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Author Topic: 7.02 | Forgiveness  (Read 26161 times)
Susan Peabody
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« on: May 24, 2007, 11:21:40 PM »

There is no doubt that a spiritual path for me includes learning to love others unconditionaly. Sometimes this means I have to forgive them first. It would be nice if this could happen quickly and simply, but this is not usually the case. Sometimes forgiveness is a slow process.

It would also be nice if forgiveness would just happen on its own. We can just give it some time. But usually some intervention must take place. In other words, we must work on it, sort of like tending a garden.

The process begins with a desire to forgive. Many factors may motivate this desire—none of them natural. Our natural inclination is to stay angry and hold a grudge. But, eventually, either misery gets the best of us and/or a deeply held belief system shakes loose the anger and gives way to a desire to forgive.

After the willingness comes, we then need some fancy footwork. One might begin by getting inside the head of the person or persons with whom we are angry. Was the transgression intentional or an accident? Was the transgressor suffering in some way for which we can be sympathetic? If the person with whom we are angry tells his side of the story what would he say?

It is important, at this point, to begin a discussion of the matter. The trick here is to listen to the people we discuss this with. We may not really want to hear an objective opinion, but it is important that we do. And even if our friends and/or pastor agrees with us that we are the injured party, it feels good to loosen that knot of anger chocking us to death by talking it out with someone we trust.

It can also be very helpful to write about all this emotional chaos. Writing can lead to some interesting “Freudian Slips” about the true nature of what happened and how we feel about it.

For the sake of argument, however, what if we are truly a victim and the person we are angry with has no leg to stand on? How then do we forgive? Well in this case we must simply try to look at the bright side. For instance, our perpetrator has to bear the weight of his transgression against us and we do not. (It might help, at this point, to mention that you do not have to like someone to forgive them or even associate with them. The dictionary definition of forgiveness is simply to let go of our anger. No hugs and kisses are required.)

The hardest part of forgiveness comes when we have to feel the “real” feelings behind what happened. Our anger is just a coverup for the pain brought on by the slight. The pain of rejection, the wound to our ego, the utter disappointment in this person, the fear that this will happen again.

The hardest part of forgiveness for me is to let go of the anger when the person who wounded me is in total denial about the whole thing. Recently my mother died. My sister who has BPD was angry at me for hovering over my mother on her deathbed. She said that my mother would not want me there because she did not like me. I was so wounded by this that I vowed never to speak to my sister again until she apologized.

But a year later I felt the pain of estrangement more than the pain of what she had said. So I was stuck between my anger and my loneliness for my sister. I also felt the tugging of my spiritual belief system which asks me to love others unconditionally?

So, eventually, I went through the process I describe above and came to the conclusion that forgiveness was important to my mental health and my salvation as a believer in love. So I swallowed my pride. I sent of a stiff email telling her that I was ready to move on without an apology. Immediately I felt as if a great burden had been lifted. I also felt like a better servant of my personal diety, which is no small matter to me.

I have yet to hear from my sister but I feel better because I have surrendered the toxic feelings I was holding on to for dear life. And I think this is exactly why we should forgive each other. Not only is world peace at stake, it is important for our personal well being. I see everything spiritual as serving this dual purpose—personal fulfillment and our contribution to a better world.

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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2007, 11:50:19 PM »

Ms. Peabody,

What you've expressed is beautifully written. Forgiveness is most important to our spiritual survival. Forgiving and loving unconditionally has been what keeps me afloat. If I wasn't able to do this, I think of the anger and hurt that I would harbour in my heart.  It would eat me from the inside out. Forgiveness, has been especially important in dealing with my SO.  He has hurt me so many times. The scars cut deep. I have had to realize that much of the hurt he inflicts on me is a result of his mental disorder. I have learned to detatch with love. He is a pitiful soul that needs unconditional love. It is only by God's grace that I am able to give this to him. My human nature tells me to retaliate and hurt him back. I have had to learn to rise above it. I have also taken my relationship with my SO to God and turned it over to him. I've asked him to give me the strength to love my SO in spite of himself. If given a choice, I don't think he would like to be this way. Thank you for your post.

Ave
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2007, 06:46:34 AM »

And then, of course,,there is the Everest of Forgiveness... .that for ourselves... .

Well written piece Susan... .and truely the key to a light heart and gentle touch... .

Lenny
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bianda
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2007, 08:53:37 PM »

Great post Susan... .but shouldn't the offending party want forgiveness in order for forgiveness to be given?

I am currently estranged from my younger brother due to his interference with my BPDd when she was a teenager (she triangulated and he and his wife fell for it ---BPDd lived with them during college vacations for 4 years when she moved out after high school---it was during this time that they got a taste of what our life was like with BPDd which ended with BPDd getting kicked out of their house--which is when she returned to our home after 4 years of NC).  Neither my brother or his wife have apologized for their interference.  My brother's wife did acknowledge to me that I was right about my BPDd and her issues but that is as far as it went.  I haven't forgiven my brother because he hasn't asked for forgiveness== to him that would be admitting that he did something wrong and he is NEVER wrong.  In addition trust is big for me---I can never trust him again ---I'll be darned if I let he and has wife near my younger 2 daughters.  I intend to continue NC with him and his family therefore there is no need to forgive and forget... .it is now going on 6 years that I have not spoken to him and I don't miss him or feel a need to have him be part of our lives... .I guess what I learned from the whole situation is that no one is indispensible==sadly life does go on.

With my BPDd it is different I have forgiven her for everything she's done because I understand she is mentally ill and an addict. 

My brother and his wife made a choice to intefere with the parenting of our daughter when we began having problems with BPDd at age 16.  BPDd's therapist called him and asked him to step out of the triangle but he refused and continued going behind our back "supporting" BPDd which only made the situation in our home worse.  It got to the point that we sold our home and moved 35 miles away in order to try to salvage relationship with BPDd her senior year in high school as this was going to be that last chance for us to help her (even then my brother and his wife would drive to our new city and see BPDd at her job -- but we did have some peace at home as they couldn't see her as frequently).  I no longer hold a grudge or feel anger towards my brother only sadness and a desire not to give him another opportunity to hurt me again. 

I never would have interfered in his home or with his children so for him do have done it to me hurt tremendously... .

Bianda

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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2007, 02:00:13 PM »

Just finished a class on this, so here's my thoughts if anybody's interested; they're not fully rationalized, but they did get some "aha" reactions in class, so I'm sharing them here.

What is the purpose of forgiveness?  Why is it so hard?

For me, it's hard because the person who did the hurting just took a huge chunk out of my midsection with razor-sharp teeth, and I couldn't do a darn thing to stop it.  I want my missing piece back!  I liked it where it was! It had a lot of good stuff in it!  And now it's gone!

But if I continue to nurse my grudge, if I continue to try to re-create what was there before, if I try to stuff the few dangling entrails back and patch them over with a bandage of resentment I never change, what can I expect?

I can expect rot; and gangrene. 

It's a death of the old self I'm mourning and resisting when I refuse to forgive.  It's a refusal to let anything grow back except exactly what I had before.  Sure, fine, I'll "get over it" - so long as I get everything back exactly the way it was.

Reality:  this is not going to happen.

Now I'm thinking perhaps before sepsis sets in that maybe it's a good idea to let some air get to the wound and take a look at what's happening.

And when I work up the faith to give that a shot, here's what I find:

those razor-sharp teeth took out what looks to be a cancerous growth.  It needed to go.

OK.  OK, maybe I can accept that.  In my particular case, it eviscerated a substantial part of the support system for my own codependent behaviour.

Now, if I can leave the wound alone, quit picking at the scab, what happens next?

What I'm finding is that something even better is growing back to replace what was lost.  More abilities, better functioning... .I just had to take a leap of faith to see it happening.  (Ability to define boundaries and enforce them; ability to overcome shame; ability to face my own character defects.)

Reader's Digest version:  Undertaking the process of forgiveness gives us an opportunity to transform ourselves into more than we were before.  It is NOT, as it looks on the face of it, an admission of powerlessness.  It is instead an invitation to empowerment.  It has nothing to do really with the person who hurt us; they are merely catalysts.  Tools for growth, if you will.

If what I'm pondering is valid, it makes the whole process of forgiveness a whole lot more palatable. 

Thoughts?



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lennic
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2007, 02:19:04 PM »

Reader's Digest version:  Undertaking the process of forgiveness gives us an opportunity to transform ourselves into more than we were before.  It is NOT, as it looks on the face of it, an admission of powerlessness.  It is instead an invitation to empowerment.  It has nothing to do really with the person who hurt us; they are merely catalysts.  Tools for growth, if you will.

Yep. I agree.

And it is the very rare individual that never forgives... Oh they are out there and they are easily spotted... just look into the eyes or watch their walk... deep shadows and a bent spine... .anger is a heavy emotion and when it is your primary force,,,you never rest.

So,,for the rest of us,,sooner or later we forgive... .something else takes our minds and hearts and we let go because, as you say,,the chunk we lost,,just doesn't seem to be as big anymore... .because it isn't,,,never was... it was really a much bigger expectation than the lesser empty space left behind... .Pride comes in here and hurt pride goes a much longer way... .

In the end the sooner we let go the better,,but we do need to do the preliminaries... .letting go to easlily does negate the benefit of the expereince in some ways... and none of our experiences are arbitrary...

But forgiveness is love,,,if for no other entity but ourselves... .

IMHO.

Lenny
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2007, 06:23:57 PM »

Great post! I am at a stage for reconciliation and letting go. It's funny. I've been gone almost 7 months. Some days it still feels like yesterday. On those days when it feels like it just happened I feel like crap! However, today is another day and I am practically bouncing off the walls. It feels good.

If I look at it intellectually and see it for what it was, I can forgive. Sometimes my emotions get in the way and anger and frusteration come to the surface. I'd say it's a bit more frusteration than anger. That's my intellect telling me," how can I be angry at someone with BPD." It was not their fault.

In addition, when I see it in that light I don't really want to participate in the jovial BPD fun poking threads. Call it a semblance of compassion even though I was directly affected. It was not her fault. She was just operating with the cards she was dealt. Typing this makes me sad for her.


Tom
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2007, 10:49:39 AM »

I dunno, Tom, if it wasn't her fault, whose fault was it

I'd like to think it was her parents. She used to tell me she had OCD and difficult as a child. I wonder what they did in order to create such a horrible disfunction in one of gods beautiful creations. At what point in her youth did something so terrbile and disjointed happen that may have caused her so much pain and anguish that she resorted to some defense mechanism which finally triggered BPD? I don't know and never will. Afterall, they don't even see it in themselves. How can they possibly get help for something they don't even think they have?

Additionally, maybe one of the parents may have had it themselves and the cycle repeaats itself through generations. I visited my BDPwife's mothers side of the family in Tennesse. They were quite a crew! 

I also think it was our fault as was well for allowing ourselves to become deluded into thinking we could fix them with our love and kindness. I always knew something was amiss but ignored the little red flags for my own selfish needs and wants. Call it my cancerous tumor.

Like you, I also felt the sting of those razor sharp jaws rip something from my soul. It's a piece of me that I think is lost forever and can totally relate to what you said about it being a cancerous growth. The festering wound is being aired out and currently mending. Hopefully, for the better.

Why do we need to forgive ourselves? I feel as though I did nothing wrong. Or, did I?

I wounded my ex-wife to be her "her." Maybe I need to forgive myself for that.

Tom

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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2007, 07:12:40 PM »

Coming at this from a child of a BPD mother, I found myself asking what do I need to forgive myself for? I did what I did as a kid in order to survive.I had no control on my environment. I take no responsibility for being a child who knew right from wrong, told my mother that what she did to me was wrong, and got one of her ragefests.I have had people tell me "if you could have shut up you wouldn't have gotten it so bad." Yea right... .

I like what Gam wrote about having a piece of us taken out... .yet I'll never know what that piece could have been.

In order to find out what that piece was, I had to forgive. I went thru the anger, the acceptance of her illness, and the fact that she made her choice time and again to walk away from help. I have asked G-d many times "Why did she do that?" I don't ask for me (good non that I am) I ask for her. How can a person keep swimming away from the life raft. I trust a plan is in place for me and I will know the answers when I need to know to them. Cliched but so true for me.

I will never know why she did what she did. What I do know is that I can love my mom and not want her in my life. I can forgive her because I wanted to move on. Selfish me, I wanted a life without the misery and tears she brought into it.

