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It hit me like a sledgehammer to the chest...

BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
edited September 21 in Arts & Writings
I can't be sure what made it happen. No single thing in my life right now really stands out as being a huge obvious catalyst to what happened to me....

On finding a way to forgive
carolannzombiegirlele
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Comments

  • edited September 2008
    Im very proud of you Brian. I know you have been through a lot in the past years and most people would have thrown in the towel. Forgiveness is not an easy emotion to realize. I hope this brings you inner peace and you can start taking the right steps to build your life back thew way you want it. Your a great person, friend, father, and mentor. Keep your head held high and keep on the right path.
  • edited September 2008
    I lurk on this forum a lot, and for many years. I read, absorb, learn and seek to Understand. I am proud of you. I am proud that I have a friend who can find forgiveness in his heart and yearns to better himself. He does not need a reason, he does not need to explain it... It simply happened and, in moving to be content with its suddenness, has stopped to reevaluate a great many things.

    True character.

    Whatever you need going forward, ask of it, and I'll do what I can to help.
  • edited September 2008
    I am just so happy for you Brian.

    I had a very destructive experience during the time I was not on this board - and it took time. That is the only answer. We can quote all the sutras in the world but the heart actually has to heal.

    You are blessed dear friend.
  • edited September 2008
    Inspiring stuff Brian. Forgiveness frees ourselves.

    Regards
    Kris
  • MagwangMagwang Veteran
    edited September 2008
    wow.
    lobster
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited September 2008
    Beautiful, Brian.

    Perhaps your naturally open heart and knowing which path you were eventually going to have to take were part of the healing process. If so, you have nothing left in this world to fear.

    Peace and joy to you, dear friend.
  • edited September 2008
    That's an immensely good point Boo - when the very worst has happened to you, it does carry the unexpected blessing of removing fear. Nothing after that can be any worse.
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited September 2008
    Knitwitch wrote: »
    That's an immensely good point Boo - when the very worst has happened to you, it does carry the unexpected blessing of removing fear. Nothing after that can be any worse.

    And this has been one of the most valuable things I've taken from this whole ordeal. :)
  • edited September 2008
    Well there is a theory that this is why primitive cultures developed often painful and frightening initiation rituals - it served to provide a benchmark to the young men starting adult life - my initiation was so bad that I won't be afraid of anything in the future.

    And in my own life I've found the same ..... but it does take some time to get over the initial "worst case scenario" :eek:
    Jeffrey
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited September 2008
    Yeah. Just like steel, we have to be tempered in the hottest of fires to become the strongest.

    Palzang
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited September 2008
    I would raise one point of discussion....
    "Time is a great healer".
    I don't believe this to be accurate.
    I think all time does, is pass.
    There are many, many people 'out there' who harbour any kind of pain you'd care to mention, and most certainly do not ever 'get over it' no matter how much time they have.

    I think it might be more accurate to say that we ourselves are our own best medics, because ultimately, it is either a conscious effort with will and determination, to let go, or we (as you have, dearest Brian) experience a staggeringly meaningful, sudden, instant Epiphany, which as you so accurately state, hits us in the chest like a demolition ball.
    The thing is, you felt this way (horribly depressed, angry, bitter, and full of spite. I’ve had many terrible thoughts about her boyfriend, I’ve contemplated murder, suicide, and everything in between.), but I'd be willing to bet that as you felt that way, a lot of the time you were aware that you shouldn't have been feeling that way. Something inside you nagged at you, and chastised you for what you were experiencing.....

    Suddenly, you were faced with a choice. Keep lapping it up, or spit it out.

    You made the right one.

    I wish I could hug you, right now.
    Welcome back to the land of the living.
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited September 2008
    Thank you, Fede my sweet. :)
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited September 2008
    You're a bigger man than I am, Brian.

    I live daily seeing my ex squander my child support on her house or clothes while my son gets everything on his body from Value Village or Goodwill. He's 13 and still sleeps in the bed I made him when he was two.

