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Author Topic: To forgive...but not forget  (Read 3578 times)

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Offline allanq

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To forgive...but not forget
« on: March 13, 2007, 04:22:19 PM »
Jeffreyj brought this up in his post about being being sexually abused by his father. I didn't want to hijack his thread, so I'd like to ask something that I've thought about a lot: what does it mean to forgive, but not to forget?

Also, I often hear that for our own mental and spiritual well-being we need to forgive people. What if someone never acknowledges or apologizes for their hurtful actions, or, worse, denies that anything ever happened? What does it mean to forgive that person?

Catholics go to confession to ask God for forgiveness. Maybe I'm interpreting this wrong, but it seems that God requires us to confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness. Why shouldn't we require that another human being acknowledge their wrongdoing before we forgive them?

Allan

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Offline puertorico2006

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2007, 04:40:12 PM »
I think forgiving is allowing yourself to accept reality the way it is and let go of your internal anger/hostility....

Forgetting i guess is not possible because when someone does something to you (or you do something wrong to yourself) its nearly impossible to forget.....

Not to mention in many cases forgetting would just cause history to repeat itself :-O
Infected Probably: may 2005
Diagnosed: 11/2006

11/28/2006 CD4:309 / VL: 1907 No meds yet
12/27/2006 CD4:339/  VL:1649 No meds yet
  4/28/2007 CD4:550/  VL:1800 No meds :-)

Offline woodshere

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2007, 04:44:44 PM »
Allan,

As far as I am concerned forgiveness is about me not the other person.  I cannot control that person, but I can control me.  By forgiving I am able to release bitterness and hurt, it frees me to move on and heal.    

Woods
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline puertorico2006

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2007, 04:46:07 PM »
God  "Supposably" not only requires you to confess your sins but REPENT.....

sometimes you have to be the bigger person and forgive someone because they arent strong enough to admit their faults (pride, ignorance, denial).....

I guess its more about letting go of anger....its better to forgive than to stay bitchy, bitter and jaded lol
Infected Probably: may 2005
Diagnosed: 11/2006

11/28/2006 CD4:309 / VL: 1907 No meds yet
12/27/2006 CD4:339/  VL:1649 No meds yet
  4/28/2007 CD4:550/  VL:1800 No meds :-)

Offline AlanBama

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2007, 04:56:49 PM »
I agree with Woods.  Forgiving is more about me than the other person.   I need to do it in order to move forward in my own life.

Forgetting would (sometimes) require that you erase your brain -- not likely to happen.  Also, we learn from past mistakes, both our own and other people's.  To forget would be to learn nothing from the past.

That which does not kill us serves to make us stronger.   Has having AIDS made me stronger?  You betcha.  I forgive the man who passed HIV on to me, but more importantly I forgive myself.   He did not act alone.  I accepted my responsibility a long long time ago.

Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline mjmel

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2007, 05:00:30 PM »
I think forgiving is allowing yourself to accept reality the way it is and let go of your internal anger/hostility....

Forgetting i guess is not possible because when someone does something to you (or you do something wrong to yourself) its nearly impossible to forget.....

Not to mention in many cases forgetting would just cause history to repeat itself :-O

BINGO! Good looking and wise too. huummmm.

Offline DanielMark

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2007, 05:06:22 PM »
What if someone never acknowledges or apologizes for their hurtful actions, or, worse, denies that anything ever happened? What does it mean to forgive that person?

Allan,

For me, forgiveness comes down to a choice Ė to hold on to old hurts or to decide not to waste energy on whatever has happened in the past. Thatís the bottom line and it has nothing to do with the other person. I do it for my own sake.

When Iím tired enough of clinging to the old stuff, I just leave it behind me and get on with living.

If not forgetting means Iíve learned something from past mistakes and donít go on repeating them, then thereís value in that too.

I just donít dwell on whatís done.

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline puertorico2006

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2007, 05:11:52 PM »
BINGO! Good looking and wise too. huummmm.

thanks  :-*
Infected Probably: may 2005
Diagnosed: 11/2006

11/28/2006 CD4:309 / VL: 1907 No meds yet
12/27/2006 CD4:339/  VL:1649 No meds yet
  4/28/2007 CD4:550/  VL:1800 No meds :-)

Offline curmudgeonly

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2007, 05:14:51 PM »
Why shouldn't we require that another human being acknowledge their wrongdoing before we forgive them?

I quoted only one line of your post but am responding to it in toto.  The situation of a child sexually or physically abused is one I cannot imagine, never having experienced it.  I don't know if I could ever forgive someone who abused me.  I was emotionally abused but that's a family dynamic.  I've long ago forgiven my parents for not being June and Ward Cleaver but with my life it was easy.  If I'd been physically abused I might feel differently. 

