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Forgiveness

My ex wife was convinced to leave me and get a lawyer who convinced her to make some horrible accusation against me. She started the ball rolling for a battle that could have easily lasted years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But after getting over the initial shock I chose not to be angry and convinced her that a battle would only be damaging to our daughter and that she, our daughter should be our priority and reason not to have this battle.
Fortunately she conceded and all charges were dropped and the lawyers were dismissed.
This was made possible because I chose not to be angry and instead focused to deescalate the situation.
And I chose to forgive, not only to be a good example to my daughter but because holding onto anger is only damaging to me.
But I write this question because I have had friends who are shocked and can not believe I am able to forgive not only what was done but to forgive the enormity of what might have been done to me. And my response is always the same, forgiveness is a gift to myself, not the person I am forgiving. I do this as an atheist, as apposed to my ex wife who is Catholic and still has not forgiven me for perceived pains more that 20 years old.

Are you able to forgive the wrongs done against you and how and why do you forgive?
Do you practice forgiveness because of the lessons of religion or is to forgive or not forgive just in your nature?

ThomasLevi 6 Jan 30

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13 comments

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1

I forgive, and I have forgiven some terrible things...but then I've done some terrible things I've been forgiven for.

I don't forget though. People change, sometimes instantly, but there is never any certainty they can't change back.

2

Sometimes I can rise to the occasion especially if I truly ;get' the other persons inadequacy sometimes its too brutal and raw and it has to be put on the back burner. My parents were both damaged they are both dead now and I think I am spent my own recovery will have to do in place of forgiveness

2

I forgive very easily, and almost never write anyone off completely. I've been hurt a lot because others don't do the same for me, and nobody is perfect.

2

Like buses, none for ages the two post about forgiveness come at once!

My reply is pretty much the same as on the other post - forgiveness is about me, not who I am forgiving.
I will not waste energy holding a grudge or trying to punish someone else for their shortcomings. If their actions have had a negative consequence on my life, then the productive way to use my energy is sorting my life out. Anger and retribution are such negative emotions which achieve little - making someone else feel bad doesn't make me feel better.

Precisely

2

Your story brings in mind a much more trivial everyday thing.

First of all, I live in the Bible Belt of the USA and I walk 5 days a week 5 km together with my wife from 6 to 7 pm. But sometimes I walk alone because my wife has a meeting or so, and than I walk alone, a little later. So once in a while I get a little annoyed when road workers park their truck or materials on the side walk, not even thinking that people tend to walk there.
One morning, almost at the end of my route, I found a pile of mulch halfway on the side walk and a truck parked on the other side also half way on it. I had to slalom around the objects and a man stood there working on the mulch. I tried to start a conversation about the fact that road workers are not very attentive to walkers. Now it appears that both, the mulch and the pick-up were his, and that he lived on the other side of the fence.
Well, he was not pleased that was clear enough and his tone was not one that did suite a Christian. I tried to be as friendly as I could and tried to retreat from the dispute. After 5 minutes I could walk on hearing swearing and accusations that I was evil. Sad man.
Strangely enough I encountered him the next day, and he started to continue to ventilate his anger. I walked on. By the way, he almost had cleaned up the mulch already. Next day I saw him walking with his little dog and his wife. He tried to start all over again, but I turned to his wife saying: Sorry meme, your husband seems to have an issue with me, but I forgive him. I hope you have a nice day and I hope your knee will be well soon (some time before she had stumbled over a damaged spot caused by some road workers machine).
I have never seen them again since. For me it was the only way to get rid of him and the feeling he still light in me.
Forgiving helps. Not in the last place the best for yourself.

Gert Level 7 Jan 30, 2018

I have a similar issue with my step mother who is terribly angry at me, enough so that she makes a point of telling me she does not want to speak to me and for the life of me I don't know what it is that she is so angry about but apparently my being an atheist is far more upsetting to her than she is wiling to admit.
But she holds onto that anger and obvious pain and I think it bother her more that I refuse to be upset by it. I figure it's not really about me, as I am sure the man you spoke of was angry at something other than you.

@ThomasLevi Well, actually it was directly related to the comments I made. Sometimes even a friendly remark makes people angry, especially when they know it's true 🙂,

0

commendable! not sure i could have the strength to do that.