    And he's becoming used to it. He excuses her behavior.

    She's ruined me for thousands of dollars and for years of relationship that I could have had with my son for simple spite. She's attacked me in court as being impotent, gay, a child molester and having affairs with all the secretaries at work - as a matter of public record - she's physically attacked the wife of my friend and assaulted her in church.

    I usually don't think about her - but when I do - I hate her. I truly and completely hate it.

    And I don't think very highly of myself for doing so. I constantly come back to these words:

    "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

    "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

    I know this yet still can't completely get over it. I try to find compassion in my life for this person, but my anger towards her just sits under the surface.

    You are truly a better person than I am.

    I'm glad things are turning around for you.

    -bf
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited September 2008
    I'm really sorry to hear about your problems, bf. It sounds like a perfectly horrendous situation. I could give you a long sermon about how it's all just a reflection of your mind, but I don't think that would be very helpful right now and probably would just piss you off more. I also don't have any easy answers for you. Just know that I, and I'm sure all the other friends you have here, hear your pain and pray that you can work through it somehow. Please stay in touch and use us as a support.

    Palzang
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited September 2008
    Hey, Pally.

    I didn't mean to sound like I am going through all of this torment right now - I was actually commending Brian on him being able to do something I haven't been able to do for over a decade.

    I didn't mean to sound like I go through this torment on a daily basis, I actually don't. I hardy think about my ex or my life with her or my life afterwards. It mostly just hits when my son comes over upset or embarassed about something she's done to him.

    I don't want to be my ex's friend. Ever. I really believe she is a bad, petty and malicious person. I have no desire to incorporate traits like that into my life. I did for ten years and it sucks the happiness out of you - I've been divorced for 8 years and, as bad as it's been, I have found so much more peace eing away from her - even going through all of this crap :)

    -bf
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited September 2008
    Yeah, sometimes it's just better to put them out of your mind as much as possible. But still, some wounds never really heal, do they? I know, I've got a couple!

    Palzang
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited September 2008
    I told you that a shot of penicillin would help with at least one of those things you got that won't heal.

    -bf
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited September 2008
    (It's the other thing he's worried about....) :D

    Yo, BF!!

    :thumbsup: :wavey:
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited September 2008
    BF, dear friend,

    I have offered today's practice for you, for your continuing well-being, for your son and, above all, for your pain.

    I am sure that I am not alone in counting myself blessed to know honeat people like you.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited September 2008
    buddhafoot wrote: »
    I told you that a shot of penicillin would help with at least one of those things you got that won't heal.

    -bf


    Yeah, but I'm allergic to penicillin! :bawling:

    Palzang
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited September 2008
    Oh!, you guys...

    I feel like I'm hijacking Brian's thread. He's the man showing us how to come through some of life's struggles. I applaud him.

    Hi , Freddy.

    Thanks, Simon. Sometimes you say the nicest things. Too bad you live so far away or I'd take you out, get some drinks and get HAMMERED with you.

    Well, you know, metaphorically speaking of course.

    -bf
  • edited September 2008
    BF - biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig huuuuuuuuuuuuuug.

    Letting it go only comes when it comes - it's like practicing an instrument - eventually it will click but as long as it doesn't the discord and frustration are awful.

    We are all here if you need to chat or rant - that's what friends are for.
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited September 2008
    Hi, Knitwitch.

    Actually, I really do quite well - unless there is a confrontation OR I hear (like last night) about my son having to deal with 3 hours of her bi-polar ranting and angst.

    I have a feeling she is going to come back as a dung beetle. She seems comfortable slinging it - maybe she'll enjoy rolling it.

    -bf
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited September 2008
    You're not jacking my thread :p No worries.

    BF, just remember, I know _exactly_ how you feel. :)
  • edited September 2008
    buddhafoot wrote: »
    Hi, Knitwitch.

