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Nov 23, 2008
"Willing" forgiveness isn't enough...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Polly, forgiveness isn't something that you can simply will to happen. It does help to have a desire to forgive someone for their acts against you, but that's not enough; it doesn't end there.

While I'm delighted to learn that you are you functioning well during the day, functioning during busy times doesn't necessarily mean you're "okay". I "functioned" just fine during the day in school and at my job, but when I was by myself, the torment was unbearable. As long as you are in some way still tormented by what happened to you, you're not as "okay" as you think you are. And yes, you are still tormented; otherwise, you wouldn't be suffering anxiety and sleepless nights ruminating and reliving your memories. If you weren't tormented, you wouldn't still be feeling resentment toward your family for their role in all of it.

It's been my experience that the path to forgiveness lies NOT in circumventing and trying to forget what happened, but in actually dealing with what happened. And don't be afraid that dealing with your past will adversely affect the relationship you now have with your father. The opposite is true; you'll find that your relationship with him will ultimately strengthen when you are no longer projecting the hurt, anxiety and resentment. You'll probably find your relationship with your mother will get better as well.

On a logical level you know your father was mentally ill; but on an emotional level you are in turmoil. "Dealing" with your abusive past means dealing with your thoughts about your abusive past. A counsellor can help you with that, Polly. A counsellor can help you focus on the feelings and emotions. A counsellor can help you apply what I call the "should haves" and "shouldn't haves" (what should have and shouldn't have happened to you). A counsellor can help you recognize how in your mind you continue to abuse yourself (by ruminating and reliving each memory over and over, long after the abuse is done) in much the same way your father abused you; and how those relived memories manifest themselves in your life today. A lesson I learned a very long time ago, Polly: Whatever needs you didn't get met as a child will continue to be needs into adulthood, until you find a healthy way to meet those needs yourself. It's in this latter lesson that the should haves and shouldn't haves come into play.

Thank you for sharing your story with my visitors and me. And just for the record, your post is not at all long, and you certainly aren't a moron.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Dec 01, 2008
xmas
by: touched2mysoul

Xmas is a time of joy for so many and i too can relate to it being a time of dread for you...my mother ruined my xmas too... I now hate the holidays and wish for dec to hurry up... I actually feel better Jan 1st every year...
I know of the sadness and the feeling ok during work, and daylight hours... I too hid amongst work and raising kids during the daylight hours... but when its quiet and dark and im alone.. the feelings of the past keep me company. I wish for you love and peace and happiness this holiday and forever...
God Bless

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