Carmen's Mirror

Carmen welcomes you to her online venue for empaths. This blog is dedicated to all of you who are sensitive to people's feelings and who feel overwhelmed by being empathic. Perhaps the accounts of my life and my observations, may help you...
Forgiveness is an F word

Too many people are socialized to believe in playing nicely after they have been hurt and they feel that by forgiving someone, you will be a good person, a just person, and that you are in the very least, 'bigger' than they are. Instant Peace 'O Mind. Right?

The cold reality arises when you are surprised by someone’s bad behaviour. This may have been the 25th time you have been hurt, but this time, it was done by a person you held in such high regard!

So the guessing game on how or if it’s worth forgiving someone after a major transgression has occurred.

 There is some value in the statement that a person should mess up once, and not be given a second chance.

This is not a whimsical assessment but it’s actually based on the generous assumption that this person will most likely hurt you again!

* There is the situation a client of mine is in right now, where her ex has called her for the first time in months after a very painful break up.  She is holding onto her anger like a badge of pride. This anger is a valuable tool for her, in maintaining her security for now.

She felt hurt by his behaviour, and on seeing the truth, does not necessarily want to forgive him. I feel that in this case it’s completely worth the effort in resisting forgiveness while it feels good. I think even the illusion of not forgiving someone can help us retain power. The spiritual notion of forgiveness doesn’t sit well when you don’t understand why you cannot let go of the person that hurt you most.

I would say that the notion of indiscriminately forgiving the person may lead us to feel powerless.

**I think forgiveness works well when we apply it to ourselves. This person realised that indeed it was not her that ruined this relationship, but that indeed, the problem lay with him. She was not ugly, nor stupid, not worthless – he was the biggest loser. She can hold onto that for as long as she needs to!

 I feel as I go on in life, I forgive less and less. Does that make me a lesser ( colder ) person? Or do I need to forgive myself for not forgiving, because it preserves my power, and my spirit?

 The problem arises when I feel the other person’s pain. Trying to not heal that person is extremely difficult. I do not like leaving anyone in pain. I want everyone to be OK. That instinct in me is very strong, and sometimes, upon feeling the loss of someone, I want to make that person feel better, so that I can feel better.

 Many of us are extremely nurturing, and forgiveness is the easiest and most instinctive place to start. We have been taught that our role in life is to make others feel better, and
one sometimes feels temporarily better falling into this pattern.

What happens when healing or forgiving someone else doesn’t make one feel better?
Is forgiveness then right?

Copyright Carmen Miro 2007

* Thank you unnamed client, for your story!

** This is in reference to Romantic Relationships, not everyone in life.


# Horoscope for Monday October 29, 2007 @ Monday, October 29, 2007 9:47 AM
Today's Featured Advisor Articles:
Carmen miro writes "Forgiveness is an F word"
HonestlyDani writes...
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Monday, October 29, 2007 1:40 PM
Dear Carmen:

What an interesting blog!  I have been faced with the "not forgiving" conundrum myself.  As a whole I do forgive but I don't forget.  I don't think that is complete forgiveness however.  I never ever let my guard down around the transgressor again so I am always beating myself up because I truly don't know if you can call that forgiveness.  I do let go and give the pain to God for I try not to let it fester inside so I think when you do forgive and release the pain it is better for you.  I just am not really willing to let anyone have a go at me a second time however.  I guess I have many lessons to learn in this lifetime and perhaps one day I will reach a point where I can turn the other cheek like Christ but I am not there yet.

# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Monday, October 29, 2007 2:13 PM
Thank you for your very well thought out response. You brought up pertinent issues. Do we really forgive someone, when really in thinking back there is regret?

Forgiveness can and must come in time, but I see many people trying to cover up for someone's ills or just swallowing bad behaviour, by saying they turned the other cheek. What then results of that is that person ends up in a relationship to act out that need for really being healed: my fear is we transfer our 'forgiveness issues' in our lives into our new relationships, and we marr them with our 'forgiveness' and our subsequent self esteem issues.

There is much to be said in forgiving, but it's not something you can right away. Sometimes it takes people years, and a lifetime, but in the end they often do. I think it's good looking for opportunities out of pain, forgiveness is one aspect -  that may not work for all people.

I naturally tend to forgive others, yet I have noticed that there are others who fare very well in life that don't take any #$%#% from anyone ever. It's a difficult thing to be, but sometimes, it's smarter.

ie - forgiveness then means you may possibly allow that persons or someone like them back in your life, so that you can both play out the repressed 'forgiveness psycho-drama'....

