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Do you have people you cannot forgive?


LoneWolf
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This was a topic that came up this morning, in a faith-based environment.  For discussion here, I'll leave that perspective out.

 

I've thought about this long and hard.  The names of the hardest to forgive on my list are the people throughout my life who had no guilt in bullying, or making me feel like less of a human being than I was.  A lot of this has happened over the course of my life; elementary, junior high, high school.  And then I went to college, thinking that would change.  And I was wrong.  My things were vandalized by someone.  I got some anonymous threatening phone calls.  Nearly had my bike damaged in a malicious prank, and had Comet cleanser poured on my car's windshield (after it had been thoroughly wetted to make sure it stuck).  Same person(s); I never found out who.

 

I've had workplace bosses since who seemed to delight in the same thing, as if they were small, and needed to feel bigger or in control by treating others as lesser beings, or perhaps thought that respect was gained through fear rather than earned.  I never understood this; making me feel less than myself made it hard for me to believe in the quality of my work and skills (which are there, if I'm given the confidence).

 

One-by-one, I have slowly managed to forgive these people.  And then, the one thing they make me cognizant of is that for things I have done (some long past), it is ten times harder for me to forgive myself.  Even though I know that not forgiving others, or yourself eats at you, and burdens you more than letting go.

 

What is your forgiveness process like?  Are there things that if you let go, would free you?  Discuss.

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I am struggling with that very question.

My mom passed away 3 yrs ago this Nov.  My sister couldn't even bother to come to the funeral.

I haven's spoken to her since then, and frankly I don't even know where she is or what has become of her.   It is the one thing in my life I really am struggling to get past, and don't know if I can.

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I have been very fortunate to have seldom have issues that needed forgiveness.  Probably my worst is a fifth grade teacher hitting me on the knuckles with a wooden ruler to try to get me to talk louder.  All it did was thoroughly piss me off and make me want to get even with the bastard.  The memory of his name still angers me.  Amazingly enough, this was in public school, just long, long ago, so I have empathy for you Catholic school victims of violence. :D

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I think it is only human that we struggle with forgiveness.  I think it takes a very special sense of self & spirituality (what ever your spirituality is) to move beyond those who hurt us.  I realize those nasty teens who picked on me...were just typical nasty teens..but that doesn't make me interested in having anything to do with them. Even 40 years later. Unfortunately..I kinda feel the same way with some extended family...I met with my cousin and his wife when I did the MS ride a few years  ago..they made me dinner.  But I don't have much contact with them...ever since the wife accused me of stealing from our aunt back about 14 years ago.  Yeah the lady didn't have anything...kinda hard to steal from someone with very little.  So  I have avoided them...  I can sit here and say well...I forgive them...but on the other hand I am not going out of my way to have a relationship with..So I wonder if that is a true forgiveness.

 

It is a struggle to forgive...and go on as if everything was the same as it was before

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There is really only one person in particular, and it has happened in the last year or so. I'm really trying to forgive her, not because she's asked for it or deserves it, but for my own peace and nothing more. It's incredibly hard to forgive someone who was such a complete douche to me and has NO remorse for it whatsoever. She's done the same thing to many others, so karma will eventually take care of the issue, I have no doubt. I really need to take that step though...just for my own peace.

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there are people and events that are in the past and I have moved on, but I don't necessarily "forgive".  Just because I have the ability to put it behind me does not mean they need to be forgiven.  

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there are people and events that are in the past and I have moved on, but I don't necessarily "forgive".  Just because I have the ability to put it behind me does not mean they need to be forgiven.  

 

I struggle with this --but the truth is that forgiveness is not as much for others as it is ourselves.

 

Not forgiving means that when you're reminded of an event dealing with that person, it eats at you.  Being able to drop that helps you, even if it doesn't help them.  In fact, it may never help them --the key is helping yourself.

 

Probably the one person I'm having trouble continuing to forgive right now is someone in a supervisory position over me.  I forgive them one event at a time, because as they are in my life, events continue to happen.  This person has their okay moments with me, and then there are those that convince me the person is removed from reality, or lacks empathy, or understanding of what my job entails, especially as I have to repeat why I chose the methods I did.  It feels like the person doesn't understand that I am motivated by the desire to make the environment a better place, or doesn't trust me, which makes it difficult.  And when this person gets irritated, even through misunderstanding, apologies are rarely forthcoming later (something that seems all too common).

 

I can only resolve that each day I'm there (until I'm not) that I will do my best, even if that isn't good enough for others, and hope that I can find a place where I am better understood, and where the workload-to-resources balance is understood as well.

