Posted on March 22, 2010 by fiamarie
This blog is only my personal struggle with forgiving and forgetting, it does not at all mean I think everyone has to forgive what has been done to them. It is a personal decision and I respect that…
Last night I had a conversation with a good friend. I was trying to convince him he needed to forgive his parents as I had done and in order to do this he must forget. He told me of horrible childhood traumas that made my arguments seem pathetic. If you read my blog on BPD and Abuse you may know that I too was abused emotionally, physically, verbally… However the “martyr” in me has decided that she has forgiven and forgotten. Mark, my friend said something to me that I was thinking of the whole day, “I have forgiven, but I cannot forget, because to me to forgive means to understand and if you forget how can you understand?” Can you actually forgive wrongdoings without forgetting? What does forgiveness mean? Do we really forget? I mean it’s not like we can erase human memory.
I came to a couple of conclusions. First, forgiveness to me meant understanding my mother as a human, who had faults, who was suffering as I have and who did NOT INTENTIONALLY mean to harm me. I tried to explain this to him and he agreed however we were stuck on the forgetting part. I cannot ever forget half my life can I? What I meant by forgetting is to let it go, set the person you are holding responsible free, break down the walls of anger that you have with them, they are destroying or have destroyed your relationship. Forgiving is telling them you do not blame them any longer, forgetting is never talking of it again, letting go of the hostility and hurt over the offenses, because in reality who is it hurting but you? The term I can forgive but never forget, is misleading, of course you can never not remember the acts that led you to a life of pain, but you can set them, the anger, the hurt, the pain, the reliving of the memories, the hostility, the “throwing it in their face” aside… The memories are the past, continuing to dwell on it can only control you, can only cause you the pain that you are feeling.
Mark understood his parents and their actions, but he talked of the abuse and I could hear the pain, even though it was through a computer, so no he has not set it free, and maybe neither have I, since I still do have pain.
So, then the question is not can we forgive and forget, it is can we forgive and stop reliving.. Everytime we hurt ourselves, put ourselves in harmful situations, drug ourselves, think of suicide, push people away, etc… we are reliving past hurts, escalating them, we are not “forgetting.” So how does one “forget?” I think that is a personal answer and I would like some feedback to how some people have done this.
I once went to a Shaman. She could tell immediately when I walked in the door, I was a wounded person. She handed me some kind of rock and told me to put it in a sock. She then said when I was ready to think of all the wrongdoings that I have endured, say them into the sock and then break the rock a little each night until it was in bits. Sound strange huh? Well, I did it. I broke that rock with a hammer every night in my backyard, but I still have some in tact. The rock of course is a symbol of the hatred in my heart, the pain that I have not forgotten, so while I may understand why my mother did what she did, how she suffered, I too am holding onto that rock. I have not declared my independence from the memories therefore I hold both me and my mother captive. I hope to one day soon destroy that whole rock and set us both free and I hope the same for Mark and for all of you
I found this to be very interesting as I always feel as if forgiving means I have to forget and so many times when people forgive someone they do not have to forget but most of the time they end up forgetting. this is why I feel I am not ready to forgive my abusers as I do not want to forget the little I do remember for fear if I forget what I do remember I will never remember all there is I need to know about what there is that I have lost of who I am and what happened to me to make me become who I Now am!