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View Diary: My father "disowns" my husband because he was raised on welfare (300 comments)

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  •  You may be confusing forgiving (10+ / 0-)

    with condoning. It's a common confusion. Letting go of anger and hurt is forgiving...

    When people speak about whether someone deserves forgiveness, they really are talking about whether the person deserves absolution, deserves to avoid any consequences for whatever action requires forgiving.

    If sorrow on the part of the miscreant is necessary for forgiveness, how could we ever forgive the dead? The dead cannot feel sorrow, cannot repent, cannot suffer consequences. Yet we can forgive them the hurt they may have caused in their lifetime. We do this, not for them, they are, after all, dead; but for ourselves, that we no longer carry the burden of our anger, that we no longer offer them pride of place in our consciousness and daily life.  

    Likewise, we need not absolve someone from blame or guilt, nor refrain from imposing consequences, nor openly accept further outrages against ourselves in order to forgive them for past transgressions.

    It takes some practice and some serious thought about these issues to sort things out, but forgiveness, absolution, blame and consequences are separate things.  

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 08:42:05 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I'm familiar with the argument (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Orinoco, tommymet, tikkun

      and with the supposed distinctions. They make little sense to me. I don't worry about forgiving the dead, nor am I interested. Talk about a pointless exercise.

      You have a particular philosophical approach that works for you.
      Mine works just as well for me.

      •  I should add (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco, TrueBlueMajority, ivorybill

        that I think the concept of what forgiveness "really" means probably has some connection to different faith traditions.

        In my case, that would mean 16 years of Catholic school, and the intertwining of forgiveness with absolution and pardon.
        I haven't been Catholic for years, but that connotation remains (as it remains in some dictionary definitions and in popular usage).

        I was also a psych major, so your formulation is familiar too. I'm going with the term as it is commonly used (or misused in your formulation)- it just makes the most sense to me.

        •  I've had as much (0+ / 0-)

          (technically more) years in Catholic school.  I was also raised by 2 people whose identity and faith were intertwined and have had priests and nuns as an extended part of my family for a very long time.  I did not learn the same lesson as you.

          "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

          by newfie on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 06:49:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  it sounds to me like you have the forgiving and (6+ / 0-)

        forgetting reversed. IMHO:
           Never forget the things that happened so they won't be repeated. But forgiveness is not something you can force. You can't force an orgasm either but you can do things to bring yourself along that path. You can consciously relax and let go, but actual forgiveness is the feeling that comes after that.
             I once experienced a spontaneous, life-changing moment of forgiveness, privately, many years later, and a paradigm changed for me, that's why I look at it this way. It is the mind that remembers and hold onto things learned by experience. Forgiveness is in the realm of emotion.
            There is a really good discussion of how mind and memory, wisdom and emotions and experience work together in
        Light on Life.

        We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

        by nuclear winter solstice on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:30:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When I say forget about it- (2+ / 0-)

          I don't mean to literally not remember it. I mean don't give it any space in your mind, don't dwell on it, don't give it any emotional power. It's a thing that happened, and unless it's ongoing, the anger and pain are part of the past.

          I'm pretty concrete,so here's an example.  My personal Worst Person in the World is the psychologist who told me (in one 45 minute visit) that there was no hope for my autistic son, that he had no interest in treating him, that at age three he was beyond help. But he was very interested in treating me, twice a week for a minimum of two years, where he would make me "accept" that I did not love my son, no mother of an autistic child loves their kid, and the fact that I "felt like" I loved him was just evidence of how crazy I was. If I did not agree and sign his contract, my baby daughter was similarly doomed, guaranteed. I could accomplish all of this wreckage without doing anything wrong, just by being me, untreated by him. He told me all of this with a sick smile on his face, and when he described how he would "teach me about affection" he looked like a predator. (I later found out he was).

          I'm a pretty grounded person, but I was also young, in a very vulnerable state of worry for my son, and raised to believe that doctors have the answers. I spent that weekend trying to figure out how to commit suicide and save my kids from the Typhoid Mary of mothers. Sanity finally kicked in, but in a weaker person it might not have.

          So I can type all of this, remember every detail, but the anger and pain are just part of a memory. When I do remember him, which is rarely, I sometimes indulge in a fantasy of seeing him at a cocktail party and punching him in the face. The idea of seeing him does not make me angry. The idea of punching him in the face, however, makes me very, very happy.

          So I'm not sure what that is, but I doubt it's forgiveness.

          •  yes, I was just going to say, that's learning to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gramofsam1, JVolvo

            live with it but it's not forgiveness. To make what I meant concrete: I worked for some doctors and after several years (including the original onset of HMOs, abuse of antibiotics for ear infections, questionable immunization policies set on a social class basis and being told I MUST take chemotherapy for tuberculosis I don't have) I quit in protest of it all. A decade later, while in that sort of trance that can be induced by driving in familiar places, I suddenly felt as if a door to my heart had literally opened and something had fluttered away and taken a huge load off my chest that I didn't even know I was carrying. At the same time it "dawned" on me: "gee, out of the blue I all of a sudden don't hate Dr. X & Co. anymore. Wow. I didn't realize I was still hanging onto that. Thought I got over it the first year after I quit. That was different and healing and what I call forgiveness. I can tell this story without bitterness now, and see some things better in the larger picture.
               So you can put it all behind you, but it's still in the background until it dissipates in its own time. Time wounds all heels and heals all wounds, my Daddy used to tell me.

            We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

            by nuclear winter solstice on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 07:30:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've had that experience too, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nuclear winter solstice

              with lesser offenders. This guy's special- he could have ruined my family, and he did ruin others.

              I know it's still in the background, and I'm fine with that.
              It would be nice if time really did wound all heels, but we both know that doesn't always happen. That's probably why I still enjoy the idea of punching him in the face.
              But you're fine with your approach, and I'm fine with mine.
              Different strokes, as Sly Stone used to tell me.

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