Forgiveness, The Bible, Oprah and Ted Talks

There has been a lot of talk about “Forgiveness” lately. A few readers have voiced concern that I am not forgiving my ex and therefore will never find healing or true happiness. It was said yesterday that by not forgiving my ex he wins. First of all I really don’t believe anyone ever “wins” in a battle with the narcissist because they never lose. Not in their mind anyway, I learned a long time ago that this is not about winning or losing to my ex; it is about me recovering and going on to live a full happy life. IF I were to make my decisions based on whether the N would win or lose I would be frozen in place because he will twist whatever I do into a win for him. What I do really doesn’t matter to my ex. I was bending over backwards to please him and he was on a crusade to destroy me, I was happy, sad, angry, suicidal, totally lacking in self confidence and confident, I begged, I ignored, I blocked and have had no contact and he won every time (in his mind) In his mind if I don’t talk to him it is because I am so hurt and I am lacking because I am not a forgiving enough person to be his friend, I am bitter, selfish, and stuck in self pity. When the truth is I don’t like him, he is toxic and I don’t want to talk to him. Does that make me unforgiving or smart?

He gets an ego boost because he knows I am talking about him here. He gets more than an ego boost, he also gets to blame me for being a vindictive bitch and it helps him turn people against me because they think “Why doesn’t she get on with her life.” because they view it from his angle, I am angry and slagging him. They totally miss the obvious facts that there was no identifying info in my blog that would bring anyone looking for info on my ex to my blog; it can not be revenge and slander if I don’t reveal who I am talking about. It is talking about my life and my experiences in hope of saving others from the same fate. Plus he is going to think he is so powerful he caused me such damage that I am still talking about it 4 years later.

He would not see it from the side I do. I see it as taking the worst thing that ever happened to me and making it the most positive thing I have ever had happen. I see it as an opportunity for great personal growth and self awareness. I always refer to myself as a survivor not a victim. I always tell people they “were” victims, it is their choice to remain a victim or become a survivor. That the N does not define who we are and we need to dig deep and in the process of putting ourselves back together keep the parts we want to keep and toss the stuff we should never have packed to begin with. It is not easy but it is immensely rewarding. My ex will never appreciate that or understand it.

I have said it before in here many times, the most influential person in my life is the WOSPOS, I credit him with bringing the most positive changes into my life and because of my experiences with him I am a better person. The experience forced me to do an honest inventory of who I am and who I want to be. I don’t think that journey would have been possible without the N tearing me down to nothing. So he was the catalyst to bringing me here, to a place of inner peace and serenity that I never thought possible but I hate to give him credit because he will tell people he led me to spirituality and it will be one more tool in his arsenal of weapons he uses to manipulate people.

But it is too late to worry about that, I have said it, he has read it and I don’t really care what he think or says. If he wants to get an ego boost out of that so be it.  Many times in here I have talked about how the abuse will always affect me to some degree, it is part of me now but that doesn’t mean it has to be a negative thing. The experience has given me heightened empathy and understanding and that has brought wonderful experiences into my life. Sure my life was much lighter and carefree prior to my ex but it had less meaning and purpose.

I think it is very common with people who have had near death experiences to feel at peace with life afterward and to want to talk about their experience, to share with people what they learned from the experience and that is kinda the way I feel, like I had a near death experience. I always worried I would live out my life and never figure out my purpose for being here, I have always felt driven to leave this world a better place for me being here. I have been given that chance, I know my purpose and every thing I went through was worth it because it brought me here.

I am not gripped by anger, hatred, vengefulness, or bitterness because I am the happiest I have ever been at a time when my life is at the lowest it has ever been (financially, by all outward appearances) Everyday I am amazed and grateful to wake up, look out my window and absorb the beauty that surrounds me. I am so thankful for every day, I stop every single day and thank God for this beautiful world I live in, for my son, my puppy, the nature that surrounds me and that my suicide attempt failed. I don’t think that sounds like an unforgiving bitter person who is hanging onto her pain or blaming anyone.

The mechanic at Ccon who ended up hurting me by lying, I was angry at first but hey, he has dropped by and we have visited I forgave him long ago.

