Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is something you can't really DO, that is, WILL. It comes, as healing comes- it is given to you. But in a most surprising way!


Healing Is Forgiveness Manifested

In the aftermath of my encounter with an Internet psychopath or "cyberpath"- a severe form of mental rape along the narcissism continuum, I have puzzled over what "forgiveness" means, in books, and on the Internet[1]. I have been exhorted, in groups, to "forgive": [2] Forgive Or Forfeit Your "Soul". I have not been able to forgive, nor wished to forgive, nor dwelled on forgiveness and I don't think much about it when it comes to psychoguy. My experience is that I suffered an emotional holocaust and a nuclear winter in the aftermath- so why should I even begin to think about things like forgiveness? Why should I consider it at all?

Questions arise.... Who and what do we forgive? Ourselves? Them? The universe? G-d? Life? In the end, I had no idea how simple the answer was.

It has taken me a long time to come to this place. In Judaism, we actually have a blessing for the moment, "Blessed are You, the Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season".

I learned that the first mistake we make is to think that to forgive is to give permission to continue intimacy- to come close once again.

Another mistake lies with the concept of "letting go"? This is a fine thing when we are doing it with someone normal- do we not LONG for the balance to be restored? For felicity and harmony once again?

Forgiveness also feels like it should be with one's entire heart and soul- should be heartfelt, an act. And how can one's heart remotely be engaged with the psychopath/abusive narcissist when disengagement is the most immediate necessity and goal???? I can tell you right now that will never happen in my lifetime- that sort of forgiveness. For some it may be necessary to stay true to themselves, but for me, it mocks and diminishes my sense of integrity. His death notice will finally bring me rest and I say that without rancour. I weep at the thought and I would weep at the notice. Okay, you don't have to figure it out.

The last mistake we make, I have learned, is in thinking that forgiveness is still all about them- the wounders, the abusers, the demeaners, the cheapeners, the vicious ones, the selfish ones. Something outside of us. This is when we know full well that they will never say that they are sorry, or their sorrow rings hollow; we still focus on them. Nor will life, or G-d, or the universe say they're sorry, or necessarily right the injustice. I have spent almost two years in trying to come to terms with the fact that there was a psychopath in my life who used me for simple amusement, and nothing else.... [3]The Psychopath At Play

Revelation:

This entire process, the process from the beginning, when our inner selves bristle against and then wrestle with what shocks us so.... the process manifested by this site, the gaining of knowledge, the acceptance of pain and all emotion.... all are an event in healing, an event in forgiving, by increments, millimeters, microseconds.

And little did I realise that the healing pertained to forgiving yourself -that that is the stuff with which we are working.....

Working through everything about the encounter is forgiveness manifesting itself,struggling to emerge; it is the intimation of learning to know forgiveness for ourselves, until we become intimate with it as it settles at home in every fibre of our being,like a soft and tender lover.
[I guess that's what they mean by "loving yourself", which I've never understood. Cause, how do you do it? Take long walks, go to the spa, get your nails done, nurture yourself with warm, fuzzy and "spiritual" things, chant affirmations, and eat a pint of ice cream?]

The entire unfolding and discovery is all about forgiving yourself at deeper and deeper levels; rather than simply "progressing", it spirals. The support group, the therapist/counselor, the information- all is geared to forgiving yourself....of letting go of the feeling that somehow we were responsible, in understanding and trusting that inner wisdom that emerged the moment we went into shock and reremembering.

Redemption is in the working through.

You, me, all of this is about accepting the fact that it happened and that sometimes there are no satisfying answers to "why me".......of acceptance that it happened and not beating ourselves up about it. Of accepting it to such an extent that one day we can immerse ourselves in the universe and the world freshly born (though less innocent).

I discovered that this is it, right here. The knowledge and the pain and the feelings and working through to the other side and on the inside. This is it- in time, to let go of our self-blame, our notions of failure, to know that we did good. Period.

How do we do it? I just read this and thought: "yes!"

Know that you don't know and then step into the unknown ~Richard Carlson (1)

To me this means to know there isn't an answer for everything. To realise that it is scary to leap into the unfamiliar. But as the author states, the "known" can also be our cage- that which is familiar and seems safe. Once we realise we may be trapped in that gilded cage of our old worldview and beliefs, and those beliefs, I think, include the idea that there are answers to everything, we are half way out of it. What we don't realise, says the author, is that the unknown may be less risky than the familiar. If we reach a point of acknowledging that, then we can be set free. All it takes, is that first, most difficult step. This happened to me.

