Nursing resentments toward a parent does more than keep that parent in the doghouse. We get stuck there, too, forever the child, the victim, the have-not in the realm of love. Strange as it may seem, a grudge is a kind of clinging, a way of not separating, and when we hold a grudge against a parent, we are clinging not just to the parent, but more specifically to the bad part of the parent. It’s as if we don’t want to live our lives until we have this resolved and feel the security of their unconditional love. We do so for good reasons psychologically. But the result is just the opposite: We stay locked into the badness and we don’t grow up. From May 2003 issue of “O”, the Oprah Magazine
Slide the weight
from your shoulders
and move forward.
You are afraid
you might forget,
but you never will.
You will forgive and remember.
When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear…. When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all. Gerald G. Jampolsky
Forgiveness does not change the past,
but it does enlarge the future.
Apologies and being sorry should be a part of any healthy relationship. However, I had to learn that feeling bad and expressing my sincere remorse about what I said or did does not erase it. Even when an emotional wound heals, scar tissue remains that is weaker than what previously existed. Being great at other times should never be the price a person has to pay for being controlled or abused emotionally. Wounding accumulates and can easily get to the quantity there is no recovery for a relationship. A codependent man needs to realize at that point he can’t sorry enough or apologize sufficiently to heal the hurt he has caused a woman to endure. The honorable thing then is to let her go.
Some of us think holding on makes us strong,
but sometimes it is letting go.
For a long while one of the most perplexing questions I could ask was “what do I like about me?”. Beyond the things I might tell others to help them think good of me and past the fabrications told to fatten up my ego, what was the truth? My BS was so deep and so long ago planted a good bit of it came to appear as fact to me, even though a lot of it was fabrication or exaggeration. I had to chip away self-delusion for a long time before I had even slight glimpses into “what do I like about me?”. Ultimately I found the largest quantity of my lies were told to the person who would most easily believe them: ME! That realization was the first big step in seeing myself more clearly and beginning the journey to factual self-discovery.
Getting rid of a delusion makes us wiser
than getting hold of a truth.
Plenty of disappointments have come. I have known the loss of loved ones. I have hated and lacked forgiveness for what was done to me. Worse yet, I have despised and lost esteem for myself. Nothing has even been as insufferable as breaking the heart of a woman I truly loved. Not knowing what I had until it was gone is now a personally proven fact beyond question. My guilt lessens, but haunts me like a ghost keeps one from being able to fully rest. Of all things to bear, regret has proven to be the most difficult to bear. I regret my lies. I regret not going to her, not telling her the truth and not saying “I screwed up, let me try again.” like I should have. Deep down I wanted to make her proud, but instead I practiced my dysfunction and made her leave. It has been in being an upstanding man and shouldering regret that my redemption was planted and now self-forgiveness grows.
Dishonest people conceal their faults
from themselves as well as others…
Christian Nevell Bove
Most of us think we can forgive and forget; we just don’t want the other person to forget that we forgave them. That is only partial forgiveness and certainly not forgetting. Reminding someone overtly or covertly is a form of control. One of the truest signs to me that I have genuinely forgiven someone, is the memory of it all begins to fade. Over time what happened becomes a distant memory and my forgiveness is made more complete by forgetting.
Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note,
torn in two, and burned up,
so that it never can be shown against one.
Henry Ward Beecher
Beating yourself up over things you’ve done that hurt another can go on for years, decades or even a lifetime. But feeling bad changes nothing. Your guilt will not help the other person and makes you feel bad for no good purpose. If you have corrected your behavior and apologized (assuming you can without causing more harm doing it), you have done all you are responsible for. Forgive yourself and move on. Remember; forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.
Forgiveness is choosing to love.
It is the first skill of self-giving love.