Thursday, December 06, 2007

Forgiving the One Who Deserves Forgiveness

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you have.

The same things can damage it that damage your other human relations. The deal-breaker is BETRAYAL.

Have you ever felt betrayed? If so, then you know that it is the blackest feeling a human being can have. It is devastating. It is what makes people want to just turn their face to the wall and die.

Because it shows you what you and your suffering mean (are worth) to your betrayer = nothing.

Betrayal severs any human relationship. It puts the betrayed through Hell.

Just think what this means in terms of your relationship with yourself. If you betray yourself to abuse, that betrayal severs your relationship with yourself.

How can this be? Easily. We are composite beings. We are a combination of true inner self and ego. The ego views us as others do. It's that little voice in the head that takes the viewpoint of bystanders and berates you IN THE SECOND PERSON, by saying such things as, "Why can't you hit a stupid backhand in? You are pathetic! Here you are, choking again in a big match!"

That's you (if you're a tennis player having a bad tennis day) talking to you. But why aren't you saying, "Why can't I hit a stupid backhand in? I am pathetic! Here I am, choking again in a big match!"

Answer: You address yourself as "you" instead of "I" to distance yourself from yourself. Because you don't like yourself at the moment and are disowning yourself, relating to yourself as though talking to a different person.

See what's happening to your relationship with yourself? You're not on your side, are you?

This happens to everyone, and it should serve as a strong warning of how easily our composite personality can breakdown, split.

Don't go there. Never, never, never betray yourself to bad treatment. You sin against yourself when you do, and the act WILL destroy your relationship with yourself.

Unfortunately, if you are the victim of a narcissist, it is safe to say that you have already done so.

THIS is what threatens the victim's mental health. You have allowed yourself to be abused. You see that for what it is - bending over for it, laying down for it. No matter how blessed people say that is, you know it's not. You know it is abject. You are profoundly ashamed of doing that.

You hate yourself for it, no matter how hard you work to repress awareness of that to live in denial of it. So, you have committed an offense against yourself (your human dignity). You can never be friends with yourself until you make peace with yourself.

Repair that relationship with yourself. The fruit of forgiveness is reconciliation (ask any theologian).

1. Admit that you have allowed the narcissist to abuse you.

2. Admit that it was wrong to do so, though be fair with yourself and consider the reasons why you were driven to do so.

3. Be sorry that you betrayed yourself to abuse.

4. Make whatever amends are possible and appropriate.

5. Most important - repent = promise to never betray yourself again.

You may recognize those as the 5 formal steps of repentance. They make you forgivable. They allow reconciliation to take place.

Indeed, how can you be reconciled with any offender who doesn't at least stop offending and give you some assurance that he won't keep right on doing it? It is absurd to to think that you can.

And just because it's 3AM and he is sound asleep, unable to offend at the moment, doesn't mean that a state of war doesn't presently exist bewteen you. What he did yesterday counts. What he has always done and never promised to stop doing COUNTS.

"Forgive and forget" is a line penned in Hell, not Heaven.

It is absurd to think you can have any but a hostile relationship with someone offending you in any way, especially when they have refused to stop it.

Hey, if the offender stops doing it, you can be friends again. But ONLY if he stops doing it. You don't have to be friendly to people attacking you or stealing from you in any way. It's called the human right to self-preservation, self-defense. It's a Law of Nature. The very idea that you should like and be nice to someone doing things hostile to you is bizarre and absurd.

To the contrary: You stay away from people like that. You build walls between yourself and people like that. You answer their attacks to make their attacks cost them dearly, so as to deter future aggression that you might live in peace instead of under constant attack by them. This is just common sense.

And it holds just as true in your relationship with yourself as in your relationship with others. Simply say, "I betrayed myself to abuse in the past, but I will never do so again, so I am no longer a doormat to be ashamed of."

Be on your side.

Take those 5 steps to repair your relationship with yourself - especially the last one in which you establish a firm purpose of amendment to never betray yourself to abuse again.

Now you are forgivable. So, forgive yourself. Embrace yourself.

YOU are the one who deserves and needs your forgiveness. And chances are that you are the only one who deserves and wants it.

