A More Comprehensive Guide To Overcoming Depression -- Be A Free Thinker!

December 13, 2013

Forgiving Is Like Giving Birth (Without The Epidural)

Forgiveness is a concept that it's really hard to understand, unless experienced first hand. I've struggled with it for a very long time, before I was able to fully understand what it means to forgive, why it's so important that we do forgive all the wrong doings, and how to apply this incredibly healing tool. 

I used to ask myself: "How can I forgive when it hurts so much???

I thought it was simply impossible to forgive all the pain and suffering I had to endure, especially in my childhood. When I finally understood that the only way to free myself from such pain was through forgiveness -- my perspective had changed entirely. It became obvious to me that the question "How can I forgive when it hurts so much?" was out of context. The more accurate question was: "How could I not forgive when it hurts so much?" The moment I understood that forgiveness was (to me, at least) the only way to heal, was the moment when I realized that if I didn't want to keep experiencing the pain, I really had no choice, but to forgive.

From all the pain I've experienced, the rejection hurt the most. And of course, it was the hardest to forgive. As they say, hatred is not the opposite of love -- the indifference is. Being unnoticed, unrecognized, ignored, and completely neglected is a feeling that I would not wish upon my worst enemy. 

Not surprisingly, such emotions were the main reasons that were hiding behind my several suicide attempts. What was surprising to me, was that I've discovered this only after I overcame my suicidal tendencies. For a very long time (several decades, to be more specific) I was in complete denial about the resentment and the grudge I was holding against my mother. I've had too much respect and too much admiration towards the woman that gave birth to me, to allow myself to see her as a human being only. Typical for a child; in my eyes my mother was nothing else but a replica of God himself. She did earn the admiration in many ways, I won't dispute that. She raised nine children, while working full time, and while struggling not only financially, but through living with an abusive husband as well. She seemed to posses the strength that not many people had. 

But that strength did not come to her for free. It had it's price. The saddest part was that her children (myself including), which she loved the most (and still does) were always the ones picking up the tab. My mother's strength (in other words love) did not come entirely from within herself, and that was the biggest problem. She was born as an "illegitimate" child, and as such, in those still very primitive times, she was viewed as a burden by her own mother. She was the symbol of embarrassment and shame. Her father, (my grandfather) still remains unknown to this very day. There is no doubt that her childhood was anything but "a walk in the park". 

Unfortunately my mother did not have the understanding that I have now. She didn't understand that in order to be able to show the love to her own children the way they deserved (and the way she wanted) -- she had to find that love within herself first. And the only way she could have done that was if she forgave her own parents for neglecting her the way they did. My mother searched for that love and acceptance outside of herself. She became fascinated with the religion and the Church. She became obsessed with it. Her daily attendance of mass (sometimes even twice in a single day) gave her a temporary high, which she interpreted as a sense of belonging. She mistook that as a source of her inner strength. Her addiction to Church became so strong, and so overpowering that she wasn't even able to see the sense of abandonment I was feeling every evening while waiting for her to come home. She put herself and her children in a risky situation of being beaten up by her spouse, who understandably so, felt infuriated by her constant absence. 

Obviously all that time I was well aware of everything that was going on, but only when I reached my mid-thirties, I was actually able to admit to myself as to where my fear of rejection had initiated. My marriage had finally shown me everything that I needed to see.

I started to understand that my constant anger towards my husband, particularly when it came to his absence in the evenings, had a lot less to do with my spouse, and a lot more to do with my mother's absence. The excruciating pain I was feeling while waiting for my significant other to come home, was the exact same pain I felt every day while waiting for my mother. The sense of neglect and abandonment was not new to me. The old sense of rejection, powered by the awful feeling of knowing that someone you love would rather be someplace else, away from you, instead of spending their time with you -- revisited me once again. At first I resisted the reality every way I could. I threatened with the divorce on a daily basis. I yelled, I screamed, and I cried myself to sleep almost every night. Nothing ever changed though. Things seemed to get worst progressively. I even begun to hate my husband. He started to resent me as well. At one point, if felt as if I was living with a stranger.