    Actually, I really do quite well - unless there is a confrontation OR I hear (like last night) about my son having to deal with 3 hours of her bi-polar ranting and angst.

    I have a feeling she is going to come back as a dung beetle. She seems comfortable slinging it - maybe she'll enjoy rolling it.

    -bf


    Bipolar? Is she on medication? Because if she isn't (and believe me I know) she shouldn't be left in charge of children. Explains quite a lot of what you have told us about her behaviour though!

    :(
  • edited October 2008
    I had issues forgiving my ex husband... he made my life miserable even years after we divorced and even now tries to play with my mind and create trouble within my house (i got married again). Your post is exactly what i needed to leave the hate behind. After I read it i felt lighter and the burden went away. I used to blame me and him for all this, but after today i left the blame behind and I gotta tell you: i came home and everybody noticed my new attitude. Thanks ;D
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited October 2008
    Thank you so much for signing up to make that comment! You really made my night!

    I'm not perfect. I still have a lot of anger towards her boyfriend. He is intentionally cruel to me and the fact that he is partially responsible for raising my children really grates on my heart. While I've forgiven her, I've not forgiven him or his taunts, his mockery, or his bullying. I've still got a long road ahead of me.
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited October 2008
    Did Buddha address, specifically, what we "can't" do to dicks?

    :)

    -bf
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 2008
    Errr.....'dicks', as in........? :wtf: :D
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited October 2008
    dicks = jerks. :)

    -bf
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 2008
    yep. he said we can't (or shouldn't) consort with them.
    He advised us to shun the company of fools.
    I'll find a link, but I gotta go to work, and someone else might beat me to it.... :)
  • edited November 2008
    i agree with bf
    friends with our xs.. why for?
    friendlyyyy maybe .. when it is consulting our kids
    but i feel there is no reason to continue a relationship with them
    after the fact. i carry mindful goodwil towards mine,
    and hey if your dating or have another partner i feel its nasty
    to "be friends" with your x. there is NO reason.

    hate or of the like is hard to drop.. when it involves the our kids
    for ourselves.. well.. there is no victim.. only volunteers. so i say
    take responsiblity for our reasons for hookup with them in the
    first place.. we chose them.. for reasons of growth etc.

    but ya ..wen our kids are abused, neglected or down right rejected
    by them.. thats a tough pill to swallow.
    yet somehow i look at it like.. well now its part of my kids journey
    that they chose.. like they chose us to begin with..
    so i gently tried to remind myself of that..
    warm hugs to brian and bf..
  • edited November 2008
    The problem with the internet is that there are no REAL hugs.

    Colleen mentioned "mindful goodwill" towards ex'es. I find the mindful part of that pretty telling. We have to work hard and focus to have goodwill towards some people. I know there are certain people I have pushed out of my life because I've judged it to just be too damn hard to be compassionate to them. I still wish them well, but if I have to see them/talk to them, I can't help but be harsh. I like to tell myself it's honesty. ;-)

    Anyway, there are some people with whom it is best we do work to practice compassion. Ex'es who are still in our children's lives definitely qualify. And yet, que dificil! It'll be a long road, as you've said, Bri, but you will feel so much better (most of the time) for walking it. And your kids who already adore you for good reason will benefit greatly from your choices. I think that's the most important part.

    I also wanted to suggest (maybe I've already mentioned this on here) that everyone check out Randy Pausch's last lecture. You can watch it on You Tube. One of the things he mentions is that no one is pure evil. "If you wait long enough, they will show you their good side. You can't make them do it in a hurry, but you can be patient."

    You know we love you!
  • edited November 2008
    Brian wrote: »
    Thank you so much for signing up to make that comment! You really made my night!

    I'm not perfect. I still have a lot of anger towards her boyfriend. He is intentionally cruel to me and the fact that he is partially responsible for raising my children really grates on my heart. While I've forgiven her, I've not forgiven him or his taunts, his mockery, or his bullying. I've still got a long road ahead of me.