I think forgiveness is a type of selfishness-positive selfishness, if you will. I did it all for me and she will never know, nor do I beleive she needs to know.
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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2007, 10:00:09 PM »

I think sometimes we have to forgive ourselves for what we told ourselves as a result of the abuse:  "I deserved it/ It was my fault/ etc."
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2007, 03:32:57 PM »

A word about witch hunting... .also known as "whose fault is it anyway".

In my opinion, this is a moot point.

And fault finding, finger pointing and what Caroline Myss calls "woundology" (living in your wounds) are counter productive to healing.
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2007, 02:25:48 PM »

The inner feeling of forgiveness can be freeing... .to truly forgive requires nothing on the part of the offending party.  That leads to a neverending game of "not enough."  There is never enough "sorry" for those who need one.
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2007, 06:37:35 PM »

I think sometimes we have to forgive ourselves for what we told ourselves as a result of the abuse:  "I deserved it/ It was my fault/ etc."

Very good point.How did I get myself in this mess?Children once they were born i wasn't going to leave them.I think i tried reasoning,ok you're right and arguing back.In xBPD left after the affair was open she handed out a 12 page letter to all in my life no year or dates given ,With her excellent writing skills it read like it was all as of late some going back 26 years most over twelve the last time I argued back.!/3 was bull,1/3 relevant information omitted and 1/3 true, she did bring out the worst in me.frustration over her over spending.refusal to allow family visits.it was churn and burn.with many as they went from white to black in her eyes.forgiveness is a goal but its still the dance
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2007, 11:34:59 PM »

I have come to the conclusion that fault in MOST cases is 50-50.  Last October my sister-in-law called and left a nasty voicemail about us not coming to my father-in-laws b-day brunch (we had seen & had dinner with father in law the previous weekend and when we called him on his b-day he informed us of the brunch plans- this was on aThursday: brunch was on Sunday) we told father-in-law that we would not attend because my husband-his son-needed to finish a project for work that was due Monday; my 17 year old was working; my 15 year old was invited to her best friends b-day party.  Frankly I wasn't going to drive 50 miles by myself for brunch when I have tonz of housework to do since I work 40+ hours per week so I bowed out as well.  Father-in-law "acted" like he hadn't heard a word we were saying and said we'll see you Sunday.  We didn't go on Sunday and that evening sister-in-law left a nasty scolding message on our voicemail about not showing up.  I was angry and called her right back (in hindsight I should have slept on it and called the next day when I was calmer).  I told her off basically telling her it wasn't her place to call and berate us for not coming and that if father-in-law had a problem with it he should have called and besides why did he expect us when we told him we weren't coming.  She said some nasty things about how spoiled by two daughters were and why didn't I force them to come to brunch and show their respect to their grandfather... .and back & forth it went... .The next day I get a call from father-in-law saying how disappointed he was that I didn't force the girls to come--I reminded him that we only had a 3 day notice and we are trying to teach our 17 year old that when you have a job you don't call in when something comes up out of the blue and the younger daughter had had this B-day invite for over a month.  I added that they are teenagers and don't give up their friends for us as their parents --they certainly wouldn't do it for grandparents... .developmentally that whole family bonding thing would come around in their mid 20's.  They are normal teenagers and he said they were spoiled unlike another grandson (who happens to be high functioning autisitc and his only friends are my in-laws). I said that his perception of normal teenagers was a bit skewed if he was using this grandson as his referrence point.  He got mad and hung up.  I continued to send B-day cards, mailed xmas prsesents, mother's day cards and not a word from them.  They didn't call my husband for his b-day in december -  not even a card - or my daughter's b-day when she turned 15.  In the spirit of forgiveness and decided to call and apologize (even though I take only 50% responsibility) since 17 year is graduating from high school and thought this would break the ice and they would want to be at the graduation (I sent the announcement and not a word).  Well the father-in-law pretended he couldn't hear me on the cell phone and told me to call the house phone and speak to mother-in-law.  I called and told her I wanted to speak to the father-in-law and apologize for what happend in October and she said no I would have to speak to her and then I told her what I had to say and she then proceeded to tell me that she accepted the apology but would not be coming to the graduation unless 17 year old daughter also apologized for insulting the cousin last summer in reference to how "he needed to get a life and stop hanging out with the grandparentals" she told him that if he went online he would be able to find a support group with kids his age (he's also 17) who have the same disability whom he could relate to.  Apparently when the b-day drama occured, the cousin proceeded to lay it on thick about how mean my 17 year old was to him etc... .  (another point is that this cousin will also be graduating but because he couldn't pass the high school exit exam he'll only get a Certificate of Completion not a High School Diploma and my daughter is graduating with honors).  I talked to my 17 year old who said that she was only trying to help him because of how sad it is that he doesn't have any friends and his only friends are the grandparents who do not do anything to help him out to meet kids like him (his parents are divorced --mom lives in another state and his dad-my brother-in-law- is not all there either).  Essentially she said that one drama queen in the family was enough (my 24 year old BPDd) and that she had nothing to apologize for and if they had to put conditions on coming to the graduation---she didn't want them there because they aren't sincere about being there.  I left it alone and told my husband who also said to leave it alone. 

Funny thing though, I don't feel bad nor do I regret apologizing --- I feel good because it is like something was lifted off my shoulders... .relationships with normal people (at least I think in-laws are normal---maybe just old) are Extremely Difficult---it is no surprised relationships with BPD's are nearly impossible. 

I will sleep even better than normal tonite... .

peace Smiling (click to insert in post)
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Ave Marina
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« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2007, 06:13:05 AM »

Bianda,

You did all you could. You bent over backward and more to be nice to them and at the same time not let them walk all over you and your family. With relatives like them who needs enemies.  They will never change. I've had similar situations in my family. It's all so immature. Who has time for such nonsense. I would keep my distance. Wait for them to make the next move. You have lost nothing. Enjoy your peace and your lovely immediate family.

Ave
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« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2007, 07:51:40 PM »

 My xBPD teaches early childhood development?When I look at what our sons have been through forgiveness? hurt me one thing hurt the kids another now her father also BPD wants to pay the youngest 500$ to come for a week its like being in jail there all interior doors locked.he will have momster BPD and grandpa BPD for a week we all dreaded trips there.she compares all three of us as alike.
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Susan Peabody
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« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2007, 12:25:05 AM »



Just a reminder lest we get off track here. You do not have to like someone to forgive them. You do not have to associate with someone to forgive them. I was told as a child to "love my enemy." But some people you have to love from a distance.You do not have to forgive them permanently either. Forgiveness is an old fashioned way of surrendering anger. Anger leads to depression. When you can let go of the anger at someone even for a brief moment you have forgiven them. It is ok if the anger rushes back. You just have to forgive them again. I call this serial forgiveness. Eventually the forgiveness becomes more permanent. Why forgive? Surrendering anger is supposed to relieve your depression and angst. If it doesn't then there is no point to it. If it does make you feel better then forgiveness is a gift to yourself not the the person you are forgiving. If forgiveness doesn't make you feel better it may be because the anger is a defense against the person you are angry at. If anger is a defense against someone who could really hurt you if you forgive them then it is ok to put it off until you are safe. Those who choose not to forgive should not feel guilty. It is not the end of the world. It is just the right choice for many of us at the right time.
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LEO
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« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2007, 12:01:17 AM »

IT will forever Be beyond comprehension.17 years Ago she was a doting Mother who kissed My son ,Me she was funny,fun,sweet then like a gradual getting weirder the constant Im right etc etc today none of us will answer the phone ,rants for any of us from out of town somewhere.      Dangerous and pitiful all rolled into one a contradiction?Illness. today was put things away all pictures going in one box. giving up  both sons for some fun at 45?I just dont know?why didnt she go get help i and others asked many times to get laughed off.because she never ever admitting even a small mistake.
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Susan Peabody
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« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2007, 04:48:20 PM »



Dear Leo,

I was touched by your statement "Why didn't she go get help. I and others asked many times to get laughed off because she never ever admitting even a small mistake."

I just wanted to say that your mother is in "denial." This is a medical condition not necessarily a choice. Denial is a defense mechanism against shame. We are ashamed so we deny everything to ourselves. It may also be that your mother is not only a borderline but a naccissist. Narcissists deal with a broken chilldhood by believing that they are OK and everyone else is not OK. This is also a defense mechanism against shame. Narcissists become cold and unfeeling. They cannot feel empathy for those they hurt. They rarely go to therapy because of the denial and when they go they do not stay because they get anxious at the very idea that their is something wrong with them. They equate not being perfect with being bad and sometimes with being punished like going to hell or even dying.

It is not easy to love someone who is mentally ill. There are some good books about this that may help. You don't have to forgive your mom, but you might consider it for the reasons I outlined in my original post. My best to you.
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« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2007, 06:37:41 PM »

I just wanted to say that your mother is in "denial." This is a medical condition not necessarily a choice.

Interesting.  I've never seen an ICD-9 code for that.
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Susan Peabody
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« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2007, 09:18:05 PM »



A lot of things are not coded in the wonderful world of "self-help." They are just common sense. I believe in attaching labels that resonate with a person. One that triggers a "light bulb" moment. Even if you have to make up your own term it works if it resonates. I remember hearing for years at A.A. meetings that "This too will pass." This never resonated with me for some reason. Then someone re-phrased it and said, "I have come to discover that every thing has a life span." Suddenly I got it. Why, I don't know. Anyway, sometimes we just have to throw away the books and open up our eyes. Denial, or whatever you want to call it, is a function of the "old brain" as Harville Hendrix puts it.
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« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2007, 02:29:30 PM »

Susan thanks for youre post but she was my wife of twenty four years ,on rare occasion i have seen a moment of guilt.followed by a attack.I think she battles with guilt.but will never admit it.its a impossibility.When she went to her next stepping stone she went way over board on trying to finish me off.it wasn't necessary.I assume she felt it best.
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« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2007, 02:47:40 PM »

Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting what the other person did; what forgiveness is is not letting what they did control your life and reactions.  If one forgives the issue at hand, then the person who hurt you can no longer control how you behave or think.  In the end, what they did to us was wrong but how we handle the aftermath is all up to us.  Holding on to unforgiveness only hurts me and multiplies the pain of the original insult by causing me to pick at the wound so that it never heals.  As long as the wound is open it can never heal & no one can ever get past the hurt that way. It gives the control of your life over to the one who caused the pain in the first place.
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« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2007, 07:15:49 PM »

I have thought long and hard on this topic,no offense to any but it is rare Ive read the type of behavior my sons and I endured.cruelty in its worst form it bothers me that raised to forgive its impossible in this case she sold us all out for her fame and fun.i worked multiple jobs for years to raise this family and get her through to tenure the same year the first of several affairs began.forgiveness just isnt possible.
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« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2007, 11:15:45 PM »



There are many points of view about forgiveness. Susan Forward is against it. A.A. recommends it. Each person must decide on their own but for those who choose not to forgive I hope they revisit that decision every so often. Just remember this . . . forgiveness is for OURSELVES not for others.

Susan
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« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2007, 09:35:13 AM »

Susan is absolutely right when she says forgiveness is for ourselves. And I would add that ALL things are possible through God.

This is not to minimize what happened to you and your family. But for your health and the health of your family it is important to turn this suffering over to God to help you with it. Ask Him for the strength that it is going to take to forgive this person. It is possible! If you stay in this place and keep dwelling upon the terrible hurt and injustice, it will poison you. Healing won't happen overnight, but you are going to have to work at it with God's help. It is through Him that you can find the peace and love that you so deserve. As for your ex, let God deal with her. I pray that God will deal with her soon and make her see what she has done to the people that she professed to love the most. But her actions are out of your control. She will eventually have to answer for them.

I don't mean this to sound so preachy, but I know it to be true.
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« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2007, 05:58:39 PM »

I have just asked God to take the anger, resentment and stones out of my heart and allow me to forgive my BPDh and to forgive me for my part.

I don't want to hurt anymore, I don't want to continue walking through life with this pain.  It will only give my h another way to control me.  I want:

The hardness that has accumulated around my heart over the years to soften.

To be the kind of woman God wants me to be.

To be able to speak my heart in a kind, loving way without fear.

To let my H know I forgive him.

To keep my boundaries in place.

To show more through my words and actions that I love and appreciate those around me.

To have fun.

To be ME

Thanks Susan and Everyone!  You are all a blessing

Puddin
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« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2007, 02:16:27 PM »

These are the famous words of Alice Miller from her book "The Truth Will Set You Free" about forgiveness:

Excerpt
These are the changes that enable us to overcome hatred. Hatred can survive only as long as we feel trapped in the situation of a child who has no choice, who is forced to hold out in hopeless circumstances in order to survive. As soon as the adult sees an alternative, a way out of the trap, the hatred disappears of it`s own accord. It is then entirely unnecessary to preach morality, forgiveness or exercises in positive feeling.

