Change is difficult. Trying to accept reality REALISTICALLY can be difficult.
I’ve always, always thought that it was my job, my role, my burden to be the ‘adult’, to forgive them for what they do but do not understand, to understand they are doing their best with who and what they are. To not take it all personally. To rise above it.
What does it mean though if they aren’t doing thier best. If they are, instead, throwing every evil thing at me because I can take it? Because I am ‘safe’? Because they know that though I will be sad, I will be hurt, I will cry…I’ll always, or at least in the past I would always, be there to take some more, to forgive them, to make it ‘ok’ for them.
It is incredibly hard to be a daughter to my parents…beyond hard it is painful and unfair and I don’t know anymore if I have it in me to be forgiving. At this point, I’m not sure I understand how to forgive anymore. I’m all out of ‘it’s ok’.
Enright and the Human Development Study Group propose that:
Forgiveness is the overcoming of negative affect and judgment toward the offender, not by denying ourselves the right to such affect and judgment, but by endeavoring to view the offender with benevolence, compassion, and even love, while recognizing that he or she has abandoned the right to them. The important parts of this definition are as follows: a) one who forgives has suffered a deep hurt, thus showing resentment; b) the offended person has a moral right to resentment but overcomes it nonetheless; c) a new response to the other accrues, including compassion and love; d) this loving response occurs despite the realization that there is no obligation to love the offender (Subkoviak, Enright, Wu, Gassin, Freedman, Olson, Sarinopoulos, 1992, p.3).
I can no longer overcome the negative affect and judgement that I hold towards my parents. I can no longer excuse the behaviour, the words, the actions, the opinions or the viewpoints they live by and hold close. I just can’t and I feel so very guilty.
I was raised in the church and I always knew that Jesus showed the ultimate forgiveness…’forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do’.
I’ve always known that it was mostly to my own benefit to forgive. Forgiveness allows me to move on, it allows me to know I am a good person, in spite of the way they have treated me. That’s why it was so important to me to learn it, to feel it and to overcome all of these things, when I was younger and dealing with all of the things I had to deal with after living in their home for two short years. This was after dealing with the hurts and resentments I felt so strongly after my mother left us when I was a ten year old child. Snuck away is more accurate than leaving. I don’t think she understood or felt that she owed us even an explanation. It was never important to her to make it ok for us.
Now I’m feeling guilt…just for speaking so bluntly (when there is so much more I could say) about the realities that occurred. See how difficult it can be to face reality realistically? I could continue in the ‘family approved’ manner of glossing over her mistakes, smoothing out her indiscretions, pretending it wasn’t the most devestating things that she chose to do. That’s how we’ve been doing it for so long that to do anything else becomes something she isn’t willing to forgive!
As her child – and she expects this from each child – it’s my job to help her rationalize her terrible mistakes, to help her feel good, to never expect her to acknowledge what she’s done and to definitely NOT expect her to ever take responsiblity for the effects she has caused.
She clings to a man who helps her feel good, the man who has rationalized the whole thing with her for over 20 years…a man who disregards all people other than himself because he is such a raging narcissist that he cannot even see them at all.
The fact that I’m crying right now tells me that the wounds are deep and the hurts are still fresh…it’s so much easier when I don’t really access them…when I allow them to be forgotten. And then I wonder if it is healthy to do so…if it is healthy to ‘forget’ the unforgettable, to forgive the unforgiveable, to excuse the unexcuseable.
I learned as a child that the only way to interact with her is to expect nothing and to appreciate everything. She bends under expectations, fails, falters…she cannot take the pressure…she requires appreciation and compassion because she still to this day is immersed in the things that she grew up with and though I understand that…that cannot be my burden. Yet it leaves me wondering…does she not see that by creating another generation of hell, she hasn’t eased her own pain but has only amplified it and passed it on to the rest of us? Does she not see how basically UNJUST that is?
Understanding that she is emotionally limited and that she will never understand that in any true sense…any feeling sense…doesn’t really make it better, just a little more hopeless. I am sure that my peace will come from within me, from the God within me and my innate spirituality, from my loving family that I have created. Seeking peace with the abusers will not heal me, will not heal them…will not change anything. It merely encourages a part of me that is still a child…encourages her to hope, to wish, to want…to seek all that isn’t and has never been there.
Well, enough for one day!
The sun is shining and I feel so much better just for having worked out a few of the things I am feeling :)