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Personal Growth

When we hold on to resentments it festers and in turn others get hurt in the crossfire whether it's intentional or not. It closes the doors to growing as people, spiritually and emotionally.

To truly forgive, one must step outside of themselves and see things as a whole and not parts. Then one must look inward at themselves and take ownership of their own mistakes, rather than blaming others or their past. This is not such an easy task, which is why it is so difficult to forgive. It's so much easier to hold and focus on those pieces that hurt us so badly and/or to point blame.

Many that know of how I grew up and other things I have survived, sometimes find it hard to understand how I have forgiven. There was a time when I had not. I was angry and it affected everything in my life. It kept me from growing, because when I would step forward, the resentments would show themselves and I'd take a step backward. It affected how I treated others in general and it kept me from letting anyone in.

One day I was watching my oldest daughter when she was eight years old. I was 27 at the time. I noticed how she was reacting to situations and I saw she was learning from me in a negative way. It scared me and I took a look inward to try and fix myself and find out why I was the way I was. I realized that I was allowing my childhood or lack there of to control my future and define who I was as a person in a negative way.

No, I didn't do drugs, drink or abuse like my mother and I took pride in that. Though, I didn't realize the negative emotions that I was holding on to were affecting everyone that I loved.

So, after taking a look inside at what was holding me back, I took a look outside of myself to try and look at things as a whole. Then I began to see my mother and others who inflicted pain on me in a different light. It was then that the process of forgiveness began. Anger began to fade and I began to have compassion for those that hurt me in my childhood.

Healing came in more completeness when I sat down with my mother one day. Instead of lashing out judgement towards her, I gave her a hug and didn't let go. I told her that she was not perfect, but I love her despite those imperfections. I let her know of the positives that my growing up had. It made me a stronger person and by watching my mother go through things she went through, I learned compassion for others and it stopped me from doing some dangerous things in my adult life.

My mother sat and cried for a bit and then told me thank you. You see, she spent her whole life holding on to the pain of the abuse she suffered as a child and in turn she hurt herself and others around her. Then she was living with the guilt of her actions. So, by forgiving her, I was releasing her from that guilt and replacing it with love. It was the beginning of a healing for my mother and myself as well as our relationship.

True forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to do, but it is one necessarily for personal and spiritual growth. We must let go of the negative to really see the good around us.

RhombusInTheSquare RhombusInTheSquare 36-40, F 53 Responses Nov 18, 2012

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This really helped me thank you for sharing your experience

I soo love this.

Look how she turned out.

Then you'll love it too.

You do not always grow up to be like the people who grew you up.

Good points made...though I would argue that seeing the bigger picture sometimes still leads to the other person being in the wrong. And also, not everything can be forgiven.

In most cases if the aggrieved person cannot forgive they are burning up inside not the aggressor. So forgiveness works 2 ways. If someone killed my child i don't think I could ever forgive them. I would have to live with the consequences and added pain of unforgiveness.


Thanks for sharing this terra. As you've related here, the act of forgiveness is more important for the victim than the offender. Whether the offender repents or not, forgiveness for the victim is about releasing all of the hurts from themself and from the offender. It's about saying "yes these bad things happened to me but I will no longer let those things have control over my thoughts and actions".

lt`s often the case that people who were themselves hurt and abused in their own childhoods then carry that over to their own children, a sad but true fact. You did a wonderful thing by A, recognising the negative effect you were having on your daughter, and B, deciding to change, and then confronting your mum like that and forgiving her, but showing understanding too, of her situation and how it affected her relationship with you.
l think you`ve both grown, and will continue to grow from that experience and your relationship now will be a much better and loving one.

I'm working on forgiving my mom and brother but I'm not there just yet. I'd like acknowledgment of the larger injuries and closure but my mom's frankly not interested she's more of an ostrich or sweep it under the rug and ignore it person and my brother has a rather interesting lack of memory regarding his actions. It seems I'm the only non ostrich of the bunch and I get pressured to play nice with the family. I am polite but they get no emotion of any depth from me and I don't trust them. I don't mind not having a relationship with them but now that I realize how much they affected me years later I want to stop the cycle. Sadly my kids have suffered from my choices. I'm coming to terms with the fact it's unlikely my mom will ever allow the conversation I desire and I am going to try writing a letter to her as I've heard that can be helpful even if i don't give it to her. I started a conversation with my brother a year ago and he mocked me; I haven't spoken to him since which isn't really exceptional as we go years without speaking but it certainly wasn't encouraging. I'm trying to figure out how to forgive injuries that the other party wont even acknowledge. Any ideas?

