Forgiveness : a high price?

I am reflecting a lot on forgiveness lately.  Part of us when hurt wants to exact a retribution of kinds or at least block love from flowing back to the source of the hurt because perhaps we feel this is the only way we can hold onto a boundary and escape the pain of more hurt.  And by all means consciousness demands we find out who is hurtful to us most often from their own unconscious pain and wounded.

I always loved the saying “hurt people, hurt people”.

I shared earlier in a blog that I was so angry when I learned of something intensely hurtful my brother did to his daughter yesterday.  I felt anger burning through me like wild fire.  Maybe it triggered my own wounds, I am not sure but I was so impressed by my niece’s reaction.  She clearly owned the damage and lack of love in both parent’s as well as the unresolved hurt.

Maybe it might help more of us if we saw this kind of unfeeling narcissistic abuse as the outgrowth of an evolutionary pathway in which older generations were not allowed to feel hurt or pain or were humiliated or emotionally abandoned by a parent stunting permanently their own empathy.

In his excellent book on narcissism therapist Alexander Lowen shares his insight into how much early humiliation in childhood can lead people to develop a narcissistic defence, blocking feelings of vulnerability and deep anger at violation which then being disallowed may often permanently disable the person turning them into a rationaliser or someone who avoids further emotional pain by becoming a people pleaser or adopting a false self, or alternatively shutting them down emotionally and leading them to project rejected vulnerability towards others, most often children who act it out then get shamed, exiled or scapegoated all over again.

The way out of this dilemma involves owning the anger, to re-engage the assertive impulse for self care and self protection and end the shaming that can be internalised.  Holding onto the anger helps keep the defence in place, turning too soon towards forgiveness may mean being open to more abuse.  But in the long run some letting go of intense anger may need to take place as anger that hardens into resentment can become corrosive and lead to physical and emotional problems.

The next step often lays in realising the damage in the person that caused the pain.  Seeing they were once a vulnerable child defenceless against a parent’s inner conflicts or aggression or splitting of and hardening of feeling.  In my brother’s case I see why he may have had to shut down his sensitivity early on.  I know some of the things my Dad did to him in the late 1940s that were punishing and over the top. Last year he also revealed a bit about the abuse he suffered at the hands of the Christian brothers.

I asked my Mum if she was aware of this abuse and she said that no, my brother just came home and hung his school coat on the wall and quietly went off saying nothing.  I felt so sad for him when he told me that story in June last year I wrote a blog about it.

When I felt the anger to my brother I wondered at my right to judge someone who was acting out of buried pain.  I almost considered that I never want to have contact with him again on the other side and then questioned that.  Then today I read this on forgiveness :

Forgiveness is a selective remembering of what someone did right, at a time when the ego mind is shrieking about what someone did wrong  We always have a choice about where to focus – whether to blame someone or to bless someone.  I can concentrate my attention on what you did wrong, or I can seek to remember a moment when you tried to do right.  Although the ego insists that you don’t deserve it, the spirit absolutely know that you do.  And my ego has an ulterior motive, in seeking to attack you, it is seeking secretly to attack me.  Only when I remember who you really are (an innocent child of God, regardless of your mistakes) can I remember who I am (an innocent child of God, regardless of mine.)

Condemning another person, while it might give us a few moments of temporary relief, will always boomerang and make us feel worse.  If I attack you, you will attack me back – or at least I’ll think you did.  In terms of how consciousness operates it doesn’t matter who attacked first, who ever attacks feels attacked.

Forgiveness takes us off the wheel of suffering. It delivers us to quantum realms beyond time and space, when thoughts of guilt have marred neither your innocence nor mine.  This is summed up by Rumi “Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field, I’ll meet you there.”  There, in this space of no-thing the universe miraculously self corrects.  In the presence of love, things automatically return to divine right order.  That which the ego has made imperfect is returned to the track of divine perfection, releasing possibilities for healing that would not other wise exist :

I’m sorry

I’m sorry, too.

Simple worlds, and how much better those words are than the ego’s alternative.

Mmm, but what of the person who when you say sorry, uses that as an opening to deny or as a weapon to beat you over the head with?  I was warned of this in my last relationship with a narcissist, to be aware that apologising to someone such as he may be used against me and it was.  In this case it was his ego that had shut down and locked the door and I could do nothing about it but walk away, knowing I was powerless and in time knowing that the price of holding onto the outrage was too much to bear, that in the end letting go and allowing the person to be shut down was the only way to become free, knowing I deserved something else.

Forgiveness, it most certainly is a thorny issue.  There are times I was slighted and could only see the wrong and the hurt and anger eclipsed other things that were right, so I do agree with some of what Marianne Williamson writes in that quote above but I still have some reservations and I wondered what others think of it?  Maybe you might like to comment below.  If we are repeatedly hurt and other refuse to own up, surely its in our best interests to keep a wide berth.

Published by: emergingfromthedarknight

"The religious naturalist is provisioned with tales of natural emergence that are, to my mind, far more magical than traditional miracles. Emergence is inherent in everything that is alive, allowing our yearning for supernatural miracles to be subsumed by our joy in the countless miracles that surround us." Ursula Goodenough How to describe oneself? People are a mystery and there is so much more to us than just our particular experiences or occupations. I could write down a list of attributes and they still might not paint a complete picture pf Deborah Louise and in any case it would not be the full truth of me. I would say that my purpose here on Wordpress is to express some of my random experiences, thoughts and feelings, to share about my particular journey and explore some subjects dear to my heart, such as emotional recovery, healing and astrology while posting up some of the prose/poems which are an outgrowth of my labours with life, love and relationships. If anything I write touches you I would be so pleased to hear for the purpose of reaching out and expressung ourselves is hopefully to connect with each other and find where our souls meet.