My dad, I didn’t talk to him for 18 years but I never felt bitterness towards him, I didn’t ever say, “I forgive you” but you know what? he didn’t want my forgiveness, he would have been angered by my forgiveness because he thought he never did anything wrong and he did not need my forgiveness. I stopped talking to him because it was toxic for me, I felt hypocritical and found that any contact with him had adverse affects on me mentally and it was not worth it to me to put myself through that. I didn’t expect any one else in the family to jump on my bandwagon and I told them all it was my own choice for my emotional health. No one could understand that and when I heard that my dad might need a bone marrow transplant I told my brother I would get tested. He was shocked, why would I do that? Because he was my dad, I didn’t wish him ill or to die. I had good memories about times with him, I just could not deal with having him in my life, it was too distressing for me. All the other kids in the family would sit and bad mouth my dad behind his back, I just decided I didn’t want to be two faced. I have never regretted my decision, even when he died, everyone thought I would suffer a lot of guilt because I hadn’t seen him for so many years, they wondered how I could write such a loving obit and yet not talk to him in that many years. I wrote my dad a letter a few years ago when I heard he might be dying, I did not forgive him or ask for his forgiveness, I wrote him the truth. He had been a great dad when I was really young, I wrote about the good memories I had, the things he taught me that I use to this day. It was not written in an attempt to reconnect on a deeper level. I was giving him what he deserved, recognition for all the good he did with no mention of the stuff he did that hurt me and my mom. I think that is forgiveness and acceptance.

I didn’t suffer any guilt or remorse because I was confident in my decision and my life was better without my dad in it.

My brother did some horrible things to hurt me, I have never told him I forgive him, I don’t know if he even remembers doing some of them but I show my forgiveness with my actions and in my heart.

I forgive my mom for things she did that were very hurtful but I also have thanked her for trying to understand and I understand she was acting from her experience and doing what she thought was right at the time, and what she was capable of. Some people just do not view or feel like I do. I am 1% of the population, I can not realistically expect everyone to act the way I wish they would I accept that.

I do not have a religion, I do not attend a church at this time and to be honest I have not spent a lot of time in churches. My faith has at times been nonexistent or maybe more accurately, not thought about. At times my faith has been very strong. Today this is where I am at:

I have seen miracles happen in my life and those miracles served to strengthen my belief to the point that it was the only thing that sustained me during some very trying times with my ex. I really believed in prayer and it worked for me many many times and I had undeniably miraculous things happen in my life. I was baptised in English Bay with my son by my side in 2005 because of the miracles I witnessed. When the wospos and I got back together the last time and I was facing having to lose my trailer and move I prayed for a very specific home and when my ex told me of a deal he had heard of and it matched my prayer to the T, I had no doubt that I should move to Sask. I hadn’t wanted to move to Sask but I had not specified “where” I wanted this home to be and if God wanted me to move to Sask I was prepared to do it. I was excited to see what God’s plan was for me. When it became apparent that the answer to my prayer was orchestrated by my ex in order to make me dependent on him my faith was damaged severely. As time went on and more of my ex’s manipulation came to light, things that I had believed for years were miracles turned out to be elaborate orchestrations by my ex.

His mother who I believed to be the most Christian honest person in the world and who I relied on to be honest lied to my face and that hurt deeply. That she allowed me to go back to my ex, give up everything for him and move 1/2 way across the country when she was emailing the woman in Africa who he was telling he was going to marry and bring back to Canada was beyond hurtful. When i found out the truth i flashed back to when we stopped to visit her on our way to Sask and she couldn’t look me in the eye. I could sense she was very uncomfortable in my company and I was confused and thought it was something I had done. I didn’t know what her problem was. When I found the email from my ex to the woman in Africa telling her how much his mom enjoyed her emails it was like a knife in my heart. I confronted him on it and he said they just talked scriptures but you can’t tell me that a woman living in Uganda gets engaged to a man in Canada and believes he is going to bring her to Canada isn’t talking to his mother about her excitement. I had to do a lot of soul searching, my new knowledge explained why she was the way she was when I was there and I forgave her because she was ill prepared to deal with my ex. She wanted to be loyal to her son, I am sure she was praying the whole time. She does know I know and there is no point in me contacting an 80+ yr old woman now and bringing it up. It is the past.

After the extreme abuse by my ex for two years my faith was gone. I had no belief in anything. I didn’t believe in God, Karma or justice of any kind. How does someone destroy a person; take away their hope.

In the process of rebuilding my life I had to rebuild myself and a large part of what makes a person them is their spirituality. I am still working on that and I am somewhere in between the blind faith i once had and no faith and that is about all I want to say about that. Religion is a very personal thing and a very sensitive topic and to be honest I do not have enough knowledge to argue the point intelligently so I leave it alone for now. I am always willing to learn and explore different beliefs. Right now I will tackle the main points brought up by commenters. Please know that I respect everyone’s individual right to believe whatever they choose and because something works for one person does not mean it will work for someone else.

