Missing Ingredient

This existential journey I decided to take has been pretty amazing.  Who knew several weeks ago I would have been more excited about getting on a blog to read stories, poems, random thoughts written by strangers rather than sign into Facebook even once the entire day to read anything posted by people I’ve known forever.  Even more so, that anything I would be reading would have such an impact on me or that I would become so interested in the people writing these tidbits.  What’s more mind blowing is that anyone became interested in not only reading my story but also relating it to theirs. Some of you who have reached out have become regulars and I always look forward to hearing from you and appreciate the offering of your kind words.

As I have been surfing WordPress in this uplifting topic of Domestic Violence (there goes my sarcastic streak), there have been many stories written about that one thing.  The missing ingredient I can’t quite grasp on to.  That would be…forgiveness.  Of course, from a religious standpoint we are taught to forgive.  It is the right thing to do.  It’s good for our soul, and so forth and so on.  What we’re not told, is that forgiving someone is hard as a mother—.  It’s the flip side of sin.  We know sinning is wrong.  (I’d like to believe) Most of us do not wake up and say to ourselves, “how can I sin today”?  We wake up, go about our daily routine and…sin happens.  No matter what type of righteous path we hope to be on the real story is we screw up and hopefully wake up tomorrow and try again.

My biggest problem is I’m not sure I want to forgive.  Of course, I can forgive the petty stuff.  For instance, if my friend said or did something that bothered me I may let it go and do the old forgive and forget thing. Mostly because I value our friendship more than some trivial misstep or maybe because I know it was not intentionally done to harm me.  Which leads me right to the question…how can I forgive my husband for years of abuse?  Obviously there is no forgetting.  I can’t really be expected to wake up one morning and say…”remember when….oh wait, I can’t remember”.  But for some reason bigger than us I should say…”hey, you know what…I totally forgive you for punching me in the head all those times.  No biggie”.   It’s not like if I forgive then he’s going to be a normal person.  Why do I have to cave in and forgive a person who has no intention on changing?  It’s not like I want any sort of relationship with the man.  Marriage, friendship or anything else.  Even if we came to a mutual agreement and he said. “Hey … you go ahead and move on. Have a great life.”  It’s not like I’d be inviting him over for Sunday Night Football.  When the ties are severed…that’s it.

So what am I missing?  Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that it somehow relates to my own personal healing.  I get it. Really I do. It’s just going from understanding it to applying it is where I am stuck.  My feet are literally in the mud and I won’t budge.  If this is the only key to me moving on what am I supposed to do?  There is no doubt that when I walk out of this door – if he backs down and does not follow me, stalk me, threaten me, or jeopardize my children’s life or my life then maybe after a few years pass and I feel safely away from him, maybe then, I can begin to forgive him.  Even as much as I hate him after all these years, I do not think he wakes up or comes home from work looking to start an argument.  I know it boils down to him having issues beyond his control.  I just don’t care is all.

The other aspect of this that I have been reading about is…not in forgiving him but in forgiving myself.  That really struck me.  I’ve been seeing that pop up A LOT over the past couple of days.  I almost felt like I was being sent a sign.  Helping me to see that it’s not about forgiving him and that I need to forgive me.  Now that really started me thinking.  Yes, I absolutely need to forgive myself for some things but how do I forgive myself for his crap?  Even though it means nothing because it’s only words shouldn’t he be apologizing?  Shouldn’t anyone be apologizing?  I mean it was my husband, my father, my grandfather, even my mother, who have all wronged me in some way.  But that is so ridiculous.  It sounds like an episode of trash-tv.  I am not one to blame everyone for my circumstance.  It’s no one else’s fault.  It’s mine.  I made these choices.  Maybe that means I should apologize to myself?  Okay, let’s try…

I am sorry.  I’m sorry that when I was growing up I stole candy, bathing suits and money out of my father’s draw.  I knew it was wrong but at the time the candy tasted good, the bathing suits looked great and the money came in handy.  Today, I am sorry for my actions.

I am sorry.  I’m sorry that I was not always nice to the next kid.  Sometimes I went along with the crowd.  Not always…but I did.  I knew it was not nice to call you names or pull your hair but at the time I thought I was so tough and cool.  What goes around does come around.  Today, I am sorry for my actions.

I am sorry.  I’m sorry that I was a lying little teenager.  Lying got me into trouble and lying got me out of trouble.  As I got older, I knew this was wrong and armed myself with the truth.  I decided to tell the truth no matter the consequences or if it hurt someone’s feelings.  I am still walking a fine line between the two.  I do recognize that sometimes both have been the wrong choice at times.  Today, I am sorry for my actions.