So what are those changes? They are the working through our traumas - not denying but SEEING them and understanding, digesting and mourning them -  to get to the point of no longer feeling like a hurt child, but to have grown into an adult who has accepted the circumstances of their childhood and come to the point of saying: what now? Now - I am free to go left or right. I am no longer at the mercy of my abusers either in reality or by reliving the traumas with their surrogates. And when we have arrived at this point of true freedom from our past with the choices being ours as to how our lives will go on from this day forward, we can begin to have compassion for those who knew no better than to do what they did to us.
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« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2007, 06:37:12 PM »

I think there is a difference between forgiving and letting go.

Forgiving, to me implies a completed act, where an amend is made and accepted.  Forgiveness.

Letting go, is when a genuine amend cannot be offered, but the offended moves on, to freedom.

I don't think the end is always forgivness when wrongs are done, but we can always move on.

fwiw,

Molly
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« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2007, 12:54:22 AM »

I am so glad to see that this topic was reopened. Forgiveness has meant my survival. This is frequently talked about in our chuch by one of our pastors. I went through hell sharing my live with my exbp. Looking back, I don't know how I survived as much as I did without crumbling. It was important to forgive. I had to come to realize that I was dealing with a man who was mentally ill. Unless he realizes the err of his ways and goes into T, our relationship would have no success of survival. This is the best thing I could do, and also he didn't give me much choice. He is a sad creature. He is eaten up with his BPD illness. He doesn't admit to having any problems, but he knew deep inside that he had anger issues and other emotional problems. They are by far above and beyond me. I feel that by forgiving, it is more about moving along with our lives, We have to forgive our tressspasses as we forgive those who treapass against us. Through prayer, I have learned that I "need' to forgive them. That doesn't mean that I need to stick around and ask for more. I'm sure that if my ex had a choice he would not want to be how he is. He doesn't know how to connect the dots. I will not call him. I made my peace with his family, I sent Grandma a card and e-mailed his sister. I made my peace and told them my side of the story. I've done all I can do. I wll back off by my own chosing. The next move is theirs.

Ave

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« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2007, 05:19:52 AM »

Well- I think what Alice Miller was saying, is that WE have to work on ourselves, a LOT, to get to the point of moving on. But "moving on" is true, Ave.

The next move is theirs.

This is not moving on. When we keep expecting that the disfunctional people in our lives will have changed and have seen the light, and our love and forgiveness and generosity will have healed them, then we are continuously hoping for something that wont happen, and is bad for us.

That is secretly harboring the belief that love heals all. It goes hand in hand with the child who says "If I am only good enough, then Mommy will love me". I had a BPD mother and no matter how good I was, she couldnt love me. That set me out on a lifetime quest of trying to find how I could behave to get people to love me, giving and then giving more, turning myself into a pretzel for them, instead of being able to just be myself.
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« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2008, 10:04:38 AM »

I believe that forgiveness is the key to our emotional survial. Carrying a grievence in your heart can destroy you mentally and physically. I pray each day the Lords Prayer. Sometimes several times a day. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us."  When we can't forgive, it can make us angry and depressed. This will affect everyone and everything  around you. That's when stress related illness set in. Your body is reacting to this with as example, heart disease, migraines, In my religion we are taught that the inability to forgive, cuts us off from God. When we can frogive we are at one again with God, and can experience true peace. Forgiving doesn't always mean forgetting. I can now reflect as opposd to not forgetting. I will never forget the cruelness and emotional battering I endured from ":)." I can reflect back, and it is no longer painful. I thank God every day for delivering me from this terrible relationship. I also pray a brief prayer for him everyday that he is in a good place and getting good care. I know too tht he won't be drinking. I pray for God to grant him peace. That has helped me to heal and to experience peace.

Ave
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« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2008, 10:38:50 AM »

Even though I think I've been doing well in my Disengaging, I keep running up against this mental road block... .I still think about exBPbf, though I've gotten much better about realizing why I'm thinking about him, either because I'm filtering all the awfulness and only thinking of the sporadic good times, or whatever.  But I keep thinking about this forgiveness concept. 

I feel like I've done a lot of work to see him for who he truly is rather than the mentally healthy guy I tried to make myself believe he is. But I have this core of hurt in me which I'm having a difficult time dissolving.  I've read about forgiveness and listened to some talks about it, and I'm wondering if I can forgive him... .when I think about it, I get upset, thinking "how can I let him off the hook for all the BS he served up?"  Even though I have no plan to actually verbally tell him I forgive him... .this forgiveness stuff would truly just be for me, part of my healing.  And, I also I worry that if I can reach a point of forgiving him, I will be left feeling that I want to be with him again, having forgiven him... .

I'm confused on this subject and I'm really interested to hear what others think about this... .the concept of forgiveness, the process, your opinions... .thanks.
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« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2008, 11:26:30 AM »

Dominique,

First, congratulations on doing well in disengaging. That's a good thing. I completely relate to you on this forgiveness "thing". I, too, hit that mental roadblock, thinking there is no way she is getting off the hook, considering all the awful things she has said and done to me. I spent a lot of days agonizing over it. Like you, I felt the pain in my soul would never go away, ever. Then one day, I realized that in order for me to heal, I needed to give myself permission and let her off the hook, not for her sake but for mine. Still it was hard because that part of me that was still angry over the hurt wanted retribution. But, deep within, I knew for me to get ever closer to the peacefulness I sought - forgiveness would be key. So, first, I forgave myself for giving away my power to be me by compromising myself into absolute nothingness and beyond. This allowed my anger to dissipate. I was more angry with myself than I was ever angry with the ex. After forgiving myself, I was able to go to the next step and forgive the ex. Mind you, my forgiveness of her behavior neither grants her absolution nor does it negate my memories of how her behavior felt to me. Maya Angelou stated and I am paraphrasing here, "You can forgive a persons actions against you, but you'll never forget how they made you feel." For me that is the rub, I forgive her, but will not forget the feelings I experience as a direct result of her behavior towards me. I lost my self respect, dignity and power. I lost me. It was a horrible experience, a place that I need not ever revisit. And that keeps me from ever wanting her in my life again. I hope this is helpful.

Be well,

I was once blowinNdawind

but am now

standinfirmNmyconvictions
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« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2008, 12:07:31 PM »

I'm not in total agreement. While I don't know if I could forgive my ex's actions for any reason, the point is moot because no one, not her, her relatives, or anyone, has asked me to. I've received a lot of comiseration about what was done to me but nobody has suggested that I forgive my ex. And my ex doesn't even admit to any wrong doing so asking for forgiveness isn't something I'm expecting.

I'm not a religious man. I understand that in Christianity, you will be forgiven for your mortal sins by Christ. I think too many religious people use that as an excuse. They can behave however and all will be forgiven. Not by me, however. I am not Christ or anyone else capable or forgiving sinners. I guess just a mere mortal.

And this said on a Sunday!
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« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2008, 01:17:43 PM »

First, congratulations on making it to this stage of your healing.  You have made great strides to even fathom forgiving someone who has abused you.  Anger and grief have their place, absolutely necessary steps to get to healing, but at some point, you have to get past it.  Or you will remain stuck there.  I didn't want to remain stuck there.

According to my dictionary, paraphrased, - To forgive is to "Stop feeling angry or resentful for an offense or to cancel a debt."

To forgive is something you do, not the person you are forgiving.  It doesn't really matter if they ask or not.  Now, someone can ask for forgiveness, but, as you said, forgiving not only benefits the other person (if they've asked for forgiveness), but mostly it benefits the person forgiving, especially in the Nons case.

According to the dictionary definition, and they are both definitions I have read in several books concerning forgiveness, once you have forgiven, you no longer feel angry or resentful or offended or think about how they should make it up to you.  How can this be bad?  It only benefits us and I believe is key to completing the healing process.  You haven't healed if you are still obsessed with anger or resentment or feelings of offense.  That never made me happy, no matter who the person was or what the offense was.  When I didn't forgive (and I had a very hard time forgiving) it was like I was holding their offenses over their head saying "I will never forgive you!  I will hold this in my head as a testament to your horribleness forever!".  But who was it harming?  Only me.  The negative vibes were toxic and only made me obsess over the situation even more. 

If it is used by some as an excuse for bad behavior, that is their problem, not yours.  I definitely understand paul16's viewpoint because my exBPDbf was very religious, and he would often ask for forgiveness from God, while stating in his prayer "Lord, I know you forgive our sins, and throw them as far as the east is from the west.  Thank you for forgiving me."  And then he would turn around, and sometimes, almost immediately do the exact thing he was asking for forgiveness for.  It was ridiculous.  Also, I am sure my ex thinks (and he has said this) that I need to ask for forgiveness from him.  When I was a pile or groveling dust, he loved it.  I was 'humbling' myself... .No I wasn't!  I was a floor mat.  I was saying that it was ok for him to abuse me.  He perverted the meaning of forgiveness to suit his BPDishness. 

Forgiving is NOT reconciliation.  Reconciliation is when you can coexist in harmony.  Reconciliation is impossible in most cases of a Non-BPD break-up.  -Because in most cases they don't genuinely regret, take responsibility, make restitution, repent (never do it again), and most of the time they don't even ask for forgiveness- those are all things that a true apology consists of (The Five Languages of Apology, G. Chapman and J. Thomas) In fact, they do the exact opposite, even when trying to apologize, "I'm sorry (if they even get this far), BUT you... .:Smiling (click to insert in post)"  That's excuses and deflecting blame on to someone else. 

Then there is the old Forgive and Forget.  I can't forget-how can we; we can't erase our minds.  But what I have forgotten is my knee-jerk,

very strong obsessive emotions related to him.  They're gone.  Oh, occasionally, memories come in my mind, but I neither have extreme anger or love or feelings of missing him or the relationship.  But once I recognize that I'm even thinking about him, I can now shake it off very easily and be happy the rest of my day.  My emotional memory has forgotten how to react to him in the same way.  Forgotten to feel those things for him.  It takes awhile because your brain plays the tapes it knows until it has new tapes.  It takes while but it happens if you work at it.

For me, it came down to acceptance.  It is what it is and it was what it was.  What can I do to improve it?  I don't give it my emotional energy.  It's a mental illness that he could or couldn't change and didn't.  I don't want to be any part of it so I'm not anymore.  I stayed in the relationship when I knew it was unhealthy.  Oh well.  It happened and I'm not going to give anymore of myself to it than I absolutely have to.  I don't feel resentful towards him.  I don't feel obligated.  And I don't feel romantic 'love' anymore. 

And as blowinNdawind said, I don't forget that at one time I did have those horrible feelings, I just don't have them anymore.  And the good things?  The things that made me want him?  I recognize them for what they were.  Not love, just intense emotions and need, his and mine.  If it wasn't love, and the 'good' times were filled with anticipated misery, I don't want it.  Not any more. I filled my void with self-love.  I wish he could do that for himself.  But I'm not going to stick around to see if it happens-it won't.  Not to the extent I need to remain in the relationship.

I think the more you fill yourself with self love, the more you can forgive.  I'd like to suggest "The Mastery of Love" by Don Miguel Ruiz.  It is amazing and did a lot for me in this process. 

Take care.

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« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2008, 10:30:10 PM »

I have managed to get through a tough time and bad relationship without forgiving my exgf.

I think we must honor the past, and remember and learn from the experiences, but serve our future.

In my future I harbor no ill will towards my ex, even though she is a sociopath that inflicted much pain and suffering to innocent people. The forgiveness is me forgiving myself for allowing that to happen and not seeing it sooner and putting a stop to it.
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« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2008, 10:36:50 PM »

I loved the explanation Foiles gave.  Very insightful.

The only thing I would add - from my own perspective - is that I don't think we make a conscious choice to forgive and just decide we're going to do it.  To me, I've always thought it will be something that will just happen on it's own - when it's time.  Right now, I'm still going through some anger and resentment so I'm not at a point to forgive him as I'm still working on myself.  But I think once I've overcome those obstacles, the forgiveness will just be an automatic thing because in my mind - he will no longer have a hold on my emotions and I will be able to let it go and with that comes forgiveness.
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« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2008, 10:59:04 PM »

How about this?

Don't worry about forgiving the ex for now.  In fact, try to worry less... .try to enjoy life... .even more. 

