Jump to content

Menu

Forgiveness vs Reconciliation...


Ann.without.an.e
 Share

Recommended Posts

Help me work through some thoughts I have to see where there might be false thinking.

 

You can forgive someone all by yourself.  It only takes one for this.

 

Reconciliation takes two.  It takes someone saying I am sorry, I shouldn't have ......... and then you can move on and accept it.

 

What if you forgive, the other person acknowledges that they shouldn't have said _______________, but they never say that they didn't actually feel that way.  

 

Where is it then?  Are you sort of stuck in a land between forgiveness and reconciliation?  

 

For example, with my sister.  If he said he simply wasn't attracted to her at all.  She can forgive him without any apology from him but there isn't reconciliation.  Then, when she brings up how painful it is later he says, "I shouldn't have said that to you, I know that was hurtful.  I'm sorry.", but he can't say that he doesn't feel that way, he is only sorry he expressed his feelings to her.  Where is she then?

 

She can't change how he feels (no attraction toward her).  She can forgive him.  Yet, the elephant in the room is still there - he has expressed that he in no way finds her attractive and he has never said or done anything to make her feel that his opinion on that has changed.  

 

She has completely lost her confidence over this whole thing and she is a beautiful  person who once had a lot of confidence.

 

I am mainly just rambling with some hope that y'all have a brilliant thought or resource for her to regain her confidence.  She needs to find confidence outside of her husband's opinion of her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what's going on with your sister, but it sounds terrible :(

 

As for this:

 

You can forgive someone all by yourself.  It only takes one for this.

 

Reconciliation takes two.  It takes someone saying I am sorry, I shouldn't have ......... and then you can move on and accept it.

 

What if you forgive, the other person acknowledges that they shouldn't have said _______________, but they never say that they didn't actually feel that way.  

 

Where is it then?  Are you sort of stuck in a land between forgiveness and reconciliation?

 

 

 

I think you're right that it only takes one person to forgive.

 

But I don't think there are any hard and fast rules for reconciliation. It could be the wronged party forgives and thoroughly accepts a deficit on the offender's part, decides to keep investing in their relationship regardless, and moves on. Someone did wrong, the wronged party processes it without proper amends being made, and they move on faithfully regardless.

 

I mean that happens all the time ime. Sometimes you just have to deal with things alone and it doesn't matter if it's right or wrong because it's real life. Now-- if that happens more than extremely-rarely, then two people have moved solidly into the dysfunction corridor and abuse likely isn't far in the future.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

For example, with my sister.  If he said he simply wasn't attracted to her at all.  She can forgive him without any apology from him but there isn't reconciliation.  Then, when she brings up how painful it is later he says, "I shouldn't have said that to you, I know that was hurtful.  I'm sorry.", but he can't say that he doesn't feel that way, he is only sorry he expressed his feelings to her.  Where is she then?

 

She can't change how he feels (no attraction toward her).  She can forgive him.  Yet, the elephant in the room is still there - he has expressed that he in no way finds her attractive and he has never said or done anything to make her feel that his opinion on that has changed.  

 

She has completely lost her confidence over this whole thing and she is a beautiful  person who once had a lot of confidence.

 

I am mainly just rambling with some hope that y'all have a brilliant thought or resource for her to regain her confidence.  She needs to find confidence outside of her husband's opinion of her.

 

Just thinking about this, and again without knowing the story past what's written here, if he did say "I was just blowing off steam and I didn't mean it. You're beautiful and I've never been more attracted to a person in my life," she wouldn't believe him. And she shouldn't because "you're unattractive" isn't the kind of thing people just accidentally say when they are blowing off steam.

 

So there is no saying the right thing in this situation. The cat is out of the bag. And it's an feral, mean old cat with sharp claws that  no one wants in their house, but there it is.

 

If there is a silver lining, it's that he's not disrespecting her intelligence and dignity by piling lies on top of meanness.

 

Now-- if **he** wanted to reconcile properly, he would go about the business of showing her that he loves and respects her, regardless of what he thinks of her face. Showing her with actions, having fun and interesting conversations with her, doing things with and for her.

 

But her self-esteem isn't his responsibility, honestly. **no one should ever be so flip with the self esteem of someone else** but I mean the question of confidence and the the question of reconciliation are distinct questions, ykwim?

 

I'm so sorry the person who ought to by rights be building your sister up is tearing her, painfully, down!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grieving is where she is.

 

Does he sabotage? Coz next on the list is learning to sparkle again. That might need to be learned via revenge. It's easier to sparkle for oneself after a revenge phase.