Once you have understood you are angry with the person, you can then in your adult frame of mind understand that they have their own reasons for whatever they did, one can walk way, but that still doesn't mean that they am not still angry or hurt. That doesn't go away, and if it is not acknowledged it could haunt you....

# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Monday, October 29, 2007 4:20 PM
hi, forgiveness in my opinion is difficult, and ultimately rewarding. It takes courage, insight, patience, more courage, more patience, wisdom, compassion, empathy, love, humility, time, and to some extent I believe, help from above. Forgiveness is difficult but through forgiveness we grow in ways that are healing and spiritually enlightening.
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Monday, October 29, 2007 5:32 PM
Thanks Cathy

I agree with everything you have said, which is the classic definition of forgiveness,  only, for some people who have been chronic forgiversall their lives, it can serve as another moment to feel walked over and powerless.

Many of my clients struggle for years, not understanding it's themselves they need to forgive, and not always the other person. They have obviously tried the forgiveness route, and that has failed them.

I am not talking about major forgiveness issues, I do believe in healing, but as my point illustrates, it has to do more with the automatic forgiveness response. Deciding to forgive someone does take time, patience and deep soul searching.

Of course, this is from an empaths perspective, where we tend to be all forgiving.

Let me quote you something:

Understanding is Forgiveness

This quote serves that forgiveness can be applied to the self, and to the others  - but you have to understand yourself to forgive the other.
I also interpret that to say: That it is enough to understand. That in itself is forgiveness. Maybe we are putting forgiveness in a one-fits-all format, when there are many levels.

:) You are such as sweet soul, I do understand in what way you mean this.

# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Monday, October 29, 2007 10:33 PM
this is nice one but honestly telling you i never forgive anyone who hurts me . and you know well only those people to whom you trust most ,love most , appritiate, or want in your life hurt you they are no one but your closest friends and relatives . so why to forgive them when you tell them what you want  and you are honestin your dealings. never forgive anyone otherwise he will keep on hurting you . let them realise . its ok with GOD says that if you will forgive others for their mistakes god will forgive you. but we are human beings not god . i usually cut off from that person and let the god help to heal the hurt feelings of both injured party. with the passing of time everything goes well. but still there is an empty place for that loved ones remains in your heart . now you decied whether i do write or wrong . i am highly sting and a scorpio girl. and only because of my this quality i have many friends by god grace. thankyou lord jesus for giving me courage to share my thoughts withothers. god bless you all. praise the god at all times . HE loves you unconditionally. love you all your's abha
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Tuesday, October 30, 2007 3:58 AM
I believe that nobady as any respect for nobady any more! and we are turning everything to anger...........
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Tuesday, October 30, 2007 6:49 AM
Thanks again guys for your thoughts. I agree with you Abha, that it takes time. And thanks for voicing your opinons by the way, this is a forum for discussion :)

Many people try and force forgiveness after a relationship has ended, and thus end up in unhappy relationships because they feel that they have not dealt with their anger  over the relationship. If you do just forgive the person because you can , that's good - but I am talking more about people in abusive relationships, with lovers or partners, that constantly forgive, have been taught forgiveness is the way, and then promptly don't understand when they get into another bad situation.  I am not sure I got that point across well enough -  but I am not talking about family....friends...but more pertaining to lovers, ie, people that know once they get into the arena of vulnerability and hurt you on purpose, forgiving them and taking them back,or feeling bad because you don't understand why you love them,  is something I am trying to convey.

 The next confused step is trying to forgive the person. I think God wants us to forgive the other person so we can forgive ourselves ( sorry, no offence, but I don't need God's forgiveness in this life, I need support and strength, and I know God will forgive me for being angry for a change! ) so I believe forgiveness starts with oneself, THEN the person who betrayed you - not simply, trying to forgive the person, and  thennot being able to let go all the pain, because you simply didn't deal with anything, and decided to turn the other cheek.

So many of my clients go through this, and I wish to be able to let them know, that some of the others deal with it by being angry as long as they want to be angry - forgiveness comes later....after the client has owned their anger...

Many many women are socialized to not feel their anger, so this can be a positive thing.....

By all means, I am all for forgiveness but I know the difference in when to implement it: and I feel sometimes  that if it's the result of abuse, neglect, a bad relationship, if it helps you stay out of this situation with that person,  - you don't have to forgive them for a long time or till you are ready!