Maybe in the future, you can decide if you want to think about forgiveness... .whether it *is* part of your healing.  My guess is... .the forgiveness thing come later, maybe at the end of healing. 

I do like the notion of forgiving ourselves.  We're human.  We make mistakes.  We choose poorly sometimes.  Its a part of life and we are just true to our human selves by screwing up now and then (fortunately, NPDs are true to themselves and never make mistakes  Smiling (click to insert in post)  ).

So... .perhaps... .you are looking ahead a bit.  The forgiveness thing... .you can decide later.  And you know now, your decision making power is getting better... .when you have more info at hand.

Stay well.
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« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2008, 12:48:53 AM »

Forgiveness was important to me.

At the time, I thought it was for her.  Looking back, I can see how it was for me.

For me, forgiving was a way of saying "you have unequivocally abused me"

Forgiving was a way of moving forward "I don't want to spend my emotions being angry at you - ruminating about it - searching for some justice"

Forgiving was acknowledgment that she is ill.  Accountable, but fighting her own demons none the less.

Forgiving was disconnecting from her world that had no forgiveness for anyone.

Forgiving fit with my beliefs.

Forgiving was not putting all the blame on her - while she was 80% of the problem, I was still 20% (example % only) and I needed to look at my part.

Many can't forgive - and I understand that too - they may have experienced greater injury or their pathway to recovery is different.

You sound as if you don't know yet.  It's OK. It will come in time.  If you do forgive you may find eventually that you have empathy for him.  You may second guess leaving.  I second guessed it many times - but each time I reasoned through "why" I gained more insight and became more comfortable with it. 

They say the opposite of love is apathy.  It's a long journey to apathy.

Hold on to yourself.

Skippy

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« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2008, 01:16:08 AM »

Antichrist keeps saying I shouldn't take all the abuse "personally". All the books say that as well.

I am sorry, I do take it personally.

Failing to "forgive" gives me the strength to remember all the hurt and sufferance of her BPD.

It helps me stay NC where/when ever possible.

It helps me ward of contact and when actually speaking to her and hearing her BS.

Forgiveness is for whatever god they worship to dish out.
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« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2008, 07:20:57 AM »

There clearly are a lot of different definitions of what forgiveness means to different people.  I definitely believe that if you are still tempted, anger holds an extremely useful purpose in keeping us away, seeing past the FOG, and recognizing that the blame they spew at us is exaggerated and not reality. 

Forgiveness for me did come as the anger and sadness dissipated.  It was the final stage for me to be able to move on and really start to enjoy my life again, I mean really enjoy it, where the clouds and birds gave me a lift just looking at them.  Where finally I had PEACE.  Where, as Skip said, I was disconnected from his 'world', emotionally.  Forgiveness didn't mean that what he did was OK, and I should second guess myself, but the only 'feelings' I had about it was that I didn't want to repeat the process.  So as much as possible, any energy I spent went to me and how I could change.   It's really hard to come to that place where you don't condone what they did, they do make life hell for others, but yet you forgive them.  It's not an easy concept.  They're sick.  But I don't feel 'sorry' for him because he could make his life better.  I forgave him, but I don't feel sorry for him. 

Kitkat, I think it can come naturally, if you let it.  Although some may not have to make forgiveness a conscious choice, I did.  Maybe it would have come naturally in the end for me, I don't know.  But I wanted to get past this crap, as soon as possible.  I could only push it so far, and realized that I had to 'work through things' and not skip steps I needed to take, but at various points, I searched for ways to forgive and in the end I could.  On the other hand, maybe if you fight it or don't want it, it won't come as quickly, or at all.  I don't want to offend anyone so I would like to say, well for some maybe it isn't important, but I can't say that because I want everyone here to be able to feel the peace and how great it is when you can forgive.  Maybe some don't use the word forgive, but in the end it turns out to be the same thing. Don't know.

This is just me, but, I know for myself, when I started dating post-BPD, I didn't want to date someone that still had intense feelings of anger for their ex, whether they were BPD or not.  The exBPDbf was angry enough!  I had had enough anger for a lifetime. I wanted someone that actively searched for peace in their life and were willing to look at things from many different angles and be open to new ways of thinking that would enhance a relationship.  For me, forgiveness is part of that. 
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« Reply #42 on: August 18, 2008, 07:36:41 AM »

Kubler-Ross named five stages of grief people go through following a serious loss. According to her "Sometimes people get stuck in one of the first four stages. Their lives can be painful until they move to the fifth stage - acceptance."  We've all seen people that are stuck - its not pretty.

But it goes on to say ":)uring grief, it is common to have many conflicting feelings. Sorrow, anger, loneliness, sadness, shame, anxiety, and guilt often accompany serious losses. Having so many strong feelings can be very stressful.

Yet denying the feelings, and failing to work through the five stages of grief, is harder on the body and mind than going through them. When people suggest "looking on the bright side," or other ways of cutting off difficult feelings, the grieving person may feel pressured to hide or deny these emotions. Then it will take longer for healing to take place."
So denying the feelings doesn't work.

There is a balance here and a process to go through to achieve it... .and it takes time.

Skippy



Kubler-Ross named five stages of grief

Denial and Isolation.

      At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.

Anger.

The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.

Bargaining.

Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"

Depression.

     

The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.

Acceptance.

     

This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.
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« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2008, 06:05:39 PM »

I believe that forgiveness is about taking your hands from around someones neck.

Whilst there is a time when forgiveness is hard  and even not appropriate for your own healing, there will also be a time and place where you cannot let your stranglehold consume your life.

Hugs

Piano xxx
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« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2008, 06:48:58 PM »

Thank you to everyone who's responded, you've all given me some excellent things to think about.

I really don't know how to handle this though I realize the answer probably is "don't" and just let it... .happen.  For me, it was four years with exBPbf, and the relationship was pretty much spot-on what is described in all the BP literature you read.  I was absolutely stunned the first time I found those descriptions and began to realize what I was really up against.

Even though I'm glad I have the insight I do, it sometimes confuses my feelings so much. I mean, I think to myself that yeah, I feel pretty awful and down and hurt at moments as I'm going through this... .but truly, that's how a BP *lives*, every day. That's the lens they view the world through, those types of feelings. And my god, that sucks. So I get caught between compassion and empathy -vs- feeling hurt that he put me through so much crap, which I do think he sometimes realized and sometimes didn't.

I feel like I'm waiting for something right now, but I don't know what.  Does anyone understand that at all?  It's like... .I understand what "it" was now, he and I, but I can't "order" it in my mind somehow. I both can and cannot understand why someone would behave as he does and yet I realize understanding has very little to do with a BP's world. I think being with me was just as painful for him and being with him was for me.  I love logic and understanding and self-improving pursuits like exercise and eating well... .all of that was killing him inside, I think, a constant indictment of him to himself vis a vis me and who I try to be in life. One of the clearest things he ever said to me was that he felt I was trying to make him into someone he isn't. My answer was that I wanted him to be healthy and who wouldn't want that? Indeed, that may be exactly the point.

So I think forgiveness is healthy. But right now it's eluding me. Maybe someday, I hope. Writing this might've gotten me closer to it though.



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« Reply #45 on: August 18, 2008, 09:01:42 PM »

Excerpt
but I can't "order" it in my mind somehow

I'm not sure what you are waiting for... .  Are you still waiting for logic?  For order? 

They are disordered.  - order vs. disorder.  Their thinking lacks order.  So how can we find it when it's not there?   And they twist what little is ordered to make it fit what they perceive to be their needs.  They have faulty reasoning abilities because it is clouded with so much emotion.  They stretch reality to fit the facts to the emotion rather than the emotion to the facts.  They don't have regular emotions or the ability to think through them.  It justs builds on itself, not what is actually happening.   Emotional disregulation. 

Puzzle pieces that they break to fit, leaving unused leftovers, or put two wrong ones side by side leaving gaps between them.  "See, this fits!" and they ignore the parts they have broken off and the gaps.  When we say "Look, there are broken pieces you haven't used and gaps in-between the others."  They just use emotion back-get mad because we tried to point out the errors in reasoning.  They just feel we 'ruined' their puzzle.  And just try to force others in. 

Maybe you're waiting until you can just come to acceptance of the disorder.  It was very difficult for me.  I think i happened when I just didn't care anymore. 

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« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2008, 02:23:54 AM »

I just discovered this site this evening. I had a horribly painful break-up with a BPDexgf that lasted over 5 months (before I had ever heard of "re-engaging". I just wanted to say how AMAZING it is to learn that there are other people out there who understand what I went through. My family, as supportive as they were, couldn't quite understand what I was going through and how horrible it was.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart
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« Reply #47 on: August 19, 2008, 03:11:33 AM »

dominique, you have gotten some excellent thought provokers here and the only thing I can add is maybe some of the issue is can you forgive yourself? I know part of what used to get under me was the anger I had at myself for letting my partner do what she did to me and that I let her do it for so long. Forgiving myself for what I let happen to myself helped a lot getting towards acceptance of the whole 9 yards.
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« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2008, 09:26:44 AM »

Hmmm.

I think I haven't forgiven myself, no.  Because looking back, I realize that a lot of the reason that I kept getting back into it with him despite his behavior was how afraid I was that maybe he was the "best" and that I'd be giving up on what seemed like the potential for great passion (sounds kind of lame but exBPbf did use the "we fight because of the passion" line once).  I'm mad at myself for all the chances I gave the relationship, all the hope I put into it, all the times I got so incredibly upset and my friends and family were in the position of thinking "here she goes again" because they saw him for what he is, basically.

Foiles, I keep re-reading your posts. You mention forgetting the strong obsessive emotions. It took me a long time to admit to myself that that is exactly what they are. I hate that I have them, it makes me feel like there is something wrong with me. I think I've gotten better about it though. Because like you said, I have definite moments now when I'm just so sick of it all that I don't want to think about it.

I think about all of this because I really, really don't want to bring it with me into a new relationship, someday.  And I do want a new relationship, though I admit I get scared about when or how that will ever happen.  I think I'm capable of a really good relationship and it's frustrating to feel that this potential was so wasted on BP.

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« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2008, 11:57:34 AM »

Genuine forgiveness can only come once a person has healed. If they have healed following abuse on any level then forgiveness shouldnt be required because we should be able to understand that the abusers are mentally ill and they wouldnt understand anyway! Forgiveness in this instance must be about ourselves as pointed out by others here. I agree with them - I think.  ?

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« Reply #50 on: August 19, 2008, 02:16:09 PM »

Hi all,

There are a lot of great posts here.  I think this is a crucial issue in our recovery as nons.  Here are my 2 bits on the topic.

I was desperate to forgive my xuBPDgf.  Probably because I was desperate to be over the whole ordeal.  It was done, and I wanted to be done with it and move on.  In fact, I recall leaving her a voice mail telling her "I forgive you."  Which was quite silly in retrospect because it wasn't until many months or over a year after that that I felt the full breadth of my hatred and anger towards her.

Then I realized I was in no position to forgive her.  I think part of the reason why it took so long was I was in such denial about how much she had hurt me, and how much I had injured myself by allowing her to hurt me.  Anger and hatred were a response to the pain.  There were many, many occasions during the relationships when I SHOULD have been angry and hurt but denied it.  And so that pain was only deferred until I was ready to face it.  And that pain eventually taught me how I should never allow myself to be neglected as such again.

And I think when I finally got to a point when I could trust myself to not allow that to happen again, then I began to forgive myself; because without that pain as a reminder, I could have very easily returned to a similar situation although with different people.  And after forgiving myself, I felt I could let go of the anger because I didn't need it anymore; and to hold on to it past that point would just hurt me.

I don't think my xuBPDgf has ever or will ever care if I forgive her or not.  She probably cannot grasp the idea anymore than she can love, or trust.  Her mental illness precludes her from these reflections.  The forgiveness is for myself.  And after that apathy is within grasp.  And apathy towards your exBPD is probably the best goal IMHO.

Schwing
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« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2008, 04:03:06 PM »

I would echo others here as well in that "forgiveness" suggests some slight has been done to you.

Forgiving ourselves is important because deep down we knew better, despite all of the reasons we chose to subject ourselves to it, we knew it was wrong.

To forgive them means to give them more credit then they deserve.
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« Reply #52 on: August 19, 2008, 04:51:06 PM »

I would echo others here as well in that "forgiveness" suggests some slight has been done to you.

Forgiving ourselves is important because deep down we knew better, despite all of the reasons we chose to subject ourselves to it, we knew it was wrong.