    Just remember the Buddha taught about Karma being the justice served. Some members on this forum were unfairly treated (and banned), so in your case, you deserved it.



    SG
  • edited November 2008
    What a very compassionate thing to say. And your point in being nasty was, exactly?

    And more to the point - who are you to say who deserves what?
  • edited November 2008
    Salmon Girl,
    I see you felt the need to lash out. How sad, because by doing so you have brought what kind of Karma to your own plate?
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited November 2008
    Wow! SalmonGirl certainly showed where her troubled, angry mind lives. I'm glad to see the problem was taken care of swiftly. Disagreement is one thing. Deliberate, cruel, low minded attack is another.

    I guess the wild salmon wasn't free of toxins after all.
  • edited November 2008
    Brigid wrote: »

    I guess the wild salmon wasn't free of toxins after all.


    :lol::lol::lol: Nice one Boo! :lol::lol:
  • bushinokibushinoki Veteran
    edited December 2008
    Too much mercury in the water because someone didn't want to balance free market capitalism with reasonable oversight to ensure that all sides were being seen.
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited December 2008
    Just remember the Buddha taught about Karma being the justice served. Some members on this forum were unfairly treated (and banned), so in your case, you deserved it.

    SG

    While I appreciate your input, there are several reasons why I think you are completely oversimplifying the concept of cause & effect.

    But first, some logic: The 'unfair treatment' is your opinion. From my perspective, it was fair.

    Second, the time line is different. Whatever you think I 'deserved' happened before the 'unfair treatment' so... you are way off base. :lol:
  • edited November 2009
    Hi there Brian, is the wife back with you yet, or is she still out having fun with her boyfriend?


    Paladin
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited November 2009
    She hasn't been my wife since 2007. She has pretty much gone entirely out of my life, and I'm much happier for it. I honestly don't know what she's doing anymore; I see her once a week when she picks up the kids on Saturdays. I have our kids 6 days a week now, which is the ultimate reward from all this. My career has brought me joy, I am free from most strife, I get to raise my kids without her input, and I am happier now than I was when we were married. It's been good.
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    As an update to this long and old story, she and I are on quite friendly terms now. She's still with the guy she left me for, and I've gotten to the point where I am cordial with him (we exchange hellos). She and he are having a baby, and I'm happy for her. We've talked about the baby's name, made jokes, and are actually having friendly banter on Facebook. I am getting remarried, and she is happy for us and even remarked that she would enjoy coming to the wedding.

    Time, and a great deal of positive effort from the both of us, have turned a hateful and harmful relationship into a positive one. I know our boys (now age 15 and 13) appreciate it, that's for sure.

    I post this because I know people will read my story and relate to it. Hatred is a terrible, dark, and powerful thing. It took over my entire life, and only through effort was I able to return to happiness and forgiveness.
    TheEccentric
  • Magwang said:

    wow.

    Outstanding.

    I am inspired to forgive someone . . . m m m . . .
    Buddha you ran from wife and child to court wisdom.
    I forgive you :o I guess we are all human . . .

    Very inspired and pleased for you Brian. Bravo.
  • ToshTosh Veteran
    edited November 2012
    I have just read the original post, Brian, and it was powerful stuff; thanks. Resentment is a killer, seriously; I'm an alkie and A.A. teaches that resentment is the Number 1 offender for relapses. Why? Because resentments screw us up and we drink, and to drink can often mean an unpleasant - usually slow - death.

    So, we are taught that we are not allowed to have resentments and we have ways of dealing with them built into the 12 Step process. We put the resentment down on paper; the name of the person/organisation/principle, we then write what they did to us. Then we write how that made us feel; how it affected us. Was it our pride, our finances, etc (in your situation it would affect everything no doubt); and then the next bit is the tough bit... we look for OUR PART in the situation. And there will always be a part we played; even if we were sexually abused as children (we obviously were not at fault then), but our part is in how we let it affect us now. In cases of infidelity - when that happened to me - my part was that I drank too much, wasn't always a good person, I wasn't there emotionally, and I pushed the other person away. But normally, prior to A.A., I wouldn't look to my part; my thinking would stop at the 'how did that make me feel?', and then I'd think "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr", because it would not occur to me that I had any fault in the matter.

