Forgiveness

How does one forgive?  I have separated from my husband and I feel confident that my decision to do so was wise.  But I realized tonight that the resentment and anger that I feel toward my husband are somewhat hindering my life.  I can't and don't want to forget that my husband did things that hurt me and that some of those actions were intended to hurt me.  But the resentment and anger also hurt me (and seem to have no effect on my husband).  Any suggestions?  Thank you.  

Let go of past regrets

Hard thing to do isn't it? I struggle with it daily myself. But striving to achieve this has been very helpful for me in regards to forgiving my wife and myself for the situation we are currently in. Someone on this forum recommended a book to me that I've recently begun reading and have found very helpful in my quest for forgiveness. Pick up "A New Earth" by Eckert Tolle and give it a try. I think by the end of Chapter Two, you'll see what I mean.

I'm working on forgiveness

I'm working on forgiveness but it is made harder by the fact that my ADD dh prefers that I never discuss or mention anything of the past that went on before his taking medication. The ADD existed to the extent that it caused so many crazy issues in the two decades of our marriage, I felt cheated, lied to, gaslighted and silently abused. I find it hard to forget and put it behind me. He feels that now he's on medication, nothing ever existed. What he doesn't understand is that the medication isn't perfect. He will go for days without much sleep and then, all of a sudden there is a rage attack out of the blue and all of a sudden I'm the one who caused his ADD! But... I was there supporting him throughout the ADD madness.

(I was) We were talked out of so many opportunities I feel as if I haven't lived at all since being married at age 27. It ranges from my own educational advancement to financial abuse and all decisions I was supposed to be able to make as part of a couple of equality. He wouldn't allow me to make any decisions, not even a dental appointment. But when it was his turn to make decisions, he was paralyzed, including making a decision in a restaurant. Now I see our child taking opportunities and I'm so proud of him. I will say "I'm so proud of you for doing x and y that I haven't been able to do in my life" What is wrong with that? It is the truth. DH starts the cycle of anger all over again because I'm constantly referring to the past. How can I not?

If he were to even remotedly show some remorse or make an effort to understand how hard it was for the rest of us at home (the ones behind the closed doors), than maybe it is easier to see the condition of ADD/ADHD as the disorder (and forgive), rather than the individual who is disordered (to resent).

How can you?

I know you want certain things before you feel you can forgive but forgiveness isn't conditional. Neither is true love. True love IS unconditional. Forgiveness IS unconditional as well. I know alot of people will have a hard time with me stating this but you don't love someone else to make yourself happy. You love them because you want to make them happy. Their happiness in turn makes you happy and is reciprocated. You forgive someone to make yourself happy, and by forgiving someone, you are able to continue unconditionally loving them. No conditions, no "ifs", no "buts". The golden rule right? Love thy neighbor as thyself. There another message in that. You have to love yourself. If you feel anger, resentment, regret, there's something in you that you don't love. Those feelings aren't a part of that other person. They may have originated from the past, but the past can't be changed. Those feelings exists in you. You can't learn to love or forgive unconditionally until you can accept letting them go. Love yourself unconditionally, forgive yourself unconditionally again as well. Wake up and choose to be happy regardless of the consequences. Choose to respond lovingly and softly, even if someone offends you. It is possible. I know first hand because I've had to do this on a daily basis since my wife left me 6 months ago and took our daughter with her. Since then I've seen our daughter 16 hours in person, and since the judicial system is so slow, who knows when I'll be able to see her in person again. Yet, I wake up, choose to be happy, choose to forgive my wife, choose hope and faith daily. Would you want to be around someone that was constantly on edge, walking on eggshells, or depressed all the time? Would that inspire you to be happy and thankful? Would that make you want to be a better person?

your take on forgiveness

"Would you want to be around someone that was constantly on edge, walking on eggshells, or depressed all the time? Would that inspire you to be happy and thankful? Would that make you want to be a better person?"

No, I wouldn't, and that is why I don't live with my husband anymore.  I am much happier and more thankful when not with him, because he is depressed, fearful, and dishonest.  

I suppose one can't really

I suppose one can't really forgive when one is not ready.... I think what people like us need to begin by healing ourselves first. First, take care of health, body and soul... without letting the partner or ex rent another minute's space in our minds. We need to ask ourselves what it is we can do for ourselves now, this very moment that is not hindered by the constraints of an ADHD environment. I think for us, we need to relearn everything we've forgotten how to appreciate -- because we were so caught up in the cycle of the ADHD patterns -- now we focus on the gentleness of getting up in the mornings, the smell of fresh coffee, the scent of morning dew, the smile that crosses our own faces. I think when the mind is more focused and centered, perhaps life and the happiness in life will enter you. Then there is nothing to forgive, it's no longer occupying our thoughts.

This morning, my dh was very irritated with everything. I could feel myself getting stressed but I kept my voice low, aware of my heart rate and trying my best not to allow the ADHD mania rent space in my head. I went online and chatted about quilts and sewing techniques with a dear friend. It made me feel like I was doing something constructive. I actually made a active decision to step away from the chaos. And not spending the morning feeling like a slave to the machinery of ADHD. Does this make sense?

The issues with forgiving unconditionally when one is not ready... I think a lot of people deny their upset or anger and repress it because it hurts to analyze it or understand it. They just want to move on. My mother repressed all her real feelings toward my personality-disordered father for decades which I believe manifested in her cancer. To this day she maintains a stoicism that is her philosophy. It works for her but I can't say it works for everybody.