To forgive them means to give them more credit then they deserve.

top marks for that reply.

we subjected ourselves to there bs

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« Reply #53 on: August 19, 2008, 04:59:10 PM »

I feel as though I HAVE forgiven him, but he hasn't forgiven me! And I did nothing wrong. I assume that he did not forgive me for leaving, but I am coming to the conclusion that his forgiveness will never come, being part of the syndrome. He has painted me black.

But you are right: once we feel forgiveness, it helps us, inside.

But even when we do reach the point of forgiveness for real infractions, they won't forgive us for imagined ones.
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« Reply #54 on: August 20, 2008, 02:20:00 AM »



"One forgives to the degree that one loves"
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« Reply #55 on: August 20, 2008, 10:13:38 AM »

What I've learned is that I can't forgive my husband for one of many things that he's done.  The moment that he put his hand up to hit me is the unforgivable act.  Most of the other things I can put behind me, but this one thing angered me so much and hurt me so much that I just can't, and I'm not willing, to forgive.
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« Reply #56 on: August 20, 2008, 12:13:33 PM »

If you "forgive" them doesn't that open a door for them? Mine did things that are unforgivable and she won't take ownership of any of them. They were all something or somebody else's fault.
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« Reply #57 on: August 20, 2008, 04:13:06 PM »

Forgiving them doesn't mean you have to express it to them directly but for your own solitude of feelings.
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« Reply #58 on: August 20, 2008, 05:08:01 PM »

Speaking for myself, I would find no comfort or solitude in forgiving the unforgivable. It wouldn't matter who it was expressed to.

Divine I'm not. Sue me.
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« Reply #59 on: August 20, 2008, 09:01:24 PM »

I think I have forgiven him as a way to free me up from any lingering strong feelings. He never hit me, so I don't know what I would do regarding that: he just did the usual screaming, cursing, raging, silent treatment, make dates and not show up, accuse me of every possible wrongdoing, demean me, correct me, insult me, etc...

I mentioned the irony that he is angry/not-forgiving of me, yet I did not do anything bad to him. So I figure that THAT is the difference between being bp and not--I am, reasonably, mentally healthy and he is seriously disturbed.

I can understand how, if the bp did really bad things to you, that you would not forgive him/her. But I think I read somewhere that forgiving helps you to move past stuff.

I had to forgive myself for allowing myself to get into the relationship, despite the countless red flags. That forgiving was as difficult as forgiving him was! I lost another, very loving, RICH guy by choosing to go with the BPD guy, besides losing some respect from my adult children.

So, yeah, forgiving is important, in several directions.     8)


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« Reply #60 on: August 20, 2008, 11:25:43 PM »

I forgive myself for allowing myself to be victimized. I also learned how to avoid becoming victimized like that in the future.

For those that victimize; they need to find a way to forgive themselves before they can be forgiven as well.
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« Reply #61 on: August 21, 2008, 01:13:41 AM »

I forgive myself for allowing myself to be victimized. I also learned how to avoid becoming victimized like that in the future.  For those that victimize; they need to find a way to forgive themselves before they can be forgiven as well.

Preciously!  Well Stated!  I believe everything in life is mine, my creation, if it is in my life it is for me to handle and resolve.   If you see it, it is yours!   Bitterness vs Forgiveness, My bitterness lessons when I achieve more understandings.  Guilty by association!  I FORGIVE MYSELF! TIME TO CREATE!  xoxo
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« Reply #62 on: August 21, 2008, 01:28:19 AM »

Even though I think I've been doing well in my Disengaging, I keep running up against this mental road block... .I still think about exBPbf, though I've gotten much better about realizing why I'm thinking about him, either because I'm filtering all the awfulness and only thinking of the sporadic good times, or whatever.  But I keep thinking about this forgiveness concept. 

I feel like I've done a lot of work to see him for who he truly is rather than the mentally healthy guy I tried to make myself believe he is. But I have this core of hurt in me which I'm having a difficult time dissolving.  I've read about forgiveness and listened to some talks about it, and I'm wondering if I can forgive him... .when I think about it, I get upset, thinking "how can I let him off the hook for all the BS he served up?"  Even though I have no plan to actually verbally tell him I forgive him... .this forgiveness stuff would truly just be for me, part of my healing.  And, I also I worry that if I can reach a point of forgiving him, I will be left feeling that I want to be with him again, having forgiven him... .

I'm confused on this subject and I'm really interested to hear what others think about this... .the concept of forgiveness, the process, your opinions... .thanks.

My advice is to refrain from so much of the obsessive "processing" stuff. I've found that it can really get to be a trap in its own right. Sometimes, IMO, psychotherapy culture gets things a little backwards, and that's precisely why I chose not to go that route in dealing with the things my ex put me through. Sometimes, it's best to just force yourself to forget about it and go focus on moving on. Too much "processing" can quickly become neurosis and/or navel-gazing self-absorption. I'm not calling you or your feelings that; I'm just saying that it can be an unintended consequence. Force yourself to be about other things in your life right now, and you'll be amazed one day to find that you're mostly over the wake of that crazy relationship.
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« Reply #63 on: August 21, 2008, 09:30:35 AM »

I have learned the hard way that I process until my spirit starts to sink.

At that point I shut it down and go on with life. 

I used to process Boulders and today I process pebbels. 

Life can bring us more than we can handle why add to it,

life is stressful enough!    :-*
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« Reply #64 on: August 21, 2008, 10:09:44 AM »

My advice is to refrain from so much of the obsessive "processing" stuff. I've found that it can really get to be a trap in its own right... .Force yourself to be about other things in your life right now, and you'll be amazed one day to find that you're mostly over the wake of that crazy relationship.

This is pretty much the conclusion I'm arriving at... .three weeks ago I decided to train to run a marathon in January 2009 (to "be about" other things in life) and I think the training, with a team of runners, is helping.  I never thought I'd run a marathon (I've mostly just been a recreational runner) but my rational is exBPbf put me through an emotional and psychological marathon so I might as well run a physical marathon. Makes sense to me anyway.

It's so interesting to read everyone's thoughts on this subject. I think the one thing that's clear is that forgiveness is a really personal thing. I'm sure my thoughts and feelings will evolve on the subject... .in a few months it will be interesting to see where I am on it, and the rest of you as well who are currently less than 6 mos out of the relationship with your BPs, for whom this subject might still be more fresh on your mind than others, perhaps.
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« Reply #65 on: August 21, 2008, 12:50:13 PM »



A Samurai warrior approached a Master and requested an explanation of the concepts of heaven and hell. The Master replied that the life of a warrior was such that concepts of a higher knowledge was something he would never be capable of.  The insult caused such anger, the Samurai rose up, drew his sword, fully intending a death blow.  The Master calmly stated, "That is Hell".  Stunned, the Samurai dropped his sword to the ground, bowed, in genuine humility asked for forgiveness.  The Master quietly replied, "That is Heaven".     

I will choose forgiveness as my path.  Twentyfive years ago I went through abuse and took the entire trip.  I know after acceptance is forgiveness.  Then I will be done.  All the power that this experience has to inflict pain and confusion will be replaced with the power of wisdom to guide me.  This experience will become part of my reference library.  Knowledge from pain and sacrifice.  Sounds like human history.

I can't do it right now.  The wounds are to fresh.  I am sure there are more to come.  Bizarre court room drama with argument and lies.  Things no non would like.  So I am ready, with a ton of help from this place. 

In the end I will forgive me for going to sleep on the job of my life.  I own that.  I will forgive my accomplice.  She is ill.  I will be the person I want to be when I can bump into her crazy ass at the grocery store and say HI with a smile and wish her well.  For those invested in retribution there is no better form.  For those who seek peace, there it is.

I am very lucky to have friends who insist I am to big of a person to do anything else.  I wish the road was shorter and not so bumpy.

So who do you want to be when you show up in any relationship? 
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« Reply #66 on: August 21, 2008, 06:18:47 PM »

We have a Workshop on "Forgiveness":   https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=58084.0;all

I will merge this thread into that workshop in a few days.   
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« Reply #67 on: August 21, 2008, 06:19:46 PM »

A current thread with great thoughts and discussion:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=79349.0;all
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« Reply #68 on: August 21, 2008, 07:24:29 PM »

I am Christian.  I have forgiven her for everything.

My wife has a mental illness.  As Christ said (paraphrasing), she knows not what she does.

That does NOT mean I have forgotten all the crap she did to me, and the ultimate barrier I had to erect to stop her (I left.)
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« Reply #69 on: August 21, 2008, 09:45:59 PM »

Reading through this thread, the insightful posts, and, thank you JohannaK, the workshop on forgiveness that you linked, has led me to a feeling that maybe some of the reasons I have forgiven is... .

1. My experience with my exBPDbf was a gift.  A gift that has led me to a much, much, much, much better place mentally, emotionally and spiritually, than where I was at before I even met my ex.  I might have been doomed to the life I was leading or a longer time with it, and many more mistakes, if not for the seriousness of this situation, which demanded that 'I' change NOW, not sometime in the future, or when I 'want' to face my own demons, but NOW.  Who knows what would have happened if not for the extremity of the BPD relationship.  There are so many things that became clear to me, over time, and still as time goes on, because of what happened.  I don't condone what happened, but my life and personal relationships are so great now. So peaceful.  So wonderful.  I never had that before.  So although I don't feel what happend is ok, or that I want him in any way, I am thankful for that aspect.  How can I harbor unforgiveness when  I am so happy now?

2. I have not been a perfect person, that is for sure.  I have made many many mistakes in my life.  Whether they were as bad as my exBPDbf is debatable, but nevertheless, I have hurt other people in my life.  If I want forgiveness (I don't 'expect' forgiveness), but if I would like them to forgive me, how can I not be forgiving.  Not condoning, not wanting him back or even in my life, but forgiving.  It's over.  Time for me to move on, emotionally and mentally.  No ill will.  Wanting the best for him and anyone he comes in contact with.  And that's it. 
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« Reply #70 on: August 22, 2008, 06:46:31 AM »

Dear Foiles,

This is a fact of my human condition ... .I need to be forgiven.  Some would say we all do.  It has been my experience that you get what you give.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.  All the epic Mount Everest journeys in life.  Better than digging a hole.  I am setting no conditions on loving life or those who I have encountered along the way.  I have a limited capacity to be around some people and that is my problem to deal with.  I am the most difficult person in my life.  I am so busy trying to make myself behave and do my best, there is no room for  grudges and making other people do what I want.  So I know what I must do.  I will become the new and improved version of me.  That cannot be accomplished through negative emotion.  We all create in the positive or in the negative.  We must choose.  Hate and grudges speak about the hater and the person holding the grudge much more than the target of them.  The world of dark brooding  shadow.  The world of forgiveness and compassion is full of light.  Growing things do not don well in dark places.     
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« Reply #71 on: August 22, 2008, 07:13:06 AM »

It has been my experience that you get what you give. 

I believe this to be true in the context of exchange between two mentally healthy individuals.(for the most part)

This thread is about forgiveness. I still can't get my head around the idea that someone has "willfully" wronged us or that we have "willfully" wronged ourselves.

Sometimes it is simply a case of people having different sized central processing units. Figuratively speaking if one strikes us we are to turn the other cheek. The whole concept of that is to imply that the person doing the striking has a conscious notion of what they've done in the first place.

If we remove the romanticism from the idea of forgiveness we are left with a simple fact. We eventually come to the realization that with some people the giving never is reciprocated or appreciated and it is a condition without equalibrium or balance. Nothing to forgive, it just isn't a win/win situation. It can't survive.
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« Reply #72 on: August 22, 2008, 08:52:11 AM »

Excerpt
Quote from: challenged on Today at 06:46:31 AM

It has been my experience that you get what you give.

Excerpt
Quote from: ozzy at 6:46:31 AM

I believe this to be true in the context of exchange between two mentally healthy individuals.(for the most part)I still can't get my head around the idea that someone has "willfully" wronged us or that we have "willfully" wronged ourselves.

I see what you mean with the BPD, ozzy; you can give to the BPD until you are blue in the face and the same forgiveness isn't returned. 

But in a general sense, when I applied it to all aspects of my life, the idea of getting what you give has worked for me.  Forgiveness, to me, is just one part of a life filled with positive energy.  I see it in my classroom.  When I come into the class upbeat and positive, my students respond in kind, and the opposite is true. 