I am answering a question you didn't ask but if we predicate our own healing on an event that may never happen we guarantee continued torment.    If apologies or acknowledgments are not forthcoming or likely to be one has to move on eventually, no matter how hard it may be.   For example, most Holocaust survivors, many of whom were permanently scarred and affected for life, had to go on with living after surviving a tragedy of an enormity none of us will ever remotely know.  They don't have to forgive those who abused them but they needed to get on with living.

To answer your quoted question, it depends on the situation -- if one desires closure by forgiving past events one must move on whether acknowledgments/apologies happen or not.   A person can still desire acknowledgment but it must be compartmentalized away from daily consciousness and functioning so one can eventually move on from pain to a more tolerable state.  One does not have to forgive or forget but life must go on.   

« Last Edit: March 13, 2007, 05:16:24 PM by curmudgeonly »
Life is full of pain, I'm cruisin' through my brain
And I fill my nose with snow and go Rimbaud,
Go Rimbaud, go Rimbaud,
And go Johnny go, and do the watusi, oh do the watusi

Offline allanq

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2007, 05:41:53 PM »
This might come down to a matter of semantics. I agree that we have to let go of hurt and anger if we are to go on with leading a happy and productive life. But to me, forgiving someone means letting that person back into my life. And that generally happens only when that person offers a sincere apology. If someone causes me grievous harm, and if an apology is not forthcoming, then I just have to let it go, move on, and realize that I'm probably better off not having that person in my life.

The example that curmudgeonly mentioned of the Holocaust survivors rings true to me. I've known a number of Holocaust survivors whose entire families were murdered, but who managed to survive, come to this country, and start new famlies. In order to do this, they had to avoid being consumed by bitterness and anger. But, as curmudgeonly pointed out, they bore the scars of their experiences for the rest of their lives. I still remember my Uncle Morris who lost every single family member and relative in the Nazi gas chambers, and who, to his dying day, refused to buy anything made in Germany.

Allan
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Bottom left (Bedtime): Sustiva, Trazodone (2), Lipitor, Septra (no longer taking this)
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Offline dtwpuck

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2007, 06:14:27 PM »
If you are looking for an apology, then you are not looking to forgive.  Realize that others have human failures and are not always capable of providing us with the social niceties we would like to see.  And, besides, just because someone feels remorse for something, does not mean you have healed.  In fact, it has nothing to do with it.

When self esteem suffers, or is destroyed, because of the actions of another, it takes a lot of work on yourself to realize what things there are about YOU that make YOU essentially a good person.  The first thing you have to release is the expectation that someone else will fix your problem, whether that fix comes in the form of an all encompassing panacaea of an apology or galloping in on a white steed with a flaming sword in hand as if to smite your demons.  This release comes in the form of forgiveness.  Realize that YOU alone are responsible to fix your problems. 

No one else can do it for you. 

Yes, what they did was wrong.  No one questions that.  But wearing the "I was wronged" albatross will only bring stench and decay to your soul.  It doesn't work.  Forgiveness does. 

And forgiveness is the realization that YOU understand that others have human failings... and they are responsbile for their own problems.  Their abuse of you had nothing to do with your worth as a human being.  Nothing.  At all.  It had everything to do with the things they have failed to deal with themselves. 

Forgiveness on this level is truly an internal process.   I forgave my father for failing to be my father.  I forgave him for beating me as a child.  For breaking my nose.  For making me afraid of things.  I forgave my step father for being a drunk, for making us live in fear of his anger, for the black eyes, the bloody noses, the tears and the anxiety.  I forgave the others too.. especially my mother, the last on my list... and the hardest of all.  I forgave her for putting her financial security ahead of the well being of her children, because she too was afraid to be without food on the table.  i forgave her for having her own demons with self loathing and fear of abandonment.  Believe it or not, that was the hardest one of all to forgive.  I offer this up as an example.

Once I realized that the people who abused me were human and dealing with their own demons.... and that their demons had nothing to do with me... then I was able to figure out what it was about me that I liked.  What behaviors was I engaging in that were manifestations of my own self loathing.  How could I learn to stop them, or redirect them?    I haven't always been able to find the answers, but I have been able to see better what is MY problem and MY responsibility.

Forgiveness is the salve for the wounds of my own soul.



NOT TO FORGET

You forgive.  But you don't have to expose yourself to the behavior of others.    Forgiveness does not imply that you suppress your memories or pretend they didn't happen.  I love my father.  I really do.  Once I forgave him, I stopped hating him.  But, the truth is, I still do not see him that often.  I realized that whatever expectations I might have of a relationship a son should have with his father will never be met.   He hurt me.  He knows that.  But he is not going to ever be anything but who he is.



