline Myss; 30 days to clean up your vibrations - Abraham-Hicks

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#145878 - 03/18/07 01:03 AM Re: forgiveness vs. accountability [Re: Morning Star]
jamie' Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/09/07
Posts: 125
Loc: Ont, Can
I disagree with you post MS. And that's ok. We are not all religious, so dont believe things like we are all sinners ect. That's me and i know you were trying to help.

I have to ask.

Why did you choose the handle morning star?. Did you know that is a name for lucifer.



Edited by jamie' (03/18/07 01:04 AM)
_________________________
No matter how long and dark the night is, Or the fear and hurt that it can bring, there will always be a dawn, where we can push the past aside and move forward with hope.

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#145884 - 03/18/07 01:58 AM Re: forgiveness vs. accountability [Re: jamie']
Morning Star Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: Home
I am glad that we can choose to disagree, and still keep our peace. To each his own, as they aptly put it so aptly. Though this only my two penny worth….

As for Lucifer, I have no knowledge about that; I am not a Christian, in this life.

Though I fully understand the original intent behind calling ourselves 'sinners'. It was not at all meant to be a condemnation of us human being, but rather as a safeguard to keep us away from indulging in this unnecessary habit of judging fellow human beings or being self-righteous, as we have an innate propensity for it.

And that itself keeps us from not crossing over into the light. As in truth, there is not side, dark or light, it is what we create from within. True surrender is going beyond both, not trying to be good or evil, just ourselves, we don’t have to save anyone, or ourselves, we have saved already as we are God’s children to begin with.

When we continue to divide the world between light and dark side, good and evil, we get trapped in this unnecessary game of, this versus that. Not knowing that in truth, they are all one, all manifestations of the same Divine being.

God, is unconditional in His love, so He condemns no one, only those turn their back away from love momentarily, feel cut off from it, like a man blindfolded on a sunny day.

We can open our hearts to love any moment we choose, as God or the Universe is always ready to receive us with joy and grace, as only a Father, a Creator can feel for His children, His Creation.



_________________________
~ It's over!...Let go of Thy Past, Remember Thy Self ~

Why Don't People Heal, by Caroline Myss; 30 days to clean up your vibrations - Abraham-Hicks

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