I believe that the forgiveness really starts with yourself, and once that happens; well, if I can forgive myself for the things I've done, and hope for forgiveness for me from others, I just naturally feel more forgiving myself.  Part of that means turning the other cheek.  I've probably done worse things than what the other person has done at some point in my life.  But it also means I don't feel the need to punish myself and stand there while the person continues to slap me.  That is a problem they have that I can't fix.  But I'm learning to fix myself and to stop standing there.  I can forgive them but I've also forgiven myself enough that I don't feel the need to be punished anymore, by myself for standing there or by them for slapping me. 

Before the BPD, I was ignorant of forgiveness.  I knew about it obviously, but what did it really mean?  I guess in a vague way I felt it meant I wasn't mad at them anymore, I didn't care about them.  But there was still an underlying resentment of which I was only semi-conscious.  It pervaded so many areas of my life.  I lived an unaware life.  I think BPDs live an unaware life.  They are so wrapped up in negative emotions there is no room for anything else.  Do they willfully wrong us?  I think sometimes no and sometimes yes.  My exBPDbf said a few times that he had done x or said y because he was so hurt that he wanted to hurt me back. 

How could I forgive all of that?  I stopped obsessing about specifics.  He said this horribly hurtful thing or he did that horribly hurtful thing. I used to argue endlessly with him, in my head, about this or that.  Then I just tried to take in the big picture of the mental illness.  NOT that I condoned his actions or stayed (I don't believe that anything he does will ever get it completely under control).  But it really is sad and scary.  To live that kind of a life forever?  Horrible. 

I have done things, to myself or others, that I KNEW were wrong.  But other 'forces' or whatever you want to call them, in myself, allowed me to do them.  I'm trying to get a handle on those 'forces'.  Some I have, some I haven't. 


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« Reply #73 on: August 22, 2008, 09:07:20 AM »

I believe forgiveness to be an essential human virtue. We need to find the ability to forgive in order to be forgiven. I understand this, however I am just attempting to make the point that I do not see the connection between this virtue and how it applies to mental illness.

If a 6 year old child calls you names does it require forgivness on your part or just a heightened understanding and level of maturity to see it for what it is. We are all created equal "spiritually", but one cannot argue that mentally we are not all lateral due to varying circumstances. Age, mental health etc... .

To say "Forgive them for they know not what they do" to me is not condusive to the actual act of forgivness. How about forgiving those who know what they do is wrong but do it anyway. That is the true test of character and forgivness.

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« Reply #74 on: August 22, 2008, 10:19:35 AM »

If we remove the romanticism from the idea of forgiveness we are left with a simple fact. We eventually come to the realization that with some people the giving never is reciprocated or appreciated and it is a condition without equalibrium or balance. Nothing to forgive, it just isn't a win/win situation. It can't survive.[/quote]
  This is true Ozzy. 

Yesterday I was with 6 people who know my spouse and myself.  They have seen what I have gone through for years.  As my spouse tries to get people to hate,  I talk about struggling to forgive and my own mistakes.  She talks about an ORDER FOR PROTECTION and I talk about how frightened she must be.  Everyone of those people say, "We are with you, Mark".  "Anything we can do Mark, just ask".  I ask them to be kind.  She is out to get me - thinking she is protecting herself - she won't hurt you.  She is a scared little kid like all the rest of us.  She just doesn't know it yet.  The first time I expressed in the negative a very precious friend said, "You are a much bigger person than this.  You can rise above this and I expect you to start now.  You can't act like her in front of me, and expect me to remain quiet.  I have known you for to long."  I love that friend.  I am not saying my benevolence will be recognized by my SO.  That is not realistic and I don't need that.   It is recognized by me and the authentic friends I have.  My efforts at being decent, moral, sane, are being reflected back at me.  It helps more than the adrenaline of anger and resentment.     

Eventually this will be over and I will no longer struggle with her.  She will be a memory.  A moment in the past not forgotten, forgiven.  Next journey please.  
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« Reply #75 on: August 22, 2008, 12:11:14 PM »



Well written article that touches on issues we have here with friends & family and forgiveness (or not).

www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/08/22/lw.forgiveness/index.html

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« Reply #76 on: August 22, 2008, 12:56:07 PM »

Thanks for that OY... .Since there has been an ongoing thread about this I've really started to ponder this subject as it relates to the people in my life... .

My parents - a horrid childhood, but, I suppose I have forgiven them for it... .they are who they are and they are not going to change, but, I limit the time I am around them.

DB - I spent alot of time being really really angry with him, angry with the illness, angry with myself for having tolorated as much as I did for as long as I did... .Now, I've reached more of a point of apathy with him, he's still an annoyance with the re-engagements and now trying to get back into the lives of mutual friends who he had isolated over the last bunch of years... .now that he has run his usual course with the new group of friends. 

Do I forgive him?  Well, again... .he is who he is and he's not going to change... .he hurt me and my children, damaged my self esteem, left me heartbroken, in debt and a shell of the person I once was... .but, continuing to be angry at him is not going to do me any good, it will not change anything... .the only thing it will do is keep me stuck.  So, yes... .

BUT, I will not allow him in my life, I will not ever give him the opportunity to have any further negative effect on me... .he does not deserve my friendship or even civility from me, nor will he get it.

As many have said, forgiveness is more about us than it is about those who have hurt us... .

Forgiving myself was much harder because I expect more from myself than I do from others, I thought I was smarter, more savvy, stronger than the person who did tolorate so much.  I allowed myself, my kids, my life to be controlled by a madman... .yeah, forgiving me was a much harder place to get to... .but, I think I am there now... .
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« Reply #77 on: August 22, 2008, 01:34:58 PM »



I have a problem with the entire concept of forgiveness.  To me, forgiveness is something that we as humans are not empowered to give.  In my eyes, forgiveness takes the form of assuming a position of a higher moral ground and bestowing it upon the peons surrounding us - as a king might do to his subjects.  I am speaking only in terms of one adult to another.  Yes, the behavior of a BPD parent toward a child is likely abominable, but still, why does the child (even as an adult) have to forgive the parent?  The parent should be held responsible for that behavior; forgiveness does nothing to help the parent see the light of good mental health.

What are we forgiving?  Do you forgive someone for being who they are?  Who am I to judge that person?  Who am I to say "your behavior is unacceptable, but I forgive you" ?  That makes me "better than" the other person and frankly I'm not comfortable with having that kind of ego. 

We, the wronged (again, speaking as an adult), have the opportunity at any moment to walk away and save ourselves.  It is OUR behavior that we must hold accountable to ourselves - staying and allowing ourselves to be abused OR walking away and turning our back on the abuse.  If we walk away, what is there to forgive?  If we stay, who is responsible for staying and taking it?

Help me out here - maybe I need to not see it from the perspective of BPD.  Is there a different scenario where forgiveness is not looked at in the same context as I'm perceiving it either in the article I shared or in our lives?

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« Reply #78 on: August 22, 2008, 02:11:12 PM »

I'm the wrong one to ask, Oy.

I figure if the person cared in the first place, then he/she wouldn't have done the offending behavior... .so why should I forgive them?

An example: My Mom stopped talking to me again after she had visted me and the ex in Az. when we were still dating. She left, saying behind my back, of course, she didn't like the way she was treated by us. But we had been perfectly cordial and whatnot, so I didn't see the point in apologizing for stuff we didn't do. OK... .a year and a half later, no contact, but I send her a wedding invite. She didnot come, because (as she says) she was busy.  And THIS I am going to forgive, on top of the fact that years later she knew I was in the fight for my life in the divorce and she STILL didn't contact me? C'mon.

To me forgiveness rings hollow when it falls on deaf ears, and I am just not one to supplicate myself to an inconsiderate emotional abuser AND have my forgiveness go unacknowledged. Sorry... .I have just a little more pride than that.

--J
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« Reply #79 on: August 22, 2008, 02:22:52 PM »

Forgiveness... .an odd concept I agree and does ring of some greater than thou tones... .

Forgiveness is the mental and/or spiritual process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger against another person for an actual or perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.

I will never get restituion for all that has been done... .nor can I let the continued anger against him control me... .I can forgive for my own sake, but, I will not forget nor open myself up to further hurt... .will my lack of forgiveness change my parents or what they did, will it give DB some major epiphany about his behavior and change anything... no of course not... .nothing can change what has been done, I can only change how I move forward and away from that.

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« Reply #80 on: August 22, 2008, 03:49:57 PM »

Your desire to forgive is enough.

So many people here posting ,including myself, have been so terribly hurt, mistreated and abused. It is absolutely OK to feels those waves of anger and frustration at such vicitmization. Whilst this process is happening, not only have we not fully healed but it may be an indicator that forgiveness is beyond our grasp... .for now.We may also think we have forgiven and then anger... .all of a sudden, when we often don't expect it,will surge up and we feel pain.

I think it will take time.

All we need to do is hold onto the willingness... .at whatever point and not expect too much of ourselves.

That process is for us. Our healing. Our own private letting go and releasing. It need not be said but carried deep in our soul.

I am not ready to forgive yet. I am ready to be willing. I am more than ready to completely heal and the rest will, in time, follow. I wish these things for us all.

Hugs

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« Reply #81 on: August 22, 2008, 05:21:02 PM »

Forgiveness for nons encompasses many different aspects, and doesn't fall into the normal forgiveness category that we would deal with in everyday people and their wrongdoings. Forgiveness, unless we are in the proper stages of healing can be very dangerous to our vulnerability in going back to the BP, after all if we didn't spend the majority of our time forgiving them over and over again during the time they were there, then most of us wouldn't be on this board now!

One of my first therapy sessions after my break-up with my BPGF, the counselor mentioned compassion, and explained that she is suffering too- that got me so angry I almost stopped going back to him, but then I thought about it. The BP's have a mental illness that they cannot control, I didn't date my ex, I dated her disease- and everyone here did too. The good times in the beginning-the honeymoon period, think about it, that was no different then the bad times. In reality the good times, great sex, idolization, etc. That wasn't the real them-that was evil too-that was the brainwashing that trapped us in to stay for the abuse. Most of the time I was with her, I was a lot more frustrated with myself for allowing someone to abuse me like they did, so first we must learn to forgive ourselves, and realize that if we knew everything all of us here on the boards know of course we wouldn't have been with our BP's! Second of all, once we understand that it is a mental illness and not intentional evil, it is easier to sort out our emotions. Do they suffer more in the long run? Of course they do, that is why its called "Self destructive behavior" we might be hurt by their cheating, but it costs them their partners stability, trust, and unconditional love. My ex would spend uncontrollably, now her credit is destroyed, when the money ran out she wrote bad checks, now she can't get a bank account, or anything else that requires any type of credit-so she is suffering in that way-having to use check cashing services and no bank to keep her money in, using money orders instead of checks, and having to use a prepaid cell phone. She didn't pay her car insurance, ultimately her license and registration will be suspended and she will eventually end up arrested, no license, no car,  means no work so the cycle continues. Yeah she moved onto a new guy, and is enjoying the honeymoon period with someone new-by all accounts she seems much happier than me right now, but we all know that period will end and the BP will surface, another relationship ends due to her illness, but I have the hope of having one solid lasting relationship while she will suffer through many.

So when I start to depersonalize the abuse, I realize the forgiveness comes from understanding the disease, but there is truly no person to forgive- we dated their disease, the BP has taken over their soul, we don't know who they are, becauase they don't know who their selves are-which is part of the DSM criteria, so how are we to forgive a person we never met, for us nons the term forgiveness should be replaced with understanding or depersonalization. Yes I can be mad at the cheating and damage, and the part that was worse than the abuse was not allowimng me to leave, but no I realize that with a BP relationship the forgiveness is for ourselves, and the understanding is towards their disease which they didn't choose to have, and suffer in their own way.
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« Reply #82 on: August 22, 2008, 08:28:12 PM »

One of my first therapy sessions after my break-up with my BPGF, the counselor mentioned compassion, and explained that she is suffering too- that got me so angry I almost stopped going back to him, but then I thought about it. The BP's have a mental illness that they cannot control, I didn't date my ex, I dated her disease- and everyone here did too. The good times in the beginning-the honeymoon period, think about it, that was no different then the bad times. In reality the good times, great sex, idolization, etc. That wasn't the real them-that was evil too-that was the brainwashing that trapped us in to stay for the abuse. Most of the time I was with her, I was a lot more frustrated with myself for allowing someone to abuse me like they did, so first we must learn to forgive ourselves, and realize that if we knew everything all of us here on the boards know of course we wouldn't have been with our BP's!