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I think it is only human that we struggle with forgiveness.  I think it takes a very special sense of self & spirituality (what ever your spirituality is) to move beyond those who hurt us.  I realize those nasty teens who picked on me...were just typical nasty teens..but that doesn't make me interested in having anything to do with them. Even 40 years later. Unfortunately..I kinda feel the same way with some extended family...I met with my cousin and his wife when I did the MS ride a few years  ago..they made me dinner.  But I don't have much contact with them...ever since the wife accused me of stealing from our aunt back about 14 years ago.  Yeah the lady didn't have anything...kinda hard to steal from someone with very little.  So  I have avoided them...  I can sit here and say well...I forgive them...but on the other hand I am not going out of my way to have a relationship with..So I wonder if that is a true forgiveness.

 

From what you've described, forgiveness is one of two components. The other is reconciliation, or a rebuilding of a damaged relationship.

 

Forgiveness, as LoneWolf mentioned, is not as much for others as for ourselves. It is about being able to move on. The alternative is to become a bitter person, stuck in a past moment, unable to appreciate today and tomorrow. Forgiveness isn't an easy process, but it's worthwhile.

 

It should also be noted that my choice to forgive someone is completely mine. It does not require any action on the part of the one who has wronged me. I make the choice to let go of what has happened and to move forward.

 

The second component, reconciliation, involves an acknowledgement and a degree of remorse from the offending party. Without that acknowledgement, trust cannot be restored and the relationship will be weakened or destroyed entirely. Even a change of behaviour, unless accompanied by an admission of earlier wrongdoing, is not sufficient. A painful and uncomfortable dialogue is needed. Once it has happened, the restoration can begin and the relationship can become whole once more.

 

And if I am the offending party, I need to take action to acknowledge what I have done, or if I do not know, I need to ask if I have done something wrong and then make amends. Without that, I will lose something I might not be able to regain.

 

I can and will choose to forgive those who have hurt me. I can and will move forward. But until reconciliation also takes place, things will not proceed as before.

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I understand the workplace struggle...we have a board member who makes sarcastic comments and very un-called for remarks..and she will brush it off ...like it is her humor...but it isn't it is just down right nasty.  A few months ago when the folks from the 6th floor were meeting the the board, management and the pest control folks...someone made a point of saying what a good job I was doing helping people and dealing with all the extra work regarding our pest problem...and this lady just said into the Microphone "It's her job"...The pest control people couldn't believe her remark..that she wasn't supportive of all the extra I am dealing with.   This person is now the board president and a PITA....I just keep my head down and do my job....and try to avoid her.  LOL wish me luck on that one.

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I think grudginess has an evolutionary benefit.  Somebody does you wrong, you have to learn from it.  The greater the harm, the longer-simmering the sting.  Some of that is inwardly directed because you trusted someone, maybe more than you should have, then you got bent over with no vaseline.  

 

At any rate, you basically are hanging onto that information from both angles so you don't repeat mistakes endlessly.  It is easier to forgive the other person when they are no longer connected or in your life or you are no longer close to the situation, but it is more "moving on" or dealing with it rather than forgiveness.

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that is probably the saddest thing I've ever read RG.

 

?

 

I think it is human nature, an explanation of the basic instruction set we have for getting screwed over in some way and prevention of similar occurrences in the future.  "Fool me once, shame on....", that kind of thing.

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An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King Jr.

 

In time we hate that which we often fear.

William Shakespeare

 

There is no beauty in sadness. No honor in suffering. No growth in fear. No relief in hate. It’s just a waste of perfectly good happiness.” 
Katerina Stoykova Klemer

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An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King Jr.

 

In time we hate that which we often fear.

William Shakespeare

 

There is no beauty in sadness. No honor in suffering. No growth in fear. No relief in hate. It’s just a waste of perfectly good happiness.” 
Katerina Stoykova Klemer

 

You are such a hippie.   ;)

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I don't hold grudges long and forgive pretty easily.  I have screwed up as much or more as than next guy during my lifetime but I don't carry that baggage with me.  Knowing my own screw ups, it's pretty easy to understand that the next guy won't be perfect either.  If I can't extend grace to others, I can't expect grace to be extended to me.  

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Great Post.  You and I both know what the Bible commands us to do, bit not sure we want to touch on what the Bible has to say about this, as I do not want it to go to Never Never Land.

 

My thoughts are this.  Forgiveness is not a one time act.  I have to forgive something as many times as it takes.  This is more a reminder for me and not about the other person.  They have been forgiven but I need to forgive them again any time that I feel anger or doubt or whatever creeping back in.  Again, this is solely between me  and my higher power and not the person I am forgiving.  They need not know it has happened.  The other party does not have to seek forgiveness in order for me to extend it.