Then one day it dawns upon us, an awakening happens, that we are okay with the universe, with the world, with the people around us. Somehow, that terrible time slips away from us and into the background. One day, we are born anew and we have forgotten much of the pain. It is like giving birth. We forget and don't even realise we have left something behind us....it happens when we are not looking or willing.....it just happens, life suddenly happens. We get glimpses of the falling away of a tension that we didn't even know was wrapped round our inner being like a strait jacket or a corset. The iron maiden we inhabited begins to dissolve, here and there.

"Letting go" is so inadequate a description. It is release.

It is a surrender once again to trust and life, and that trust includes a restoration of belief.

One day, the beauty of the world once again beckons to us, intrudes upon us, pulls us in, captures us. And after so many whispers, announcing itself to us, that we ignored in our anguish .... after a very long and arduous road, suddenly, unexpectedly, we are surprised by Love. And we find ourselves unfurling, tentatively, soft with Love.

And all of this happens because we find the courage and heart to face it all, with our entire being, and to follow wherever the discoveries lead us, with a determination to add something to the world. The "pull" of the disordered "angel" is replaced by the pull of something greater than ourselves, which is, ultimately, the pull of our own destiny.

©2002-2009 InvictaMA. Reproduction by permission only


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Forgiveness is a choice. If you wait until you "feel" like forgiving, you never will. Forgiveness is not whitewashing but a cleansing. It sets you free if you want it to.

Once I made a decision to stop being angry about something I could never change, it was easier for me to make the decision to forgive and put the whole thing on the scales of Divine Justice. I thought I never would, but I did. I comfort myself with the knowledge that there is a higher power greater than myself more than capable of handling the situation, so I just let it go into His Hands.

shacri said...

"Then one day it dawns upon us, an awakening happens, that we are okay with the universe, with the world, with the people around us. Somehow, that terrible time slips away from us and into the background. One day, we are born anew and we have forgotten much of the pain. It is like giving birth. We forget and don't even realise we have left something behind us....it happens when we are not looking or willing.....it just happens, life suddenly happens. We get glimpses of the falling away of a tension that we didn't even know was wrapped round our inner being like a strait jacket or a corset. The iron maiden we inhabited begins to dissolve, here and there."

THIS is what I am looking forward to the most!!! I want this "day" to come more than I've wanted anything else in my life. However, I don't want to lose the lessons, I want to be very aware if I am being sucked into another N relationship before it's to late! I don't know if I would survive another one...

Anonymous said...

Shacri my hell lasted 11yrs and still happens now and then as i have a 11yr old girl with this female n ive just found these sites and are helping me a lot . anyway i just want to say i hope i oneday can get me back to being possitive like u as ive not got a good support network my sisters are just begining to beleive in me and see through her lies etc anyway i knew and believed in me mostly due to the caring morals My dad blessed me with can i say thanku and Best wishes to all victims off this evil alan via newcastle england.

Anonymous said...

I am so, so grateful for this amazing site full of love and hope.Thank you so much Invicta for your wise and healing words, and all the people who are sharing here. The aftermath emotions are so complex and hard to explain to myself, let alone others. Pre-N, I was immersed in a very spiritual life and I believed that all living things respond eventually to love, no matter how damaged their souls are. To eventually accept that there are humans to whom love means nothing, who have no conscience at all and who will never change, shook my whole belief about life, G-d and the universe upside down. I dont know what I believe in any more and that has ripped apart my entire way of being and attitude to life. I am slowly working through the devastation but this site has helped me to know my feelings are normal and similar to others. And the one positive that really has come out of it for me was the realisation of what amazing friends I have - the real peoople who can love and support. They may not be able to understand right now what I'm feeling, but that doesn't matter, it's knowing they are there that helps.

OnceSmitten said...