The thing was -- I cared way too much about my husband, to just sit and watch our marriage going to ruins. So I had to do what was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do -- I had to forgive my mother. I had to acknowledge first what  it was exactly that needed to be forgiven. That meant I had to abolish my child-like view of my mother. I had to become no one else but an objective observer. I had to stop being her daughter for a moment. I had to see things clearly for what they were, as opposed to what I wished they were. And I had to stop wishing that my past, and the way my mom's absence felt, would ever be any different.

It was painful. It was like being in a labor with a child that for some reasons kept refusing to come out. Same way as a woman in a delivery room might find herself hating everyone in that moment, I felt irritated by every one around me.

"You did this to me!"

Yes, I yelled that in my mind at my mother many times.

"You, and your constant freaking absence made me feel rejected, unwanted, and it hurt like hell! And I had to re-experience that over and over again throughout my entire life. I had to go through relationship after relationship where I had to endure being dumped over and over again. If you didn't go to that stupid Church, if you just spend more time with me, I wouldn't be such a wreck today. I wouldn't have to feel rejected on a daily basis."

While revisiting my painful past, the emotional "contractions" became even stronger. I was in so much pain that I couldn't even verbalize, or construct any thoughts. The intensity of hatred found its peak. That's when I admitted that the grudge existed. I couldn't fight it anymore. I was too exhausted from trying to deliver my forgiveness to this world.

Finally, after a couple of months, I gave in. The usual absence of my husband felt more than unbearable. I felt the urge to punish him for the immense suffering he was causing me. Fortunately, this time I didn't have to consider ending my life. This time I knew what I needed to do. I needed to finish giving birth to my forgiveness. This time I fully understood that my past suicide attempts were in fact my attempts to kill, but not myself, but rather my pain. I also understood though that in some ways it was my way of punishing those who made me feel unloved and not accepted.

With such humbleness, brought by the utteral sense of powerlessness, something had finally broke inside of me. I was finally able to see my mother as a human being, who is allowed to make mistakes like everyone else. I was able to see her inability to find love withing herself as a condition, from which the majority of people on this planet suffer from. I could understand (and therefore I could forgive) that her addiction to Church was not different at all from my father's addiction to alcohol. Like my father, she was sick too, but not necessarily in a way we define sickness. She was sick from living in a world where two parents had to work full time in order to be able to barely feed their children. She was sick from trying to do her best, only to come short all the time. She was sick from not knowing what true unconditional love felt like, and not knowing where to find it.

When I finally understood all this, I begun to relax. The anger started to get weaker and weaker. I noticed I started to see my husband in a more tender way as well. This time, while facing the old issues, I started to react differently. While presented with the old dilemmas, I'd tell myself in my mind:

"If he's hurting you by making you feel rejected, it's only because he's been hurting within himself. Don't punish him with your cold shoulder anymore. Love him even that much more. Let your unconditional love be the medicine to his broken heart as well."

One morning I woke up with a strange sense of happiness. I say strange, because it had absolutely nothing to do with the circumstances. Externally, everything had still remained pretty much the same. And yet, an incredible sense of joy I woke up with, was telling me that I must have been doing something right! I could no longer question the fact that once we find the love (the joy) within ourselves, we no longer depend on getting it from the external world. And when we stop depending on it, we are actually able to love and receive love from others! As it turned out, the fastest way to find such inner love is through forgiveness. It's a hell of a bumpy road, for sure, but like any shortcuts, it has to lead through wild, and quite often unfriendly terrain.

My complete forgiveness was finally born. It came to this world, while making me scream and cry from pain. But just as a new born child would do, once it arrived, it gave me more joy that I could ever ask for!


Yes Forgiveness is probably the biggest block to healing in every avenue of your life. Once you start forgiving everything opens up and life seems to flow so much better naturally. I love reading stories about how others have learned to let go and move forward, it's so inspiring.

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