I had to share this email message I recieved from Chris Cade this morning.
It is a subject we have discussed before and I have recently seen discussed on other blogs about narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths and their victims; forgiveness and the belief for true healing a person must forgive their abuser. It is something I have struggled with; this notion that if you are a “healthy” person/”good” person, you will forgive your abuser. The religious sector says the Bible says we MUST forgive and turn the other cheek, let those without sin cast the first stone….. Yada yada yada…….
Personally, there are a few things that are required for me to truly forgive;
1. The offending party must acknowledge what they have done and ask for forgiveness without blaming the victim in any way.
2. The offender demonstrates a desire to not repeat the behaviour
From my experience with a psychopath, his apologies were laced with blame and words he parroted that he knew were necessary for the victim to forgive him. Once forgiven he expected that the slate was wiped clean and the subject would never be brought up again, BUT there was never any change or even genuine attempt to change his behaviour.
To my ex, “I forgive you” translated into “well you got away with that one so ramp it up and see how far you can push me before I leave your sorry ass”. I was forbidden to bring up the incident ever again or be accused of living in the past but the behaviour continued unchecked (maybe he would try harder to hide it but it never stopped).
Forgiveness in its truest sense was not possible for me. I am not in anyway comparing what I have gone through to what Nelson Mandela has gone through. But everyone who has ever been abused in any way has a choice. I agree with the choice Nelson Mandela made and I think it is doable by every one and it is the only way a victim ever moves on with their life after being abused.
I think it isn’t forgiveness that promotes healing; it is letting go of the anger and hatred.
Anyway here is Chris Cade’s message.
As of the time I’m writing this, former President Nelson Mandela remains in critical but stable condition. Several people from South Africa have written me personally to share how so many hearts in their country are immensely torn. And sadly, now there’s great discontent within many generations of the Mandela family over several matters that range from politics and business, to spiritual and ancestral.
It’s not an easy time, and there are millions of people around the world praying for Nelson, his family, and the country of South Africa. He has been a true inspirational leader.
And in honor of his life and experiences I thought I’d share this touching story from former US President Bill Clinton that we can all benefit from:
“That was pretty smart of you to have your jailers come to the Inauguration and all of that, but let me ask you something.” I said, “Didn’t you really hate them for what they did?
“He said, “Oh, yeah, I hated them for a long time.” He said, “I stayed alive on hate for 12 years. I broke rocks every day, and I stayed alive on hate.” And he said, “They took a lot away from me. They took me away from my wife, and it subsequently destroyed my marriage. They took me away from seeing my children grow up. They abused me mentally and physically. And one day,” he said, “I realized they could take it all except my mind and my heart.”
He said, “Those things I would have to give to them, and I simply decided not to give them away”
And so – so I said to him, I said, “Well, what about when you were getting out of prison?” I said, “The day you got out of prison in 1990, it was Sunday morning, and I got my daughter up early in the morning, and I took her down to the kitchen, and I turned on the television, and she was just a little girl then, and I sat her up on the kitchen counter. And I said, ‘Chelsea, I want you to watch this. This is one of the most important things you’ll ever see in your life.’ “And I said, “I watched you walk down that dirt road to freedom.” I said, “Now, when you were walking down there, and you realized how long you had been in their prison, didn’t you hate them then? Didn’t you feel some hatred?”
He said, “Yes, I did a little bit.” He said, “I felt that.” And he said, “Frankly, I was kind of afraid, too, because I hadn’t been free in so long.”
But he said, “As I felt the anger rising up, I thought to myself, ‘They have already had you for 27 years. And if you keep hating them, they’ll have you again.’ And I said, ‘I want to be free. And so I let it go. I let it go.”
Your Partner In Letting Go,
Liberate Your Life
Posted by Carrie Reimer the Lady WithaTruck