 

Forgiveness does not mean that what the other person did is okay, or that I condone it or accept it, etc.   It means simply that I have forgiven them and hold no malice in my heart.  I may hate the sin, but I will love the sinner.   I have been forgiven for so much in my life and I have forgiven much.  

 

I am sorry to hear of the things that happened to you but happy to hear of how you dealt with them.  Sounds like you have it pretty well under control.  

 

I deal with self doubt, low self esteem and it helps me to remember that I am who my Creator says I am, not who I think I am or who the world tells me I am.

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that's pretty much how it is JSharr.

 

 

Like I said, I pretty much have to forgive bosox several times a week.

 

 

I'm not saying a whole lot about this today because I really don't feel like going through the olas and bosox inquisitions this morning, but

if you think about "how would I want to be forgiven" and forgive that way...that's a good way

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I don't know if I really forgive so much as I just don't hold on to the negative things other people do. I figure what they did is more about them, and less about me. I don't need to carry their demons around; I have enough of my own, so I just let it go. I'm not saying I won't keep my eye on them in the future, but I'm not going to carry around the bad juju from the past and let it fester. Like I said, I have enough of my own issues to worry about, I don't need theirs as well.

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that's a good answer

 

but what about our lives today...we are more alone than past generations. We don't need as many relationships and so we can cut people out of our lives a lot easier. Its more important to be able to forgive and to be forgiven  when you are going to live your whole life in the same village

 

and if we are so focused on ourselves and what we want, then forgiving someone else might only be seen through the lens of "what's in it for us"

 

and when your culture celebrates the absence of God, then forgiveness gets tossed out with religion.

 

so there are lots of interesting aspects of this to think about

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so why is it so hard for you folks to forgive anybody?


Forgiving is not about believing that the other person is strong enought to overcome the transgression, it's believing that we ourselves are. Most people dont have that kind of inner strength. Just my opinion...
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I have forgiven everyone who has purposely harmed me.  And I've apologized for my role in the situation.  

 

People who choose not to forgive, tend to remain sick with resentment.  They become even sicker if they neglect to find the role they played in the story.  

 

There are some very sick people on this forum; I being one of them.

 

Couch

 

 

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Nate, it's not hard to do, but the 2 people I won't forgive don't deserve my forgiveness.

 

 hope you're in such full throat on Judgement Day. :P

 

It is in how we forgive that we ourselves are forgiven, and who are we to judge one another, right?

 

like I said, I don't have any ill feelings towards you, even though I could make the case for having them. But you are forgiven, and each day we start off with a clean slate, at least from my chair.

 

That doesn't mean that we won't fight again. Maybe we will here in a few minutes, but whatever is in the past I don't hold you to. If you said it in the past, then it is in the past as far as I'm concerned.

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Forgiving is not about believing that the other person is strong enought to overcome the transgression, it's believing that we ourselves are. Most people dont have that kind of inner strength. Just my opinion...

 

 

That's an interesting observation. If we expected the OTHER person to overcome the transgression, then our forgiveness would be predicated on their undergoing change, yet that is not what forgiveness is all about.

 

To forgive and to overcome the transgression ourselves, and for no reward usually, and fully knowing that this person is the same and will probably act that way again...that's difficult.

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That's an interesting observation. If we expected the OTHER person to overcome the transgression, then our forgiveness would be predicated on their undergoing change, yet that is not what forgiveness is all about.
 
To forgive and to overcome the transgression ourselves, and for no reward usually, and fully knowing that this person is the same and will probably act that way again...that's difficult.


Exactly. Forgiveness is not about them, it's about us.
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hope you're in such full throat on Judgement Day. :P

It is in how we forgive that we ourselves are forgiven, and who are we to judge one another, right?

like I said, I don't have any ill feelings towards you, even though I could make the case for having them. But you are forgiven, and each day we start off with a clean slate, at least from my chair.

That doesn't mean that we won't fight again. Maybe we will here in a few minutes, but whatever is in the past I don't hold you to. If you said it in the past, then it is in the past as far as I'm concerned.

Nate, I've forgiven you for all the nasty shit you've said, but I'm sure it'll happen again. No big deal

You aren't one of the 2 people I have a real problem with.
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I guess the terms can cause a little confusion.  I generally don't want to hang out with someone that has screwed me over in the past, I would be a bit leery about someone like that unless there was a contextual reason that is understandable.  In that case, you have to understand more than forgive.

