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Old 08-05-2005, 06:55 AM   #1
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Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

Hello, I have been reading these boards for awhile now, and I know a lot of people here believe strongly in family. So, I would like to ask a question. How much is too much to forgive? I feel like some people believe that you should forgive your family for almost anything just because they are family.

A few days ago I was watching a reality show with a guy on it whose mom had just died. He did not have a good relationship with her, and it made her death that much harder on him. It made me start thinking about my dad. I have not talked to my dad in probably about 4 or 5 years because he did something that I consider to be unforgivable. My brother and sister also tell me they hate my dad for what he did , but that he is still dad. Im really struggling with this, because I love my dad so much, because i remember the person that I always thought he was. At the same time though, what he did was horrible, and I would hate anyone who did what he did. In a way I feel like he never was the person I thought he was. My mom even divorced him for this thing, although she has since forgiven him as well. It seems Im the only one carrying this anger, but if i let it go.....im not sure what will be left....


I dont have a problem saying what my dad did , but first I would like to get some opinions on what is too much to forgive. At this point I feel like, I never should forgive my dad.

 
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Old 08-05-2005, 07:22 AM   #2
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

Nothing is too much to forgive, but at the same time, forgiving somone you love doesn't mean things can or ever will go back to what they were.

 
Old 08-05-2005, 07:24 AM   #3
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

Painyoufeel ~ I know that there are many things not worth forgiving, I can think of a few such as murder, sexual abuse, molestation, etc. I think for me personally, so long as you harbor hateful feelings towards someone and are unable to forgive, it only ends up hurting you and the way in which we live our lives. Once we are truly able to forgive, we unload a heavy burden from our lives that seems to have always weighed us down. And of course, the one we forgive has a chance to change once he receives forgiveness.

Pope John Paul II taught us this when he personally visited his assasin in jail offering him his forgiveness.

Just because you choose to forgive your dad doesn't necessarily mean that you have to have a relationship with him. It is not only a gift that you can give him but more importantly yourself.

I hope this helps....it takes a strong person to forgive. I imagine you are such a person to be able to come here and post..... Ivorygirl

Last edited by Ivorygirl; 08-05-2005 at 07:26 AM.

 
Old 08-05-2005, 09:39 AM   #4
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

If in forgive one means to stop feeling anger or resentment, then I say its best to forgive for your own mental health. But if to forgive means to excuse the painful behavior or to continue to have a relationship with someone who caused you excruciating, trust breaking, pain, emotionally or physically, then I say no.

Forgiveness is for you, the victim, and in doing so you become the survivor.

Sometimes we stay in these abusive relationships with family members because of the fantasy that they will someday be loving towards us but the truth of the matter is some of our relatives are just plain evil.

So without knowing the specific details I say release any anger or hostility you may hold so that you can use that space that the anger is occupying to fill your life with more love. You can do this without having any contact with this person and without feeling any love or goodwill toward this person. Save those things for people who love you.

 
Old 08-05-2005, 09:48 AM   #5
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

I would think It does depend on what happened. Some actions (as the post above mentioned) are just not forgivable (rape, child molestation) not only because the person did it, but they are incapable of having true remorse or consideration for anyone else's feelings, something I'm looking for before forgiving. Other actions involve human weakness in character, and I'm able to forgive or at least partially forgive (Like a parent cheating on another) because I have character flaws as well.

However, the person behind the actions still must be accountable and have consequences for his actions. For instance, I may forgive and interact with them for the sake of practicality (relieving my emotional burdens, or family functions), but I won't forget or trust him/her in the same way. And definitely wouldn't tolerate this person continuing to defend his/her position on the matter without inquiry. (shoving it in your face that what they did was ok, and you should agree with them).

I suppose the real answer lies with what the lesser of the two evils is: being in contact and possibly overcoming the pain, or going out of your way to be out of contact and maintaining your non-support of his actions.

 
Old 08-05-2005, 08:27 PM   #6
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

I know what show you are talking about, i too watched it and it hit home. I actually have a great relationship with my parents.

But my boyfriend w/his parents and my feelings towards them isnt too postive. I know people say all things are forgiveable, but I think it may take death or an illness that will result in death for me to truely forgive what his parents have done to him. Granted they arent my parents I see the stress my boyfriend and his brother deal with, they both tell me things about their mom and all i can do is grin and nod....it's sad that it takes something so drastic as death to really make one think...

 
Old 08-06-2005, 09:25 AM   #7
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

Thank you everyone, I really appreciate the responses. I really dont have anyone that I can talk to about this stuff, so it is nice to have some support to vent.


