30 Days of Truth - Day 4

Something you have to forgive someone for.

I do not have to forgive the monster man but I can choose to. When someone sets out to cause such a deep hurt without any regard for the person whatsoever, why should it be down to me to forgive him? Because it is better for me? Because the broken-ness he inflicted might in itself be a product of his own broken-ness?

Some questions are totally beyond me. I can't fathom the depths of my own mind let alone his. Anyway it changes nothing. This was not something aimed at me as a person, I was just very unlucky to be one of the wrong children in the wrong place at that time. What's done is done.

What constitutes forgiveness? The man is dead. There is no restitution, there is no way I can know if he had any kind of contrition over his actions. So what purpose is there in my act of forgiving? I have read that there is healing in forgiveness and also that bitterness eats into your soul and destroys it. I'm not sure I believe that. I'm not sure I believe in souls either.

I look at Oliver and William now. I see the fragility behind their apparent robustness. I see how easy it would be to hurt them. It gladdens my heart every day that they have no real inkling of any threat to their well-being from the adults currently present in their young lives. I love that they are carefree in that way. It is a blessing. Children are ill equipped to defend themselves against those intent on harm.

My monster man was a boy once too. As defenceless as any child. I feel sad at the thought that maybe he was very badly hurt too. I can imagine that pain. At the same time it makes it easier for me to think that way ... I can almost understand how it might be then that he grew into someone capable of doing what he did.

In some ways I can see that I am more inclined to forgive purely on the basis of hurt done to him ... in other words conditional on his actions being attributable to some deep inner pain of his own. But what if there was a warp in his personality and absolutely no childhood trauma, what then? Well then forgiveness becomes an act of will, not something born of compassion. I find that harder to think through.

If someone has a personality defect are they any less responsible for their actions? Perhaps. It depends. Again these questions are beyond me. To answer them I must in effect act as judge and jury in an area in which I have no expertise whatsoever. And anyway, this can only ever lead towards conditional forgiveness. That just feels like cheating.

How do you forgive a dead man for something done years ago. I guess you make a choice to do so. Perhaps forgiveness is an act of letting go. Simply that. So yes, I forgive him.

I have sat here for ages looking at that last sentence and trying to find meaning in it. It wasn't easy to write. It hasn't been easy thinking this through. To be honest I don't feel that I know enough about what forgiveness means to be able to act on it yet. I might come back to this exercise later.


  1. Dear Jos,
    I continue to marvel at your courage as you post during thes 30 days. Not just your courage - but the genuine love and warmth within your heart and (yes, I believe it) - your soul.

    This post is something I can truly relate to -
    I was deeply scarred by hurt and betrayal - and although not a child....was brought down in shock and despair.... I am learning to try and forgive the man who did this to me....and it isn't easy.

    For you to be so hurt as a child...is beyond cruel.... these wounds never completely heal....but in time, some "scar-tissue" will cover that pain. And, listening to you now, I can see it happening.

    Today, Thanksgiving in the States, is a day for gratefulness....and I must tell you how grateful I am to know you and to share our life stories - both happy and sad. Friendship is like a glowing fire....warm, comforting, all-embracing.
    You are loved by many....and we will be here for you as you continue this brave and ultimately healing journey.

    Love and Strength,

    ♥ Robin ♥

  2. I know this one very well. I too have a dead monster man in my life, it is hard to know what forgiveness really is, but just the fact that you want to forgive yours is very powerful. In my case I know that my monster, as a child, suffered far worse than I, it does not excuse, but it does make it easier to understand. I am sending you many hugs and much love and I will tell you this Jos, I KNOW that we have spirits. xoxo

  3. My monsters are not yet dead, well, not exactly. They are not yet monsters anymore. Ah fuck woman... wish we could chat, face to face, curled up on opposites ends of a cozy couch with tea or hot chocolate between us... This is not an easy one. But I do believe that the anger only eats us up... wait, let me rephrase, the anger ate me up... much love.