As and aside... my father was a Vietnam vet who suffered from severe PTSD.  He was ordered to shoot a family of women and children, and never recovered from that.   He had nightmare for thirty years until he sought therapy at the VA in Seattle.  I came to visit him every day and spent many hours watching him cry and break down and apologize to everyone and anyone for all that he had done.

I told him this:  DAD, forgive yourself first.  I forgave you years ago.  Just know that I cannot change the past.  Neither can you.  Do I wish it were different?  Yes.   But I am an adult now, and there is a point when every adult has to acknowledge that he/she is responsible for his own path, and his own demons.  Now it's your turn.  I love you.



I hope that clarifies a little.  it's just my experience... one little step on life's journey.
Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

Offline allanq

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2007, 07:43:40 PM »
A few years ago, I was visiting my 88-year-old mother in Florida. It was my annual visit from California. We were sitting in her living room, when, out of the blue, she asked me if she had been a good mother. I didn't know what to say, but before I could respond, she told me how bad she felt that she had shown so little affection to me and my sisters when we were children. She told me how sorry she was about this, and she went on to tell me about her own childhood. I began to understand how her own experiences affected the type of mother she was to become. Any lingering resentment I had toward my mother disappeared after that conversation.

I remember reading a saying in French that translates as, "To understand is to forgive."
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Offline jkinatl2

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2007, 07:57:18 PM »
To qoute JFK:

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2007, 01:41:20 PM »
Jeffreyj brought this up in his post about being being sexually abused by his father. I didn't want to hijack his thread, so I'd like to ask something that I've thought about a lot: what does it mean to forgive, but not to forget?

"Forgive and forget" is a little too utopian for my tastes. It's the "and forget" part that I have a problem with. I think it's absurd. ......But I think forgiveness by itself is cool and whatnot. Some people say extending forgiveness gives us power

Offline BT65

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2007, 02:46:22 PM »
I think forgiving does give us some degree of power.  To me it's just about letting go of resentments, because resentments will absolutely kill me.  I don't keep people in my life that have done atrocious things to me.  There is an old saying "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline SASA39

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2007, 03:49:35 PM »
In Orthodox church there is no institution of forgiveness.
People can forgive , but one cannot get a act of forgiveness from the church.
That would be given by him only by Almighty Father , if he deserve it.
But ( with no means to hijack) , how can one forgive himself ?
How can I forgive myself for putting my family in danger by my reckless behaviour ?
Thanks to a Good Lord they are - , ( wife and my kids ) but a burden of guilt because I have been jeopardized their lives by my reckless behaviour is still here.
And a guilt because I would left them alone............
Not to mention a disclosure case............................
And that thought is in me in every second .............
Everybody say : " You have to find a way to forgive to yourself "
Imagine if is a burden of harming someone other family is heavy , how much this is...................
I did not mean to hijack or to be a cryboy again ( I newer was ), just that the load is too heavy and a theme was appropriate
[/u]
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 04:20:39 PM by SASA39 »
Oct.     `06.  CD4=58  ?    %       VL not perform. ?!?
25.Dec.`06.         203       14        VL= 0
29.May.`07.    broken device        VL=1363
20.June`07     broken device        VL=0
25.Dec `07  CD4=582                  VL=70
14.May `08  CD4=448
29.July `08                                  VL=0
26.Nov `08  CD4=674                    VL=179
16.Mar `09  CD4=554                    VL=0
19.Jan`10 CD4=715               
03.Mar`10                                    VL=0
24.Aug`10 CD4=524                     VL=0
04.Dec`10 CD4=626                     VL=0
15.Sep`11                                   VL=93
17.Nov`11                                   VL=0
05/26 .Jul`12 CD4=713                 VL=0
28.Nov`12 CD4=916                     VL=0
09.May`13                                 VL=0

Offline pozniceguy

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2007, 04:05:14 PM »
I seem to hear that some  people feel they are "owed" an apology... and it constantly grates on them that they don't get one....tough!!!  I think that we collectively need to recognize that we can only "control" our own thoughts and behaviors....whatever anyone else feels / thinks / says or does is not within your control...  so for me personally that means I give virtually no energy to anything I cannot control or even influence in a substantial way..I think I saw several people say you have to "move on"   I would agree with that with one little variance..".keep on going". don't just leave something behind... just keep on with as little effect on you as you let it have.

Nick
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas

Offline bear60

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Re: To forgive...but not forget
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2007, 07:29:42 PM »
Sometimes it takes only a LITTLE push to get the big boulder to topple off the mountain top and crash to the valley below.  So I am hoping that just a little push will give those who need to forgive the energy to go for it.  FORGIVE ... YOUR DAD FOR ABUSING YOU, YOUR INFECTOR FOR INFECTING YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS FOR ABANDONING YOU.  Its the only way.  Then you are free.
What Pozniceguy said!!
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

 


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