I really like this... .I *did* date his disease, you're right.  And you're also right, the good times were made of the same material as the bad, it was all a part of the "trap."  In saying this, I absolutely do not absolve myself of my choice to enter the relationship or to try to sustain it.  I'm beginning to think it was something I had to experience, being ensnared in his world for that time... .this post really strikes a chord for me, I hope it does for others as well.
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« Reply #83 on: August 22, 2008, 08:51:41 PM »

So when I start to depersonalize the abuse, I realize the forgiveness comes from understanding the disease, but there is truly no person to forgive- we dated their disease, the BP has taken over their soul, we don't know who they are, becauase they don't know who their selves are-which is part of the DSM criteria, so how are we to forgive a person we never met, for us nons the term forgiveness should be replaced with understanding or depersonalization. Yes I can be mad at the cheating and damage, and the part that was worse than the abuse was not allowimng me to leave, but no I realize that with a BP relationship the forgiveness is for ourselves, and the understanding is towards their disease which they didn't choose to have, and suffer in their own way.

577, that is a great insight and fundamental in making acceptance in what happened and granting ourselves the ability to move on with our lives. We may think of them as children in an adults body but the wait for them to grow up could consume a lifetime. It is all important that they didn't volunteer to have the disorder just as much as I wouldn't volunteer to have cancer so forgiveness and understanding is easier to grant.
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« Reply #84 on: August 22, 2008, 10:18:04 PM »

Yes, and to really comprehend depersonalization, think about the fact that we all have in common in our lives people with a disorder, but we didn't all have the same person in common. That is why when you hear the stories on these boards, and they are all basically similiar, some more severe than others-however the premise is the same. Good point LAPDR about the child being trapped in adults body. Quite often I would literally feel as if I was dealing with a young child, rather than a grown adult. Sure they're bodies can do adult things like work, drive, have sex, and pay bills- but the adult responsibility that comes with those actions are when they seem to clash. I would notice my EXBPGF would over react so dramatically to such trivial things in hysterics, and I would think to myself "You wish you had problems", only when I fully learned the dynamics of BP did it make sense.
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« Reply #85 on: August 23, 2008, 07:52:52 AM »

"The term forgiveness should be replaced with understanding or depersonalization." Quote from 577

I think I was stumbling around this idea.  Very useful distinction.  There is no need to forgive a disease.  Thanks 
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« Reply #86 on: August 23, 2008, 09:47:13 AM »

With all the facts, there is part of me that says:

Oh it will/can be different!  Hmmm

Not sure where that comes from, It is a lie my idealistic side hums out!

It is good today with my new life and not being verbally screamed at and assulted no emotional abuse and neglect, no caretaking going on : )

ALL MY PAST GIRLFIENDS AND ASSHOLE FOLKS IN MY LIFE ARE FORGIVEN! AMEN!

I am throwing a Huge party today with 50+ folks many new to me... .

See ya tomorrow         Smiling (click to insert in post)  Smiling (click to insert in post)  8)  Smiling (click to insert in post)        
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« Reply #87 on: August 23, 2008, 09:49:50 AM »

I have no problem "forgiving" scumbag if he's out of the picture.  I realize that he's ill, and I have no trouble seeing that he's miserable, scared, and on some deep level, knows that he's mentally ill.  He knows that people who know him well aren't going to like him, and he lives with this fear constantly.

Poor guy.  Problem is, he's never been OUT of the picture.  11 years after I left him, he is still a constant in my life and in our son's life, destroying everything we try to build.

I hate his guts.  I wish he was dead.  I'd dance on his grave.
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« Reply #88 on: August 23, 2008, 10:03:30 AM »



"The term forgiveness should be replaced with understanding or depersonalization." Quote from 577

I think I was stumbling around this idea.  Very useful distinction.  There is no need to forgive a disease.  Thanks, for the encouragement to devalue my former partner to the point where she is no longer a person with an illness.  She is a disease.  Idealization followed by demonizing.  Sounds familiar.  Don't take this personally but I think that is a bunch of cold hearted crap.  Great for reality TV of the "you're fired" style. 

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« Reply #89 on: August 23, 2008, 12:19:17 PM »

forgiveness


forgiveness to me signifies the end of conflict, a done deal.

although with the unbtreated/undiagnosed BPD's in our lives, to it seems like giving them forgiveness is the same as permission for them to do the same thing again.

they also dont seem to grasp the subtleties of the term 'sorry' which to most people means 'wow, i will try really hard to not do that again' but to the BPD it's like the clue to an action they can do to needle you, i.e. 'she/he made me apologize for this behavior... .therefore it must really bother them and i will be able to use this as an additional weapon against them'

for me, when i think about forgiveness, i think about forgiving myself for the heartache my own actions caused me over the course of this journey, also acceptance of what my role was in the drama.  i am still in the process of doing this. 

will i ever forgive my BPD?

not per se.  seeing as they dont think they are in the wrong what would the point be?

a very thought provoking thread. 
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« Reply #90 on: August 23, 2008, 02:46:40 PM »

Forgiveness... understanding... .pieces of the puzzle... .

I have forgiveness, understanding, and am now putting the pieces of the puzzle back together... .

but I can't remain mad... .I ignored the red flags each time and ultimately, paid a price... .

I guess that's why they're red and we have "gut"

Now I clearly forgive myself and am working on me... .
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« Reply #91 on: August 23, 2008, 04:52:49 PM »

 I do see forgivness as a major step to getting over ones experience with a xBPD/NPD.

The problem here is watching both sons get a black mist constantly and out to destrou Me.

Forgiving while those you care about and youreself are in a on going struggle to rebuild our lives is not wise .

Being naive and trusting xBPD/NPDx has proven costly to all.

To forgive in no ,see a sick invidual
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« Reply #92 on: August 23, 2008, 06:50:56 PM »

I still feel that I, mostly, have to forgive myself. Here is why. I was either so needy, or so clueless, that I allowed myself to believe that this darling man (he was, at first, aren't they?), would meet me, immediately feel that I was the "one he had waited for, forever (this guy was 59 and had never been married, yet he was financially very secure, very attractive, etc.  red flag red flag), ask me to move in with him, start planning our future together, take me to his homes, etc., very quickly. He made me feel like a queen, gave me flowers every time we were together, would set up the bathroom with candles, music, water, munchies, and bring in foods of all kinds. I didn't have to do anything except BE.

Shouldn't I have known/realized that it, love, a relationship, something meaningful, is NOT like that? One person doesn't just start adoring another and welcome that person into his life, forever, so fast! He did not KNOW me (I found out later that he didn't want to know me, either). But I fell, hook, line and sinker.

When it seems too good to be true... .Yup!

When the raging, criticisms, silent treatment (for asking him to please NOT curse at me and call me demeaning names), and all of the rest started, I should have headed for the hills. But I was too enamored of that early period, and I stayed, off and on, for months of more abuse.

That's what I mean about forgiving myself. We nons need to develop more skepticism early in a relationship, even before it becomes a relationship. If we get over-involved so fast, we should have a sixth sense that tells us to turn on the brakes. But we don't. We liked the whirlwind joy that came so fast because we liked being caught up in the illusion.

We let ourselves be "ripe for the picking" and they picked us.

So, yeah, I have to forgive myself for being such a little girl who believed her prince would come, with his charming appearance, his instant love, gifts, and showering of attention.

I am so mad at myself, because, had I been closer to "normal" myself, I would have put those brakes on, and not given away my heart to an imposter.

Forgive him? For being exactly what he is, what he MUST be because that's the only way he CAN be? No problem.

They make us realize that, instead of being half of the perfect love, we are just fools. It HURTS. But, as the saying goes: "We have met the enemy, and it is us."


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« Reply #93 on: August 23, 2008, 08:12:57 PM »

More than thirty years after I married her I had a lot of reconciliation with myself, I had to acknowledge I had been very naïve, missed the true meaning of a lot of the little red flags I saw, thinking she would grow up and out of it, ignoring that she couldn’t really talk to me about personal things in her life, thinking that my meaning of love was the same as hers, having faith in things will get better and waiting for the day she would come to her senses and want help. She could be cruel to me but I was also cruel to myself for so many years and never realized it till much later.

I have a new life now and she is not part of it. Enjoying a life now is so wonderful for I rarely think back into the past and when I do it is just a lot of mute feelings now. When they have no control over you and can’t yank your chain, you have acquired control over your own life again.

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« Reply #94 on: August 24, 2008, 02:19:58 PM »

I don't know... .I accept the evil one for who she is... .That doesn't mean I forgive her, it just means I accept that she's a sick person and did horrible things to us... .Nor does it mean I want her to be in my life... .But I think I have to go with the integrtiy side of this... .If you say you're going to do something, you do it... .if you don't, appologise... .the other person can accept it or not... .

I have to agree with Oy... .It's not up to me to grant forgiveness... .I don't let the anger get to me... .Not because of forgiveness, but because I know I can't do anything to make her a good person... .She is a horrible, ugly person... .But she's not part of my life, so It doesn't have any effect on me now.
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« Reply #95 on: August 24, 2008, 02:20:33 PM »

We've talked about this on the Co-parenting board... .

There is a big difference between forgiving and forgetting. It is ok to forgive the negative actions of another, to help yourself and your heart to be able to move on and trust others. You do NOT have to verbalize the forgiveness to the person who committed the 'crime', and you are allowed to in turn remove that person from your life. Forgiving does NOT mean you are expected to continue for all eternity to allow that person (or anyone else who might do you 'wrong' to be in your life and continue to wreak havoc in it.

Forgive, let go of the actions and the idiocy of the other party... .and move on in positive growth while remembering exactly what atrocities you should NEVER allow into your life/space/energy again.

xoxo     
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« Reply #96 on: August 24, 2008, 02:58:26 PM »

Forgiveness.

Funny thing, I had to forgive my wife in order to start my "exit strategy".  As I type she has stolen my car keys and phone so that I can't go anywhere or call anyone while she is gone... .but it's ok, she's who she is and I'm not going to change that.  She'll be back... .to tell me how horrible I am, but so what?  It's over.  I quit.

-Ed
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« Reply #97 on: August 24, 2008, 07:34:49 PM »

I wonder how many of the people referred to in this article are BPD. There could have been one reference there. I truly think there is a conspiracy in certain groups within the Psych community to downplay BPD because they don't want high maintenance  patients coming forward  in droves. 
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« Reply #98 on: August 27, 2008, 11:12:57 AM »

What is forgiveness?

www.mayoclinic.com/health/forgiveness/MH00131

There's no one definition of forgiveness. But in general, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentments and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness is the act of untying yourself from thoughts and feelings that bind you to the offense committed against you. This can reduce the power these feelings otherwise have over you, so that you can a live freer and happier life in the present. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Doesn't forgiving someone mean you're forgetting or condoning what happened?

Absolutely not! Forgiving isn't the same as forgetting what happened to you. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life. But forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness also doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Researchers have recently become interested in studying the effects of being unforgiving and being forgiving. Evidence is mounting that holding on to grudges and bitterness results in long-term health problems. Forgiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits, including:

Lower blood pressure

Stress reduction

Less hostility

Better anger management skills

Lower heart rate

Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse

Fewer depression symptoms

Fewer anxiety symptoms

Reduction in chronic pain

More friendships

Healthier relationships

Greater religious or spiritual well-being

Improved psychological well-being

Why do we hold grudges and become resentful and unforgiving?

The people most likely to hurt us are those closest to us — our partners, friends, siblings and parents. When we're hurt by someone we love and trust — whether it's a lie, betrayal, rejection, abuse or insult — it can be extremely difficult to overcome. And even minor offenses can turn into huge conflicts.

When you experience hurt or harm from someone's actions or words, whether this is intended or not, you may begin experiencing negative feelings such as anger, confusion or sadness, especially when it's someone close to you. These feelings may start out small. But if you don't deal with them quickly, they can grow bigger and more powerful. They may even begin to crowd out positive feelings. Grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility take root when you dwell on hurtful events or situations, replaying them in your mind many times.

Soon, you may find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. You may feel trapped and may not see a way out. It's very hard to let go of grudges at this point and instead you may remain resentful and unforgiving.

How do I know it's time to try to embrace forgiveness?

When we hold on to pain, old grudges, bitterness and even hatred, many areas of our lives can suffer. When we're unforgiving, it's we who pay the price over and over. We may bring our anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Our lives may be so wrapped up in the wrong that we can't enjoy the present. Other signs that it may be time to consider forgiveness include:

Dwelling on the events surrounding the offense

Hearing from others that you have a chip on your shoulder or that you're wallowing in self-pity

Being avoided by family and friends because they don't enjoy being around you

Having angry outbursts at the smallest perceived slights

Often feeling misunderstood

Drinking excessively, smoking or using drugs to try to cope with your pain

Having symptoms of depression or anxiety

Being consumed by a desire for revenge or punishment

Automatically thinking the worst about people or situations

Regretting the loss of a valued relationship

Feeling like your life lacks meaning or purpose

Feeling at odds with your religious or spiritual beliefs

The bottom line is that you may often feel miserable in your current life.

