Tag Archives: bitter

Forgiveness After Narcissistic Abuse

One thing that every adult victim of narcissistic parents I have spoken with has struggled with is forgiving their parents.

So many people, particularly Christians, think that these victims need to forgive & forget.  They often quote Ephesians 4:26 which says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”  When victims struggle with forgiving & forgetting, they are shamed & even shunned by the very people who should support them, creating even more pain, guilt & shame in the victim.

I want to give you a new perspective on forgiveness that I think can help you today.

If you look at the definition of forgive, nowhere does it say you don’t feel anger.  According to Merriam-Webster.com, to forgive means:

1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON; forgive one’s enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for; forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of; forgive a debt

It’s possible to forgive someone while still feeling anger for them.  What I mean is when you forgive someone, you decide that they don’t owe you an apology or repentance. You won’t try to collect that “debt” from them.  You have released that person from paying you the debt that they owe you.  This is what I try to do any time someone mistreats me- give up expectations of an apology immediately.  That way, I have forgiven that person, as God wants me to do.  Yet, even forgiving quickly doesn’t mean I may not still feel some anger for that person for a while.  See what I mean?  You can forgive while still feeling anger.

I also firmly believe that releasing the anger you feel can be a process.  If the waitress makes a mistake on your order or a clerk is rude, those minor incidents are easy to forgive.  Big issues though, it takes time to work through the anger.   Processing anger from years of abuse takes a lot of time & work, especially if you learned early in life to ignore your anger which is the case with most children of narcissistic parents.

There is also the fact many people think to forgive your abusive parents is a one time thing.  You just forgive everything in one fell swoop & *poof* you’re not angry & you never will be angry again with them.  As anyone who has tried to forgive their narcissistic parents knows, that isn’t how it works.  You have to work through many different traumas individually, not lump them all together as one big trauma.

I honestly can say I have forgiven my narcissistic parents.   However, there are still some times I feel anger at them.

When a repressed memory comes back to mind, I feel anger at my parents about the incident.  When I have flashbacks, nightmares, the anxiety & depression get bad, I also feel  anger.  It’s their fault I have C-PTSD, after all.  Plus, when I told my father about having it, he ignored me then changed the subject.  Sometimes I also feel anger when others talk about what a great relationship they have with their parents.  I wanted that with mine, but wasn’t able to have it, because their narcissism was more important to them than me.

Do you think this means I haven’t forgiven my parents? If so, I’d have to respectfully disagree.  I have released my parents from any responsibility to apologize or make amends with me, which is the definition of forgiving.

Yes, there are times I still feel anger at them, as I admitted, & I think it’s very normal.  I also work through the anger & release it quickly.  That is the best I can do, & I know God honors that I am trying.  That’s all He asks of us, to try our best.

If someone tells you you’re wrong for not forgiving your narcissistic parents, Dear Reader, please remember what I said in this post.  If you don’t expect your parents to apologize or repay you for the trauma they inflicted on you, you already have forgiven them.  The more you heal, the less anger you’ll feel towards them.  It just takes some time.

Advertisements

11 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

What Exactly Is Harboring Anger?

When you have been abused, you eventually get angry.  It’s only natural.  Many people think that this means you are harboring anger.  It can be very discouraging & painful for you, because so many people will tell you you need to let it go, it was so long ago so why are you still holding onto this & other painful, invalidating things.  Christians often will quote verses on forgiveness & make you feel guilty for being angry.  I actually was told once by a Christian lady, “God says forgive so I do it.  I don’t know what your problem is.”  *sigh*  I can’t even express how ashamed of myself I felt when she said that.

I always find it interesting that these judgmental people never have good advice on how to forgive, but they sure are quick to tell us we need to do it!

The truth of the matter is anger is not easy to deal with.  Some people are very blessed & are able to let it go easily, but they are pretty rare.   The rest of us have to feel it, & get really angry before we can let it go.  Often several times.

Anger can also be somewhat deceptive.  You can think you are done, you’ve forgiven someone, when suddenly something triggers anger at that person all over again.  I experienced that a few months ago regarding my ex husband.  I thought I’d forgiven him long ago, then after my mother bringing him up in conversation, it triggered a flashback which made me very angry at some things he had done to me.  It was frustrating because I was sure I’d completely forgiven him.

Anger is a complex emotion that demands to be heard & dealt with in some way.  So long as you are trying to deal with it however works best for you though, this doesn’t mean you are harboring anger, resentful, bitter, etc.

Harboring anger, however, is different.

