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Disjointed thoughts, rambles and some cliches in the middle:

 

Many years ago I was in an extremely abusive relationship. It was a few years during my most formative years that took decades out of me. This person degraded me on many levels and I went through hell. My closest friends and family know parts of the story, but what I think no one really knows was that I forgave what this person did to me (on an emotional level, not on a "lets get back together/lets talk" level I blocked and deleted this person from my life ever since and don't want to ever interact with them as I know he's toxic not only to me but to everybody. It's not important to me that he knows that I've moved on from the pain and don't hate him) much quicker than I forgave myself.

 

What is there to forgive? There is the pain and sometimes "shame" of our choices to be with that person and not having self respect, it's the pain I caused to my family and friends with how self absorbed I was and how I treated them. It also took me a long time (and I'm still on my way) to forgive other things that came after when I took I deep look at myself. I had times in my life where I was selfish, self absorbed, had victim mentality and was even manipulative towards other people to get what I wanted. No, I don't consider myself abusive nor have I used people for material purposes, BUT I used people to feel validated. I used people to get attention. I helped people expecting something in return from them (love, attention, validation) instead of being truly selfless. I did things that weren't honest to myself just to put on an image. I fished for compliments. I strung people along just because I wanted to feel loved. I used my past (the abuse and other things that happened) to justify some of my bad actions or to play the victim expected to be coddled and excused. I was toxic to myself, I hurt myself, I didn't respect myself. I'm not proud.

 

I many times didn't value the people who really valued me and were there for me, because I wanted to get love and attention from other sources. I "used" people to either fulfil my self prophecies and prove my "woo me" points or to re-enact situations of my past and try to rectify them in the present with people who had nothing to do with it and were unaware that they were "re-enactments" to me. I blamed people for not corresponding to my expectations or to not treat me as I wanted them to treat me. I blamed others for my shortcomings. I was immature pretending I was mature. I guilt tripped people on some level. I pretended to me a certain way expecting to please people. I was (and still fight not to be) a people pleaser not because I'm genuinely nice, but because I wanted people to like me. I wasn't following my truth many times.

 

My path to become a better person had (and has) many twists and turns.

 

Of course much of this I did unconsciously of what I was doing and it was things that I did over the years. But taking conscious of our actions and specially, our true intentions behind our actions is a brutal process. It's painful to see yourself for real, the beautiful and the damaged. I didn't know better, or even when I knew, I didn't have the strength to do better. But when we go through that process we gain great power... the power of truly gaining control over ourselves and our actions. But "with great power comes great responsibility" they say. And it comes... because now we really have to put thought into our true intentions and it hurts on a deeper level when we fall back to these patterns or when we don't act truthfully. Conscience hurts but at the same sets us free. It's brutal... it's uncomfortable.

 

And only more recently I truly began to forgive myself and to try to be a better person just for the sake of being a better person and not because I want to SHOW I'm a better person or make people like me.

 

Something that the user catfeed wrote in one of my threads struck me forever. It was about not letting the "hurt/traumatised child" of our past take control of our adult self. Regaining our control and truly take responsibility. It took a while to put it into practice. It takes effort and sometimes I slip.

 

Forgiving is hard and even if we can't right now it's ok, it takes its time. We're all on different paths with different obstacles and lots of ups and downs. It's ok not having done better or known better in the past. It's ok to make mistakes. It's ok to try many times until we get it right. It's ok to have twists and turns along the way. It's ok if what was important in the past is not important anymore. It's ok if it hurts too much right now. It's ok not to be perfect and realising that opens our heart to true compassion for others and their struggles. You already got here, whatever "here" is for you... and that's amazing. We cannot change what happened in the past, only what we do with it.

 

Never think you "got there", we're always evolving, but also realise that sometimes you've got much further than you thought.

Every repetition of our patterns is a chance to learn the lesson, to see the same core situation through different perspectives, to do what we know best to get to the next.

 

Do I always practice what I preach? Not always, but my goal is to do so more and more. One of my favourite movie quotes is "There's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path" (Matrix)... it hits me because more and more that's my life mission. I want to truly be more genuine day by day and to forgive myself little by little.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had a beautiful reply composed and instead of hitting Post Quick Reply I hit Reply to Thread and POOF, away it all went. So I'll try summarizing:

 

I have a best friend. We tell each other everything; the good the bad and the ugly. I still love her and think she's a great person. A lot of people are our own worst critics and enemies. That's especially true of women. But we all deserve happiness, and not forgiving yourself prevents you from being happy. We only get one life, wouldn't you rather be happy?

 

I have abuse in my past and therefore struggle with shame. Do you have abuse prior to the above abusive relationship? That can be playing into it. Shame prevents us from believing in ourselves and forgiving ourselves, or seeing our worth. We have to work harder than those who don't have abuse in their past.

 

But please give yourself a pat on the back for identifying your issues and working on them. I love my mother, but she's 62 and I don't always like her. And she will never change.

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  • 1 month later...
I had a beautiful reply composed and instead of hitting Post Quick Reply I hit Reply to Thread and POOF, away it all went. So I'll try summarizing:

 

I have a best friend. We tell each other everything; the good the bad and the ugly. I still love her and think she's a great person. A lot of people are our own worst critics and enemies. That's especially true of women. But we all deserve happiness, and not forgiving yourself prevents you from being happy. We only get one life, wouldn't you rather be happy?

 

I have abuse in my past and therefore struggle with shame. Do you have abuse prior to the above abusive relationship? That can be playing into it. Shame prevents us from believing in ourselves and forgiving ourselves, or seeing our worth. We have to work harder than those who don't have abuse in their past.

 

But please give yourself a pat on the back for identifying your issues and working on them. I love my mother, but she's 62 and I don't always like her. And she will never change.

 

Sorry I didn't realise there were replies to my thread and had forgotten about it. Thanks for chiming in! I think I was never abused as a child as in sexual abuse or something like that but I had a very difficult relationship with my father growing up. We're cool now but when I was growing up I always felt he resented me. My mother stopped loving my father (that way) long ago and focused all her attention on me. I think my father resented me because after I was born my mother entire focus was on me. He admitted this and my mother feels the same. He'd lash out at me, scream at me and sometimes even be physical aggressive to me for every little reason. After my parents divorced and we stopped living together our relationship improved a lot. He's apologized to me for treating me badly as a child and I apologized for my part (not in my parents relationship but I did many stupid stuff for attention and to provoke a reaction).

 

This difficult relationship with my father and also seeing his neediness and lack of self love instilled a natural tendency in me to search for love and validation in men, maybe to compensate for the feelings I had as a child.

 

Catfeeder, a user in this forum, once wrote here about how to talk to your inner hurt child and prevent her from commanding your decisions and reactions now that you're an adult. Those posts from her and other users in this forum plus lots of reflection helped me a lot. I'm now a much more aware person of my actions and reactions thanks to it. They're still there but I can be aware of it and decide what to do with it.

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Awesome post, I don’t know if catfeedee is a therapist or went to therapy but that was one of the most useful methods during therapy used on me: talking to my inner child, asking her what she needs, etc.

 

Another big thing, I noticed you accepted that although you’ve done bad things you know you’re human and there’s Grey area. For me, the way I was able to forgive my ex for me, like you said we are hardly friends, was to accept that he’s a human being. Far too often people paint exes with an all bad brush and that tends to lead to guilt, well how did I fall for that? Which leads to other roads like self diagnosing the dude or never letting go of the anger because you only see their part because in your mind they’re all bad. This was also a huge step for me.

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