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Please tell me about forgiveness
December 14, 2005
4:40 pm
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jack122064
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Hi, I want to know what you all think of forgiveness? What does it mean to you? Have you been able to do it? I realize that my unwillingness to forgive my "ex" has kept me down. It's been a year and I'm still angered and hurt by her. I am tired of it, but it seems SO hard to forgive.

Jack

December 14, 2005
4:45 pm
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Anonymous
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I struggle with the idea of "forgiving" - cuz it means so many different things.

In my mind, if I say I forgive someone - it's like I am letting them off the hook - and that's hard when I want someone to be accountable for the pain they caused me.

So, instead of worrying about forgiving - I try to "let go". In that the more time I spend dwelling on it - the more it hurts me. So, I make the concious CHOICE to get past it - stop thinking about it - move on - cuz I am only hurting myself by dwelling on it.

Someone else may have hurt me - but that is DONE and over with...if I continue to hurt - it's cuz **I** am letting it and **I** am hurting me.

December 14, 2005
8:05 pm
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jack122064
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Thanks ali, that makes sense.

It was a weird night...

After I wrote that, I took some time and really tried to forgive her. Then I went to a reception we had for one of our programs on campus, and lo and behold she showed up (I thought she MIGHT, but wasn't sure - I was hesitant to go, but the Dean of the grad school invited me, so I decided not to worry about it, and just live my life.)...

Normally, seeing her would have sent me round the bend, but was ok with it... I just thought "wow, its a lucky thing I forgave her..." We didn't speak, and we never will. I think she was more surprised to see me than I was to see her. I'm not even sure if I have fully forgiven her, but at least I am on my way.

I'm glad she saw me though - I was having a good time, and I looked DAMN good...

jack

December 14, 2005
8:37 pm
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revelation
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Jack..hi there. There is a book you should read...its called "Help yourself" by David Pelzer, there is an excellent chapter on forgiveness.

Please also read my thread...entitled "forgiveness".

Lastly, here is a quote:

"Holding on to resentment, is like holding a hot coal in your hand with the intention of throwing it at someone - its you who gets hurt"

Hope this helps.

Rev.

December 14, 2005
9:32 pm
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KleineJoslin
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Jack,
I think forgiving means understanding and accepting that everyone makes mistakes, and loving those who have made mistakes as humans. It doesn't mean you should forget the mistake. if anything it should make you more aware and less vulnerable.

forgiving is when u dont seek revenge (of anykind). hoping for any sort of punishment for the person will keep you unhappy. Please realize that even wanting the person to realize that they have made a mistake can come from wanting punishment for them. notice how it can hurt ur healing process if they never do realize they have made a mistake.

December 14, 2005
9:52 pm
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Lass
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Jack,

Good question. I think this is a real crux issue: forgiveness. It frees us up to let go of our resentments of old. What we don't forgive harms us, runs us.

What gets me is the repeating part. When I choose to remain in the way of someone's abusive behavior, I wind up having a hard time forgiving, because I don't see change for the better.

Ironically, the only positive changes I ever do see in relationship, are the good effects resulting from forgiveness offered to him, and the bettering of my coping skills.

LL

December 14, 2005
10:09 pm
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Randomwomen2
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There are somethings that are unforgivable at least to me. What do you do then?

December 15, 2005
2:02 am
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Anonymous
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I'm a minister under Sylvia Browne who some may know as a psychic and spiritualist. She says that you do not have to love nor forgive your enemies and to just keep yourself far away from them.

I totally agree with her and it's easy for me to do when I am harmed by strangers, it's not like I ever cared about them in the first place but...

How do I forgive those whom I love and care about and thought they loved and cared about me too? We all know that pain caused by a loved one is never forgotten but how do we forgive? How do we forgive when it was deliberately done to us or repeatedly done to us? How? And how does one forgive themself? Can someone answer me?

December 15, 2005
5:32 am
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jack122064
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ipw,

I think it's like anything else, it's practice. And it's also a matter of doing it even if at first it's insincere. Like visualizing youself as having forgiven the person already, even if you haven't yet. That's what I have to do... instead of saying to myself, "I want to forgive her," I say "I have forgiven her," and I've been saying this over and over to myself.

I guess it's true we don't HAVE to forgive or love anyone, but it is something we can choose to do. If I merely put distance between myself and Steph, I'm still "near" her in my mind, and the pain is still there. I think forgiving her is a way of distancing myself from the pain she caused me. It also helps me to look at her with a different perspective, and it's been helping me to see all aspects of our relationship.

I just heard the other day that not forgiving someone is like taking poison ourselves and then hoping the other person would die from it.