 

define revenge.  doing something to hurt him - not worth what it would do to her.

 

making herself the best person she can be . . . well, success is the best revenge.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rosie and okbud have some really good things they've said. I have been, am still in the process of working my way through a somewhat similar situation. You have to grieve that things are not what you thought they were and will not be how you thought they would be. The grieving can take a long time but it is necessary to go through it. For me, working on my thoughts and my inner self has helped me to accept (although I still have times of not accepting) and get on with my life. Prayer and being able to trust God with my life has helped me more than anything. I decided to stick it out and although not everything has been said in words I can tell that things have changed and the hurtful words are no longer true. The things that he said to your sister are because of what is going on with him, not with her. Unfortunately she can only work on herself not him. People tell themselves all kinds of lies when they are trying to excuse their bad behaviour. A lot of times they eventually come to realize they were lies even if they don't have the guts to say that outright.

I don't know if what I've said makes sense at all, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that what he's told her may not be true and he may come to realize that and make amends with his actions if not with words, if she can stand to wait long enough to see. That is a very individual decision. I chose to stay and wait and it seems to be slowly getting better.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rosie and okbud have some really good things they've said. I have been, am still in the process of working my way through a somewhat similar situation. You have to grieve that things are not what you thought they were and will not be how you thought they would be. The grieving can take a long time but it is necessary to go through it. For me, working on my thoughts and my inner self has helped me to accept (although I still have times of not accepting) and get on with my life. Prayer and being able to trust God with my life has helped me more than anything. I decided to stick it out and although not everything has been said in words I can tell that things have changed and the hurtful words are no longer true. The things that he said to your sister are because of what is going on with him, not with her. Unfortunately she can only work on herself not him. People tell themselves all kinds of lies when they are trying to excuse their bad behaviour. A lot of times they eventually come to realize they were lies even if they don't have the guts to say that outright.

I don't know if what I've said makes sense at all, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that what he's told her may not be true and he may come to realize that and make amends with his actions if not with words, if she can stand to wait long enough to see. That is a very individual decision. I chose to stay and wait and it seems to be slowly getting better.

 

 

This actually makes a lot of sense.  Thanks for sharing.  Can I copy this content to her in a text?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This actually makes a lot of sense.  Thanks for sharing.  Can I copy this content to her in a text?  

 

Absolutely. I'm so sorry that she is having to go through this. I thought that I would survive it but there was probably not going to be much in the way of light or joy in my future. But I am coming out the other side now and life is good in many ways. There is always hope as long as you are living and trying.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will say that yes, her confidence needs to come from somewhere other than her husband.  I think women tend to hang a lot on their mates, maybe more than they can bear.  It might feel weird at first, but finding who she is within herself and appreciating herself independent of his appreciation of her might be a good stage to get to before figuring out how her self melds with his self.  Make sense?  That's the best secular attempt I can make; I view this all in a theological framework--I know not everyone does.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will say that yes, her confidence needs to come from somewhere other than her husband.  I think women tend to hang a lot on their mates, maybe more than they can bear.  It might feel weird at first, but finding who she is within herself and appreciating herself independent of his appreciation of her might be a good stage to get to before figuring out how her self melds with his self.  Make sense?  That's the best secular attempt I can make; I view this all in a theological framework--I know not everyone does.

 

 

Give it to me full strength, within theological framework.  She and I are both Christians.  We can take it and probably need to hear it  :lol:

Edited by Attolia
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a Christian too...haven't been through marital issues but have been betrayed, abused and very deeply hurt by family members. I don't have his figured out but have explored it and tried to plumb the depths a bit...

 

forgiveness is an active, repeated choice. Positionally, you choose it and enact it and you're right- you can do this on your own and fully "release from debt" the other party without them knowing.

 

Restoration is a more complex process that is incremental and requires both- it's a rebuilding. It will never be like it was before- as in rebuilding a house that was destroyed gives you another house, but doesn't negate the fact that the first house was destroyed. IMHO the other party has to learn to sit with the reality and consequences of their actions.

 

Restoration, like PP alluded too, also requires grief to be worked thru. I found it too hard to hurry restoration at the cost of accelerating my grief. In my case the relationship was destroyed by someone else's actions- completely without my involvement. The betrayal and deceipt that occurred, not to mention accusations, lies and gas lighting, was stunning and not something an "Im sorry" can quickly erase. Nor should it. It was systematic and took time to tear down, so it should reason it would take even longer to sort thru and then even begin to plan to rebuild- much less rebuild.