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. It can be difficult and it can take time. Everyone moves toward forgiveness a little differently. One step is to recognize the value of forgiveness and its importance in our lives at a given time. Another is to reflect on the facts of the situation, how we've reacted, and how this combination has affected our lives, our health and our well-being. Then, as we are ready, we can actively choose to forgive the one who has offended us. In this way, we move away from our role as a victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in our lives.

Forgiveness also means that we change old patterns of beliefs and actions that are driven by our bitterness. As we let go of grudges, we'll no longer define our lives by how we've been hurt, and we may even find compassion and understanding.

What happens if I can't forgive someone?

Forgiveness can be very challenging. It may be particularly hard to forgive someone who doesn't admit wrong or doesn't speak of their sorrow. Keep in mind that the key benefits of forgiveness are for you. If you find yourself stuck, it may be helpful to take some time to talk with a person you've found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider or an unbiased family member or friend.

It may also be helpful to reflect on times you've hurt others and on those who have forgiven you. As you recall how you felt, it may help you to understand the position of the person who hurt you. It can also be beneficial to pray, use guided meditation or journal. In any case, if the intention to forgive is present, forgiveness will come in its time.

Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation?

Not always. In some cases, reconciliation may be impossible because the offender has died. In other cases, reconciliation may not be appropriate, especially if you were attacked or assaulted. But even in those cases, forgiveness is still possible, even if reconciliation isn't.

On the other hand, if the hurtful event involved a family member or friend whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness may lead to reconciliation. This may not happen quickly, as you both may need time to re-establish trust. But in the end, your relationship may very well be one that is rich and fulfilling.

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don't want to?

These situations are difficult. If the hurt involves a family member, it may not always be possible to avoid him or her entirely. You may be invited to the same family holiday gatherings, for instance. If you've reached a state of forgiveness, you may be able to enjoy these gatherings without bringing up the old hurts. If you haven't reached forgiveness, these gatherings may be tense and stressful for everyone, particularly if other family members have chosen sides in the conflict.

So how do you handle this? First, remember that you do have a choice whether to attend or not attend family get-togethers. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to go, don't be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. It's important to keep an eye on those feelings. You don't want them to lead you to be unjust or unkind in return for what was done to you.

Also, avoid drinking too much alcohol as a way to try to numb your feelings or feel better — it'll likely backfire. And keep an open heart and mind. People do change, and perhaps the offender will want to apologize or make amends. You also may find that the gathering helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

How do I know when I've truly forgiven someone?

Forgiveness may result in sincerely spoken words such as "I forgive you" or tender actions that fit the relationship. But more than this, forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. The offense is no longer front and center in your thoughts or feelings. Your hostility, resentment and misery have made way for compassion, kindness and peace.

Also, remember that forgiveness often isn't a one-time thing. It begins with a decision, but because memories or another set of words or actions may trigger old feelings, you may need to recommit to forgiveness over and over again.

What if the person I'm forgiving doesn't change?

Getting the other person to change their actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. In fact, the other person may never change or apologize for the offense. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you more peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing.

Forgiveness takes away the power the other person continues to wield in your life. Through forgiveness, you choose to no longer define yourself as a victim. Forgiveness is done primarily for yourself, and less so for the person who wronged you.

What if I'm the one who needs forgiveness?

It may help to spend some time thinking about the offense you've committed and trying to determine the effect it has had on others. Unless it may cause more harm or distress, consider admitting the wrong you've done to those you've harmed, speaking of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically asking for forgiveness — without making excuses.

But if this seems unwise because it may further harm or distress, don't do it — it's not about making yourself feel better by apologizing. You don't want to add salt to a painful wound. Also, keep in mind that you can't force someone to forgive you. They will need to move to forgiveness in their own time.

In any case, we have to be willing to forgive ourselves. Holding on to resentment against yourself can be just as toxic as holding on to resentment against someone else. Recognize that poor behavior or mistakes don't make you worthless or bad.

Accept the fact that you — like everyone else — aren't perfect. Accept yourself despite your faults. Admit your mistakes. Commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect. And again, talking with a spiritual leader, mental health provider or trusted friend or relative may be helpful.

Forgiveness of yourself or someone else, though not easy, can transform your life. Instead of dwelling on the injustice and revenge, instead of being angry and bitter, you can move toward a life of peace, compassion, mercy, joy and kindness.     

But when you don't practice forgiveness, you may be the one who pays most dearly.

By embracing forgiveness, you embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Here, Katherine M. Piderman, Ph.D., staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., discusses forgiveness and how it can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
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« Reply #99 on: August 29, 2008, 01:14:10 PM »

I just found this in a post I wrote a year ago:

Excerpt
A word about forgiveness... .  The definition of "forgiveness" does not include letting someone back into your  life.  Forgiveness is about you, so that you don't hang onto anger and resentment.  You can forgive someone as you close the door behind them.

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« Reply #100 on: September 05, 2008, 11:48:10 AM »

I have forgiven him, myself, and everyone. So why am I so lonely and sad? I know one is supposed to do something about it, but I think I, somehow, let myself fall into a deep well.

I was so EXCITED when I first left him, and got over it, but, now, maybe I am not... .?
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« Reply #101 on: May 07, 2009, 10:17:13 PM »



Thanks for the bump.

I move in and out of forgiveness for my former.  I know that the forgiveness truly is for me and that holding on to toxic emotions only harms me and I don't want that for my life.

I guess it's like the e-mail Susan wrote to her sister that had not been answered except there won't be an e-mail or anything of the kind to my former.

I have things that I have and could certainly apologize for and I have to do that on my own.  I'm very okay with that.  She isn't a safe person.

In this I can find that I'm released from any of my own expectations or anticipation of an external, harmonious result.  If she were involved it just wouldn't happen and that she's not, it will happen in me.

It is.  I'm working out my stuff and I have many friends, a T, this great resource, a counselor, and my faith as well that help a great deal.

I'm not in a place where I would smile and wave if I saw her across the street but I'm not in a place to flip her a one fingered salute either so I'll count that as progress.

Peace, UFH

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« Reply #102 on: June 07, 2009, 03:36:37 PM »

Here is another thread that talks about forgiveness with insightful members contributions: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=45959.0

From that thread I wrote this and it still stands true for me now as it did then:

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we have to learn in life.  But the reality is this, forgiveness is not necessarily for the benefit of the party who injured you, but it is, solely for the benefit of yourself.

It releases you from the pain, the anguish, the anxiety, the anger, the worries and stresses that are harnessed all inside of you when you play over and over in your head the wrongs that someone has done you.  It paralyzes you and stunts your growth.

I have to remind myself "daily" that my ubpex is very handicapped.  All his vile words, empty promises, and cruel acts are not for me to anguish over.  I forgive them each and every time.  Not for the benefit of my ubpex, but for mine.  A gift I give myself to release myself from the grips of living in a tortured and demobilizing mindset.  I am not those words he utters, I am not deserving of those cruel acts, and his empty promises are not my shortcomings!   

God is the source for everything!  And when we utilize the gift of real forgiveness we will live and breathe God's grace.       

It is very hard to forgive.  Especially when you have been violated by someone you trusted.  My ubpex has done and said some vulgar things.  He has damaged two families (his and mine).  When I was at my most humblest with him and was nothing but sincere, he perpetrated his most deceptive act on me.   And then begin his cycle of bizarre borderline behavior and mental illness.

I forgive him.  Because I will not reward him with harvesting all the pain he has caused me.  I do not want to give him, the disorder, and the evil spirits that surround him that power.  I will not be destroyed by it all.

My joy, hope, and love is the gift that God has given to me.  I will not let anyone rob me of that gift.  And not forgiving will rob you of it.  Which only hurts you and no one else!

oneflewover       

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« Reply #103 on: June 08, 2009, 11:24:17 AM »



Thank you for that post OFO.

I've found forgiveness in choosing my own closure.  In the process of walking away it has been very difficult to get passed the erroneous belief system I had established in the way I "wanted" to see my former and from what I read here that's a pretty common thing.  Every day, when she comes into my head (and yes, she still does) be it in a wistful moment or and angry moment or something in between, I try to remind myself that my attachment to my own illusion... .is simply that.  It's an attachment to my own illusion about what I needed and wanted her to be despite the reality of who she needs to be thus, who she is... .chooses to be, in this life.

I wanted her to be sweet, kind, understanding, tolerant of others, honest, etc. and surely those are all the qualities I embrace and do my best to manifest to the world around me.  She has those qualities too but they are so buried beneath her own illusions that it was never a predominant expression of who she needs to be in this life rather, her self manifestation is something like a pretentious, arrogant, blaming, manipulative, etc. person who occasionally does nice things.

We all have our flaws and attributes.  I guess it's a matter of which we choose to embrace and move through this life with... .and as.  It seems to me that a BPD suffering human being just doesn't have those filters that are necessary in order to embrace life, harmoniously.

So... .

Do I need "that" kind of person in my life?  No.

Forgiveness for me gets much simpler when I let go of my own illusions... .let go of a person that never really existed... .not the way I needed her to exist in my life anyway, embrace my reality and how I want to move through this life, and to put it simply and bluntly, be really glad... .I'm not her or anyone that she connects with.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Here by the grace of God... .I am.

Thank you, God.

Peace, UFH

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« Reply #104 on: July 01, 2012, 06:58:23 PM »

Susan

That is wonderfully stated.  But my uBPDw is the one with forgiveness issues.  She can't forgive.  I can forgive her, but I can never tell her because she would be insulted.
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« Reply #105 on: September 23, 2015, 12:32:37 AM »

Just finished a class on this, so here's my thoughts if anybody's interested; they're not fully rationalized, but they did get some "aha" reactions in class, so I'm sharing them here.

What is the purpose of forgiveness?  Why is it so hard?

For me, it's hard because the person who did the hurting just took a huge chunk out of my midsection with razor-sharp teeth, and I couldn't do a darn thing to stop it.  I want my missing piece back!  I liked it where it was! It had a lot of good stuff in it!  And now it's gone!

But if I continue to nurse my grudge, if I continue to try to re-create what was there before, if I try to stuff the few dangling entrails back and patch them over with a bandage of resentment I never change, what can I expect?

I can expect rot; and gangrene. 

It's a death of the old self I'm mourning and resisting when I refuse to forgive.  It's a refusal to let anything grow back except exactly what I had before.  Sure, fine, I'll "get over it" - so long as I get everything back exactly the way it was.

Reality:  this is not going to happen.

Now I'm thinking perhaps before sepsis sets in that maybe it's a good idea to let some air get to the wound and take a look at what's happening.

And when I work up the faith to give that a shot, here's what I find:

those razor-sharp teeth took out what looks to be a cancerous growth.  It needed to go.

OK.  OK, maybe I can accept that.  In my particular case, it eviscerated a substantial part of the support system for my own codependent behaviour.

Now, if I can leave the wound alone, quit picking at the scab, what happens next?

What I'm finding is that something even better is growing back to replace what was lost.  More abilities, better functioning... .I just had to take a leap of faith to see it happening.  (Ability to define boundaries and enforce them; ability to overcome shame; ability to face my own character defects.)

Reader's Digest version:  Undertaking the process of forgiveness gives us an opportunity to transform ourselves into more than we were before.  It is NOT, as it looks on the face of it, an admission of powerlessness.  It is instead an invitation to empowerment.  It has nothing to do really with the person who hurt us; they are merely catalysts.  Tools for growth, if you will.

If what I'm pondering is valid, it makes the whole process of forgiveness a whole lot more palatable. 

Thoughts?


This is an old post and I don't know if you will get my response but it looks like I can respond so here it is. I really like your analogy to finding out that the person who wounded you took out a piece of cancer. It kind of reminds me of an x files episode where this creature ate people's sickness and then regurgitated them whole. Now of course our offender doesn't have this kind of power, but God does, and in the spiritual life we learn that those who hurt us may have great power to heal us. I appreciate your bringing it back to the spiritual nature of things. I am really struggling with forgiveness in my own relationship, and when I looked at the gifts the hurt has brought me, everything starts to make sense. Thank you again for your post!
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