Jack

December 15, 2005
5:38 am
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Anam Cara
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jack - forgiveness for me is elusive - one day I feel I have got it done then it comes up agin like a bad meal. Time will begin to ebb the flow - sending you out with the next tide free at last.
My best wishes. Terry

December 15, 2005
7:42 am
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Rasputin
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Hi there,

I think the whole idea is when we forgive, even if we don't feel like it; we are actually doing ourselves a favor, protecting ourselves from further harm, abuse....

Also, forgiving does not include forgetting what has been done. We are not requested to forget what harm has been inflicted upon us. We may be requested to forget that person, but NOT forget what they have done to us.

In my own life, I have forgiven SO many people in my life, some of which I never thought that I wanted to forgive for the simple fact that they harmed and abused me a lot. Yet, when I forgve them, I did not know then that I was giving myself a most precious gift, the gift of peace, serenity, even love and respect to myself.

Bear in mind that people do NOT abuse us deliberately no matter how we feel or think. Rather they harm us coz they have been harmed and did not know how to react to that pain, were misled, did not have role model, mentor who paved the right way for them.

By forgiving them, we are protecting ourselves from that vicious cycle of repeating the very same act which has been done to us. We are breaking that vicious circle from recurring over and over.

The best gift we can ever grant to ourselves is the gift of forgiveness, it really sets us FREE! Without forgiving others, we are prisoners entangled in our own invisible prisons.

~Ras~

December 16, 2005
1:48 pm
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jack122064
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Thanks everyone, now it gets weirder -- there are 2 parts to this - read them , its worth it ---

PART ONE

Last nite I saw my "ex" at an end of the semester party - of course we don't talk or interact at ALL - anywa, she was there talking to this guy (a new student who is gorgeous) and I always dreaded seeing them talk - because I knew as soon as I met the guy in September she would be all over him -

I don't know if she's putting the moves on him or not, likely yes - he has a girlfriend, but that never stopped her before (she likes it even better I guess, if she can steal someone else's man, that boosts her ego)

Anyway, I always get jealous in these situations. I didn't get jealous last night tho - not in the usual way - I was hopng they would hook up, because with her, she hooks p with guys and then puts them on a time limit, and dumps them.

I was OK though - I have forgiven her, and I'm trying to mind my own business. I guess I just get insecure when a REALLY good looking guy comes around, I guess it makes me feel like I'm not good enough or inadequate or something.

OK, Part two is next

December 16, 2005
2:06 pm
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jack122064
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OK part two:

PART TWO

There is this young girl who works in my building, - she is very sweet and very flirtatious and very pretty and cute, and is almost exactly like my "ex." This girl acts like a crazy 18 year old, just the way my ex (steph) did. But this girl (Maria) has an excuse - she IS a crazy 18 year old.

She left a Christmas card on my desk, and when I saw it my heart almost stopped - the handwriting and smiley face she worte on it were EXACTLY like Step's handwiting. But I realized it was from Maria because she also stuck little nickname that she calls me on it ...

Anyway it was a sweet Xmas card - I know she gave cards to a few people in our office, so I don't think she means anything by it. But she did sign it "Much love," and I noticed that she DIDNT sign that on at least one other guy's card. Just this morning I was thinking that I didn't feel loved by anyone, so it was nice, but weird.

OK so this made me feel nice. I thought she was gone for winter break, so I sent her an email thanking her, with an e-card.

But then later I was outside on a break and started feeling sad, because it was like "here I go again, getting all goofy over a little girl who's giving me attention." I thought "OMG is she gonna be my new Steph?" That would NOT be good. But I'm a sucker for some attractive person giving me attention and being nice to me, whether they are male or female. I guess as a teen and young adult, I felt I didn't get that kind of attention, even though I'm told I am an attractive guy.

THEN, as I'm sitting there feeling sad, MARIA comes walking out of our building. I hugged her and thanked her for the card, etc. Turns out she didn't leave yet and is working today.

Look at me, I'm 40 years old, and this all sounds like 7th grade stuff! I know we should be young at heart, but I could be headed for trouble. ARRRRGGGHHH!!!!

Jack

December 16, 2005
2:24 pm
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Shaney
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Hi Jack - I think we talked about this before - 122064 is your bday right? Happy amost birthday :o) !
I'm 121265 - I just turned 40 on Monday! FORTY... eek.

As far as the the attention goes, from the 18 year old... soak it up. I have a young guy here at work who acts like a little puppy around me... all giddy and stuff. It's a compliment. I know what it's like to get ahead of yourself and start thinking, what if? But 18 is a far cry from 40... fun, but not really stable. From reading your posts in the past, stability would be a nice change. So eat up the attention, flirt, and feel good about it - you deserve it. :o)

December 16, 2005
2:31 pm
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Jack -

I agree with Shaney - enjoy the attention - but don't "go there".

I know when I was in my early 20's, I had a couple of 40 something guys interested in me. And I did date them - but we weren't in the "same place". My maturity was on their level - I was ahead of most of my peers on that. But I was not in the same spot in my life.

I also dated a HOTTIE who was 23, when I turned 30. And boy oh boy, did I think we could have something. But after a few dates, I realized we were from different planets.

I would just be careful that you don't fall for this person because she reminds you of old GF...that's all.

December 16, 2005
2:52 pm
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jack122064
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Thanks shaney and ali - yes it's my birthday Tuesday!

Yes, I can't "go there." But that means something slightly different in my case, since I'm a gay man. I CAN get romantic with a woman, but a relationship would NEVER work.

I get real attached to people. It's like i depend on what they think for my self-esteem. So while it feels nice to be paid attention to, it also makes me sad. I have no idea what it feels like to be free of what other people think of me. And I feel so lonely now.

The social life for a gay man sucks where I live (even though I'm only 20 miles from NYC). There are not a whole lot of gay guys here, and even fewer opportunities to meet people. So it's like I take attention and affection where I can get it.

I'm kind of stuck where I am for a few years though. Sigh...

December 16, 2005
2:58 pm
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Jack,

I just read all the thread and had a lot of conflicting thoughts going through it, so I'll throw out a little one here for you.

I think forgiveness is good for you mostly when you will have a continuing relationship with the person who needs forgiveness. If the relationship isn't going to continue, I don't feel one should feel guilty about not forgiving someone. I think you have a right to be outraged that someone did something rotten to you. You don't have to nurse the resentment to the point of poisoning yourself -- just acknowledge that the offender is either a rotten, cruel person or a thoughtless, selfish one. I think we know when someone has done something to deliberately hurt us.

But if someone does something that needs forgiving, I wonder who needs the absolution -- the sinner or the sinned against? May depend on what was done and in what context? Was she just doing what she wanted without thought for your reaction or was she doing it deliberately to hurt you? I think most people do things that hurt someone out of selfishness or thoughtlessness. Just decide what kind of person she really is and acknowledge that. That's forgiving yourself for making a bad choice in a relationship, and that might be more important.

As to the flirtation with the 18-year-old, yikes! Keep it VERY lightweight and trivial if you really want to go there. You don't need to blow her off but don't let her misinterpret anything. Remember the Long Island Lolita!

Good luck!

Cissette

December 16, 2005
3:11 pm
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jack122064
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HAHA well In don't think it's exactly a Lolita thingy - after all, this girl IS of legal age... and I don't think she will shoot anyone(LOL)...

December 16, 2005
3:16 pm
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Jack,

be careful. SHE may have feelings for you. And it may be a let down for her if you get close, and affectionate, but can't give her more. Take it from someone who was in that position for five years with a gay guy who loved me but couldn't give me a "whole" relationship.

And your situation puzzles me.

You talk about your other woman - the one that hurt you - and how it hurts she is attracted to another guy.

I am puzzled - cuz if you can't be a "whole" partner for a woman - how can you expect them to stay with you.

I am not trying to put you down for anything - just trying to understand.

From where I sit - it is very selfish to think a woman would stay in a relationship with you - when it's not a "whole" relationship. If you are gay - and only having a relationship with a woman for comfort and affection - it's not fair to the woman - because her feelings may run deeper, her attraction may be more, including sexual, and her needs can't be met.

I understand the point of having girl "friends" - you hang out with - but typically - when you start needing physical affection and attention from a woman - you cross a very fine line - and that sets them up for wanting more - which you can't give.

I may be making assumptions here - would like to hear more about the nature of your relationship with the other woman.

December 16, 2005
3:27 pm
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jack122064
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OK, well my friendship with the other girl was very close -it resembled a romance, but we weren't physical (well actually, we were all over each other, but just in a huggy cuddly way). And the thing is, I CAN get physical with a woman. And I think Steph may have had an attraction that was more than just friends.

But nothing like that would work, not because I "couldn't" be sexually physical with her, but because I'm gay and an actual relationship would never work. I can have sex with a woman, no problem.

I guess I just wanted our friendsip to last, that's all. If I were able to have a relationship with a man, it may have not turned out this way. But like I said, it's really hard to find a nice gay guy around here.

I really depended on her opinion of me - I wanted her to view me as attractive, which she actually did - but I got insecure when she would have romantic relationships - I know, it's so confusing. We were pretty dysfunctional, I guess.

Jack

December 16, 2005
3:28 pm
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Shaney
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Ha! Well being gay absolutely takes care of getting too involved with the 18 year old. So we don't need to worry about your picture showing up on the post office wall or something! From the attention that you're getting from the young hotties at work, and the fact that you're told that you're an attractive guy - it doesn't seem like there's any reason you should feel insecure. I know you said that you depend on what other people think of you for your esteem, BUT take a good look in the mirror and embrace your own power and positive presence, as your own. Be proud and happy in your own skin. The fact that others notice you should reaffirm this. I know, easier said than done - but just like forgiveness, appreciating yourself and embracing yourself takes practice too.

December 16, 2005
3:37 pm
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Yeah, I was in Steph's shoes once.

And it WAS hard.

I didn't know he was gay - not for a few years. I was young and naive, and was just thankful I didn't have a guy pawing all over me like the guys in college were.

I was afraid to have sex and was self concious about it.

So, it was nice to have someone that was okay with just being friends.

We held hands - we'd kiss - but only a quick peck - which ALWAYS confused and hurt me (but once I knew why, it made sense). And we'd hug or snuggle. We even lived together, tho we had separate bedrooms.

And we had intimate relations - but it was always me pleasing him. And for a good long time, I was okay with it.

But as I spent more time with him - the more I fell for him - and the more I wanted him.

But he just couldn't give it. And for a while, I didn't know why and he couldn't tell me.

And then one day he told me. And it all made sense. And I didn't dump him. I took some time to digest it.

And he went off to college (he was 26 at the time) and I stayed in touch.

Then I moved south - and lost contact. And then I had my daughter. And then out of the blue, he contacted me.

And when I moved back home - we tried to have a relationship, long distance, again. But he wasn't keen on having a child in the picture, so that ended that. NO man was gonna come between me and my daughter.

Later on, he met and fell in love with a guy and was very happy for the first time he felt "whole".

I guess my point is that for a while, I was okay with the nature of our relationship. But then I did want more. And couldn't have it. And I had to make a choice. For a while, I loved him so much, I was willing to live with the idea of how things were, and we even talked about having partners outside the marriage to satisify our sexual needs. But in the end, that's insane - why be married?

I understand that all you wanted was some attention and affection from Steph - and you understand why it ended. It also makes sense why you were jealous of her other romantic relationships - because her attention wasn't on you 100%. Didn't mean she wasn't attracted - just meant you couldn't have what you wanted. That she was involved wiht someone else and getting physical with them - which probably meant she was less physical with you.

It's not confusing....I was in steph's shoes.

December 16, 2005
10:45 pm
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jack122064
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Sorry to hear that ali...

I know, it was hard for both of us. She knew I was gay from day 1, I think she had a notion of being my "f*g hag," but it didn't work out. It's much funnier on TV than in real life.

It was hard for both of us. So many emotions flying around...

Jack

December 20, 2005
1:00 am
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This quote is from "How to Survive the loss of a Love"
"To forgive does not just mean to pardon; it means to let go. Jesus, probably the greatest teacher of forgiveness in history ("Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do"), used the Aramaic word shaw when he spoke of forgiveness. Shaw means "to untie."
If you are tied to a rock that is pulling you down in the water, all you have to do is forgive it (untie it) and swim toward the light.
When you forgive the past, you untie yourself from the past, and are free.
To forgive also means to be for (in favor of) giving (to deliver a gift). When you forgive, you affirm that you are in favor of giving.
To whom do you give? Another? Sometimes. Yourself? Always. When you release another to go his or her own way, you free yourself to do the same.
The process of giving yourself this gift of freedom is forgiveness."

December 20, 2005
6:53 pm
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I choose to forgive my ex and love her unconditionally. This helps me even though it's hard sometimes. There are days when I feel hurt or depressed by the current situation I find myself in, but as long as I can will myself to feel that unconditional love for her I know I will not be hurt by her again. I know because no matter what she does or tries to do to me, it will roll off my back. I love her without question. I will always for the rest of my life have a place in my heart for her that is hers and hers alone. Nobody can ever take the times we had together away, and nobody can change the past. I miss her not because of what we had, but because of what we will not get to have because of her decision.

Does all of this mean I would get back together if she decided to come back to me? No, but I would consider it because I feel like this whole experience has allowed me to grow as a person, and that there's a genuine possibility that things could be different from my end. I would need to consider her emotional state, and prevent myself from getting used, and falling back into old, unhealthy habits that were ultimately the demise of the relationship.

Forgiveness is a decision, that's never ultimate. It takes effort and will to feel good about something bad that has happened. I could easily hate her, and wish her all the harm in the world but that will never make me feel better and will cause me to end my life as an embittered and lonly person!

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