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Murder and Forgiveness - A Heavy Dilemma

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posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 08:08 AM
There are many people that are instinctually repressed, and there is a seething animus beneath the surface that will attempt to express its frustration on the most innocent targets.
edit on 28-10-2012 by SystemResistor because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 09:04 AM
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?

Hello, gwyn,
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 to "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 anyone else.

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.

Good luck

posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 09:13 AM
reply to post by gwynnhwyfar

Forgiveness is not for the person who harmed you, but for yourself.

Let me explain. I was raped several years ago, and as you can imagine, it was very traumatic. Since then I've struggled daily with what happened, and one of the things I burdened myself with the most was thoughts of HIM.

It took a long time to realize that I was allowing myself to be victimized repeatedly bc I could not get past what he did. It was at that point that I decided to take him out of the equation. How. By forgiving him.

Please don't think it was easy to do, I'd had years of therapy at that point. But when I decided to forgive him, I let go of a lot of anger, pain, and fear that weighed me down. That's what I mean when I say forgiveness is for yourself.

Best of luck to you as you continue your journey.



posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 04:33 PM
Wow, you guys are AMAZING! Thank you all, so much, for all of these incredibly insightful and thoughtful replies.

Charles - I re-read your answer, and realized that I missed the most important part of what you said. I apologize. Thank you for caring and trying to help me understand:

You can't get rid of the memories. You will still have the feelings those memories bring up. Over time, those fellings can be "toned down" a bit, but they'll pop up when you remember. The only place you can break the chain, the place were forgiveness occurs, is where you decide what to do with those feelings.

You can sit back and watch those feelings, saying "Yeah, I'm feeling furious," but then what do you do? Commonly, we let those feelings take us over, we nurse them, encourage them, pace, hit walls with our fists, (yeah, I've done that) in short, give the feelings free rein over us.

You've got at least a couple of options that I know about, then. You can note they exist, maybe record the fact in your journal, then get on with what you need to do even though the rage is still there. Or you can feel the rage, remember what your body is about to do, then do something to counteract it. That might mean breathing, or meditation, or thoughtful music, or whatever. But don't pretend that the feelings aren't real.

While those things help, they're not forgiveness. Forgiveness requires a conscious decision on your part, maybe every day, to declare to yourself "I don't want my heart to be filled with hate towards this guy. I'm not going to let him kill me, too." I don't know what path your mind will take to get you there. A lot depends on your spiritual background. When you think of him, perhaps there is some way to say "case closed."

Smyleegrl - Thank you for sharing what happened. I am so impressed with your strength and ability to deal with the rape, and it really, really helps hearing the thoughts of others who have experienced traumatic events and aren't just theorizing on how they think they would handle things. This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for, your personal experience and thoughts, so I can try to wrap my head around the concept. I appreciate your post (and the hugs) very much!!

Wildtimes - Thank you so much for answering each of my questions and for explaining some of the mechanics of the process. You are right, it is like a deeply embedded thorn. I don't think about it most of the time, only when something triggers it (like the interview I heard on NPR with the journalist who wrote the book about the murderers who had been released), and I don't feel enraged, but I do feel what you described as uneasiness and I do feel physically ill when I think about certain details. Yes, I would like to know your thoughts on talking to my Dad about it. I would like to, but my fear is that it would be selfish of me to bring it up and risk making him have to think about it all over again. It has to be ten million times worse for him than it is for me.

Given your replies, it prompted me to look up the actual definition of "forgiveness" and read it more carefully. I have always equated "forgiving" with "excusing" implying that granting forgiveness excuses the wrongdoing as if it never happened. Wikipedia has a far different definition, however, which matches up with what you all have been telling me:

Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.[1][2] The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt'. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.[1]

I don't have the authority or desire to "grant free pardon" but considering Grandma's murderer is now dead himself, you guys are right, I'm holding on to the resentment and although it isn't something I dwell on often, it probably isn't doing me any good. I don't know if I can let it go, though. Isn't a betrayal of Grandma to let it go? I feel like it would be like saying she didn't matter. Ok, now I'm crying - I didn't expect this - I can't believe I am feeling like I am right now.

posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 04:36 PM
I haven't ever had any counseling or seen a professional to talk about this. We have a free employee assistance program at work - I think maybe I will make an appointment. I really can't believe how sad I feel right now - I did not think this discussion was going to have such an effect on me emotionally.

posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 09:39 PM
reply to post by gwynnhwyfar

Dear gwynnhwyfar,

I wish I could put an arm around you. In a very real sense you are not alone. I wish I could convey that physically, instead of with words alone.

