My so-called dad was an extreme abuser!  I despised him as he abused mom, Sis and me, and after I'd cried out to God until I was blue in the face at 8 years old I finally got it through my thick head and I became an unbeliever!!!  Wow, I said it!  ...  So, how do you forgive a man like that?  I didn't!  I didn't have the namby-pamby forgiveness of the religious within me!  I'm a hard man, and if someone offends me severely, I don't easily forgive!  That's true to this day.  ...  So, I've accepted what is, but no forgiveness!!!

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Comment by Joan Denoo on March 4, 2013 at 3:27am

Here is the photo I wanted to send you. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 4, 2013 at 3:20am
SteveInCO , you are correct, the prison bars were of my own making. I could have left at any time. I look back on that time with self-loathing, shame and guilt. The things I did to get free were difficult, made more so by the people I love. I am so proud of being able to break free of dependence. I raised my children to be independent and my daughter is a remarkable woman in a marriage in which she is total partner with her husband. They own their own business and work together perfectly and like each other. Isn't that a grand thing! I am so proud of all three. I broke the abuse pattern.
My granddaughter's partner said I would never have to worry about her because she is so independent and won't put up with any nonsense. Between the two of them they have five children very well behaved, very respectful of me, and they have virtually no quarreling between any of them. They all, my children, grand-children and great grandchildren know how to solve problems, resolve conflict, and have a lot of initiative. Jeez, I am so happy with the way things turned out. My former husband, his and my family told me I couldn't do it.
http://j-scribbles.blogspot.com/2012/07/50000-words-in-thirty-daysd...
Comment by SteveInCO on March 3, 2013 at 9:37pm

I had a friend who would describe what you went through, Joan, as standing behind prison bars, not realizing there's only three or four of them in front of you... and no walls.

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 3, 2013 at 9:23pm
For me, the lesson is I didn't love myself enough to end my marriage the first time abuse occurred. I failed. I thought I could protect my children. I failed.
I stopped failing when I respected myself; I survived when I ran away; I thrive as I take responsibility for my own happiness and make decisions based on what is good for me. When I thrive, my children thrive ... or at least they know they have responsibility to create their own happiness. I can't give it away to them. It is kind of like freedom and justice. Some will take your freedom to the point you decide they can't take it away. Justice isn't given by those who want to exploit and manipulate; it comes from taking justice.

Sadly, some people can't claim their freedom and justice because of events beyond their control. It seems to me my task is to create an environment where individuals flourish as they discover themselves. It is the old story, "teach a person to fish". I am a retired teacher, so perhaps coaching is a better word.
Comment by Luara on March 3, 2013 at 6:49pm

She had steel bars in her back because my drunken so-called dad hit an enbankment at 85 mph in 1960...  Abuse lasts. 

That reminds me, of the time I was visiting my younger brother.  I had to catch an airplane flight, he was going to give me a ride to the airport.  He was chatting with some people, I asked him please to take me to the airport 45 minutes before the flight ... 30 minutes before ... 25 minutes before ... 20 minutes before.  Finally 15 minutes before the plane was going to leave, he drives me to the airport ...  At 80 mph, slinging around the offramp like we were in a gun-bore,  Telling me (while driving, or perhaps it was some other time) that I shouldn't make such a big deal of car crashes, he'd been in many car crashes and it was no big deal ...  I had to sprint in the airport terminal.

I did make the plane but that and other experiences taught me, never trust them.

Comment by Luara on March 3, 2013 at 6:39pm

The only way I would forgive was if I were convinced the person had reformed; had accepted that what they did was wrong and were unlikely to do it again.  Doesn't apply here.

That's an interpretation of "forgiveness" that means being willing to associate with the person, i.e. if they were unlikely to do it again, perhaps one would associate with them. 

Without these conditions, he's the same human refuse he was before, and you should give him the respect that deserves, i.e.,, none.

I don't believe in the "human refuse" concept, I was treated like refuse myself so rather than regarding someone else as trash I just try to protect myself from them. 

Comment by Earl H Smith on March 3, 2013 at 6:00pm

Joan:  I don't have more wisdom than you!  You did and are doing just fine!!!  [I made my errors along the way also.  As I said, I've been a hard man.  Now, I can't quite connect with a sweet lady named Lisa.  My fault!  So, I'm not so wise!]  I'm just surviving.  Anyhow, thank you!

Comment by SteveInCO on March 3, 2013 at 5:56pm

The only way I would forgive was if I were convinced the person had reformed; had accepted that what they did was wrong and were unlikely to do it again.  Doesn't apply here.

Without these conditions, he's the same human refuse he was before, and you should give him the respect that deserves, i.e.,, none.

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 3, 2013 at 5:52pm

Earl Smith, my former father-in-law was Earl V. Smith, a cruel, brutish man that abused his wife, daughter and son, my former husband. I thought he was a good and decent man, until I entered his family. His son was an abuser of our children and me. I forgive neither one. They grew up in it and passed it on to the next generation.

I packed up our three children and ran; the best decision I ever made in my life. He then brutalized his second wife and her children. He deserves no forgiveness. I wish there were a hell because he never stopped being a controller who believed he not only had the right but the responsibility to control us. He never had the right ... I gave him the right. My ten-year old daughter told him he didn't have the right to treat her that way and I saw for the first time that he had no such right. I loaded the kids in the car and ran. They are no 49 years old. 

Life is good. The kids have good marriages and adult children. I am now a great-grandmother and having the time of my life. I'm 77 years old and have never been happier. 

I am so glad you figured it out so young. You have more wisdom than I. Happiness with your life and very good health 

Comment by Earl H Smith on March 3, 2013 at 5:41pm

I appreciate all of your comments...  I would add that I took care of my mom, in her illnesses and age, from 1991 until she went into a nursing home in 2008.  During her last years she suffered greatly, partly because steel bars in her back had broken.  She had steel bars in her back because my drunken so-called dad hit an enbankment at 85 mph in 1960...  Abuse lasts.  So, my non-forgiveness LASTS!

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