Sometimes writing helps. It may seem odd, but sometimes what I do is write a letter, bury it and plant something over it. I'm Pagan, so to me this symbolizes giving it to the mother goddess. Having something grow over it is symbolic to me of a new beginning.

This does not have to be Pagan either. My mother was suggested to do the same, except she burned her letters. Like you, her abusers never admitted their side. When she spoke up, she received death threats from her brothers.

We can not change others. We can only change ourselves. Sometimes when our perceptions change, others appear to change around us, when in truth it was us that changed.

Also, the fact that you recognize the cycle and how it affected your kids, you can do your part to help your kids heal, unlike what your mother is doing for you. Maybe think of what you would have liked from your own mother and give that to your kids, whether it is verbal recognition of your mistakes and amends or just the love you deserved.

Yours is a very difficult situation, that MIGHT change with time, things often do!
l had a similar situation as yours, with the difference that my mum and l were always very close, but l always felt she took my brothers side, and l think he played on that fact.
Iam 65 now, he is 58, and things have got quite a bit better recently. l tend to see my mother on my own, but still pop in and see them both about once a week, and we haven`t ( my brother and l ) really argued much for the past couple of years, which is good for the whole family.
Although one never forgets past hurts, it does no good at all to dwell on them, so now l concentrate very much on the present, and things that l will make happen in the future, and my mother and brother are part of this too.
l try to regard ALL experiences as good, even if the experience itself wasn`t good, it`s still good in itself, as it`s only through ALL our experiences that we grow and develope, both as human and spiritual beings, so although l regret some things that happened, l also acknowledge that if they hadn`t happened what sort of person would l be now, but all in all l am content with the person l am now, and what l have achieved, emotionally and spiritually.
Key is; always move forward, remember the past but don`t go back there, and ALWAYS live in the " now"

I truly believe that Christ forgives all because he knows each and everyone of us so well that he understands from the word go what is happening. Awareness is crucial. Everything is a process do not expect miracles straight away. Be cautious but love. Do not become what he is. An ignorant person is expected to be ignorant and knowing this our anger diminishes. So trying to understand outside the box will lessen our anger and teaches us to love. Showing love is the only way to teach a person what love is.

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Addictions will destroy every path before us, what many do not realize addictions are caused from following the same path and sticking to the same thought over and over. Sometimes these addictions are truly fantastic, spiritual and mind developing. What many do not understand addictions develop from injuries to our brain. In which we allow to grow out of control, this includes sexual disturbances, sexual relationships with others while in marriage, and thinking no one loves you. None of this is right and it slowly will destroy the spouse and all love for one another. What I have found is praying alone and with others will become the best medicine any doctor can prescribe. My prayers are for you and the world. Robert

Thank you for sharing. Compassion and love are amazing when you are able to forgive.

"Forgiving the wrongs that others have done to us" is one of very few conditions that show our priority to the requirements of the Kingdom of God in return for which opportunities will knock on our own door. God bless you! (Matt. 6: 9-14, 33)

Thank You for posting this. Your story is similar to mine. The lack of love, abuse I went through in my childhood, has affected my relationships. I've been hard, not being loved or feeling it led me down a dark road, and I stayed on that dark path until recently, when someone managed to "get in" and changed me, and has led to me finally coming to terms with the past. I just pray this person who changed me, will forgive me, and will allow the hurts to heal and let the friendship/relationship grow and move forward.

I hope that things smooth out for you, so that your relationship can heal.

Thank you for posting this. You have inspired me with this wonderful story.

Thanks :)

Wow I felt like I was reading my thought-life's story in the first part.

Amen, a truer word has never been spoken


Thank you, that was a lovely post. I understand when you say it is very difficult - I have been trying to exorcise my demons through forgiveness and I really want to let go but I've been angry / upset for so long it seems to be a part of me now. :-(

If you can see it, then you can change it. Sometimes it can be difficult, but it's well worth the journey.