 

What does forgiveness really mean, though?  I think it means different things to different people.

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I guess the terms can cause a little confusion.  I generally don't want to hang out with someone that has screwed me over in the past, I would be a bit leery about someone like that unless there was a contextual reason that is understandable.  In that case, you have to understand more than forgive.

 

What does forgiveness really mean, though?  I think it means different things to different people.

Here is a decent overview of forgiveness.

 

http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/forgiveness/understanding-forgiveness

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I've never been so invested in anything that I needed forgiveness or wanted to forgive someone else. Just never worked out that way, I'm not an isolationist or anything when it comes to my social life, such as it is. Kinda like RG says though, forgiveness is really the wrong word, and I think that also speaks to far too much personal hubris. The person looking for forgiveness or to forgive somebody else is probably inflating the issue 1000x whereas the other person is often like "What the hell are you talking about, that was 25 years ago and what is your name again?", or something similar. Drama, people love drama. And they suck at communicating with each other.

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so why is it so hard for you folks to forgive anybody?

 

Always somebody else's fault.... My personal theory is that it's a bit of self-righteousness showing here.... never does a person talk more about forgiveness than the persons who probably need to be forgiven the most for the things they did....by people who have moved on years ago already. Just sayin.....

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so why do you assume that forgiveness must be for something that happened way in the dim dark past?

 

why do you see forgiving someone as a personal weakness?

 

and why would you think that a person who has a forgiving nature is some sort of self-righteous hypocrite?

 

 

 

 

you realize that you have a definite problem with people and it seems to stem from your personal hatred of religion, even though you clearly don't understand Christian teaching (although you are convinced that you do)

 

 

just sayin...

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Always somebody else's fault.... My personal theory is that it's a bit of self-righteousness showing here.... never does a person talk more about forgiveness than the persons who probably need to be forgiven the most for the things they did....by people who have moved on years ago already. Just sayin.....

 

Absolutely - Spot On.  Although I doubt you really understand the essence of what you just said there nor would you agree with it if you did.

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so why do you assume that forgiveness must be for something that happened way in the dim dark past?

 

why do you see forgiving someone as a personal weakness?

 

and why would you think that a person who has a forgiving nature is some sort of self-righteous hypocrite?

 

you realize that you have a definite problem with people and it seems to stem from your personal hatred of religion, even though you clearly don't understand Christian teaching (although you are convinced that you do)

 

just sayin...

 

I don't think it has to be in the past, that's just an example, one I've encountered. The other party, like it or not, often simply didn't care because they saw the situation entirely differently. It's very much akin to the problem of evil...of which there really is no such thing. All of the bad men in history often saw themselves as doing the right thing or a greater good, etc. Or, they just didn't care because there were other issues on their radar, so a matter of 'neglect' or 'unawareness' becomes an offense to someone else. Seen that plenty.

 

Also kinda like being pissed at a family member because they didn't attend a funeral (just using this as an example although I'm sure in that case mentioned above there were other issues in play)...... why does somebody have to answer to YOUR desires when that's not what they wanted? Makes no sense. But I'm not calling it a weakness so much as the person talking about forgiveness either needs to move on or stop thinking so highly of themselves.

 

Nate, who gives a crap?. Get what you want out of it, but there's no 'understanding' of its teachings, there's simply whatever you get from that part of your life you spend doing that stuff. It's an institution......There's no deeper meaning to it than what you personally invest in it. I'll let you figure that out for yourself, but don't roll on me with some silly idea that you know Christianity better than anyone else who grew up in that institution. I don't dicker with somebody over which Spider-Man timeline they favor, for example. Of all the things that's come out of your mouth..... Do me a favor though, why don't you post up what your 'understanding' is in the other section just so I can figure out that insanity first hand....

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I think we've all pretty much all forgiven you Olas

 

 

and I've already been down the path of trying to explain what I believe to you, and the fact is that I have better stuff to do right now

 

so savor your "victory" :rolleyes:

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I think we've all pretty much all forgiven you Olas

 

 

and I've already been down the path of trying to explain what I believe to you, and the fact is that I have better stuff to do right now

 

so savor your "victory" :rolleyes:

 

You shouldn't. I'm going to strike again. I suppose another thing I was thinking of mentioning was all the pushovers.....

 

It's okay Nate. One month it's this, another it's something else. Best that you have more time to sort out what you believe, although, since you have no consistent source material due to the frequent and varying interpretations of source text (depending on what the issue is), I'd expect you'd need a damned thousand lifetimes to arrive at consistency. You see, I learned this, being a former Christian and all. Now then, you were saying about 'understanding'? :)

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