Categories Anger, Boundaries, Defences, Emotional Abuse, Forgiveness, Healing Trauma, Judgement, Narcissism, Projection, Resentment, Shadow projection13 Comments

13 thoughts on “Forgiveness : a high price?”

  1. I have a strong opinion on forgiveness and those who say you have to forgive your perpetrators to heal. I believe that healing begins when we learn to forgive ourselves for believing the lies our abusers told our souls. Thats where healing begins.
    Im talking about our abusers in this comment, not the “normal-stuff” we may have with others in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, give perpetrators a wide berth, stop playing their game, or if they’re family, have as much distance from them as possible. We are not obligated to forgive perpetrators, we are however, responsible for ourselves. Forgiving our own soul for naivety, for helplessness at being too small, etc… it releases a great deal of poison and pain and allows a healthy bridge to form, between the inner child and your soul. Learning to trust your own inner voice is far more important than obsessing about whether it is morally right and just, to forgive a perpetrator. Only your soul can make that judgement, and it will, when it is ready. Self compassion is by far, the best healing method – when you’ve been starved of any emotional comforts, self compassion is soooo soothing!


  3. This is a tough one, for sure. I’ve been wrestling with forgiveness vs standing up for myself vs letting things go vs anger vs peace….so hard!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I certainly have felt compassion for my siblings, my mother and father. I’ve also felt sorry for my father, knowing the difficulty he had growing up with a father who favored my uncle.

    But it’s clear my uncle was damaged and in fact seemed to be more damaged from what I know and what I’ve seen. It is sad how this is all passed down. I think about my brother and how I bullied him when we were kids. That is likely because how my father was treating me. I often wonder if I’d have been more loving toward him back then if my father had not been so emotionally abusive.

    I get the same way about my mother. Her upbringing was different than my father’s but she had an abusive father as well. He was also a player who cheated on my grandmother.

    It’s my sister I have little compassion for because she seems to be the most narcissistic and I call her the ring leader. So that may allow for more compassion for my brother and mother maybe a little but really only because she’s ‘worse’ than them. Not because I don’t see them as responsible for their own behaviors as adults.

    I go with the wide berth option. But that’s me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing all of that. I do think our compassion depends a lot on how much true remorse is shown as some abuse seems to be less deliberate than others.
      And its great to hear a take that seems to be more open minded. I was starting to feel a bit alone in that place.
      Really appreciate you sharing ST. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have struggled with “forgiveness” for So SO long. (although I feel I have worked my way through~ FINALLY!!) as a child I was taught I did not deserve to live, to be loved, to be ME. I was a place for my entire family’s frustrations to be acted out on~ in Every form of abuse. I was told by one of my P Docs that I was quite literally “hard-wired” with my C-PTSD as the abuse began from as far back as my memories go (toddler) and continued all through my childhood into adulthood. HOWEVER because of this I came to a point where if I was going to remain on this EarthWalk I absolutely had to Break my Energy Blocks, RELEASE my rage in a healthy way and FORGIVE. As I have Grown and Healed I can see that my family of origin truly are (Soul-wise anyway) Divine BE-ings expressing themselves (for whatever reasons) in Very UN-healthy ways for Me at the time, which was necessary for their Souls. SO… in my “attitude of Gratitude” I came to feel grateful for my experiences that have “made me…Me” this time around. I am STRONG!! All of my experiences this time around have quite literally Shoved me right into BE-coming the “me” of right here and Now!!
    That little girl that SO many abuses were perpetrated upon is WORTHY of Love and is also is a Divine BE-ing!! She thought it was all Her fault that such abuses came about. So forgiveness had to be Given to Her/ME. Can I BE ok with the WHOs, the Whats, heck even the Whys? NOW I can say Yes. I can also see that those questions need never be specifically answered. I DO forgive them all AND mySelf!! It is liberating and HEALING. And for me?? A nearly 6 decade Journey that was horrifying, traumatic, PAINful and full of grief. Each and every one of us has to arrive in our own time and in our own way. Releasing my Rage was a terrifying thought because I was afraid of how Huge it was and that I would hurt someone in some way if I let it out. A “T” once told me to let it out little by little sort of like releasing the air out of a balloon so slowly that it squeaks instead of letting it go all at once and the balloon goes flying willy-nilly all around the room. All I can say I guess is regardless of how much our Ego and our victim Self chafes, even rages at our abuses/abusers and the idea of Forgiving~ forgiving is Liberating and HEALS!!! It is Not about saying what was done to us is OK… it is about realizing that this is Our Journey and Now? it becomes our CHOICE(s). I CHOSE to BE healthy and whole and Forgiveness was/Is a Huge part of it!!
    Sending Love and LIGHT ~
    EVERY part of this EarthWalk is a Blessing! ~ one way or another!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brilliant comment would you be open to me sharing it as a post on my blog. It may help a lot of people. The only problem with forgiving too soon is if we dont get to develop the boundaries to know what happened was wrong, after that forgiveness comes in time in my experience when we open our heart and realise everyone did the best they could with what they knew. ❤


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