 

Boundaries and sense of self vs other is really important there. I learned to look more starkly at relationships really requiring two people. I couldn't do someone else's work nor were they responsible for my inherent issues. I had some vulnerabilities and previous wounds, that the present situation inflamed. That wasn't the other peoples responsibility- I needed to work on myself. I would think in a marital situation this would be even more pronounced… There seems to be such a melding and enmeshment of two people…and codependency that keeps both parties unhealthy. It's important for both spouses to sort out their stuff and get healthier individually before trying to restore anything. Don't rebuild on a cracked foundation expecting different outcomes.

 

Bottom line, in relationships… they can be torn down so very quickly yet require enormous amounts of time and energy to clear out. Sorry thru and rebuild.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding specifics--

 

There are people who I could not be attracted to even though we had a ton in common and they were attracted to me.  It was so annoying.  I know that sometimes people commit to someone like that anyway, and it tends to get ugly down the road.  

 

There are also people who I wished I could have NOT been attracted to, because they were impossible for one reason or another.  

 

But I've never had anyone switch spots.  However, I HAVE seen people say that they were never attracted to someone, but that wasn't true--they were just trying to hurt the person or had moved on mentally or physically to someone else.  I know someone whose husband actually was in love with her sister and married her as a lesser second choice when the sister wouldn't go out with him.  (This eventually blew up, and she got an annulment for being married under false pretenses.)  I know someone else whose wife got sick of him and said that he didn't turn her on at all and never had--but it wasn't true; rather she had gotten secretly involved with someone else.  If I were your sister I would try to figure out which category was in play here.  I wouldn't accept the words at face value necessarily.  I'd search my own memories and impressions.  Did I have a sinking feeling in the back of my mind that I ignored, that this person wasn't really attracted to me in the first place?  Is there evidence that someone else is in the picture?  ("I love you but I'm not in love with you" is sort of classically an indication of an affair from what I have seen.)

 

I would not want to be with someone in either category, but while I think the first is hopeless, the second is sometimes redeemable, but with the caveat that usually those who stray once will stray again.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a Christian, forgiveness means going to God first. You have to acknowledge the hurt, recognize your response, ask God to change your heart, and turn it over to God for the ultimate resolution with the individual.

 

If led, that may result in going to the person as well, but not necessarily. A friend was s**ually abused by her father, who abused other kids and went to prison. After praying about it in young adulthood, she felt that going to him would be too damaging to her personally. She had forgiven him herself. So she never went. She felt that she had handled it in her spiritual life and was at peace when he died.

 

I'm dealing with a personal situation where I have indeed gone to the Lord for forgiveness, but at this point my counsellor and I don't feel it would be productive to go to the person. That's OK.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have seen this thread in one form or another many times over the years. I am usually odd man out in that I am a Christian but I do not believe forgiveness is required without repentance. I DO believe for my own well being that letting go is necessary and I can do that without another person ever accepting blame or asking for forgiveness. And then restoration is another layer all together

 

As for the specific of your sister's situation it is really hard to know. That whole line about ' I am not attracted to you' is very common among people who are having affairs. It and the cousin, ' I love you but I am not in love with you.'. So my first thought is affair. But he could also just have been depressed with no drive and instead of being honest with himself and her about that he says he isn't attracted to her.

 

So I would get t the bottom of that....if she feels there is no affair or really either way, I would encourage her to let him own his ugly comment and for her to not take it on herself. Amd I think that is required more so than forgiveness unless of course there is an affair but that is another path.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Help me work through some thoughts I have to see where there might be false thinking.

 

You can forgive someone all by yourself.  It only takes one for this.

 

Reconciliation takes two.  It takes someone saying I am sorry, I shouldn't have ......... and then you can move on and accept it.

 

What if you forgive, the other person acknowledges that they shouldn't have said _______________, but they never say that they didn't actually feel that way.  

 

Where is it then?  Are you sort of stuck in a land between forgiveness and reconciliation?  

 

For example, with my sister.  If he said he simply wasn't attracted to her at all.  She can forgive him without any apology from him but there isn't reconciliation.  Then, when she brings up how painful it is later he says, "I shouldn't have said that to you, I know that was hurtful.  I'm sorry.", but he can't say that he doesn't feel that way, he is only sorry he expressed his feelings to her.  Where is she then?

 

She can't change how he feels (no attraction toward her).  She can forgive him.  Yet, the elephant in the room is still there - he has expressed that he in no way finds her attractive and he has never said or done anything to make her feel that his opinion on that has changed.  

 

She has completely lost her confidence over this whole thing and she is a beautiful  person who once had a lot of confidence.