I am sorry.  I’m sorry that I left the greatest love of my life for a man who treated me like garbage.  I’m sorry I did not have the courage to stand up to him and walk away before it was too late.  I’m sorry that when I left…I came back.  I’m sorry that someone who claims to love you has beaten you, called you names and treated you like you are beneath him for so long.  Today, I am sorry for my actions.

A brief list of some of the things that I have done wrong in my life.  That I am most definitely regretful of.  But even if I were to say to myself…I accept your apology.  In other words…I forgive me.  Do I really?  When it comes down to it, I really have worked through the first three things on that list.  I am good to go as far as that stuff is concerned.  Basically this entire theory is moot.  I have no idea if I should forgive my husband or myself.  I’m not sure either of our actions deserve forgiveness.  If that’s the only thing holding up the progression of this situation, I’m afraid I may be screwed.  Now what?

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25 thoughts on “Missing Ingredient

  1. I love your earnest ability to speak with such honesty and courage. And I appreciate the sarcasm at the top lol. I’ve worked with a few suvivors of abuse, it’s always interesting and risky-feeling to get their exit-plans ready for when the “fly the coop”. I wish you well on your journey. Some psychologists would consider your apology exercise as writing a letter to your inner child. You might find the concept interesting: http://www.owningpink.com/blogs/owning-pink/love-letter-to-your-inner-child-exercise-getting-out-of-your-own-way

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    • That’s awesome, thanks for sharing. I will definitely take a look at that. It may be just the thing I need to help the continued shedding of all this garbage to help me move along. And yes, the exit plan…I’ve come across some of those since blogging. In all the years of wanting to “flee” I always just imagined running and hiding but these “plans” have opened my eyes and I’ve come across things I never thought about before. So for sure I will be creating my own checklist. I appreciate the feedback and thanks for the follow. xx

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  2. This is a wonderful post- and for many reasons. I want to share something with you that I was taught about being “sorry” The biggest part of being truly sorry is when faced with the same situation-how do you act? Do you continue down the same path, or do you make (for the most part) a better decision? From what you were talking about it seems that you are making better decisions. Being honest for one thing. That means (from what I have been taught) that you are growing and changing in a positive step. I think you do forgive yourself because if you did not then you would not be doing anything to change in a good way. You would be in the same place. And you are def NOT in the same place.
    As for forgiving him-you may never forgive him and if you are ok with that then whats the big deal? I have people in my life that I will never forgive. I have accepted the behavior and what has happened between us (mainly one specific person that I was very good friends with) but I will never forgive her. And I dont fell bad at all about it. If you are ok at not forgiving, then so be it-as long as you are not consumed with not forgiving or having hateful feelings, I would think its all good….

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    • I totally get what you’re saying. Even though I have hate for him I am not consumed by it. At least I don’t feel like I am. I’ve had plenty of years to get used to that feeling so I don’t dwell on it. It is what it is. There are times when he asks me if I love him and I say no and he says that’s okay I love you enough for the both of us. And I think how sad and pathetic. Sometimes I tell him too. I’ll say, I feel bad that I don’t love you because I’m sure somewhere inside you do love me in your own way but anything I felt for you in the very beginning you destroyed and that will never come back. So maybe that’s also a part of forgiveness. Sympathy. That I feel bad he is also stuck in a waste of a marriage. Who knows. Whatever it is I feel like I am just fine. I don’t stress over forgiving, forgetting or hate. Just with wanting to be done with this part of my life and looking forward to my eventual peace of mind. I do so appreciate you always giving me a thoughtful response, Abby. Thanks so much.

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  3. We are glad you are now here. Read what I think of Facebook. You have writers talent to express some pretty intense things. I follow your blog for a reason….. You write well.

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    • Aww, thanks for that, Juan. I’ve always felt I had a writer’s spirit. When I write, especially after turmoil, it soothes me in a way that is almost on another level. Tames all of the beasts within, I guess. I appreciate the compliment and that you follow and keep up with me. I will read your thoughts on Facebook. I am so over it. 🙂

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      • The thing that bothers me about FB is it’s for people who have low IQ. Those who can barely put two words together. Here people write from the soul. There they show how many shots they drank last night…. No thanks!