Dear Affinity,

Yes, you are right. Your observations remind me that anger is one of the Seven Deadly Sins; it isn't just a violation of some ethical law but infects the soul in its deepest parts, predisposing the sinner to hurt others and thereby go on committing sins. On rare occasions, it may be appropriate to express anger to show others how you judge particular deeds, to make it clear to them that those deeds merit condemnation. I call that righteous anger. But you should never allow anger to reside in you. For your own sake if for no one else, return as soon as possible to peaceful, more affectionate states of mind in which you can enjoy yourself and extend goodwill to others. That is true.

Dear Affinity,

Yes, you are right. Your observations remind me that anger is one of the Seven Deadly Sins; it isn't just a violation of some ethical law but infects the soul in its deepest parts, predisposing the sinner to hurt others and thereby go on committing sins. On rare occasions, it may be appropriate to express anger to show others how you judge particular deeds, to make it clear to them that those deeds merit condemnation. I call that righteous anger. But you should never allow anger to reside in you. For your own sake if for no one else, return as soon as possible to peaceful, more affectionate states of mind in which you can enjoy yourself and extend goodwill to others. That is true.

forgiving is the best thing you can give yourself after a traumatic experience... It may not be as easy but once you've learned to forgive.. you'll be able to get past your horrible experience and move on to the next chapter of your life

Yes, a wonderful read affinity, as Joey said. Some shy away from forgiveness as they believe it can make them seem weak. I see it as the opposite, and it is an important way to achieve real personal growth.

I agree, it is more a sign of strength, because it is a difficult task to achieve.

Thanks Bliss

This was a wonderful read. :)

Thanks :)

But vulnerable people can be manipulated by psychopaths into forgiving... Be careful! don't become repeating victims!

Forgiveness, does not mean to just be a doormat for them to repeat the harm. It just means that we are not allowing the negativity ruled by resentment to run our lives. We should still learn from it and not repeat the cycle.

When a person forgives does what is not natural for a body that kills life to do. They allow the unseen light of God in by resisting the impulses to do what a flesh, and blood body finds easy to do. The forgiving person allows the unseen light of God in healing their soul. They in turn heal souls around them.

I guess you could say it's a cleaning of the spirit, because when we allow negativity to take over our lives and hold on to resentment, it affects all other aspects of our lives.

Thank you for the comment.

GREAT post! What most people don't understand is that by offering genuine forgiveness to someone who has let us down on any number of levels, that it allows us to move forward in our lives by taking control of our life back and not allowing the person who let us down remain in control. <br />
<br />
By forgiving someone, it doesn't mean that what they did was right or acceptable, but we have to put what that person did into a different perspective, just as you did, so congrats. We all do the best that we know how to do or are capable of doing at any given time. From what you described, your mom didn't know how to do things differently. <br />
<br />
It wasn't "personal" against you and it didn't mean that she didn't love you. Quite the contrary! This is why when we experience trauma at an early age, that we take the professional steps necessary to work through those issues so that the abuse cycle ends. Your mom didn't take those steps for whatever her reasons were. Perhaps embarrassment?<br />
<br />
There are also people out there who have done things which they deeply regret, who never ask for forgiveness, only because they don't feel they deserve to be forgiven - they don't feel worthy, and I think that may have been true in your mother's case. I'm glad that you were able to start the mending process with your mom, and I hope that many others read your post and take something from it! <br />
<br />
You're certainly on your way to spiritual enlightenment!<br />
<br />
Bob McDowell, MS, BCETS

My mother was too unstable emotionally to perform as a mother should. So, it didn't have anything to do with embarrassment. Though, in her defense, she did accept responsibility for her actions and make amends after I approached her that day that I wrote about in my story. It was as if I removed the wall between us and she was more comfortable to do so.

I think my mother was one of those in the latter part of your comment. She was badly abused and was taught that she was worthless, so she had difficulty forgiving herself and didn't think she deserved it.

Thanks for your comment. :)

We forgive people who hurt you once or twice, but no those who causes continuous harm to you or family. Someone will never learn from their mistakes and will forever manipulate people and cause damage to them.

