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Forgiveness - Isis

I enjoyed reading the excerpt of "Forgiveness". I only wish that I could feel that forgiveness for the wrong that was done to me. I guess I would like to ask HOW do you forgive someone that has taken away your youth and innocence? I was molested when I was a child and I have yet to forgive my step-father for doing it to me. I have been told by many that that will be my only salvation and I will feel much better for doing so. But I still cannot bring myself to forgive a man that could possibly do anything of that nature to a young girl. If anyone can suggest how I could begin to forgive I would be open to suggestions. Thanks

From: luise

Isis.......Just heard a sermon yesterday on forgiving and forgetting. The message I took with me is that harboring the resentment is only weighing heavy on YOUR heart and causing you hurt not only mentally, but phsically. You must forgive your step-father and pray that he will heal. If you confront him and tell him that you forgive him, then maybe he will realize how wrong he was. If not, then you forgive and forget and move on and know that YOU have done the right thing and he will face God at some point about his behavior. I don't know if this helps you but it helps me when I think of the wrongs that have been done to me.

From: Bernd

Do you have "Courage to Heal", a book for abuse survivors? And do you have a steady partner (husband or boyfriend)? If so, there's a companion book "Allies in Healing" that really helps them support your healing process.

One of the best books I've seen on forgiveness is aptly titled "Forgiveness", written by a husband/wife team...the wife's name is Suzanne, which is all I can remember of their names, but I also remember she was an abuse survivor. The book helped me tremendously in understanding what I needed to do to work TOWARDS forgiveness. To me, forgiveness happens when we take the pile of shit soneone dumped on us, plant a seed of healing, and ask for God's help in doing the rest. Eventually, a patch of beautiful carnations appears where the shit once was, and we realize we were able to transform the shit into fertilizer to make something beautiful grow.

From: trish

this is hard, 3 years ago i became friends with a wonderful woman that trusted me enough to share the burden of a troubled marriage with me. that trust enabled me to start talking openly about things from my past. for the first time in my life i could say out loud, I didn't do anything wrong, they were the adults, they were wrong. i was a child, with a childs mind, not knowing what was going on. the shame and guilt we carry through life, how it hinders our choices in relationships. i am rambling and i am sorry. first i had to say you know what, you were just a child, you were the "victim". the forgiveness within me started when i realized "they" were the ones that needed help, not me, they were the ones that needed prayer, not me. God had me, He's the one that kept me safe throughout my childhood.

now this is very hard for me to say, my mother knew of some of the things that were going on. it took me a long time to 'forgive' her for not keeping me safe. when i became an adult, i was able to put myself in her place and understand, not condone, understand. i understand that she did the best she 'knew' how to do. the men, i am not responsible for their twisted ways. one of them died at 35 of a heart attack, one died due to viet nam, i get no satisfaction from this. the others if they haven't repented in one way or another, must still be living in their own hell. but i refuse to stay victimized. all of this has made me who i am today. and i am sorry, i am nervous and rambling. one more thing, my youth was also robbed, but you know what, it made me a survivor and it allows me to speak out and react when and if i suspect something like that is going on with someone else.

From: Isis

I want to thank you for taking the time to respond first of all. I don't normally talk about what did happen to me to anyone, but perhaps the anonimity makes it easier. As far as the response to realizing that they were the adults and THEM being the ones that need help....I completely agree. However, that is also an issue that is keeping me from the forgiveness. I can't fathom how someone can do that to ANYONE let alone a young child that has looked up to you as a father figure. Unfortunately, this has been a great burden in my current relationships. I know what I'm doing but do not know how to stop it. I am now a very sexual person and if my partner does not reciprocate the feelings that I have I automatically assume that he does not want me... or does not find me "attractive" and therefore I search for that attention with someone else. This has been an ongoing problem of mine. This was the only way my step-father would pay attention to me is in a sexual way. I would think that I would shy away from that type of affection, but it's the only thing that keeps me going sometimes. Anyway, I'm babbling now (probably due to nervousness) so I will stop. But I want to thank you again for taking the time to respond. And to the person that recommended the book....I will definately go and find it...I need all the help I can get!