I guess the thing that is the hardest for me, is that my dad was always good to me. Growing up I was a tomboy and I was a lot closer to him then to my mom. My mom didnt really make a huge effort to have a relationship with me , although of course I loved her, but my dad did everything with me. I was always so proud to call myself a daddy's girl. Really the problem isnt my dads treatment of me. So, this is really something that has been eating me up inside.

When I was a teenager, my brother and I were playing on the computer in my brothers room. My dad used this computer during the day when my brother was at school and he had left one of his cdrs in the drive. We looked at what was on the cdr, it was child pornography. We went and got our mother and showed her. She took the cdr and confronted our dad. Our dad told her that a virus had downloaded it and he had accidentally put it on the cdr with his other porn. Well, of course this isnt plausible at all, and I ended up getting in a big fight with my mom for believing that. My mom didnt know anything about computers at the time, so in a way I guess it wasnt her fault, but in a way I think she knew the truth but was trying to hide from it. Well, a couple of years later she ended up taking an office job and she had to learn how to use a computer. I guess she got a little bit smarter, and she ended up snooping through my dads computer files(he had gotten his own computer by then, it was strange he bought my brother and I both computers when we were teenagers and used ours, didnt buy his own ??) Anyways, Im sure you can guess what she found. She called the cops on my dad, he got arrested, his boss paid his bail. My dad got a really expensive lawyer(my dad isnt rich but makes pretty good money) and the lawyer ended up getting the charges dropped. I didnt go to the hearing, but my mom told me the way my dad got out of it was that his lawyer said that, there were 5 people living in the house, I had friends, my brother had friends, anyone could have put it on the computer. Which that made me even madder because my dad couldnt even own up to what he did, and blamed it on HIS FAMILY. My dad even told me when he got the psych exam that he was going to listen to the questions and try to answer what he thought the guy would want to hear. The guy ended up saying that he believed my dad was a sociopath.

Anyways, my mom divorced my dad, and she basically told me if i ever talked to him again, that she would kick me out, but of course she didnt need to say it because i hated his guts. For the next couple of years i devoted alot of my time to trying to build up my moms self esteem. My dad was always really horrible to her, I didnt really realize it when i was young, but i do now. He would see women on tv and say , hey why cant you look like that hahah. He even cheated on my mom with her sister! She just sat back and took it all. My mom and I have never had a good relationship, but I truely tried to make an effort, because I feel so sorry for her. No one deserves to be treated the way she has been, but i must say that at this point it is also her fault for accepting the treatment. One day I came home from work (I work at night) and discovered that my dad had spent the night. Well, I confronted my mom, and she informed me that my dad was moving back in ! She said that he had said he was sorry and that she was accepting that. She said that she didnt understand why I couldnt do the same.....UHHH HELLO? I told her why, and she was like watch the news, your dad just got caught up in something that a lot of people do......sigh....what a messed up family huh? Well I packed up and hit the road. I didnt talk to my mom for about a year, then i saw her at a family event and felt bad. I mean the womans self esteem is the pits, I cant fix that but I can be her daughter.


Anyways, this situation is really stressing me out, because I do feel like no matter what I do, I am going to be the one hurting. See, glogreenfrog, you hit the nail on the head -the lesser of the evils, I CAN avoid my dad, but by doing that, I am also sacrificing the relationship I have with my brother and sister, to a certain extent. I love my brother and sister with all my heart, and I have always told them they can make their own decisions about our dad. So, I have started going over to the house to see them, before I would just see them when i could (them coming over or me taking them out) and mostly our relationship was over the phone/internet. While it is great to see my brother and sister on a more regular basis, seeing my dad is tearing me up When I look at him I see a sick man , but I also see my daddy Ive tried to just remain cordial with him, but my mom is trying to take it into "big happy family mode" again. In other words, she is putting a lot of pressure on me. I must admit that my dad really seemed excited that I was even just cordial with him, most of the time I have been overly rude when Ive seen him. Im trying to remove my emotions from this situation, but im finding it very hard to do. Ive always been a very sensitive person and always had a forgiving nature, and for some reason right now, im feeling a lot of guilt, and I do not know why...........I guess because my brother and sister are saying I dont come see them enough, my mom is acting like i need to drop this because "hes sorry", and well my dad is sending me messages through my mom, now suddenly they want to pay for all this stuff for me and help me out. I guess its manipulation, something both my parents have always been good at. I really dont know how to even to begin to heal these wounds, just sitting here typing it out, is making me feel sick. My brother, sister, and mom seemed to have gotten over it by just not thinking about it. In fact, my sister even told me that my mom told her that she should just not worry about what dad does. I cant do that, Im not that person, I cant push everything under the rug. I need to do what is healthy for me, but at the same time I cant sacrifice my relationship with my brother and sister, so its like im stuck in between a rock and a hard place.........Well this ended up being a lot longer then i intended, so to all that made it to the end ...Sorry! Thank you again for the responses everyone.