 

The right direction

This is great to hear, coping and you are heading in the right direction. That awareness will be your savior!!!

You made a very valid point in regards to repressing your feelings. You don't want to do that. You have to acknowledge and validate them. A productive medium for this may be discussing it with a counselor, or writing your thoughts in a journal. Repressing them will only cause you to become more angry, bitter, or even numb.

I am the ADHD partner in our relationship but the process is still the same. My wife may never choose to acknowledge the changes in me or that I am willing to forgive and love her unconditionally. That is something I have come to terms with. However, by doing so, I am happy. I love myself again. I can share that with others as a gift. That positive energy is contagious and inspiring. Regardless of the outcome of my own marriage, I know that I am a better person because of it. I have learned to master my feelings and treat others the way I would want to be treated dispite their actions. That is reward enough for the pain I endure.

 

Look within

ymrI understand your feelings and why they are there, Rosered. But turn your thoughts to yourself. What feelings are you struggling with. You noted, "I am much happier and more thankful when not with him, because he is depressed, fearful, and dishonest."

Your happiness is your own responsibility, not his. His depression, fear, and dishonesty should not affect your happiness if you believe that you are the one responsible for it regardless of if you are living with him or not. Again, happiness is a choice. You can choose to be unhappy when he does something you don't agree with, or you can choose to acknowledge it for what it is: A negative action that may or may not be related to ADHD symptoms. You can choose how to respond to it, by sharing your feelings in a positive way: "I feel hurt when you act that way because.....", and if his response is not positive, you can still choose how you feel and react to it.

It takes a tremendous amount of self control and you literally have to retrain yourself on how you interact with people. I know I did and I'm still learning. Looking at life this way completely changes your outlook on it and how you interact with everyone, not just your significant other. It teaches you a new level of love, compassion, and empathy. It teaches you to have more control of yourself and your feelings. It gives you power because you realize that you have the choice on how you feel and how you react. That alone brings a new sense of happiness and confidence that you have most likely not felt, at least in awhile.

Be happy! :)

I am inspired by what you

I am inspired by what you say, RoadtoRecovery.  But my husband does not communicate with me.  We're separated, and he doesn't call or email or respond to emails.  Me telling him "I feel xxx when" will draw a response either of nothing or "You're blaming me for your feelings."  

I actually don't know if forgiveness is necessary or relevant in our situation; my husband is never going to change and I cannot live with him as he is.  The shortest analogy I can make is that it's like living with a dead person.

 

Yes that makes sense

That is hard. I am in the same situation. My wife has not communicated with me for over two months. Yet, the feelings are still there aren't they? It's not just for them. It's for us. Making that decision, whether they know it or not, helps us heal. Helps us move on if that is what must happen. Otherwise, we will carry this baggage into future relationships. We have to let go for our own happiness and for the happiness of those around us. If you feel anything like I do, you need a big hug right about now, so sending *hugs* your way. :)

Love and fear

I am going through a similar anger phase.  I keep thinking about "conditioned response" psychology.  I have been conditioned to not trust, and to expect being let down - ready to pick up the slack.  I have been vigilant and responsible for the partnership that just wasn't there. I need to be "trained" to trust love again and to hope for and plan success and cooperation with others. I don't think I can do that to/for myself.  I need a counselor or a trusted love to relearn love and trust. Love is not hyper-vigilance. Hyper-vigilance is a fear response.  With love and peace there may come forgiveness.

Agreed

I would recommend the counselor over a trusted love. There is good reason for that. My personal relationships are mostly bias and don't look at my situation from an outside point of view. This can encourage more anger, etc, because the trusted love wants to also put the blame on the source instead of focusing on you. The counselor (if its a good one) will help you focus on you, which will get to the core of how to reinvent yourself.

I am working on this, too. I

I am working on this, too. I want to forgive my husband, but I can't forget what has happened. I'm afraid that if I don't keep it in my  mind, I'll forget and nothing will change. I don't want to ruminate, but especially when things are going well, I have to remind myself that it wasn't always like this. Both my husband and I tend to move on easily, but I think that has kept us making the same mistakes over and over. If you move on too quickly, it's easy to forget that there are real, ongoing issues that must be resolved in order for there to be long-term happiness. But you're right that resentment and anger really only hurt you.

A book I have found to be helpful is Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach, Ph.D. I am not Buddhist at all and have no desire to become one (I am a Christian), but I have found a lot of wisdom in this book to help me accept things in my life that cannot be changed which, interestingly, is giving me the strength to change the things that can be changed. It's also helped me have a lot more compassion for my husband and has helped me to separate my love for him from my desire for his approval. This has made me much happier. Another book I found helpful was Zen for Christians: A Beginner's Guide by Kim Boykin. Like the other book, this helped me accept the suffering that I have experienced and detach enough to have compassion for my husband, but especially for myself. Learning to be my own friend and treat myself with respect and compassion has helped me immensely as I try to love my husband. I hope this helps!

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing, Ladybug. Alot of resources that helped me were also based on those types of teachings. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It allows you to learn from and accept the past and identify it for what it is, the past. If we bring the past into every issue, it will only amplify it. We should not have to pay a lifetime for our mistakes and we should be expected to have setbacks. Acknowledging and identifying the setback means you and/or your spouse are making progress and provides an opportunity to work on the future positively. Since you are a Christian, the Serenity Prayer that I pray every morning can also be a big help. Even if just the first part:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference...