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Tony Grist

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Forgiveness [Aug. 28th, 2009|09:39 am]
Tony Grist
Forgiveness is always sublime, but...

A friend of mine is being pestered by a man from her past of whom she has less than delightful memories. Maybe he's just amazingly thick-skinned and unaware of how she feels about him- or maybe he's been put up to it by his AA group. Apparently that's something the AA do- they urge their members to go out and seek reconciliation with those they've wronged.
It's not that she doesn't forgive him, it's just that she'd rather he faded back into the woodwork. Does forgiveness mean you have to hang out with your former enemies?

It's a very egotistical thing, wanting to be forgiven. You've hurt this person and now you're creeping round them going, "Please make me feel better".  It turns the victim into the aggressor.  Wouldn't it be kinder- more honest-  to keep the hell out of their way?

Or are you doing them a favour by giving them the opportunity to forgive, which- as I said at the beginning- is always a sublime act?

Someone should write a novel about this.

[User Picture]From: baritonejeff
2009-08-28 10:19 am (UTC)

or maybe he's been put up to it by his AA group

Regarding this, steps 8 and 9:

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

In the Al-Anon meetings I attended, there was much discussion of these steps, with particular emphasis on being sensitive as to whether or not the subject(s) of ones "amends" attempts is/are receptive to this, and respecting that.

If this guy is taking this as a mandate for finding everyone he has wronged and pestering them into forgiving him, then he is perverting (or at the very least misunderstanding) the concept.

These two steps might be better worded: Figure out who you wronged, and try to fix it if you can; but only if they want you to.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-08-28 11:26 am (UTC)

Re: or maybe he's been put up to it by his AA group

Thanks for the clarification.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone you've wronged is never to darken their door again.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-08-28 02:14 pm (UTC)

Re: or maybe he's been put up to it by his AA group

I have to (reluctantly) agree with that. Even if it's a close family member who has a misconception of the wrongs that were - or were not - done.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-08-28 04:27 pm (UTC)

Re: or maybe he's been put up to it by his AA group

Sometimes I think one has to accept that there are things that are not going to be put right in this life.
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[User Picture]From: baritonejeff
2009-08-28 04:31 pm (UTC)

Re: or maybe he's been put up to it by his AA group

Agreed. Sometimes. Probably most of the time.

While there are certainly some negatives, one of the beauties of a well utilized twelve step program is to help one clarify and clean up ones personal world, and to find a place for that within the world in general that is healthy both for oneself and for others. (looooooooooong sentence! lol!)
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