 
Old 08-08-2005, 04:31 PM   #8
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

I'm sorry you have to be the bigger person, and no one in your family is acknowledging this. A sociopath isn't to be trusted, but is good at gaining trust...hence your mother's conversion back to him.

The only thing you can do is to be firm about what you'll do for the sake of your mother, and in all other things be diplomatic. If they start becoming burdensome, I would politely but curtly give yourself space. (so you can be at peace that they don't hate you, as you didn't burn the bridge.)

But if your dad says anything that's inappropriate, I would call him on it and leave. You have a right to be unpleasant if you feel he is threatening your family's well being or your mother's emotional health.

Being right is not always popular, being popular is not always right.

You're right, don't loose heart, find your support network.

 
Old 04-16-2010, 11:04 PM   #9
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

I think you may have some questions that you need answered from your father. I think you need to know that he will never forgive himself and he is truly sorry. The problem is, is that people who have adverse sexual fantasies generally will always have them. Some choose to ignore them and not give in to them and unfortunately some don't.
I think you keeping in contact with him does not mean that you forgive him (you can have a relationship of kinds with anyone without forgiving him). I think whether you contact him or never speak to him again you will be hurt by whatever decision that you make. What you need to know is that it is your decision to make. You hold the cards and you should not apply any guilt to yourself for making either decision. The guilt is not for you to hold, it is his and his alone.
No matter what the case is, I think you should talk to a therapist to help you sort out your personal thoughts on it because if you choose to go forward with some kind of relationship with him then you will have ongoing struggles in your head that you will want to talk to someone about.
I think you shouldnt let your dad influence whether you have a relationship with your mother. I think if you allowed that to happen for long you would regret it. Your mom may not be as strong or as independent as you but it doesnt make her a bad person...it makes her broken.
Good Luck
-Terri

Last edited by dreambig1234; 04-16-2010 at 11:14 PM.

 
Old 04-17-2010, 06:57 AM   #10
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

Saying he was doing something everyone was doing...just got caught up in it...tells me there's still a ton of denial about what your father is. This is a terrible situation for you and so unfair. But for my money, I would keep my distance. If you have children some day, you cannot put them in a position where their grandparents watch them. deamnbig is right. His issue has a name and it will never change. Whether or not it can be controlled is up to argument, but he won't change.

Your Mom is an interesting woman. I don't know where she got her strength to try and prosecute your Dad but she is to be commended for that. After, I'd bet he just worn her down and she was tired of being alone.

Anyway, I know you are in a terrible situation but whatever your decision, keep an eye toward your future. Don't make any choices that will come back on you in 10 years.

Last edited by resolution09; 04-17-2010 at 06:59 AM.

 
Old 04-17-2010, 08:12 AM   #11
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

For me, I have to forgive. I would like to think that even if someone murdered one of my children, that at some point I would recognize that I have to forgive them. If you dont, it just eats away at you every day. It takes even more away from you then whatever the act itself did in the first place. So at some point, it is best to forgive and move on. Now I dont believe that forgiveness necessarily means that you are suddenly on his side, or that you two will now be best friends in the whole wide world. Although you may.....it depends on how far you want to go with it after that and what you are comfortable with.

Also, I would like to add just one thing. Parent's can do some pretty terrible things. I have no idea what your father did. But let's think about you as a child.........if you had done whatever it is that he did, wouldn't you want your parents to forgive you? At some point, somebody has to get off the merry-go-round and extend the olive branch. Otherwise, in the end, you will have your own shortcommings to deal with. Best of luck to you.
Melissa

 
Old 04-17-2010, 09:59 AM   #12
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

This post is FIVE YEARS OLD!! I'm sure the OP is long gone!

 
Old 04-17-2010, 11:20 AM   #13
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

lol.....I never even noticed!

 
Old 04-17-2010, 12:06 PM   #14
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

Yeah, I'm glad that "similar threads" thingy is gone. It was confusing a lot of people.
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:53 PM   #15
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Re: Parents-Where to draw the line of forgiveness?

If you notice a new post that you've not seen recently and it has a lot of posts already like this one, you should always check the dates to see when it was originally posted.

All these newbies keep posting in threads that are like over 10 yrs old and it's really really annoying!

 
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