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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.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: qos
2009-08-28 05:55 pm (UTC)
There is one particular person from my past -- an emotionally abusive ex-lover, who I have never been able to forgive, even though I feel that I understand and have compassion for the elements in his background which clearly led to his behavior. (I spent a lot of time around his horrible family.)

I don't want him in my life again. In fact, I've coached Wolfling that there may be a time when I deny who I am if a particular person ever accosts us in public.

That said. . . If he ever came to me and said, "QiA, I want you to know that I now understand how badly I hurt you, and I want to offer my apologies and ask for forgiveness" I would appreciate it. I would like to forgive him, but I don't feel enlightened enough to do so without him acknowledging that he hurt me very badly.

I still would not want him in my life, but having him acknowledge his harm and express contrition would be very welcome.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-08-28 08:19 pm (UTC)
It seems to me that you're on the way to forgiveness when you say you feel compassion for this man.

I think it's possible to forgive someone coldly- simply as an act of will. Forgiveness doesn't commit you to liking the person or volunteering to spend time with them.
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[User Picture]From: qos
2009-08-29 03:49 pm (UTC)
I still carry a hard little stone of hurt and anger toward him deep inside. To me, "forgiveness" would mean being able to release that, and to let go of the lingering negative emotions I carry toward him.

Part of me would like to be able to do so, simply for my own good. Part of me continues to be angry on some level that -- if his past pattern holds true -- he's out there somewhere telling other pepole what a bitch I was for betraying him and leaving him after I'd promised to marry him.

I *do* wish him healing from his hurts -- and along with that, as the 12 Steps counsel, waking up to his own responsibility for hurting me and others and wanting to make amends.
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