Thanks :)))
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Tuesday, October 30, 2007 7:43 AM
For me forgiveness is a personal decision; I always try to give the benefit of doubt to the other person. Although when it's clear that there is a major breach of trust, it can be difficult to get the relationship back on track again, if ever. The hurt for me comes from the knowing that things will never be the same verses the actual wrong itself. Based on the sincerity of the other person’s acknowledgment of the transgression and its desire to change the behavior, I usually will forgive and with time passing, possibly forget.  Although, if it is not followed by action or if it seems likely to be a repetitive issue, I am gone. I know god put the head above the heart for a good reason and will use this analogy the second time around
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Tuesday, October 30, 2007 7:59 AM
Thanks William - that's an amazing point - what holds us back from forgiving? Is it hurt from the deed? Or is it the deed itself?  If that is the case, certain people may be 'too sensitive to forgive'. If the pain rings deeper, it may be harder for them...

I think we all mostly forgive, but you know, when I think back on things that have hurt me, I don't always think..." Oh we had such a marvellous time even though the person really betrayed me' - sometimes when you have no understanding of why they betrayed you, or more importantly, why it matters to you so much, one sometimes still holds onto certain things, and to me, that is not  true forgiveness.
And I know many of you do too! Come on! Say it! :) I know many of you out there hold grudges - is that forgiveness? I don't think so...

William - do you think the the person being conscious of their actions makes it harder to forgive them? What if their intent was to hurt you? I can forgive easily people who don't know what they are doing ' Forgive them for they know not what they do' - but I cannot really fathom conscious deception....

# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Tuesday, October 30, 2007 8:35 AM
I think it is a little on the unhealthy side to constantly overlook and forgive what a person does to you.  First you need to go through feeling your anger otherwise somewhere you hold it in.  So in the end you become a doormat and consistently have the same bad experiences.  Then when you are ready and you have truly dealt with your anger instead of instantly forgiving and shoving that emotion somewhere deep down sometimes this can take a long time, then forgive.
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Tuesday, October 30, 2007 10:18 AM
A woman once wrote to a person who now professes to be incorrigible and told him that he is the beloved.  She might have rethought her
affection when he ran off with his high school sweetheart.  Yet, she got over his treachery and felt that they could still be FRIENDS...That's another F word,,..In recent years, they tried to work out the human side of the occurrence.  Yet, despite her efforts in being a frienf, he gives the impression that all is not well.  The man in question has revealed a certain hostility towards his friends retaining any type of goodwill to certain male friends,...

How do I advise my friend?  She feels that having goodwill and forgiveness are human traits that many people believe allows for a workable life,...What do I tell my friend is a way yo start a conversation?What would my friend say the other in asking...

Can we have some feedbavk?
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Tuesday, October 30, 2007 12:45 PM
Thank you Mystic Leelu, this is what I am trying to convey - you did it more succinctly than I :)

Frankenswaler: I think your friend needs your support first. That is the primary way to get her to open up to her. Even if you are afraid, angry or not understanding her situation, ask her for details and get into her head. Don't give her ANY opinions, most women in bad relationships will not open up or leave a bad relationship if they feel they have noone or nowhere to go to.

When she feels you are less worried about her she may be more open to listening to your concerns, but ultimately, you should rather tell her that you do not wish for her to leave this relationship, but that you actually wish for her to be happy.

In truth, maybe she is  depressed and just seeking this problem to express her unhappiness, or she could have a host of psychological reasons that keep her trapped.

When she understands you want her happy, and that you are not threatening what she perceives as her only support ( male x )  you can delve deeper. Then I would seriously not talk about male x as much but concentrate on getting her to a therapist.

IF she doesn't like traditional therapy, try and see if she would be open to
talking to: a reputable and compassionate minister, or have her go to a massage/healing - as long as she is learning that she can take the time to take care of herself.

She really needs to feel you believe her when she sais she cannot get out. That is the biggest thing you can do for her right now.

Best :)
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Thursday, November 01, 2007 7:50 AM
great blog carmen! forgiveness is a wonderful quality but so is self respect. as the famous quote goes, "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!"
there is no need to be angry and resentful forever, but there is also no need to run back to someone who has hurt you and ask for more. sometimes letting them go and moving on with your life is the best revenge!
# re: Forgiveness is an F word @ Thursday, November 01, 2007 8:27 AM
Hey Suparnad29 ( I wonder who the other 28 suparnads are??? ) thanks for reading my blog!
I am glad this post agreed with you. It's a tough position.

A friend of mine commented that a worse problem than not forgiving at all is ( and no Lucia, it's not anger ) it's INDIFFERENCE.

You are still human to feel - something. That shows you are hurting. But indifference is a new beast that is pervasive in our saturated world.

You know I always enjoy talking with you!

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