Iíve been struggling lately with forgiving someone. Without going into too many details, the person used to be a very close personal friend and business partner. I recently left the company and sold my half to him. In the course of this transaction, he (in my opinion) manipulated some financial records and reports that severely depressed the selling price. I decided not to litigate because I needed to move on with my life. I do not regret that decision.
Before and after I left, he has been (again, in my opinion) telling lies about our mutual contributions to the company, my work habits, and my professionalism. He has also insinuated, although not outright said, that I somehow misappropriated some funds.
I find myself utterly unable to forgive him. Every time I think of him I get angry; lately I have been getting more and more angry.
I believe in forgiveness Ė itís an integral part of my faith. Iíve done it before, to people who have done worse things to me. However, the combination of betrayal and continued pettiness is too much for me right now.
Does anyone have any advice on the specific mechanics of forgiveness, a way to let go of great wrongs?
I need to move on Ė Iím in a much happier place now professionally and personally and really donít want to dwell on this.
You are angry because of what he did to you. However, think about how poor and unenlightened he must be to do that to a friend. Think about how poor his life will be from now on, because he lost you as a friend, he lost your trust, and he lost the trust of others. Worse, he will spend his life in a paranoid stressed out panic that others will do to him what he did to you.
Remember, forgiveness does not mean forgetting. Forgiving him the crime does not mean you have to trust him not to do it again. You do not have to be his friend again.
Posts: 11895 | Registered: Apr 2002
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I don't know a perfect answer. All I can say is -- TIME.
Sometimes it takes time to forgive. We have to get through all the other emotions first.
My dad was murdered many years ago. At the trial of his killer, I was filled with hate and swore I could never forgive such a person.
But now, 22 years later, I can say that I have been able to, as a Christian, forgive. Not that I don't feel what the guy did was wrong, and not that I ever want him out of prison. But I forgive him for the hurt he cause me and my family. Because otherwise the hate and resentment were tearing me up inside. The forgiveness was not just because I needed to do it as a Christian, but because I needed to do it to heal, and couldn't heal without it.
But it took years. I hope in your case it won't take as long. But this person has hurt you on a very personal level, and for no apparently reason or gain.
I started reading a book called "How to Control your Anger before it Controls you" about Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (a forerunner of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). However, someone else put it on hold so I had to return it having only read the first three chapters. But here is what I got so far:
Not everyone reacts the same to the same stimuli. So it is not really what happens that causes you to feel the way you do. On some level you have a belief that is contributing to your reaction.
A common one is "if I am late to work my boss is going to kill me". This sounds like nonsense, and yet people drive as if it really were true.
I have a serious forgiveness problem in my life. Which is strange, because I was able to forgive my father for years of insane behavior (apart from the fact that I keep bringing it up on this forum). But then I had a hard time forgiving my mom for a long time after. I had a belief that she should behave different than I saw her doing at times. It took several more years for me to accept her. I have other problems ongoing where I can't accept someone's behavior.
But the bottom line is, I can't control other people's behavior, so to not accept it is to put myself in an impossible position. Knowing and changing isn't always so easy.
Edit: Thanks, Chris- I guess that helps explain my problem. Though I guess it also puts me in a larger pickle of what to do about it.
Someone said forgiveness means giving up the feeling that you ought to punish someone for what they have done. Letting whatever punishment they will suffer for their crimes not be your worry anymore. Leaving that to life, or God, or karma, or whatever it is that takes care of things like that.
[ December 03, 2003, 12:26 PM: Message edited by: ana kata ]
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There's a difference between forgiveness and learning from experience. I'd say you learned that this guy is serious scum, and it'd be intelligent to consider that in future situations. If you're playing a game and your opponent continually does something, you learn from it and adapt to it.
This of course refers to a competitive playing field. You probably can't keep such a mindset on a personal level.
[ December 03, 2003, 02:49 PM: Message edited by: Book ]
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Dan: Iíve thought of the pity angle (itís the one my fiancťe tries to use to cheer me up). While I do pity him somewhat (he has alienated EVERYONE who was in the company 3 years ago), I also find myself taking satisfaction in his problems, which is definitely not a healthy attitude for me to be having.
((Farmgirl)): I suspect you are right, which is a little depressing. Iíll try to be inspired from your example, since itís such a greater act of forgiveness than the one required of me.
Tom: Iím not in the industry and to date Iíve only heard about it from people who donít believe it. However, I am monitoring the situation to take action if needed.
Chris: This is part of the problem. But when I get mad at him, itís for things done previously. I also question my ability to confront him productively Ė I am so mad that I can easily imagine just yelling at him and giving him more reason to badmouth me. Iím also pretty sure I could provoke him into taking a swing at me, which is a frighteningly attractive thought right now.
Pooka: I think Iíll check this out. Iíve had anger problems before, although Iíve successfully controlled it to the point that Iíve never physically hit someone in anger and havenít said anything irrevocably evil. However, this has led me to avoid situations where I know anger may be an issue. Not that it keeps me timid (as anyone who participated in the Homosexual marriage or Iraq war threads knows), but it does make me question the necessity of the confrontation before subjecting myself to it. Itís not a perfect solution, but itís one that lets me avoid being a doormat and avoid being a bully.
AK: One of the decisions I made early on in this conflict was to not allow myself to indulge in any punitive behavior. Iíve stood up for my rights, but havenít done anything with the sole purpose of hurting him. This includes some legal and morally justifiable options that I have specifically avoided.
Book: I will have nothing to do with him except to the extent required by the contract we have (making sure I collect my ongoing payments, things like that). I will also be monitoring the situation for slander. We are no longer in any form of competition since Iím moving to an entirely unrelated field.
Again, thanks for all the advice. I guess Iíll rely on time, prayer, and a first-rate legal education.
even God can't (or doesn't, if you prefer) forgive people who aren't sorry first. Foprgiveness has to be received and to receive it, he has to admit he has wronged you, untill then, Forgiveness is not only not an issue, but, IMO, not possible. So you just let it go and his actions are what they are.
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quote:I also find myself taking satisfaction in his problems, which is definitely not a healthy attitude for me to be having.
This sounds perfectly healthy to me. To feel satisfaction at the misfortunes of our enemies is a natural psychological response and I think it can provide an outlet for your frustration that doesn't need to involve physical confrontation. Don't let your Christian indoctrination stop you from a certain amount of pettiness .
quote:One of the decisions I made early on in this conflict was to not allow myself to indulge in any punitive behavior. Iíve stood up for my rights, but havenít done anything with the sole purpose of hurting him. This includes some legal and morally justifiable options that I have specifically avoided.
Well, perhaps you SHOULD do something. A small annoyance that can't be traced back to you and which you can preferably watch take effect. Steal one of his shoes, put laxatives in his tea or make a prank call sending him out on a goose chase. From what I've understood of your situation, you've always tried to maintain the higher moral ground and, while that certainly is commendable, it can be a very frustrating position to be in, especially if it's not recognised by your adversary. To conciously step down and perform a little pettiness can release the tension and enable you to laugh at the situation instead of getting angry.