Forgiveness does not mean rolling over and allowing them to repeat the harm. We are removing the negativity from our lives, due to the resentment, so that we can heal. We should still learn from what happened and not repeat the cycle.

I wishI could have gotten that far with my mother. I agree with what you said, absolutely. But whenever I tried giving my mother a hug she would pull away and accuse me of wanting to "get" something from her. But that didn't stop me from learning to give and receive hugs, the deep message of your essay. Thank you for posting this.

I think the hardest thing is when we finely are willing to let go and forgive and the other person does not want to move forward, such as your mothers case. I was lucky, my mother wanted it and I think that made it easier for me.

I'm glad that you did not choose to repeat the cycle, by being afraid of touch.

What you say is so true, even though at times you want to lash out to do harm to the lost souls whom have hurt my family and myself. I just received devastating news on a business venture that has gone sour due to a individuals greed. We have signed a million dollar plus lease for the next ten years and the landlord has made it almost impossible for us to succeed and meet the numbers we need to make to be successful. Every person professional and friends who knows about the situation, the first words are sue you have a great case. I have taken pride in being in a industry for over 40 yrs where law suits are common place, yet I have never been in a court room in my life. Yet when you total up all the unpaid debt I have accumulated over the years it is well over a quarter of a million dollars. My father always told me live and learn, pray for those souls that are not as intelligent of the laws of the universe as you. When you sue someone they are now bringing you down to their level of slow negative vibration. Hopefully I can continue on this path and as a family pray for this individual and that he can find himself on a path of enlightment rather than negativity so this planet/universe will be a better place to inhabit. Thank you for posting that, it came at a crucial point

That is very true.


first thank you for telling this fact of life you are right and there is no way anyone will miss understand what you are saying because you said it right and for some people reading this will be like the sun light shining through those dark cloud's ,,,, i guess forgiveness is in us all ,, we just have to take that step :)


The bit about your daughter was worth reading.

Isn't it funny how life gives you what you need to hear when you need to hear it. Thank-you for sharing this ... currently I am processing hurts that have resulted from patterns past down between mother and child. I feel sad that these injuries occurred and the loss of connection and love that has followed. My dilemma is how to resolve the conflict that occurs between my mother and myself. Blame certainly hasn't helped, is it possible that true forgiveness will bring me the peace I so dearly strive for? Yes I am coming closer to that space where I recognise the most compassionate step to take is to accept that my mother is not perfect, I am not perfect ... it is better to grasp hold of the idea the she is worthy of my forgiveness and compassion. I pray that I may promptly forgive her the next time conflict occurs and that I will have the fortitude to not make it all about me. Blessings to you on your journey, thank you again for sharing

You cannot say it any better than you did!!!! As one speaking from having to forgive you have to do it with your whole heart or else it just won't work but when you do there is such freedom, because it isn't about you anymore and you can move on. Bitterness holds us back and stops us from growing as an individual as well as it completley affects those around you, and sometimes we can't see it til it's too late. My children where affected from it and I still see it in them as adults. I believe when you hugged your mom you brought freedom to her to a degree as well. You have an awesome and beautiful out look as well as you caught it in time that you can now do damage control (so to speak) with your family and those around you!!

I hav forgiven and lived to regret it. I guess I forgive and try to forget instead of just forgiving. I've been re hurt, sometimes over and over by the same people for being so forgiving. Now I carry tons of resentment, which I also know does me no good. the answer is to stay away from bad people, which in turn keeps me away from all people because I dont trust anybody. I only have the azholz who have betrayed me to thank for where I am today. Woe is me, eh ?

Life is in you no matter what. You are surrounded by people acting like self righteous pharisees.

Beautiful and true. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope to one day, very soon, reach that level of growth!

Beautiful,unless one has forgiven it is hard to understand what forgiving can to.It frees one from all the mess that has been created."If one can't forgive they are breaking the bridge on which they have to cross"and that sums up.Thank you for the post.

Touching story. Thanks for sharing.

...thank you for sharing...!

Thank you for this... I have hated for years...


<3 Love one another!