Actually I think it takes more strength, more energy at any rate, to stay angry. Forgiveness is about letting go. Because it is hard to move forward when you keep up walls.

3

Forgiving does not mean forgetting. I forgive anything that does not result in bodily harm to myself or others close to me. However, I do not forget the transgression and take steps to avoid a repetition.

3

I think you by far did the right thing and I applaud you

2

I am with you 100% on this, Thomas. I've been walked out on twice for other people (I guess I'm a schmuck), and I hold no animosity for either of my exes. My daughter's mother and I always put our child first, and she has, as a result, grown into a smart, capable, caring person of whom we are both very proud. I did not experience the rancor you did from your ex from either of mine, fortunately, so forgiveness was not an issue in that respect. I always tried to adopt the attitude in my situation, that it was not one-sided, that one or the other of us was at fault; there were circumstances and issues on both sides, therefore equal "blame" (a word I really don't like). But, I think there is no question that holding back forgiveness, holding in anger and/or resentment is toxic to one's well-being.

1

I see no reason to forgive a person for a long, persistent pattern of verbally and psychologically abusive behavior which she knew was terribly hurtful and which was destructive to the relationship -- especially when that person is even able to admit or acknowledge what she was doing and what the effects were.

I do not want to hurt or punish that person. I simply hate what she did -- knowingly -- and what its effects were. I simply want nothing to do with her for the rest of my life. If she were to ask for my forgiveness, I would probably give it, But, she has never asked and never will.

You don't forgive to make the other person feel better, you forgive to let go of what is still bothering you. And forgiving does not mean inviting them back into your life, it's letting down the wall that you're holding up. Sometimes forgiving is the best way to let someone truly go.

1

You know yourself well and had the ability to put your child's best interest above your anger. You are rare in this day and age and I am glad that you have shared your story.

You are absolutely correct. Forgiveness is for self-healing and you have given the gift of example to your daughter. How I wish every child of a broken relationship can be given the same gift.

Betty Level 7 Jan 30, 2018
1

I don't believe in 'forgiveness'. I don't even like the word, or what most people think it means.
For me, I either get over something, or I don't. Some will say that it's the same thing, but it
isn't to me.

2

When I was leaving for Germany to start our legal separation... my wife then took my 2 teenager daughters into a room and gave her version of events leading to our separation. I did not argue it or fought or stop it from happening. I simply said "They can judge me now and when they are adults our appeal their judgement". I will never say anything damaging about her to my children... some of her lies was perception like her starting a fight with another woman in a club because she thought there was something going on between us and I didn't even knew the woman!!! And my daughters knew of an incident that happened nowhere but in her head. I had been accused of having 2 other daughters with women one before her and another during the marriage. Despite me stating Truth I did not slept with one and the other was already pregnant when we met. But to her to spill her guts to my children is okay... well nothing has stopped my children from Loving Me. And now my children want to hang out with me because they see I was not that Asshole she talked about. I made it a point to teach my children how to handle a divorce. So they have a good example in their future if things don't work out. If in town I don't mind take her to dinner, dancing, movie. Bought her a laptop on a mother's day. after her divorce of husband nr 2. I will continue treating her like the mother of my children and forgetting the past. I wish you the best and may all work out for you and your wife, forgive if you must. But keep your eyes open because when something is broken... is broken. Not that is your case. Good Luck and to Forgive is good thing. Wish you the best as a couple.

You did well. I'm glad you have a wonderful relationship with your children and a good relationship with their mother. I bet your children are proud of you. 🙂

@Betty They are proud of both. They do bitch because they lived a sheltered life, never gone hungry and traveling and being in always good neighborhoods. And mother job is travelling the world doing inspections but neither of us being sick and they never saw the war other couples put their kids thru for a decade. So is good memories I don't like to argue with does I love face to face or over the phone.

@GipsyOfNewSpain

Sounds like you have done a good job as a father and that will help them be good parents. I wish every child could have the same. 🙂

@Betty All I ever told them is get everything out of your system first before the kids arrive. Be as Crazy as you want Now. You would had time later to raise them without regret of missing out.

@GipsyOfNewSpain

Good advice. 🙂

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