Too Angry to Forgive…12/13/06

Question:
I¬†was raised in an fearful, threatening, condesending homelife. While I’m now over 50 years old the wounds and hurt have never gone away and have been reminders that always left me wondering if I was that stupid, ugly, or deformed to not have love and respect. In short my father was disconnected from me most of the time and when he did connect it was with a slap, a strap or a fist.

My mother taunted me with her love and would use it to manipulate me. ” I will love you only if you” fill in the rest. She weilded her love like a weapon. Basically saying, no one else could love you so take the love I give because I’m the only one who does, but you have to do this for me. My existence in my family was always conditional. You may have a place to sleep but you have to shovel snow. You may have food to eat but you have to clean the bathrooms. My brothers did nothing and didn’t have to but watch out if I missed mowing the lawn or vaccuming the rugs. It wasn’t enough to be an honor student, champion swimmer and have part time jobs in high school and college. I was still the invisible child and basically never wanted. It hurt to understand this because you never really admitted these things when you were younger because all you wanted to do is survive. I’m not sure if I can ever really forgive as the pain is all too crushing.
What do you think? Thanks for letting me vent.
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Answer:
Dear Friend, my heart goes out to you. I grew up in a violent home and can identify with the fear and suffering you experienced.
A lot of things helped me move on in my life including my faith.
One grief expert said something that really helped me: “you can’t go back. You can’t stay where you are. You must move forward.”
If you keep dwelling on the pain – you will continue to hurt. It’s awful what happened to you – but, forgiveness is your only way out – the only way you will heal and become a whole person. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you condone what happened to you but, it means you choose to let go of the anger towards those who have hurt you. You may need counseling to help you work through this but, let your experience make you a better and stonger person. Don’t let your parents’ offenses control your emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Resentment will hold you back from the future and keep you ensnared in the past.
Someone wrote:
“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
You can gain a lot from your childhood. You can be the person who breaks the cycle of ‘conditional love’ and abuse.
You can be the one who rises to a higher standard of living and loving. You can gain courage to move forward and live a better life.
I pray that you will!
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Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC
Diplomate, AAAMP; President, CounselCare Connection, P.C.
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