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      • Haha! Well, I don’t know about the IQ thing. I mean I’ve been on FB for a number of years. I just think the difference is that since people are on FB with friends and family they still hold on to that shred of secrecy. They are afraid to tell their real feelings, emotions, etc. because those who KNOW you will judge. So it’s easier to post funny pics and angry cats and stuff like that. Whereas on WP we don’t really know each other. So I can say how I really feel without worry that someone I see in my every day life will judge me differently because they know my inner most demons. After all, I am telling my entire story on WP but no one in my real life on FB knows any of this part of me. Except for a select one or two. At this point, I just use FB to catch up with a few people that I don’t talk to on a daily basis. At the very least, to look thru the pics they posted after all those shots from the night before! Hee hee. 🙂

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  4. sister, you are just fine! forgiveness is a hugely misunderstood concept by those who believe we MUST forgive everyone. some people are not deserving such grace, and almost always because by their actions and words, they are not seeking forgiveness. if you harmed me in some way (which i could never imagine) and i sought to forgive you when you had a) not asked for it, and b) had not intention of changing your behavior; well, that would be me pissing in the wind, and i don’t particularly like piss flying in my face. to attempt to forgive an unrepentant person, who will only continue to harm you, is not beneficial – it is harmful to your own soul!! there may be many religious who disagree and are hung up on “the meek inheriting the earth” shit, but what good is that if you must acquiesce to suffering hell while tricking yourself into believing you really do love your torturer??? forgive yourself if you must, but don’t put yourself in bondage by believing you have to forgive him who is not deserving. do not cast your pearls before swine, or motherfuckers for that matter.
    and if it ever comes to the day of judgment, well, the case is a matter between your contempt and his horrible, unremitting crimes against you. so, how do you think judgment would fall??

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    • First of all, Bob, today is a pretty windy day so there will be no pissing into it…thank you very much! 🙂

      You make a valid point though, what’s the use in forgiving someone who has no intention on change or that has no sorrow for their actions. Which is likely why I find the whole thing to be bewildering.

      For the most part, I do forgive myself for my youthful actions. I have even (in the past year) apologized to a mother of one of my childhood friends that the kids treated badly from time to time (in 3rd grade). The mother thought I was out of my mind to be apologizing for kids being kids but understood it was something that always bothered me. I have to say, I felt such a release afterward. It felt good. I felt forgiven. A weight was lifted off of my heart.

      There are times though that I wonder if I have done the right thing in staying this long. Wasting all of these years. Thinking about the what if’s in life. Not that there is much I can do about what has already passed. I can just look forward and know that this long running show is coming to an end. Not soon enough…but soon.

      You know I appreciate your thought provoking comments. Come judgement day…I know eternity will be the one place I will not have to spend with this A-hole! Hallelujah!

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      • no girl, you can’t undo the past, so don’t crucify yourself over it – just spend your energy preparing for the future. i would never encourage you to forgive that bastard, just as i never encouraged my wife to forgive her stepfather for his years of sexually abusing her and making her life hell on earth. in fact, i would be angry with either of you if tried to forgive such contemptible scum!! there is a world of difference between those who will not change and seek no forgiveness, and those, like me, who wish they could find forgiveness, but perhaps it is too late. see “unpardonable” under ‘religious’ category. peace.

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  5. First, and random, but I have totally replaced my old facebook habit with WordPress. I haven’t hardly been on there in a month. Blogs offer so much more depth, it seems.

    Secondly, I don’t know. This is a tough road. I was standing in a psychologists office upstairs in my building yesterday and she had this simple word document printed out and taped to her bookshelf that said “Forgiveness is refusing to hurt the person who hurt you.” I thought about that all day… Like you mentioned, it is easier to forgive petty slights (or even larger ones) when it is from a friend or close family member who is mostly decent and a part of our lives. But when it’s one of these MF Bastards? I don’t know.

    If you recall my whole stalker debacle: with that guy, I don’t know if I forgive him. I feel mostly numb and wish he would go away. That was definitely a “forgive myself” kind of situation because I blamed myself for being involved and letting him treat me that way. These were stupid thoughts and it took about a year but I’ve worked through them for the most part. (I was with him for 11 months so maybe it’s like a congruent amount of time to cope?)

    But there are others who have wounded me much more deeply and for them… I don’t know what forgiveness looks like. I think the quote above may be on to something though… it’s like it is more about letting go of your desire to inflict pain or retribution upon them. I know that I struggled with that in a BIG way when I was younger. But it only destroys you on the inside and takes your energy away from living.

    I’ve rambled on way too long and I’m doubting any of this is helpful, but the only other thing I’l say is this: I think that the concept of forgiveness is sometimes used AGAINST us by those who have caused the hurt. They will say “You need to forgive me,” etc. That’s bullshit. Forgiveness is something that happens with you and you alone– they don’t ever have to know or be aware of it and you don’t owe it to them to communicate where you are in the process of “forgiveness.”