    Then the really tough bit (Step 9 which is synonymous with Tonglen practise 'giving victory to our enemies'), we take responsibility for any harm we've caused and we go to the person we harmed/resented, and we make a sincere amend, if it won't cause any further harm. Normally this is done formally, face-to-face; and once the formal amend is done, then the life-long amend - the real amend - is made; we don't repeat that negative behaviour.

    I would also suggest before any amend is ever made, that we speak to someone who we trust about it first; just in case we're a little off-beam. We don't want to end up having to make amends for amends that we've handled wrongly.

    I've probably simplified a whole host of good advice for dealing with resentments, but I can say - having been through this process - it's very powerful, it doesn't mean being a doormat, there's freedom from resentments/the past, and we don't have to live with the hurt.

    It also has not been my experience that mindfulness or meditation can't resolve problems like the suffering of resentments; I've tried, believe me, because I always try the easier softer way first. I mean it's tough to meditate or be mindful when you've a mind full of resentment/hurt/anger/insert negative mental affliction.

    This process isn't for the faint-hearted; I baulked at some of my amends; but with the help and gentle guidance from my A.A. sponsor, I've done all the tough ones to the best of my ability. This process changed my concept of self from being to being someone very different from the drunk I was when I first came to A.A.

    When the Buddha teaches that there is no fixed and permanent self, I understand what he means (to some extent).
    RebeccaS
  • NevermindNevermind Bitter & Hateful Veteran
    Thanks for sharing your story, Brian.
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran
    Brian thank you for sharing. We love you <3, and I think you do a great service to yourself, your kids, and your ex through Forgiveness. Your episode has truly inspired me. Thank you again.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    I just read this for the first time too. Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life, and the update, too!

    I have not gone through it but I have been a child of parents who did. When I was 15 my parents divorced, because my dad was cheating. My mom threw his stuff on the lawn and kicked him out. It was a really long road for them both. That was in...1991. Just recently, they are friendly. They are both remarried and happy (my dad still with the woman he cheated with) and everyone has happy and healthy relationships. My parents attend events together (most recently my sister's college graduation and we even went to dinner together with the new spouses). In the end, it's easy to see that it really was the best thing for everyone involved. My parents never should have married in the first place. The marriage was an escape for my mother from her alcoholic parents. She was 17 and still in HS when they married. It took a long time to repair the relationship with my father, but it was worth the time and effort. He took 80% of our family income with him and paid hardly nothing in child support (per an agreement they came up with, for some reason). It was a long road, but both of my parents have come a long way, and I don't think either of them would be the people they are, and truly amazing grandparents to my sons, if they hadn't gone through what they did.

    I'm glad that you are on friendly terms, as it really does make a huge difference to kids to not feel like they have to, or are, choosing one parent over another, and I'm glad you are on cordial terms with your wife's boyfriend/husband. I hope you are happy, and thanks again for sharing, it was amazing to read.
  • This story left me breathless and it was only after sitting here in shock and thinking what to say I realized it was from 2008, and then read the rest. So very happy for you, and sending you all good wishes for continued peace.
  • So painful and cathartic. My ex cheated on me and I had to stay in the same apartment. Luckily she was not my wife and somehow I had a cathartic experience that made me just let go of the whole dream of being with her. I remember someone actually picked her up at a pool hall when we were broken up and I was so angry I wanted to fight him in the parking lot, but my Buddhist training kicked in and I just walked home from the pool hall about a mile. Nowhere near as big a deal as the woman you had children with. But I am just remembering that time and I guess many people have been through the same thing as I (and you).

    Great story.
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