Saturday, June 23, 2007

to forgive or not to forgive

Last night I had another vivid dream about my father. He must have raged again and abused me. That part wasn't in the dream. But he did come into the dream wanting me to forgive him for what he had done. He would come to me that way at night when I was a child, after he had beaten me during the day. He would ask for forgiveness. I always forgave him. I believed it was the right thing to do. Eventually, though, I understood that he would abuse again, even though he asked for forgiveness and said he would try not to do it again. I resigned myself to his not keeping his promise.

But in my dream last night I didn't forgive him. And I didn't not forgive him. I just struggled with whether or not to forgive him. There were others around in the dream and I told them "He will do it again." When I told my dream to my wife this morning, she said, "I heard you say something like that in your sleep."

The dream ended.

It was only a dream.

I have been forgiving my father all my life. It's a struggle. That's no dream.


Blogger health watch center said...

Well John,

It depends what is going to make you feel relaxed or happy. Will you feel happy if you won't forgive him ? Or you want to for forgive him tp get rid of him??

So there are two options, forgive him and tell him not to bother you again. Or tell him not to bother you because you are not going to forgive him. then you will never see him in your dreams or thought then you will never see him again in your dreams or thoughts.

Self Help Zone

11:06 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

If you have been forgiving him all of your life and yet are still struggling with the issue of forgiveness, perhaps forgiving him is not your job? Maybe to your soul or psyche, this forgiveness feels like a betrayal? Just an idea, and not meant to disturb you. I'm a survivor too, and I just wish we didn't have to struggle and suffer as we sometimes do. I wish you the best.

1:21 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

I too am struggling with the issue of forgiveness. Stop by the poetry blog and read the post I Never Told Anyone.

I am a survivor of incest trauma. Forgiveness is a big issue for me right now. I have however come a long way in my healing journey.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Leah said...


Forgiveness is a complicated, complicated and potentially painful issue.

For me, a significant component of coming to terms with my father's incest was forgiving myself - for I believed that the abuse was my fault for my entire childhood and much of my early adult years. Forgiving myself let me make choices about forgiving my abusers in a new way. (btw - I haven't fully forgiven him because he continues to deny it ever happened. I have accepted that it happened to a degree. I am Jewish and Judaism teaches that I am obliged to forgive him when he asks me for such forgiveness. This is one of the reasons I distinguish between forgiveness and acceptance for myself.)

6:38 PM  
Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

Hi - I just found your site via someone that commented on Lynn's blob 'Spilling The Ink'.... I hope you dont mind..... Im going to scroll back and read over this coming week.....

This post of yours caught my eye though and I wanted to share something I wrote about my father back in June on Fathers Day........and the comments I received...

I'll be back to read more.... if thats ok.... Lynn knows me, she will vouch for me LOL



10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Al: Forgiveness does not mean that the person you have forgiven is excused for what he or she has done. Forgiveness does not justify or explain or make excuses for the abuser. Forgiveness sets us free from the emotional control or harmful memories that still may plague you. Forgiveness says "you damaged me then, I won't give you the power to continue to damage me now, I have a life to live!." Forgiveness prevents hate from festering and building up inside of us, so much so that we become emotionally, mentally and physically ill. Believe me when I say" I"M FREE!!!. Having suffered much abuse by many, I learned freedom comes with forgiveness. Some of my abusers know I have forgiven them, some have died and don't know and some could honestly care less. No of this bothers me because I choose to live life, love life and laugh when ever I can.....forgiveness has set me FREE, not my abusers. With Peace and Love...Dove

9:29 PM  
Blogger healandforgive said...

Hi John,

I too struggled with forgiveness for many years. In fact forgiveness haunted me.

Unfortunately, because I placed a greater emphasis on forgiving than I did on healing, it actually slowed down my healing process.

My greatest emotional growth occurred once I decided that forgiveness was premature. I decided not to forgive and to place my own well-being first.

The irony is that placing healing first - receiving validation for my injuries, expressing my anger, protecting myself, and mourning - actually finally freed me to authentically forgive.

My best to you,

5:00 PM  

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