As you all know, I have been reading several books on the subject of forgiveness and I have been sharing information from those books. Well, I am reading another book called "finding forgiveness, A 7-Step Program for Letting Go of Anger And Bitterness" written by Eileen R. Borris-Dunchunstang, Ed. D.
The book gives writing exercises which I am going to do to see what emotions come up for me and to see if I have any more forgiveness work left to do. The first journal exercise is to write about what forgiveness means to me. So here goes.
What does forgiveness mean to me? Forgiveness means not being in extreme emotional or physical pain because of the tension of holding in all of my rage. It means not making myself sick from the stress of holding it all inside of me like a volcano or a pressure cooker with the pressure set too high, just waiting to blow up.
I had to quit writing for a minute because I started coughing so I have some resistance to doing this exercise. I am willing to be willing to do these exercises and the forgiveness work that follows.
Forgiveness means letting go of the rage and seeing the hurt underneath that the rage has been covering up. I am in a safe place and in a safe relationship that allows me to do this work now.
Forgiveness allows me to nurture and love myself without blame or guilt getting in my way.
Forgiveness means I can let go of the need for revenge and hate and realize that justice doesn't always happen in the manner that I expect it to.
Forgiveness means feeling compassion for myself and others who have lived with incest and other forms of abuse and survived. It is also feeling compassion for those who didn't survive.
Forgiveness, for me, means seeing my dad, Raymond, as the wounded child that he was. Raymond hurt so bad inside that he couldn't control his reaching out and hurting others. I can clearly see that Raymond only felt in control when he was controlling others. He was a frightened child stuck in his own pain and not knowing how to get out. That is why he drank and became an alcoholic. I can only imagine the fear and guilt that Raymond lived with daily. I can feel compassion for the frightened child that was Raymond.
I can't tell you the date or time that I started forgiving Raymond. It was a gradual process of letting go a little at a time. It doesn't mean that I don't sometimes find myself angry at what he did. More often, today, I sometimes find myself sad because of the way the incest affected my childhood and my life as an adult.
Grieving is part of the process of forgiving. I have grieved for the parents that didn't love me the way that I wanted to be loved and cared for. I have grieved because I didn't love myself enough. I have grieved because I was so afraid. I have grieved because of the imaginary family that I always wanted that never existed. I have grieved for the young woman who wanted to be a virgin on her wedding night. I have grieved for the girl who wanted to be honest and wasn't because of the family secrets that she was forced to keep. I have grieved for the little girl who just wanted her daddy's and momma's love. All of this has been a part of the process of forgiving that I have experienced.
Forgiveness has also been about the freedom to become me --- to come out of hiding and out of fear which keeps me from really living.
Forgiveness has become a gift that I have given myself. It had nothing to do with Raymond and everything to do with me.
Forgiveness, for me, was a change of attitude. Where I once saw darkness, I now see light. Where I once had tears, now I have laughter. Joy is part of my life today. Fear rarely visits.
Forgiveness enables me to see the lessons that I have learned that make me the wonderful, powerful, loving, compassionate woman that I am today. Today I have the courage to reach out to others.
Forgiveness has released hate from my life. I no longer hate myself or my body. I love me.
Acknowledging Your Grief And Releasing It --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/08/acknowledging-your-grief-and-releasing.html
Grieving Again --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/08/grieving-again.html
Forgiveness Starts With A Decision --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/08/forgiveness-starts-with-decision.html
Healing And Letting Go Of Repressed Emotions --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/07/healing-and-letting-go-of-repressed.html
Forgiveness, Done In Layers --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/ 06/ forgiveness-done-in-layers.html
Breaking The Silence---Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 4 --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/08/breaking-silence-incest-may-be-part-of.html
Family Secrets---Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 5 --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/09/family-secrets-incest-may-be-part-of-my.html
Forgiveness Is For You, Not The Other Person --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/09/forgiveness-is-for-you-not-other-person.html
Prelude To Forgiveness --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/09/prelude-to-forgiveness.html
Childhood Memories ---http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/10/childhood-memories.html
Compassion Begins With Me --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/11/compassion-begins-with-me.html
Compassion, The Ultimate Act Of Love --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/12/compassion-ultimate-act-of-love.html
A Day In The Life Of An Incest Survivor --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/02/day-in-life-of-incest-survivor.html