Isn't a betrayal of Grandma to let it go? I feel like it would be like saying she didn't matter.
You'll only be letting the pain and hate go. Right now you seem to be saying that every time you think of your Grandma and her death, you have nothing but anger and rage. Do you think that's what she would want you to feel when you remember her?

Grandma does matter because of all the goodness you received from her. Enjoy that, remember that. I would want my family to have good, comforting memories of me when I go. Accept the present of love she gave you, and use that love to drive out the hate caused by the murderer.

Anything I can do to help, please let me know.

With respect,

posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 10:44 PM
Thank you Charles, you are a very caring person. I truly appreciate your help and all the thought you have put into this thread!

Right now you seem to be saying that every time you think of your Grandma and her death, you have nothing but anger and rage. Do you think that's what she would want you to feel when you remember her?

Not anger and rage - confusion and sadness.

No, I definitely don't think she would want me to feel this way when I think about her.

You have been VERY kind, thank you very much for helping me with this! I think I will talk to the EAP. Considering my reaction, this afternoon, I don't know if I can handle working on it all by myself.

Best Regards,

posted on Oct, 29 2012 @ 12:05 AM
I'm glad that you are seeking outside help. Perhaps you will gain a different perspective or insight that might help. Good God, no, you are not betraying your Grandmother in any way. She understands how you feel, of that I feel sure. I also feel sure that she would want you to remember the good things you shared in life.

I have often heard that we cannot always change things, but we can change our reactions to them. If you could somehow re-divert your negative thoughts when they pop up and gently but firmly keep doing that, it might help. The minute you find your thoughts wandering to the negative, stop! Say to yourself, no this won't help, it will only make things worse. Replace the negative with something positive.

Get your favorite picture of your Grandma and maybe buy a beautiful new frame for it. Get a little angel and candle and maybe a silk rose or her favorite flower to place in a little vase. Make a special place in her honor and remember her with the love and laughter I'm sure you shared together all those years. I feel that Grandma is looking at you right now with so much love and a sweet smile on her face and wishing you well.

edit on 29-10-2012 by Night Star because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 29 2012 @ 08:15 AM
Night Star said it, so did Charles, I will throw my hat in with theirs. Your Grandma would not want you to suffer and dwell on this. She loves you.

You know, being a mother, how it feels when one of your kids has been hurt by someone else? The pain and anguish of wanting to make it all better is excruciating. It's heartbreaking.

You have parents, and you have Grandma, who feel that way about you and your pain. This is why I think it's important to talk to your Dad. He processed the tragedy and found a way to let it go, and I suspect that if he knew how you are holding onto this, he would not be comforted. Bringing it up so that you can express how you feel about it, and ask him how he dealt with it, and for support while you come to terms with it, would be a great favor to him, and to yourself.

Would you want to be kept in the dark about suffering of your child, for fear of "wounding"you? Or would you want your child to let you know, and come to you for support and guidance, even though it may sadden you to hear their troubles?

I have the impression your Dad isn't aware of how conflicted you are with this. He has experienced the process and the outcome of "forgiveness", and he loves you, so it seems he would be happy to be given a chance to assist and comfort you. Communication is so very important among families. We cant do anything about what we don't know exists.

I don't know what your family structure is like, what your family's style is of discussing sensitive subjects, and that's something you can explore with a counselor as well, to help determine whether or not you want to approach him. I understand your reluctance to "remind" him of it, but it's highly unlikely that he has erased it from his mind. I think he would appreciate knowing how you feel, and asking him for help, but that is based on a certain style of parenting, and I don't know your dad.

Please do see a counselor. You've done a lot of the work getting started right here, and the gunk cleared away. Now you can see the thorn. Hurts to touch it, but it can be removed, and you can go on; certainly with a scar, but free of the infection's poison.

God bless you, dear. You show strength by addressing this trauma and being honest about how it affects you. You are on your way to peace and forgiveness, and you're not going to fight it all alone. Stay the course.

Virtual hug from me, too.

posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 07:32 PM
You guys are really wonderful and I am sooooo glad to have my ATS family to talk to about these things!!! Thank you all for talking to me and sharing your thoughts on this, it isn't an easy topic to discuss. I appreciate your help and kindness very much and I feel like I am on a better path for having had this discussion.

♥♥♥..THANK YOU..♥♥♥

posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 07:36 PM
reply to post by gwynnhwyfar

Dear gwynnhwyfar,

Your post made me very happy, I'm glad for you. Stay in touch, If you want, we're not going anywhere.

With respect,

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