May i recomemend some great books
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I agree with most of what you say here and all of it is very beautifully written. However there are some things that some people just cant forgive. Like there are a couple of things i will just not forgive my father for. But I have been able to find peace even with that through my spiritual side. I let it go and gave it to my Goddess to deal with. Told Her its just too much to forgive and can You handle it for me. Though he is not perfect and we still clash every once in a while he is tremendously better than he used to be and we are staring to get along much better.

There is a quote that I like, "We change and the world changes with us." Sometimes when our perceptions change and we grow as people, others are seen in a different light.

Very true. I once heard that we don't forgive to release the other person. We do it to unburden ourselves. Here is a quote I like.

"Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim--letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” ~ C.R. Strahan

If you get cable TV, they have a new show on the GMC channel called "I Forgive You". Here is the link.

Interesting link.....thanks. Like the quote as well.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I have always viewed forgiveness as being about "understanding". One can call "understanding" a different perspective, but the reality is there can be many perspectives but only one truth.

We cannot forgive those we do not truly understand. We can only let go of our pain, anger and irritation when we do. Are not our greatest problems, conflicts and hatreds in this world mostly a result of our inability to grasp the truth and/or a lack of our interest in doing so? The truth (understanding) will set you free, but so many people hang onto their "beliefs" and what they would rather "accept as real" rather than embrace true understanding that forgiveness and moving forward is impossible.

Beautifully written Affinity. This made me tear up this morning. For me, it has become so easy to quickly forgive people because it takes so much megative energy to stay angry. I hate how toxic it becomes when you hold on to it. What I struggle with is being as quick to forgive myself. Im constantly telling myself that I should have been smarter in how I handled it. You are an incredible person to seeing the pattern and not allowing it to continue on in your kids.

So long as you are doing so to keep out the negative stuff and not being a doormat, then I don't think that forgiving easily is such a bad thing. It's when we forgive and continue to accept unacceptable behavior, when it's not so good. Forgiving doesn't mean that we have to lay down and take it over and over. There needs to be a balance. I forgive, but I remember the lesson in it most of the time anyhow.

This is so true and so very important.

Thank you :)

What a TOTALLY beautiful post to start the day with..... Thanks Affinity for taking the time to share it.... hugs...

Hugs and hugs back at ya.

Thankyou for sharing this.

Your welcome.

Wise and helpful experience. I am not ready to forgive but I hope I can in the future.

We all have our own time table.

I can't forgive...But I understand that it wasn't about me, also.
That the pain gets passed for generations, and that what my dad did to me was what was done to him, and he succumbed to the compulsion to become the victimizer.
I am getting better.
As long as my dad stays away from me, I don't think about stabbing him, shooting him, or beating him to death.

I hope you find the healing you need and deserve.

But the years are gone. Were I healed 100% tomorrow...
...Years that other people spent having children, making a success of their life? Those years are gone for me, I spent them trying to heal damage. I will be physically and mentally ill as long as I live...which likely will not be as long.
...I can say "that's my problem now." I can own it. It is my problem, regardless of who caused it.
Letting go of him helps me. But I can't see that forgiving him helps me.

I am especially sad that I chose not to have a child; I did it because I did not trust myself not to turn into my father...
On bad days I look, I see him in the mirror, and I want to claw my skin off.

I watched my mother go through this and understand that some things are easier to forgive than others. I understand you. My mother did not really start letting go of the resentment until she was in her 50's and her father was dead for almost 20 years. She was a survivor of ritual rape and ******. Maybe that is also why it was easier to forgive my mother for my very imperfect childhood.

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I am glad you were able to find peace and move on. Essentially ending the chain of trauma that went back generations.

Me too. I hope the chain is goes back generations.

Thanks for sharing this AT

Affinity...thank you so much for this....I cant express how much I relate to this post...but I can take a lot away from reading this...and I appreciate that you shared it!

thanks :)

What you have done here takes such strength and wisdom that I struggle to comprehend the amount of both necessary. Its so much easier to hold onto to the negative. I grew up with people who nurture each grudge, keep it safe and warm and fed. What is described here makes so much sense but....

As you know, I have the utmost respect for you, your strength and wisdom. This post reinforces why.

Well, in the mess of things some how you learned compassion for others. I still think your pretty awesome, even if you hold a few grudges.