To Forgive Others
Forgiving someone else is not for them, it is for you. The same rule applies. When someone has betrayed your trust or acted out of line with your expectations it can make you angry, feel hurt and want to quit.
My father was a child molester. There I said it. He was a working man who made really good money but he never took care of us. He was psychologically, physically, and sexually abusive to different family members, including me.
He was absent in my life. It seemed he was a stranger until he was on his death-bed or so I thought. When I realized that my father was about to die I felt a rush of emotions that seemed to have been laying dormant for many years. I thought about how once he died, he could never apologize. He would never start over. I would never have the opportunity to have a father-daughter relationship. I knew that I was a daddy’s girl at heart and it was extremely painful to come to the realization that I would not have such fortune.
I went to God actually because I understood that scripture requires me to honor my parents and I am responsible for my actions. There were several lessons that helped me to develop a love relationship with my mother that I applied with choosing to honor my father.
This honor does not mean to be walked over. It also does not mean that I respect or even like him. What I do however recognize is that he contributed to my birth and for that alone I am grateful. In choosing to forgive him, I was able to release hurt and anger that held me back in life.
My father lived another three years before he actually died. And in that time I was able to work out some of the painful memories and emotions that I felt as a result of his actions and inactions.
Perhaps you feel that you are the black sheep. Maybe your parents pushed you to be like a sibling with different gifts than you. Perhaps you were sexually abused or verbally and emotionally tormented as a child, if so counseling offers you the chance to share that the abuse happened and how it hurt you. In many cases, people do not realize they were affected by the abuse until they have a trigger or revelation of what happened.
Another aspect of family counseling that I appreciated about Victoria Pendragon’s story is that all of her family who were present had an opportunity to stand at the front of the room and to share their own stories. I have not been able to do this with my own family but I was brought to tears when she shared this for the write-up that I did for her on my blog.
By allowing each person to tell their story, you learn something about them that you did not know. Many times you will begin to feel compassion for them in a way that you have never before. Sometimes in families each member can have their own idea about you. Sometimes people pass these ideas among each other and draw their own conclusions.
This has happened to me with my whole family. I have been estranged from all of my cousins and family members because of what siblings have said about me when I were growing up. I was the bad child, and if anything my troubles were a gossip conversation as if any of them were in the sainthood.
Nonetheless, evolving from this predicament becomes possible with group counseling. Rather than talking about everyone else you have the opportunity to share your own heart.
I remember something like this in massage school. There was a teacher by the name of Ms. LoveJoy. She taught us about healing circles. It was something that she created and share with us because there were a lot of spirits and energies in the classroom that were upset, and it was disrupting the academic portion of learning.
We sat in a group and each person listened to the person holding the chakra stone. The person speaking were able to be completely honest about what was bothering them, how they hurt and what they feel inside without anyone responding in either agreement or disagreement. You could only respond if you had the chakra stone. The other part of the healing circle that I liked was that you could not say anything hurtful. All comments about anyone else had to be phrased with a healing tone.
The same rules apply in counseling. It really doesn’t help if you are there only to hurt. So, this rule implies that you must think before you speak.
When done right forgiveness will give way with or without your permission. Compassion will chip away at your heart, and you will begin to see differently.
Ressurrection Graves is a child sexual abuse expert and relationship mentor. She is available for speaking engagements and interviews via telephone or nationwide. Please subscribe to her blog —>
RECAP: So here are my ten reasons that you may want to initiate and/or attend family counseling:
- To forgive yourself
- To forgive others
- To learn the heart of your siblings
- To get questions answered
- To become comfortable sharing who you really are
- To create a family vision
- To break generational curses
- To change roles
- To win souls
- To re-engage in family traditions
Each numbered reason above represent why you should or would consider family counseling, even if you feel that your family is functional and intact. There is a tremendous amount of healing and liberty that happen when you choose to have a courageous conversation with family.