When a person has a blog they are leaving themselves open to the criticisms of the whole world, they have to be realistic and know that there is always going to be people who think you aren’t doing “it’ right.  I really try to avoid using words like “should” when people ask for advice because I do not feel anyone has the right to tell someone what they should do because even if you have been through something similar everyone is different.

I find it interesting that some people didn’t think I was angry enough and others that were shocked that I still loved my ex for a long time, now there are those that feel I should be forgiving but for all the different opinions about what I should be doing I have managed to get through the darkest time of my life to the most at peace point in my life. How a person gets there is irrelevant, as long as you get there.

This is what Oprah had to say about forgiveness and I think if you go back over my posts from the beginning you will see the progression I have made from angry and bitter to acceptance and yes forgiveness. I don’t say I forgive because I don’t think that is what is important. I think a person has forgiven when they accept that it happened and take responsibility for their future happiness and can find the good things in the experience.

I looked up what the Bible actually says: There are many verses on forgiveness so I picked three

Matthew 6:15 (ESV)

15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Romans 12:20 ESV / 23 helpful votes

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Ephesians 4:32 ESV / 524 helpful votes

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Here is a story of one man’s forgiveness 

His story is not the same as mine. The man who changed his life had the ability to change and did, alcoholism is not a character flaw, it is a mind altering habit that can be changed if a person wants to change. But the man speaking talks about accepting what has happened and appreciating the good things that come out of tragic life altering events. His assailant had a family he loved and who loved him back, his family was paying the price of his actions and the victim chose to reach out to the family because he could see that not only his life had been forever changed so had theirs. They are in contact with the family. They are living what the Bible tells us to do. If your enemy is hungry you feed him, if he is thirsty you give him drink. The literal definition of forgiveness according to the Bible is not possible with a narcissist, not if you ever want to be happy and healthy. A person would be crazy to reach out to a narcissist in forgiveness because they will never appreciate it and only use it to victimize you further.

How can you ever be truly forgiving when you can never again be sure he won’t come up from behind in a surprise attack? You can go on with your life, appreciate your life, find good, not hold a grudge against him but you can never ever regain your innocence nor should you. Your innocence and belief that there was good in all people and we should forgive others because we also are sinners is what got you here to this blog in the first place.

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11 thoughts on “Forgiveness, The Bible, Oprah and Ted Talks

  1. From my experiences, I believe that the people who feel justified in telling you to ‘move on’ or ‘forgive’ are missing the core of what the problem is. This is lost on them because they haven’t experienced the crazy that is almost too difficult to explain. I’ve always thought that I was a pretty understanding person, but never in a million years would I have imagined the insanity I would experience from getting involved with a Narcissist.

    It’s only because of blogs like yours, as well as other people having spoken out about this that I ever found peace in my questioning ‘what happened’, and ‘was I really crazy’.

    I believe that some things really are impossible to believe w/out having experienced them first-hand. As well-intentioned as other people may be, their lack of true understanding here does not help. Only people, such as yourself, speaking out about and against this is healing for others who have experienced it and are looking for answers to the how’s and why’s.

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    • And some of us have also lived it. 🙂 It reminds me of the difference between the families of murder victims-there are those who forgive and those who don’t. To say it’s a simple matter of understanding the situation is often right; but not always.

      {I had a reply all written up the other day, but my phone ate it. *sigh.* Once things calm down around here and I have time without interruption, I’ll get on my laptop. }

      I think the thing missing here is that it’s not a criticism. Really, it’s not. We ALL process things differently; on a different time table. Things like that that happen to us are never gone- they shape who we are; they change our phycheies; they change the essence of our souls /core.

      I think faith can impact how one processes life events, sure. But I know a non-believers who forgive and have inner peace, and I know believers who are extremely bitter and cahaven’t “forgiven *God* and never will.”

      There is no one size fits all. 🙂 But I can say everyone feels better with shoes when on gravel or pavement on a 100+ day {except those who lack the ability to sense pain, although that’s pretty rare. } 😉

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  2. Alice Miller’s books speak to this. She was a brilliant enlightened psychoanalyst; her books are ground breaking, she was way ahead of her time decades ago. Many folks have heard of “Drama Of The Gifted Child” but “For Your Own Good” and “Thou Shalt Not Be Aware” are also gems among her treasures. She speaks passionately about this culture’s misunderstanding of abuse, cycles of abuse handed down through generations and what she refers to as “premature forgiveness.” It is transformational reading.

