The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Sunday, April 27, 2008

1992 – Entry Six – Listening to My Heart

In 1992, I shunned the conventional “how to” wisdom and followed the path that worked for me. I weighed my therapist’s words against the conflicting advice I’d heard from everyone else. I listened to my heart; let self-preservation be my guide, and my journey to wholeness began:

From 1992:

Today I told Thomas, “I’m so very angry at my mother! Everyone tells me that I should forgive her. But how can I forgive someone who has never asked to be forgiven; somebody who’s never even acknowledged any wrongdoing, someone who continues to do the same thing?"

Thomas said, “Well, psychology for years used to counsel to forgive. But we are beginning to recognize that it isn’t always possible or even healthy to do that. I believe that sometimes it is important not to forgive, and to hang onto a healthy sort of rage at what happened, in order to protect yourself from being hurt again."

I felt indescribable relief; a feeling of peace came over me. There was a potent healing power in Thomas’s words. I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom. Freedom from spending every ounce of my energy trying to suppress the dam of pain. I could let the dam "wash away" and be free to experience my suffering with a full range of emotions. For the first time, I could tell that I’d be able to heal.

4 comments:

Tamara said...

Nancy,

Thank you for your website and your book. I just finished reading your book and it spoke to many things I have been struggling with. I, too, decided to stop contact with my abusive parents a little over 2 years ago. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done and it was eating me up with guilt. I finally reached peace with my decision and then my husband and I moved to another state and the guilt began again because I didn't let my parents know that I was moving or where I am now living (which is in Oregon - we moved from Maui). I have struggled with chronic pain and Lupus since I was a kid and am convinced that a lot of it was brought on by extreme stress and PTSD. After I stopped speaking to my parents, for the first time in years the pain and illness (oh, and severe insomnia) were easing up a lot and then it all began again when we moved. Through it all I never really got in touch with my anger. About 2 weeks ago I went to bed and couldn't sleep because a rage like I have never known overtook me. I wanted to break things, scream and yell. Since that night I have used my anger to feel stronger, more in control of my life than I have ever been before. I began my own website and am posting some of my story and poetry I write about my feelings and the abuse. I have not had a pain pill since the night of the rage. Anyway, thank you because your book supported so many of my "unpoplular" feellings. I know people are well-meaning but telling me to forgive and move on is absolutely not helping me.

Tamara

healandforgive said...

Dear Tamara,

Thank you for sharing your story. I too, struggled with guilt, so my heart goes out to you with this shared experience.

I’m so glad that your chronic pain and illness eased up when you stopped seeing your parents. It shows that you are on the right track with your healing. I understand that moving brought up some old stresses; yet, I’m sure (as is evidenced with the healthy use of your anger), that you are healing at a deeper level.

It is good to hear that you are writing. I understand how vulnerable it is to venture out into cyberspace – it takes courage. Writing is a great way to help heal your own wounds and it validates other survivors as well.

I appreciate your comments about "Heal and Forgive." My hope in writing the book was to give other people the validation that I had needed for my "unpopular" feelings. Thank you!

Best wishes on your continued journey!

Warmly,
Nancy

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy, I like what you say about being free to experience "a full range of emotions."

Interesting too what your therapist said about a "healthy rage".

For me, the process of healing itself actually led to a lot of rage. I understand this better now, because part of that process was a (in my view perfectly understandable) question of "why couldn't this have happened earlier? Why did it have to take so long to get to this point, despite all my efforts at self-healing over the years?"

For me, this extended to the spirit too. How could I trust in a higher power, if that higher power seemed to treat my own attempts at self-healing with such indiscriminate disinterest?

So, yes, experiencing that "full range" seems to have more honesty and depth to it than a superficial forgiveness!

Thanks again for your blog.

healandforgive said...

So, yes, experiencing that "full range" seems to have more honesty and depth to it than a superficial forgiveness!

You are welcome!

And thank you for sharing your experience. It is always validating to hear other people express the same "range of emotion."

All my best,
Nancy