Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fighting Forgiveness

Carrying the burden of a debt owed us


It was brought to my attention that not everyone was able to access this on Facebook for some reason so I decided to re-publish it here on A Journey today. 

Originally published on Facebook here on June 21 2010. 

Fighting "Forgiveness"

by Susan Kingsley-Smith on Monday, June 21, 2010 at 11:20am

I had no clue what it meant to "forgive".

I'd been told to "get over it", "move on", "let it go"....

In other words, forgive those who had hurt me, been responsible in some way for my trauma experiences and most likely would never make their own "amends" with me. And justice would most likely never be served...for either those who have died or still live.

So - this became a part of my journey. To learn to understand how to live in that "peace that passed all understanding", to live in that "serenity" that I'd never experienced following a lifetime of abuse and multiple trauma experiences.

And it came down to a few things.

One - was feeling instead of stuffing the anger at those things that had been done to me when I was powerless to protect myself as a child, as an adult in adult relationships or circumstances that were beyond my control

As an adult I realized I could learn how to access and express my anger and rage in ways that would empower my journey to healing rather than hinder it by consequences for "acting out" against others, or "acting in" against myself.

Two - was recognizing I was no longer powerless; that I am now an adult, no longer dependent on another for my survival and if I am angry at the way someone treats me, I can move on. I no longer am a victim.

If there are circumstances beyond my control - I can identify what I can do to influence change, using my anger and hurt to fuel my purpose, focussing on solutions instead of ruminating as though I am still a powerless child.

And if there truly is nothing I can do to affect change...I can choose to live in acceptance of what is the lesson learned in the "Serenity Prayer" and move on to the next step...

Three - was grieving the losses connected to that experience. And that was that childhood or healthy adult relationship that I deserved for no other reason than I existed - or the losses connected to being in a circumstance that took something from me as in an accident...or a war. This is that process I wrote of in my note Onions Make Me Cry.

And four - I learned what "forgiveness" is - and is not. I began to look at "forgiveness" in contexts other than personal relationships.

In my past, I was a Mortgage Broker/Banker. I dealt in finance, credit reports and so on. Part of my job was to assist folks to understand how their payment history of the past affected their ability to purchase their "dream home" of today especially when they had gotten to that place of "foreclosure".

Another part of my job was to assist these folks to create a workable plan to dig themselves out of the mess they had made by abusing the trust of their lender.

When I looked at "forgiveness" from this perspective it became much easier to see how I could actually "forgive" those who had abused my trust and dependence on them to care for and protect me as a child or those connected to the trauma experiences of my adult life.

This also helped me to understand that forgiving someone does not mean that I have to "extend them credit" in the form of my trust again.

This can be for however long I decide - just as a bank may say "no" to a new loan for up to the 7-10 years that default stays on my credit report, I can also set some limits to see if over time those in my life have learned to treat me and others as they deserve to be treated or not.

And there are some banks that would give some folks a "second chance" with a loan at very high interest to help them re-establish their credit rating as an opportunity to prove they have learned their lesson...

So I can choose to let someone back into my life or close the door permanently.

But I discovered the choice was mine as to if I let them “borrow” from me again or not.

"Forgiveness does not change the past, it creates hope for the future" ~Unknown

See the related posts Paying Homage to the Past here and Onions Make Me Cry here.

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful, Susan.

"Forgiveness" is a topic I have struggled with for years. I absolutely believe that people can change, as they grow and learn from their mistakes... I have certainly learned, grown, and changed tremendously, in my lifetime. I also believe that most people, most of the time, are doing the best they can with what they have, pitiful though their/our best may be.

But, this isn't always the case. Some people just really don't care. Even worse, some people are cold and cruel and actually enjoy inflicting pain. I don't get how people can be that way, but I know from experience that it's true.

Unfortunately, most of the abusive people I have known in my lifetime, never really change. Most will abuse again, given half a chance.

Your debt/mortgage analogy is perfect. Thanks for posting this.


Unknown said...

Thanks Lynda; this was a tough subject for me like it is for many of us who have survived traumas and abuse inflicted by others.

I agree - we are all doing the best we can with what we have to work with at the moment. And some will learn and grow from their mistakes, some will take ownership. others won't, some will continue to abuse. I think this analogy allows us the framework to check ourselves throughout this period of granting those second chances as we sort out those who deserve a second or third chance and those who have blown their line of credit permanently.

Healing - like life - is not black and white:)

Thanks for letting me know this post was helpful to your journey Lynda.

In much gratitude:)


Just Be Real said...

Oh so appreciated reading this Susan. Thank you. I am sure I will be referring back to it. Blessings.

Unknown said...

Just Be are so very welcome; I am ever grateful to know that you found something helpful in this post. thank you for your note:) Susan

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

Good stuff. It can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that forgiveness is NOT a REWARD for the person who harmed you. It's how you take their power away.

Unknown said...

Hi Bettina; yes. It can be very difficult and I think it gets complicated when we are told to "forgive and forget" without mention that we don't have to let them hurt us again or that we have the option to eliminate them from our lives altogether. The choice is ours but when we are told we "have" to forgive them and give them a second chance…not so helpful, I've found.

Good to see you!