reply to post by gwynnhwyfar
Part 5 - Forgiveness - Is it truly desirable to forgive? Why, what good does that do? How does it change anything? What exactly does it entail?
How does it feel/occur when it happens?
I just saw your thread this morning, and would like to contribute to the discussion.
While I have not endured anything as horrific as what you have (or your Grandma, obviously), I have had to deal with rage and fury and hatred -- even
rabid hatred -- and squelch them. Forgiveness is very difficult, and I think it's important to note that it doesn't mean to accept what a person
has done or start thinking they are a good person. Very often they are not.
For me, the process of forgiving has been to deal head on with what happened. In your situation, there is absolutely nothing for you
"own", in terms of having been party to the event or interaction, which makes it more difficult (if one can say, "I made some mistakes, too" it's
a tiny bit easier).
As for your questions above:
Is it truly desirable to forgive?
I believe so, because, as charles so eloquently and wisely stated, it eases your
pain. The fact that you 30 years later become enraged again
and feel physically ill when you think about it, tells me that you have not resolved the tragedy. Those "feelings", those "sensations" indicate a
deeply embedded thorn (for lack of a better word) that is infected and poisoning your entire self. For your own sake, your own well-being, and
thereby the well-being of your children, your father, and those you love, it's important to purge yourself of that rage and fury.
What good does it do?
It relieves you of the stress of the rage, and allows you to be free of those painful symptoms of it.
How does it change anything?
It allows you
to feel peace. More at peace than not doing so. As long as your responses are painful, you
are the one suffering. Feelings - and especially those that are accompanied by physical uneasiness and pain - indicate your subconscious is fighting
something toxic. Forgiveness releases those toxins (which are both chemical and spiritual/emotional). It won't change what happened, ever.
But it will
change your own health and relieve your suffering. Unspent rage doesn't go away. EVER. You've buried it, and from time to time
it acts up, which indicates you're still infected.
What does it entail?
Focusing on the rage, and letting it go. One can do this in a number of ways; imagery, like envisioning the rage as a
prickly clump of broken glass, or a pile of dog poo, or rotting potatoes (whatever most unsavory "object" you can dream up to represent the rage) -
and then placing it in an imaginary container, sealing the container, and releasing it -- sending it away forever, never to be reopened by you or
There are therapeutic methods as well that a clinician can help you with. One of those is
EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
, a technique
that has been proven to help resolve traumatic residue, especially good for PTSD (which is what your uneasiness could be called).
Another one is Grief Therapy
which is a specific course of treatment intended to help
"complicated" grief such as yours. It would entail (like EMDR) the assistance of a trained professional who can help you address the specifics, and
thereby relieve yourself of the uneasy residue. This is what it sounds like to me (if I were your counselor and this was your "intake" interview).
A skilled and experienced clinician (a clinical social worker) can help you to address the issues in an appropriate, step-by-step way. Nevertheless,
a counseling partnership is a two-way street. If you don't want
to forgive, and let go of those feelings, no one can "make you." Neither
can any medication or substance. You can continue to cope as you have been and probably be fine. It's up to you, whether or not you want to deal
with it. It won't be fun or easy, but it can be done.
How does it feel?
Like when a bad headache finally stops, or a broken bone or injury heals. Or the flu goes away.
LIghter, and more relaxed. Expanded, and peaceful.
Almost out of space. I think talking to your Dad about it would be very productive and healing for you.. I'll explain why if you're interested.