From: trish

isis, God Bless you, hon. thank you isis for having the courage to reach out. if i had only knew how to reach out to someone 20 plus years ago i could have avoided so many destructive journeys in my life. first i really didn't know how to ask for help. i really didn't. even over all of these years, i really wanted someone. i wanted someone to listen. but i have a real personal thing with trust. during all my travels and all the people i have met and cared about, i just never felt the freedom to talk about the me inside to anyone.

when i was 17, i met a wonderful young man, (i was seeing someone else that i thought i was madly in love with), my oldest brother (and biggest abusers in my life) died after hanging on for 2.5 years from wounds incurred in viet nam. home was unbearable, i married that wonderful young man, and married into his wonderful christian family who showed me love like i had never seen before. i never got one hug or i love you growing up. really. my mother seemed to resent me all of my life, which is another story. anyway this family brought out all the love that had been hidden away in me all of my life. i found a church and turned my life over to God. had 3 wonderful children, lived in a beautiful house. then divorced this wonderful man so that i could find myself. (i was frigid throughout our marriage). gave up everything we had worked for because he was such a wonderful man. (we were married for 6 years, even in the paper for being such a perfect, loving couple).

well i went out and got my career, and did the things i felt i had missed out on. the men and the sex were only the hugs i really wanted. i felt so misunderstood. after 7 years i felt that i should be a better example for my children. met a man that was drawn to my independence and we moved in together. one night he beat the living daylights out of me because i had asked him if we could just do McDonalds instead of me cooking, due to a long day at the park with the children, getting them packed up to goto grandmas to go camping, etc.. he beat me in front of his 3 year old son, who cried and pleaded daddy please don't hurt her. he nearly killed me. that was a friday, sunday i covered my bruises and went to pick up the children. married this man about 2 months later. promised God i would stay till death and honor the vow. (i failed at the first marriage, this was my punishment). i went thru 6 years of mental and physical abuse. during that time, i learned a whole lot about myself, never knowing if i would be alive in the morn. the divorce is again, another story. that was in 1989.

i now live over 500 miles from my home town. for the first time in my life i'm not responsible for anybody but me. well i have finally found out what this love yourself stuff is all about isis. i've had the last 8 years and God as my counselor to show me. self love sounded so 'selfish' to me. i loved others, i protected others, i took care of others. for the first time in my life, i now know how to love my self. for the first time in my life i have inner peace and i think total control in my life. no one taught me how to love, no one showed me how to love. isis, don't take this route, read these wonderful, honest postings, read the books recommended, use this forum to let your heart out, no one is going to say 'you're a bad girl', you brought that on yourself, etc. that's what i was afraid of, i'm sure. most important, get you self respect. be honest to your relationships, if they don't understand then so be it. move on. don't settle. you are like a child all over again, but you know what, no one can hurt you now, and no one can do those things that don't feel right. try to get on the right path, and when you slide off of it, just say oops, and get back up again and keep on till you get it right. love your courage and you girl.

From: Isis

Trish.... I have to let you know that I don't think I have ever really cried as I did when I just read your response. I pray that you are NOT still in that abusive relationship. I completely feel for what you are/did go through. Although MY abuser was not a partner or spouse of mine... my abuser (I guess I should clarify) my PHYSICAL abuse was my father.... emotional abusers, well that just about covers everyone in my family. My step-father (as you know) molested me, and I guess that you could consider that physical abuse, but I catorgorize that more in the emotional abuse. My mother for completely denying my emotional distress and taking him back after a few years (only for sexual reasons) and forbidding me to talk about it to anyone...including my therapist that I had at the time. My grandparents for verbally abusing me ....calling me names as a result of the molestation (slut, home-wrecker...etc) So, I guess what I'm really saying is: (Well there are actually a couple things)

First, I don't think that you should give me any credit for trying to reach out to anyone....if anything I feel like I can't talk to anyone unless, of course, it's on some silent, non-identifying forum where I CAN speak freely and don't have to fear that my feelings aren't valid.Anyway, I'm kind of babbling here, I guess cause I can :) But I do want to say that I sincerely hope that you are not in that relationship any more. No one deserves that. And I do know that you have a strong religious feeling about keeping your marital vows as a sacred thing...I respect that...However, if he can't respect you in the same fashion, it's not worth it. (Isn't it funny that we can give out advise that we should use ourselves....but it seems so much easier when you don't have to comply yourself). I hope that everything works out for you and your children.

From: isis

Trish... I don't think I've cried so much for so long. I don't know why I AM crying... I guess it's just a sweet thing that all of you are here. Even if this goes completely unnoticed, it has still enabled me to write and release and I want to thank you all for that. I am very glad that you DID get out of your abusive relationship, I know that physical abuse is also one of the hardest things to get away from, so to that I commend you.

I know that I still have a lot of issues to work through, and I hope that I can one day go and live a "normal" life, have "normal" relationships with men, try and have a "normal" family life. But it all comes back to that forgiveness thing again. I want to thank "luise" for sharing her thoughts, but Luise, if you read what I wrote before, I am having the hardest time forgiving my step-father. I know that one day he will meet his maker and he will have to deal with that at that time, but I really don't think that he cares as of now. (You know what really burns my butt is that he is now in the process of becoming a preacher, and out of respect for my mother and my half-sister I won't say anything to anyone regarding his attempted position) You see, my mother, from day one of learning what he did has made me feel that I was the bad one. "It wasn't THAT bad. You didn't have it as bad as I did. MY father did it to me and it was my REAL father." Those are the types of things that I've had to hear from my mother.