    Okay, stopping now 🙂 I really appreciated this post and relate to a lot of it.

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    • Lol…you are not rambling! And I have definitely replaced FB with WP these days. I stay signed in to my BWSBL FB account in case I want to post something and I will check in every few days on my regular FB just to make sure I don’t have any messages waiting in my inbox.

      As far as the “Forgiveness is refusing to hurt the person who hurt you.” That’s a load of crap. Okay well…wait. Maybe for the petty stuff it’s right on but for this bullshit…no way. I would SOOO want to hurt him the way he’s hurt me. It would be almost pleasurable. But I’ll let Karma bite him in the ass instead. One day in the future of my new and happy life without him, I can definitely see letting it go. That is separate from forgiving and forgetting. We have to acknowledge that it happened and that this part of our life together existed (although to him it will always be MY fault) so the forgetting part is just never gonna happen.

      I’m not hung up on the need to forgive but I see it’s a big part of people’s recovery. I think that because the physical stuff has slowed down over the years I have been able to cope with that part of my psyche to a state where if things are mellow I am not still thinking about the bad stuff. That being said, when in the midst of an argument I can rip his skin off with my eyes and still keep a smile on my face!

      I don’t know…I say it’s all overrated. If I’m at a mellow place mentally – at least until he gets home from work – that should count for something. Plus the fact that I haven’t suffocated him in his sleep. That pretty much right there should count as forgiveness!!! So then I guess I’m good!! 🙂

      I’m glad you were able to related to my post. I enjoy your commentary. We have similar personalities and way of thinking. And you crack me up.

      P.S. Next time you’re in the psychologist’s office rip that paper off of her bookshelf!!

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  6. Great post.

    It really struck me when you began to actually write things out. There was an element of self-honesty in what you wrote that I wasn’t necessarily expecting. Like forgiveness was helping you manifest and address the past. ?

    I think it’s important to most of us to have a general flow of authentic charity/love towards other people. Perhaps when someone wrongs us, it has the potential to block that flow. Maybe you are feeling a need to forgive in order to be true to your own nature? Perhaps it’s empathy, too, knowing that if we had done what someone else did, we would want and need to feel forgiven. Maybe it’s not important that the object of our forgiveness does not have the projected need.

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    • Thank you. Yeah, I didn’t plan on going that route when I started the post but as I got to that “I’m sorry” section it kind of made me slightly emotional. In that way when you can feel your body crave a hug. Almost in that literal someone giving you a shoulder to cry on. Not sure how to describe it. But it felt good and right. I never plan what I am going to write so sometimes it tends to pour out and I’m unaware of the affect it’s going to have on me until it happens.

      As for this forgiveness issue, I’m not necessarily sure I am feeling a “need” to do it – at least not on a conscious level. I was just pondering the idea of it because I see so many people writing about it. I do feel a desire to close this chapter peacefully though. However possible that is. I feel the need to prep and plan and tie loose strings in such a way that he will understand my need to go and will not retaliate. Somewhere deep down I think he is aware that this is not going to be forever like he hoped for but I know that the beast that guards his rationale has his own plans. We’ll see.

      And who knows, maybe when I am walking out that will be the very moment of forgiveness…for both of us.

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      • I understand the need to prep and plan. I hope you have great success with that. I don’t think that is possible in my situation, though I hold out hope I can make myself ‘less valuable.’

        Forgiveness is an interesting subject. Some people feel the need to forgive, some to be forgiven.I’m not sure there’s a right approach, other than the right approach for you. I tend to think it all comes out in the wash.

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      • Thank you and I do sincerely wish you success on your end as well. Whether it be a plan, becoming less valuable or somehow phasing yourself out of the situation. I know it’s not easy dealing with a narcissist. Keep your head up…and your eyes on all doors. You never know when one will open. Thanks for reading and best of luck to you.

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  7. Forgiving people has nothing to do with being at angry at your losses. After reading your post and the comments that follow, I feel that you have forgiven because you don’t waste your time consumed with how much you hate him or how you are going to seek revenge upon his person, etc. You’ve made peace in accepting him for exactly who he is and you see his lack of want when it comes to change and you accept that too, but at the same time you are entitled to be angry at what you’ve lost in all of this. Don’t be angry with yourself because you are taking big steps to a better you and that takes the kind of courage that most never find in the midst of their pain. Hugs to you my friend.

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  8. Pingback: Forgiveness 101 | Battered Wife Seeking Better Life

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