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

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Forgiveness Poll

Back in March I started a 60 day poll on forgiveness. Thank you to all who participated! I love receiving your feedback.

My own feelings about forgiveness continually change:

· At one point, I wanted to forgive, but I didn’t know how.

· Then I took a stab at “forced” forgiveness – and got hurt again!

· For many years after that, I was very angry about the pressure I felt from others to forgive, because I knew that forgiveness wasn’t healthy for me at that point.

· I was so hurt, that I was sure that I would never forgive.

· Then, I decided I wouldn’t forgive unless certain conditions were met.

· After years of healing, safety (and estrangement), I was surprised to find myself “feeling” forgiving.

· I came to believe that forgiveness was a journey that may - or may not have a final destination - after adequate healing has taken place.

· Eventually, my mother called me (after 14 years of estrangement), and apologized for my abuse – this afforded me a new level of forgiveness otherwise not available without her participation.

I’ve learned to respect each necessary part of my process and the varying viewpoints I have had along the way – and to support other individual’s experiences with forgiveness and/or not forgiving. During the span of the last thirty years – given where I was on my recovery at the time - I could have voted for seven out of the eleven choices here.

I decided to continue the poll indefinitely with my continued thanks to all who participate. Your views are most welcome! Thank You!

To date, these are the results:

Poll: How much has forgiveness played a role in your recovery from abuse:
 ·        None – I don’t think about forgiveness at all.                                 1 – 3%
·        Somewhat – Plays a small roll in my process.                                2 – 7%
·        Somewhat - I don’t want to forgive and I’m okay with that.    1 – 3%
·        Somewhat – Forgiveness is a journey and I’m comfortable     9 – 34%
with my pace.
·        Quite a bit – I’d like to forgive, but I am unable.                               1 – 3%
·        Quite a bit – I won’t forgive unless some conditions are met. 2 – 7%
·        Quite a bit – I have forgiven.                                                                            3 – 11%
·        Huge - I’ll never forgive.                                                                                      1 – 3%
·        Huge – Makes me angry. I feel damaged by pressure from      4 – 15%
others to forgive.
·        Huge – My abuser acknowledged my injuries, asked for           1 – 3%
forgiveness and I have forgiven.
·        None of the above.                                                                                                      1 – 3%


2 comments:

Tamara said...

I thought I had forgiven even though my parents never asked for forgiveness or admitted the abuse and I was not/am not speaking to them. However, I wasn't healing and didn't understand. I was trying to pretend I was healing but I was having nightmares, chronic pain, depression etc.

Truly, it was with the help of my therapist, your site and your book that I began to see that I was covering anger I had not dealt with. I began to feel my anger and it didn't destroy me and I didn't use it destructively. I used it to feel stronger and in control of my life and to stand up to those who felt I should forgive, forget and move on.

I am in a good place. I haven't forgiven but I also don't hate my parents, I don't wish them ill will and cannot be in contact with them at this time. But, I am not ruling out the thought that all could change some day.

healandforgive said...

Hi Tamara,

Thank you for sharing. My experience is/was much the same as yours.

I’m glad you are in a good/better place after beginning to honor your true feelings.

Best wishes for your continued healing,
Nancy