She didn't want me to tell my haf-sister what happened, because she didn't want her to have a "tainted" view of her father. He has never done anything to her (to my knowledge) and she didn't want the "Perfect" father for my sister to be ruined. Well, when I finally did tell her, all hell broke loose. All of a sudden it was because I had some sort of alternate plan to destroy this vision of her father because MY dad was a bad father. So, I guess that's the whole reason that I haven't said anything to anyone eslse, is because I know that if I do....that I will be that bad one again. (Once again...I am babbling and I apologize).

So, Luise, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wish I could forgive, but there are so many things that are hurting inside me that I can't find it in me... that part that can just let things go... to forgive him. I think that if I could ask him "Why? Why me? What did I do wrong to make you choose me? Why did you make me feel as if it were my fault?" and get some answers that maybe I could forgive...but for now I need that help in finding that spot... to reach far down inside and take that hurt and let it all go. Phew! I think that I'm done for today...just wanted to thank you and reply.

From: trish

please speak out silently, please, first NO, i'm not in that, any of that anymore. my daughters and i with the "congress of Hawaii" fled hawaii, and i got my divorce back in 1989. honey, i kept silent as a child because my mother couldn't deal with it, as her generation couldn't. my cousins refused to let any of us girls talk because they couldn't handle it. my oldest brother, who was our father figure in the house did terrible things to me. would hold a pillow on my face and say ok let's see how long before you black out. he was the one that thought it was funny to allow his best friend to rape me while he kept watch (i was between 6-7). that was the only time i was penetrated, all the rest of the garbage was molesting by my brother, cousins father, my uncle, my mothers boyfriend. much more garbage. isis, i kept quiet, God, i couldn't say anything about my brother, he would have made life worse, BUT when her boyfriend did it (she was pregnant) i did go to her, like you, dag gone denial.

Love what was love, self respect, what was that. i really think i related love to abuse and that's why i justified my second husbands abuse. but like you honey, i confused sex, with wanting to be cared about. what i'm saying now is don't do it anymore, get your head on straight. first respect your body. start feeling about yourself the way you want and expect others to. DON'T settle, however, like i said, if you slip, just say oops, i'll give more thought to that next time. START doing what feels right to you. it takes time. now, for all those adults that should know better, honey, they don't know better. again, accept them, pray for them, and begin to stop taking their remarks personal. just start, day at a time, and baby HOLD that head up high. it's not easy, but life 'ain't easy', but the more control we put into our lives, believe it or not, it does get easier. like i said, first get your self respect intact. get to the point where you can look anyone and everyone in the eye, and know you have a clear concious. and yes isis, you are braver than you know.

From: Bernd

I just want to add a tiny bit here. As much as we think the abusers aren't suffering more than us, I think that's an illusion. As long as they don't own up to what they did, or make amends, they will forever be blocked off from knowing true love. The only thing they'll be able to get in touch with is the plastic stuff, the illusion. Their denial and lies will forever create a wall that blocks them from any real meaning of their life. Their life will remain one big distraction from what they keep running away from inside - the truth. To live your life deluding yourself you have substance, when all you really have is an empty shell has to be a hell of the worst kind. When they approach death's door, I think the terror of what they've done - and the realization they've waited too late to change direction - has to be a terror of the worst kind.

We keep walking toward the light in our healing. They are forever cut off from it, as long as they hold onto their denial.

From: trish

bernd, i now have my opportunity to express to you that you are truely gifted. you touched my heart sometime back in april with a posting in re: hang on or let go. i look forward to every reply because you can say, what i feel, but can't define. thank you.

From: trish

good morning isis, hope these words will put some "hope" into your day. Forgiveness. believe it, one morning you will wake up and everything will be crystal clear. for the first time you will be able to step back and look at you family with love, compassion and understanding. you shared something with me last night, you said your mother said "you don't have it bad , i had it so much worse". so did my mom, so much worse, maybe, that's what always helps me when i'm wronged, is i try to look at the other persons life. then wow, we realize yea they did have it worse and yea i am better off. not better off for the actions that are going on, but because we are capable of SEEING how they are dealing with their 'confusion'. honey, we actually get stronger and more self confident, when we let go of ourselves and "see where others are coming from". it's not the 'action', it's why they react or do what they do. i'll stop for now so i don't get too wordy. at a later time i want to share with you, how i came to realize just how strong my mother had to be, and how after i realized she did the best she knew, i wanted to hold her as if she was the child. by the way, that is what happened later in my life, after i got myself together, i became the comforter to my family, i became my mothers supporter, and took care of my brother the last 2.5 years of his life. life has so many twists and turns, so again, hang in there and set your sites to get on the right path, and accept that we will stumble and walk down that dark alley, but just look for the light and get back on the road. take my hand, hon. my prayers and thoughts are with you, i care what happens to you.

