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Forgiveness

October 28, 2011 7 comments

This is based on a (very long) post I wrote on the psychcafe in response to another member asking about forgiveness.  Forgiveness was something I struggled with for a very long time (I still can!) and I thought some people might find it helpful to read.

Disclaimer/Trigger warning for religious material:  This is very much written from the perspective of my world view as a Christian and I understand that not everyone reading will agree with all the values that I discuss. I am also painfully aware that some people have undergone childhood abuse presented in religious terms and therefore might find this very triggering. But in order to explain what happened I have to refer to those beliefs and how they affected me. All I ask is that you accept that they were my values so this was how I saw it. I think the larger principles about forgiveness translate pretty well across other world views.

Back in 2000, I was still struggling with forgiveness. I had done a lot of trauma work which had finally allowed me to recognize my anger (ok, rage). But as hard as I was working, I couldn’t let go and forgive (I have a strong belief that forgiveness is a necessary thing, although now I believe that it can take a lot of time depending on the severity of wrongdoing, and in some ways is an on going process for the rest of your life.) My husband and I had just taken a really great Sunday school class at our church (best we ever took actually) on parenting. There was one section that addressed the commandment “Honor thy father and mother.” The couple teaching the course (it was a video tape series) talked about everyone being called to obey this commandment. But depending on how we raised our children, we could rob them of the joy of obeying that command. That honoring your mother or father can be a joyful, easy thing to do or it can become an onerous duty. When I heard that, something in me was struck like a bell: “that’s it!! I’ve been robbed of the joy of honoring my parents.” But along with it came the deep sense that in order to be faithful to the call of God on my life, I needed to do just that, honor my mother and father, no matter how impossible it looked from where I was sitting (and it looked utterly impossible from where I was sitting). I didn’t believe that God would give me a commandment and not the resources to obey it (ok, I did struggle with the feeling He was trusting me too much. 🙂 Continue Reading

Helpful Books

October 7, 2011 13 comments

I am a compulsive reader, always have been. So if a problem rears it’s head, my first reaction is “is there a book about this?” Part of it, to be honest, was an attempt to stay in my left brain and intellectualize away from those messy, confusing feelings. I really struggled with the fact that I couldn’t get through the healing process just by understanding it. The Boundary Ninja often said that if it was just about knowing the facts, that when a client came through the door, he would be able to just hand them a book “How to Heal” and say, have a nice life. 🙂 I often found that to be incredibly frustrating. Later, as I came to understand that the real healing in therapy wasn’t about what you knew, but about what you experienced with your therapist, I kept reading to keep my left brain occupied and out of the way (not to mention the fact that I just became fascinated about the brain, human development and psychotherapy). But, as the Boundary Ninja and I once discussed, it wasn’t just about distraction. My ability to understand the process and the necessity of experiencing the feelings helped me to find the courage to actually feel.

Below is a short list of books I found especially helpful along the way, with a short description of why. As for General Theory of  Love,  I’ve pushed this book so hard I really should consider contacting the publisher and asking for a commission. Big Grin
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