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At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh pleeeeease continue writing and maintaining this site. you are getting sooooo good at this !!! wow !!! and thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. jt

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy, This is so insightful. I have been struggling with forgiving myself for allowing his (N spouse)abuse/control/neglect for years, and for responding to his increased abuse/manipulation with anger. It is very difficult for some reason, and I think it is one of the reasons recovery is so slow. He maintained it was all my fault - but he was blaming me as he indulged himself in lies, cheating, gaslighting, etc. It is hard to care whether you rebuild yourself or your life, if you aren't sure you are a good person or if you deserve forgiveness. Grief, shame, guilt, anger... what companions we have. My only hope is that somehow I can become a better person through this suffering and destruction. Only those who have been there understand, I think. Free and easy optimism is gone forever.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:54- i feel your pain as it is what i am going thru as well- almost 25 years of marriage now- agonizing to have the new knowledge- relief and absolute sorrow to follow- but i am healing- two steps forward one step back at times,but determined to never go back to trusting him. other people,yes- but not the N. keep reading up on it when you can. there is reinforcement to be found. live healthier- find healthier people to spend time around- share your good traits with others and let them reciprocate their kindness- and let the cloak be removed so you can heal. time in a healthier direction will build you back up. jt

At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To jt: Thank you for sharing. I sensed we were in similar positions from reading your other comments. I have been afraid to identify myself beyond "anonymous" because of evil things my N spouse (of nearly 20 yrs) has done,and might do, as we go through a frightening divorce. I wish I felt confident I could prevent him from doing more damage to me and our child. He has damaged my reputation, crushed my dreams, isolated me, abused me, drained me financially, harmed me emotionally, sadistically toyed with me, etc. He neglects our child while pretending to be a model father. He is brilliant at fooling others, even professionals. I have thought about adding to examples of N behavior, but it is so shameful to write, and maybe identifiable. Yet, I long for the validation that what he did to me was wrong and cruel. I will never be the same person - it makes me so sad, angry and afraid. Thanks to all for helping me feel less isolated. Forgiveness (even for myself) seems like an oasis I can see but not reach yet. I am grateful for Kathy's suggestions about forgiveness - they are so powerful. Kathy also said you can't forgive a crime in progress, and I realize that is still where I am with the N. He believes he is perfect and has done nothing wrong, even while he abuses mercilessly. It hurts so bad...when does it get better? I don't even feel safe right now. "jewel"

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Jewel, I wish had all the answers, but I do know that if you don't feel safe you should take that instinct seriously. First, someone should know and the N should be able to smell that someone knows your fear. That's one sure way to keep him from thinking he can get away with anything. Second, there are trained people and agencies in your area that can confidentially advise you.

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jewel, I like to react also. I think Kathy is right. Listen to your fear for now, but please donn't try to doubt yourself to much. If you feel this bad, someone has hurt you very bad. If you are in this pain I know it's horrible.
I didn't believed it was ever going to pass.
Hold on, it will. Stick to Kathy, to sites like these and every good validating help you can get.
In the end there is nothing to be ashamed off realy.
You'll know the only one who should be very ashamed is your abuser.
Hold on and it will pass. There are good people outthere too.
Wish you all the strenght you need.

greetings, Gerard

At 12:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you cant forgive a crime in progress. you just defined my angst !?!!!! eureka sounds too upbeat but thats whats stalling me !!!! i havent filed (for divorce) even though i KNOW i dont want to be married to this man in the future. it has been depressing to make up my mind but not "do" anything about it (which i read somewhere would happen) and i have been puzzled at my hesitation-- but now i know why im 'stalling' its BECAUSE ITS A CRIME IN PROGRESS !!! i intellectually gather that it is too soon-its too weird right now- he's on "good behavior" cuz he clued in some where some how. jewel- im so glad you're here- for both--ALL of us. kathy--this is where they get dangerous again...the n should be able to smell that someone knows your fear. i would have agreed with this a couple of months ago. i do not disagree now- but i need to share with you that this has taken me back into a danger zone. it kept him "off me" for a while-a while--but that also incensed him but had to put him into extra effort to squelch himself-to stifle himself--so that he had to get 'sneakier' in his revenge--had to be a lower in the grass snake to be undetected...THATS why his "nice guy routine-(mr. rogers) has spooked me so long now !!! because before it was easy to abuse me- cuz i didnt recognize it. now i do and he has to TRY HARDER- has to spend more time thought energy and effort into his game.and into covering his tracks. THATS WHAT THE SENSATION I WAS DESCRIBING AS A WEIRD COMPETITION WAS COMING FROM !!! oh GOD (yes i AM crying out to the power of God to intervene and help me) the DYNAMICS are sooooo- i cant think of a word strong enough- complex and insidiously corrupted. THIS has been the "STAND OFF" ive been struggling to define. I KNOW and have been sensing all along the train is back on the tracks- only now he's got more horse power (determination). God- no wonder i felt soo unsettled. its because i AM (still) in danger and i CANT let down my guard. but im not sure if i should say the war isnt over and battles ensue --or--im tied to the tracks. you CANT run from an N. if they target you-you are targeted. if they want you they will come after you. if they feel threatened by you - that you will expose them- then they must get rid of you. uuuuuu!!! jt

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an NMom. Those not has high on the scale of some N's...definately destructive. I ran into an earlier blog posting on forgiveness, which had a very animated discussion, so I thought I'd chime in...I love this blog and am so blessed to have found it.