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  3. Forgiveness
    I think there is a basic concept of forgiveness that is not being considerred here in these writings. I will explain it in a brief story.

    A man gets out of bed late for work and walking from the room accidentally walks on his wife’s clothes that she had ready for work. He realises that he has done this and he feels for his wife’s effort and the inconveniance. He turns quickly and looks at her face. She saw what happenned. His face has written on it the feelings in his heart, his spontaneous regret and his true appology. She immediately, spontaneously recognises this and her heart immediately feels for him, recognises his appology in his body language. Her heart produces a messages of acceptance of his appology in her facial expression and body language.

    This was one of many weekly events in an intimate relationship. it was brought to closure via the honest spontaneous emotional inteligence of the two people and their relationship strengthens as each matter, large and small is brought to closure.

    It could have gone this way:

    He walks on her cloths. He says “Ahh, why did you leave the clothes there you stupid bitch?” He looks at her and his body language is degrading, abusive and fake. It is confusing and distressing to his emotionally inteligent partner. She would feel bad for leaving the cloths there in the wrong unexpected place. She would feel sorry and an appology would be in her response and all over her face. But he is never spontaneous. He has no emotional inteligence. He doesnt recognise the appology. He will never accept an appology. Her heart will never feel an acceptance of any appology. It will most likely never be given and if there is such an event, it would be fake. Her heart will know it is fake. She will desperately want to forgive the man. She will desperately want him to forgive her for all of these events that happen each day. But he will never give or accept any appology. She will have to carry for ever the guilt for all of the wrongs, both his and hers and no issue will ever be brough to closure.

    What does it all mean.

    1…..You can not forgive a Narcissist because they dont know what it is and they do not understand it. They have no emotional inteligence and there is never a spontaneous response to anything. It is all fake.

    2….A narcissist will never forgive you or accept your appology. They will not recognise it. They can not process the info. Again for the same reasons as above.

    3….Every incident must be carried for ever in the soul of the emotionally inteligent person. There can never be forgiveness or resolution of anything.The only emotional response that will be of any relief to the emotionally inteligent partner is pity. Pity will eventually come to the forefront of the soul of the partner long after seperation and after much time is past re discovering their true self. When this is evolved and love of their true self comes through, the pity for this creature in the past will be there. It will be a passing thought in a process of acceptance and understanding…….Lets acall it peace.

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    • Agreed. However, who cares about saying anything about it to them at all? It’s not for them- it’s for me. I don’t give a rip if anyone forgives me about x, y, z, p, d, q. The person doing the act against not only doesn’t get a vote, but they aren’t even IN the equation because it isn’t about giving *them* anything.

      And you are absolutely right- they don’t get any aspect of foegiveness because they feel they are perfect; without fault or flaw, despite rehearsed moments of apology or faux humility. Nah, the most instinctive reaction is to laugh and laugh and laugh. {And then a ,” who does she/he think she isbto be “forgiving” me? She needs a lesson in who does the forgiving around here….}

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  4. Dearest Carrie

    I see nothing but forgiveness in your writings. Nobody could write they way they do and have the insight you do if they had not forgiven. All I am seeing here is one ABSOLUTELY AMAZING WOMAN who is touching and bringing healing to 1000s of people through her blogs. I for one could not have survived without your blogs. I was held prisoner for 5 months by a man known by my associates. There is just not anyone out there who can relate or understand that like the way you do.

    Also what I have found is that people who truly understand forgiveness and understand empathy; it would not even come into their mind to accuse anybody of un-forgiveness, little less to tell them to move on. It is true there is a lot of misinformation out there on a lot of topics…including forgiveness and what forgiveness looks like, and what forgiveness doesn’t look like in its application. It is a very huge issue in religion and also within cultures at all different types of levels that are used to covering up abuse. There are a lot of issues around forgiveness that could be discussed.

    THANKYOU for being such a beautiful person and writing about all these issues…your experiences bring me validation, understanding, wisdom…and healing. I could not be on this healing journey without you.

    Love Rebecca xx

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  5. This inspired me to reflect on my own states of forgiveness, Carrie…It was time for me to face this self-reflection and examine my heart. I grew up with The Lord’s Prayer”forgive us….as we forgive….”. Those words are engrained in my mind, but I question. I would cringe and tighten my entire body when I first started receiving therapy at the DV center…words used to get to forgiveness (because I was not in a place to forgive-in litigation-fighting for the children)…apathy was my word.