Harboring anger involves not trying to let the anger go.  People who have no desire to forgive are harboring anger.

It also includes a disdain & intense hatred for the person who abused you,

Harboring anger also means you don’t care why the person hurt you- you only care that you were hurt.  A mature person tries to understand why someone acted the way they did rather than only knowing their actions. They know if they can understand, even a little, it may help them to forgive the other person & not take on the blame for that person’s actions.

People who harbor anger are very bitter.  For example, if someone has a spouse who cheated, she assumes all men are cheaters or he assumes all women are cheaters.

These people also hold grudges for years.  They can still be just as angry today as they were the day they were hurt 37 years ago.

These people also talk badly about whoever hurt them at every opportunity.  Those who aren’t holding onto anger are different- if they discuss that person, they do so in a matter of fact way, without name calling or insulting.

Today I encourage you, Dear Reader, to examine your actions.  Are you harboring anger or are you angry but trying to forgive your abuser?  If the latter, then please, stop listening to those who are trying to convince you that you are a bad person for feeling the way you do!  Ignore the ignorance of other people, & do what you need to do to heal & forgive!

5 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Some More New Information On My Site

Today, I added information on forgiveness:

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/Forgiveness.htm

  And, information on unavailable fathers:

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/The_Unavailable_Father.htm

  Go check it out.  🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

To Forgive Or Not To Forgive?

I just read an interesting article about forgiveness.  It claims that sometimes unforgiveness is a good thing.  The article gave an example of a woman who was abused all of her life by her brother, then as an adult, she stopped speaking to him, attending family gatherings that he was also to attend, etc.  It confused me because to me, refusing to speak to her brother doesn’t necessarily mean she hasn’t forgiven him.  Not everyone in a situation like this is hanging onto anger- they are setting boundaries. 

I am a firm believer in forgiveness, & also a firm believer in setting healthy boundaries.  As an example, I have ended friendships with people who used me, lied to me, or even had Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I refuse to spend time with them ever again.  However, I’m not angry with them, nor do I wish them any harm.  I simply care enough about myself not to put myself in the path of being mistreated by people who have proved themselves fully capable of it.  

To me, forgiveness means refusing to allow anger to fester inside of me.  I hate feeling angry!!  As soon as it happens, I work through the anger as quickly as I can, then let it go.  It has nothing to do with the person who has made me angry- it is about me, & how I don’t want to go through life angry or bitter.

Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily mean forgiving & forgetting.  Many times it does, of course, when the offense is small.  However,  if you are dealing with an abusive person, forgetting what they have done means you easily can set yourself up for further abuse.  Look at the example of a wife whose husband beats her.  If she forgives him & forgets, he will beat her again.  He will beg for forgiveness, she will forgive & forget, then he will beat her again.  The cycle will continue until she leaves him.  Leaving isn’t a matter of forgiveness or unforgiveness- it’s a matter of survival.  

Coming from a narcissistic mother, I have had to learn a lot about forgivness & boundaries. What I have written about here is the result of reading, listening to pastors preach on forgiveness, & praying.  I pray it blesses you!

5 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

December 27, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!. 

Yesterday & today, I’ve talked to many of my close friends.  I haven’t spoken to one person who was happy with the holidays this year.  Some people had intrusive family members making unreasonable demands, others have in-laws who dislike them & use the holidays to make their disdain known, others have dealt with arguments, & others had a sick child.

Over the years that I have grown to dislike the holidays, it’s because I’ve experienced many of those same things.  I always thought it was just me- no one else could possibly feel the same way.  I felt I should tell you today that you aren’t alone if you too feel this way.  It doesn’t make you a bad person or bad Christian.  It makes you someone who has had bad experiences.

I’ve also been realizing that some friends & I have become quite bitter in some areas, especially the holidays, & I don’t like it.  After praying about it last night, I felt like God wants me to learn to have some fun daily.  The reason I’m telling you this is I think it’s a good message for you, too.  No one should live with bitterness inside.  Life is too short to live that way, & you deserve better!

I made a short list of things to do to have fun.. it’s just a start.  Please feel free to add to it, or remove suggestions that don’t sound appealing to you.  But be sure to do something fun each day!

Play
Draw
Finger paint
Dance while cleaning
Do a normal thing differently, like talk on phone outside on a pretty spring day.
Snuggle your furkids.
Prizes (reward yourself for a job well done with a little gift).
Get a coloring book.
Lose inhibitions- don’t worry about what other people think.
Be true to yourself.
Read your Bible often.
Try something new, like new clothes or a new hair style.
Do something nice for yourself daily.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health