 

I am mainly just rambling with some hope that y'all have a brilliant thought or resource for her to regain her confidence.  She needs to find confidence outside of her husband's opinion of her.

 

There is a tangle of issues here: 

 

1. He's betrayed their marriage, even if there is no affair. You can't just say, "I'm not attracted to you" to your mate. You can't. If he means, "I don't have any sexual desire right now so therefore I don't feel attraction to you either," that is different----that's about him, not about her, but to tell your mate that you aren't sexually attracted to them (but are still capable of being sexually attracted to others)  is to negate a significant part of being married. Of course that is devastating. Trust is broken. Trust once broken takes a long time to rebuild. You can forgive sooner than you can trust again. And the one who breached the trust if truly repentant needs to wait patiently and keep doing what is necessary to rebuild it. ( A friend's husband did this to her. She is gorgeous. Just stunning. He told her he was never attracted to her. What a jerk. Why did you marry her then? )

 

2. While it is natural and normal to have your mate's feelings toward you contribute to your sense of yourself as a woman (or vice versa), it's not happening. She needs to get a sense of self-worth elsewhere. He's not going to be a contributor. 

 

3. Reconciliation is about two people mending what is wrong when that is possible, and it is not always possible. For one thing, It takes two. It takes the one who committed the offense to acknowledge it and to make restitution for it. Reconciliation is not always wise even if the other person is truly sorry. For instance, if you were sexually abused by someone, you might choose to forgive them, and the person may choose to pay for your therapy as a means of restitution,  but it is not inconsistent with forgiveness never to see them again, and it is never okay to allow your children to be with that person. 

 

4. Forgiveness is letting go of your right to collect a spiritual/emotional debt from the person.  Practically speaking, you may still want justice, but not harm to come to the person. (Justice can be redemptive for the one receiving it.) With something major, it is a process over time. 

Edited by Laurie4b
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw this article this AM- forgiveness, reconciliation and trust.

 

http://www.boundariesbooks.com/boundaries/how-to-forgive-hard-to-forget/

 

:iagree:

 

 

And this one is also good.

 

http://www.boundariesbooks.com/boundaries-in-marriage/boundaries-in-marriage-control-your-spouse/

 

 

As a Christian, something that helps me is to separate my dh's sin from my own.  And to never, never, EVER take on my dh's sin.  I have more than enough of my own to keep myself occupied.   :tongue_smilie:     

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is he gaslighting her to make her feel less confident, feel confused, question herself...?

 

A book that may be of interest is How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To by Janis Spring.

 

Abrahms Spring, a clinical psychologist, follows up her bestselling After the Affair with this new self-help manual that aims to provide a better way to forgive or not forgive others. With the assistance of her husband, and in clear, insightful writing, Abrahms Spring draws on many case studies to fully analyze four categories of forgiveness: cheap forgiveness, refusing to forgive, acceptance and genuine forgiveness. The author is convinced that morally and spiritually a person is no more required to forgive an unrepentant offender than he or she is to love him. When someone who has been truly wronged and forgives too easily (cheap forgiveness), that person is not acting in their own best interest, but rather preserving a relationship at any cost. An absolute refusal to forgive Abrahms, Spring posits, is also harmful to the injured person. Although punishing the offender may provide a sense of power, it also fosters negativity and self-isolation. The author advises that when genuine forgiveness is impossible, because the injury is too great or the offender will not apologize, a better decision than holding onto anger is to work through the injury, or acceptance. This healing process will lead to emotional resolution and the ability to move on with one's life. Genuine forgiveness, Abrahms Spring maintains, occurs when both parties negotiate a process during which the hurt person expresses his or her pain, and the offender apologizes and takes responsibility for his or her poor behavior. In the end, this is a thoughtful exposition on the nuanced role of forgiveness in relationships that goes beyond the average self-help book.

----
 

Until now, we have been taught that forgiveness is good for us and that good people forgive. Dr. Spring, a gifted therapist and the award-winning author of After the Affair, proposes a radical, life-affirming alternative that lets us overcome the corrosive effects of hate and get on with our lives—without forgiving. She also offers a powerful and unconventional model for genuine forgiveness—one that asks as much of the offender as it does of us.

This bold and healing book offers step-by-step, concrete instructions that help us make peace with others and with ourselves, while answering such crucial questions as these:

  • How do I forgive someone who is unremorseful or dead?
  • When is forgiveness cheap?
  • What is wrong with refusing to forgive?
  • How can the offender earn forgiveness?
  • How do we forgive ourselves for hurting another human being?

 

Another alternative that may help is for your sister to find a therapist for herself.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug:  to you & your sister.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...