From: Isis

Trish, Again, you've touched me. I feel as if you know exactly what I've gone through because you have had to deal with a lot of the same issues. I have had to be the "comforter" to my mother almost my entire life. I know that my purpose in life is to help others (don't ask me why...I can't even help myself...but I CAN help others) and I've always been the "adult" in my mothers and my relationship. Although sometimes it can be very frustrating because there are those times that I need my "mom" to listen and not to disregard anything that I've said because HER life has been so much more than mine. I know that she's had it hard, and I've tried helping her with that... but there are those times when I need to say "Here is what happened and I need to talk and not be judged for anything, just because I need to tell someone" . I know that my mother has had a very hard life. She, herself, had to deal with all types of abuse...and I take all of her hurt all of the time (because I am the caretaker of my family) and I listen and I cry with her and try to make everything better... but one day I'd like to have my turn. I know that may sound selfish, but I know that I need to. (Maybe that's why I'm here...just to let it all out). Sorry Trish...I keep babbling, but I can't even think straight half the time. I don't expect anyone to understand what I'm saying but like I said it's just a very good release. I will stop for now.

From: trish

isis, i am pulling my self up off the floor. i could have wrote your words, word for word. ever since you touched my heart a memory has been flooding through me. i have a "writing" by an unknown author that is on listening, i will dig it out of my files and share it with you. i had made a copy of it and gave it to my mother, the line i remember most goes something like, please just listen, i'm not asking for advice, listen ( i will find it, you must read it) like i said it has been flooding my thoughts since you and i shared. after she read it, she lost it, you would have thought that i just told her i hated her. she didn't speak to me for weeks. isis, i am 46 years old, all of my life all i ever wanted was for someone to listen, mostly my mother. when i went to her to tell her i was leaving my first husband (the good guy) i wanted her to do everything in her power to tell me not to (not that i would have listened), but it was like she wanted me to be as miserable as she was. i think i don't have to say anymore about that, i feel deeply that you understand. i have goose bumps all over me. going to go look for that writing.

From: trish


When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen---All I asked was that you listen, not talk or do,---just hear me.

Advice is cheap: 10 cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same nespaper.

And I can do for myself. I'm not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.

But, when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and can get about the business of understanding what's behind this irrational feeling. And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice.

Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them.

Perhaps that's why prayer works, sometimes for some people--because God is mute, and he/she doesn't give advice or try to fix things. "They" just listen and let you work it out for yourself.

Please listen and just hear me. And, if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn, and I'll listen to you.

From: Isis

Trish, Thank you for sending "Listening" to me. I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to me. You have been a great cyber-shoulder for me to cry and let go on, for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don't think I have to tell you how much I DO appreciate that, because I feel that you know how I do feel for the most part... I feel a very strong connection with you (almost as if I don't have to say anything, you've been there) But thank you for allowing me to say it anyway :) If I can ever be YOUR listener, please let me know. It feels so good to be able to let that all go (although I doubt if I will ever be free of all of it, but I am on my way).

From: trish

good morning, see, without you even realizing it, you, have been a blessing to me. you have listened, and you understand. i have never shared, what i have shared with you these last few days, and it is such a release and puts warmth in my heart. thank you, isis, good friend. you have reached a deep dark corner of my life. will share more later,

From: trish

"on listening" really tore my mother up, and like i said, she didn't speak to me for weeks. but i was learning to stop struggling with trying to make her into the mom i felt i so desperately needed. my adult life with my mother was very bumpy, but of course was use to it. i was the one to start putting my arms around her and saying i love you (she was very uncomfortable), but i went ahead. i was always (all my life) respectful to my mom. anyway, i fixed her up with a man from work. i was in management, he was on the crew. they were together everyday for 6 years. during that 6 years we became friends. you know the kind of friendship i'm talking about., me there for her, but that was ok. she was struggling on whether or not to marry him, and finally decided to do it. i was living in central america at the time with the abuser. i got a call, and mom said that she had had a biopsy that came back benign would i come home to go to the doctors with her for the tests required. i knew she would not have had me travel that far unless she really needed me. (being overseas, she apparently missed me terribly).

i was back home within 48 hours, mom had got married on July 5. 2 weeks after i got back home she died (august 31). before she died she said 'daughter, i was never there for you, i never did for you" i said oh yes you did, look at me mom (i was and am, self reliant, caring, independent) i said mom you gave me the strength to survive this mean ole world. mom had also given her heart and life to god sometime before this. you know what isis, even though i couldn't talk to her, she was my mom, and i miss her. one more thing, my brother (the abuser) had given his life to god before he died too.

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