All of this is a process. At first, the thought of confronting NMom devestated me. Now the thought of going back to the way it was makes me ill. I battle with this forgiveness thing. Then I was reading a defination and they synonym is 'excuse'. That opened my eyes lol. It's really easy to say I 'forgive' her, when in actuality, I think it is more about forgiving myself. I have a very forgiving nature. So, to me, it just feels wrong not to be able to say I don't forgive her. I think it points to the 'enmeshment'. Not knowing where she ended and I began. So, I can understand that feeling of needing to forgive her. But then the word excuse lol. I don't excuse her. I have tried so hard to get her to see the pain she is causing and she refuses to see it and it turns into about her. If I 'excused' her, I'd still be hanging around taking it. Instead, I'm not. I don't know her. I don't know her heart. So, it is not up to me to decide if she is forgivable or not. Only God can do that, and that is between Him and her. But I'm realizing on a personal level that I'm under no obligation to forgive her. That doesn't mean I'm walking around all hateful and harboring ill will and malice towards her. It does mean that I can move forward, without her, and work on my life. Forgiveness is such a loaded word. Some treat it like a blank slate, others fog it up a bit. But the bible states if they 'repent', forgive them. I've apologized and repented to her all of my life, and for what? For living? People make like unforgiveness is a sin. Maybe it is if used in the wrong context of hatred. But where does self preservation fit in? I've been shown in a lot of ways, it's not the word that is important. Forgiveness is a process, not a ta da moment. I would be a hypocrite if I walked up to her and told her that I forgive her. I don't. I love her, but I reject the abuse, and will not take it anymore. I'm tired of the mind games and want my life that I am entitled to have. Love the sinner, hate the where does forgiveness fit in there? In time, maybe I can forgive, on a personal level. But it would be between me and God. Only until she comes to me and really confesses how she hurt me, will I be able to 'say' I forgive. Doesn't mean I hate her, because I do love her. But I want peace, and I want to be happy. I'm tired of living in fear. I'm tired of paying for things that aren't even my debt. That's not selfish, it's RIGHT. I release her to God, and maybe that in effect IS forgiveness.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your website. It has helped me understand my M-I-L. The part about forgiveness was most helpful. Once I understood the part about Joan of I am of great value because God made me, and therefore I must protect myself by staying away from those I discern to be evil...well, it was a real turning point for me. I was tormenting myself with this "forgive and forget" business. I do think it is important, however, to let go of any desire to personally exact revenge from these people, and also to avoid trying to get them to see your side or to "pay you back" the damage they have done. God will exact justice eventually, and these people are incapable of paying you back personally.

I was also glad to see how many others have dealt with this abuse and that I am not alone.

I just met another narc yesterday! I partially fell into her trap. Hopefully, I will never see this person again. I think it takes time to learn how to handle these people effectively.

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I could put a name to what my ex-friend was, I thought he was missing the loyalty gene. It was as if he could do anything he felt like and get away with it. Like promise to help me move and go to the movies instead. Or offer to watch my house while I went on vacation, and I'd come home to a packed mailbox and dead plants.

I remember talking to another friend about ending the friendship with my narcissist, who responded by saying,"It's a shame because you guys have been friends for so long, are you sure there isn't a way to mend fences?" Can you 'mend fences' with someone who told you that they have terminal cancer, when they are as healthy as a horse?

I believed his lies, hook, line and sinker. I never met anyone in my life who lied to make others feel bad. Or who lied to damage someone's reputation, or who lied to destroy a friendship between two innocent parties.

A few months after I ended it, he sent me a letter that said, "Can we talk?" And for a minute I considered it, I thought, we'll talk, he'll apologize (HA!), I'll explain that I'm not interested in continuing a friendship, forgive and forget.

The more I thought about what he had done to me, the lies, the betrayal, the abuse, I got really angry. Then I tossed his letter in the trash.

Words to live by:
"Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours."


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