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  6. With “normal” forgiveness, someone first acknowledges their sin and says they are sorry and they repent and vow to stop hurting you and actually do. Then, yes, we are called to forgive. This whole first part NEVER happens with a Narc yet it is often thrown in the victim’s face to do the second part. I don’t buy it. Yes, Jesus said to God, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” This is about as close as you can get to forgiving the Narc (although it seems to me they KNOW what they are doing). When we go to God asking to be forgiven, we must go with a humble heart admitting our sin. Again, this is the part that never happens with a Narc. While we are not called to seek revenge as that is God’s place, we are also warned to stay far away from these folks (the Bible says to not even have dinner with them). So, Carrie, I’m not sure who is saying this to you but I think you see it clearly. You can ‘forgive’ from afar but it can never be more than the “I forgive you since you know not what you do because as a Narc you lack empathy so for my own good I am tossing this behind me, etc.” type of forgiveness. I have not read Alice Miller (will have to check her out) but I have read other books that talk about premature and/or one-sided forgiveness.

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  7. I want to thank you all for your comments. I can’t reply to each one individually right now,
    I wanted to make sure to let you all know how much I appreciate your support and kind words, you are all so sweet and supportive I am truly blessed to have you as friends. and I agree with everything everyone of you had to say. I think it is a very personal thing and I don’t want to make the people who suggested I need to forgive feel bad because I know they said it in good faith and not to hurt me.
    I just felt I needed to explain where my head is at on the topic of forgiveness. I can’t see ever forgiving my ex but I have learned to never say never. But he doesn’t want my forgiveness, he wants my demise, my silence, so he can continue his abuse and manipulations. I know my forgiveness is not supposed to be reliant on him asking for forgiveness but I am not going to fake it. Feeling pressure to forgive could hold me back from healing more than the not forgiving. Worrying about the fact that I don’t feel forgiveness or to think i am flawed because i don’t forgive to me is ludicrous.
    There is only one thing I have always had a problem with about religion and that is when someone who believes tries to force their beliefs on me. I am always willing to hear someone else’s side and respect their beliefs but don’t try to force them down my throat or talk to me like I am wrong if i don’t agree with you. Then I feel judged.
    I ran into a couple of young fellows a while back, they were missionaries of the Mormon faith and I was willing to discuss my and their beliefs. I shared some miracles that had happened in my life and how God had worked in my life and where I was a couple of years ago and where I am now. We had a really good lively conversation. They offered me their bible and asked if I would like to read it and I said sure, I always want to learn. I told them just because I accept the bible and say I will read it does not mean they have a new ‘recruit’ I am just open to learning about new things.
    Well they didn’t take it that way and became very persistent about meeting with me later and they ended up called often and I ended up screening their calls and I never did read their bible because they ended up annoying me.
    Like Fee said, i do not like being told I should do anything. I am an Aries after all 🙂
    Love and hugs to you all
    Carrie

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  8. Regarding my understanding of Christian forgiveness…we are to forgive others because God forgives us. So, then let’s have a look at how/when/why God forgives…it is when we go to him with a humble heart and ask for forgiveness, acknowledge our sin, and promise to repent (turn away from the sin.) That is when, why, and how God forgives us so I believe we are to do the same. Another poster mentioned that the Narc will not forgive us when we humbly ask for forgiveness (which is what Christians are called to do…grant that forgiveness to someone who is truly apologizing). Yet we forgave them over and over with their false apologies! It makes sense now that they don’t forgive because they project onto you that your apologies are false because theirs are and they cannot fathom anyone truly apologizing! I finally realized his few apologies were not real so therefore did not warrant my forgiveness. Mostly I did not get apologies but insane justifications and the typical ‘word salad’ that narcs are notorious for. So, forgiveness? Nah, that is between him and God now. Also, he continues in his sin every minute of every day. It’s not a one-time event…it is his ongoing being. I have never read that God forgives us while we bask in our sin and thumb our nose at Him like the narc does with us and everyone in his world. No, if you are a Bible believer then you know that living that way secures us a place in Hell and we will not be forgiven if we chose not to be because we see no need for it or think we are perfect…just like the Narc. For non-believers and believers alike, I believe it helps us when we finally get to that place of letting go (or, yes, pity…as another poster said) because we finally have clarity and freedom. I see this as more of a final acceptance and less about forgiving someone who clearly doesn’t care if you do or not. Just my 2 cents. 😉

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