by Karen Langlotz-Pure Light, February 3, 2018
I’ve come the long way round with forgiveness. Is there a short one if you don’t know the path?
After believing all those years that Fred (stepdad) was the monster and mom a victim, I learned they were both victims, and mom, I love you mom, she wasn’t a great mom.
She was a product and a victim of the millennial old trap of my ancestors.
It’s all mixed up with abuse, abandonment, lack of self esteem, deep depression, security, denial, alcoholism, domestic abuse, drug addiction in the house, as well as severe trouble between Fred and my brother. Then there’s me. The youngest. Brother kept running away, sister got married when I was 7. I was alone.
For many years I wasn’t forgiving anyone. Out of high school to SF to excess. I was out of control. I was one of the kids where you die and come back and just pick up and keep going on the same path. Until, I didn’t. Until I changed my path, there wasn’t any hope of forgiving anyone.
I came to, after my heart was started by my sugar daddy, standing stark naked at my open door, with the gorgeous view of SF and the Bay and the East Bay hills, in a blackout screaming, get out, get out, get out of my house, to the man who supplied me coke. I came to. I moved back home to my sister’s shortly thereafter instead of dying. That’s when it all changed.
I fell in love, got pregnant on NY Eve 1982, and had my darling daughter in 1983. I started therapy after having my daughter. I did not want to screw her up. And, boy did I still need healing from incest wounds. I was explosive with anger; my one tool.
I thought It was a great time for healing; I had a stable life, i.e., married, and safe enough to start what I had initiated at 17 before I left home for Ca., because now I had support, a stable loving marriage that I could rely on for my whole life! Sigh.
My first interaction with a professional talking to me about forgiveness was in therapy. I went for two years, individual, group and career counselling. Towards the end of my therapy there, my therapist told me as I sobbed, I didn’t ever need to forgive Fred if I didn’t want to. Oh how I held that thought around me as a suit of self-righteous armour. Over time, it got too darn heavy in more ways than one.
There were years of fury, why do I have to forgive, they f-d up my life! Screw that. Many years the idea of it, a conversation about it, incensed me. I held onto my chain mail tightly, comforting myself.
My 30th year saw me arrive in CA. That was 1990, which started the most growth-filled decade, painful, expanding, lost, found, excruciating, exciting, adventurous, fun, love love love, deep hurts, community, support, newness, and California; it truly was the best and the worst decade.
When I started having horrendous nightmares-again in 1991-ish, I knew I was in serious need of help. I looked up therapists. Gabriella. I called her, as her answering machine played her greeting, I heard a cockatiel tweet, and I picked my therapist.
They were trying to kill me. Chasing me through houses as I ran terrified, as far as I could. They were going to get me. I was going to die. I needed help. I woke up heart pounding, scared to death. Over and over, with a nice variety of fear-filled nightmares.
I dove into recovery of all kinds. It’s like snakes in a can, a jack-in-the-box, hitting you over and over.
And then there were the inevitable workshops on forgiveness at conventions, that I avoided.
One year I attended a forgiveness workshop my friend was running, and I argued with him and walked out of the workshop, crying and angry. He was trying to explain how holding onto the resentments, the anger hurts us. I guess I was having none of that. I’ll keep my chain mail.
When did it change? I don’t know exactly when, but I became willing to become willing to forgive, between gritted teeth. That was the first step of action.
The process of forgiving Fred took decades; most of my life up until that time. It didn’t finish until after he died in 05 and he asked me a question through the most gifted medium I’ve ever had the honor of knowing and calling friend, Rev. Brenda Goodwin.
So then what happened? Slowly over time, through therapy, recovery from substances, I realized I didn’t want to be drinking that poison anymore. I wanted relief and I was willing to forgive.
I remember doing an inventory of people I resented, what they did to me, how it affected various aspects of life, and what was my part. I couldn’t work out my issues with Fred very well this way, though I kept on being willing and I knew the pain he suffered was soul crushing! I wished him health, happiness
I found a great counsellor in Boulder, very hip, very much into Tarot, art, I love her. She took me on a journey and I really didn’t think much would happen. Down the stairs to the door, open the door. I went in.
My counsellor helped me have a conversation with Fred. I remember I was a child. I felt I was authentically talking to him. I remember letting go of pain and understanding more. I can’t remember it exactly, but I was a child talking to him and there was healing and I forgave him. I FORGAVE HIM!
Years of prayer and meetings and therapy and arguments and yelling at GOD. I forgave him.
The last step was with Brenda. This will blow your mind. It does mine. You see after Fred died, I kept track of Fred. She wouldn’t even check for a while. When she did he was totally contained and she was gagging. It wasn’t pretty.
I would check in from time to time, and then Brenda said, he is asking for your mercy. I said, yes, of course he may have my mercy. It makes me cry to think about it. I only wish him healing.