I agree with your perspective regarding forgiveness. I have never been sure just exactly what that value in that is, just as I have never been able to figure out what the point in Yeshua's crucifiction was. It seems to have been more like "Hey, look at that guy. He can heal the sick and raise the dead so obviously the creator likes him more than us. Let's kill him!" Then of course blame for that went onto the Jews, but my point, and I do have one, is that this whole idea of there having to have been some guy that died for our sins is not only conducive to the perpetration of the belief that we are all "sinners" but that someone had to have been sacrificed because of us. That's big shame, someone dying because I exist. I mean,who thinks of this stuff?
That concept is so toxic, and yet so protected, throughout history, by some very violent means. It all but created a caste of individuals endowed with the power of judgment and destruction of those they believe are "guilty". It reinforces narcissism and psychopathy and gives them an empowered place in our culture. Plus it comes with an interesting automatic assumption of it being the responsibility of the victim to forgive.
I have been in intimate relationships with so many exploitive, narcissistic, abusive controlling people that I finally stopped and just started to look at it and found everything I could about it and read it, including this site's contents and I have to say, having been raised in a religious christian (small c) household, it was a pure setup. Plus I'm female and both of my parents are total messes, mom being violently codependent and pop being a drop-dead alcoholic manic depressive. So I grew up with no acknowledgment of my existence, mush less my abilities, and it has taken me some time to find out who that is in the mirror. In the meantime yeah, forgiveness. I understand laying something down and making a conscious effort to not hate or resent, but forgiveness? What would be the point in that except to allow that there was some reason that validates the heinous behavior of narcissists and psychopaths, which clearly, there ain't.

Abuse Victim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Invicta said...

Abuse Victim said...

Forgiveness in these cases is hard. It's a long process and can take years. I beat myself up a lot because I haven't been able to forgive yet. However, I remind myself that it takes time, and it probably hasn't been long enough for me.

In my knowledge, an abuse (any form of abuse - physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, etc.) victim has two choices. Both involve getting out of the relationship. The difference comes in how you act once you are out of the relationship. You can get out and live bitterly, constantly in the victim state - the "why me?" state. Or, you can get out, accept what has happened, and move forward with your life.

Me? I used to live in the victim state. Now, I bounce back and forth. I'm confidant that one day I'll permanently be moving forward and leaving the past in the past. I know that day won't come until I forgive.

It's a hard concept - learning to forgive without reconciling the relationship. But, that's the only way to do it because abusers won't admit what they do and change - very rarely does that happen. Forgiveness to me means finally being at peace with the situation. I'll be there one day - it's just going to take time.

Edited to remove link.

Anonymous said...

To see reality finally is in itself forgiveness. I pray for my sister's soul at night, and completely avoid her for these last 12 years. I am still her target but no longer her victim. I survived with the awakening of knowledge. But, the ugly evil head has surfaced yet again and to hurt me she is now targeting my 8 year old nephew and the nephew's mother, the youngest sister in the family is still seduced by the NP, May God help us and her to stop deluding herself and realize what she is dealing with.

Anonymous said...

Invicta,
What a beautiful, beautiful essay and for articulating the process of healing as one of renewal, hope, and re-birth. Blessings to all who have posted!

Anonymous said...

Invicta, I have enjoyed reading your comments on Forgiveness. I can't say either after 34 years with a Narcissistic mother, and 3 years of no contact, I have "forgiven" her either. Like you said, someday I will, I suppose I might. In all actuality, how can one forgive such emotional abuse that not only affected me, but my dad, and my brother as well. And we all have different "opinions" of "mother." And the emotional abuse doesn't end with family, it carries on, just like you said, into the workplace. After 3 years of no contact, I have had to think about "mother" this last month. My brother and his wife had a baby. He still has contact with her. They chose to not tell me they were expecting and I had to learn about it on the internet. He said he just didn't want to deal with mother and me. By now you must have guessed that I'm the "outcast." My brother has seen how mom has treated me, so he keeps on her good side. I told him I'd always be there for him. I thought I was doing the right thing by not pushing him into being on my side and by just loving him and letting him decide what was right for him. Now, I have a relationship to rebuild with him, because his baby is worth it to me. I want to be a part of their family. I know I have resentment too..where has Uncle been the last 3 years for my family? He didn't trust me enough to tell me they were expecting? That hurts. I know I have to let those feelings go. It has been a hell of a month.

Anonymous said...

ELove what you wrote. I have castigated myself over this whole forgiveness thing and finally reached the same conclusion. This person used and abused me and doesn't care so why do I need to tie myself up in nots to forgive someone who CHOOSES to continue this way. I just told him point blank I don't like you, don't talk to me. Wben I think of it, OF course I am angy .So the way to get over it is to move on, but how can I not be angry when I think about it. That is Normal response to what happened! I like What Iread here. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

What helped me most was this sentence:
"To let go of our self-blame, to know that we did good. Period."
Through that was I able to forgive myself. Because what I tried to do in my life whith the narcissist, was to do what I thought was good. For him and for our children. That is something that I actually can be proud of, and love myself for.