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User Topic: Agnostic/Atheist Support Group
Althea
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Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 1:19 PM, May 4th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Admittedly, I haven't read through this whole thread; so I apologize in advance if this a frequent topic; but WH and I are struggling a bit with the idea if spirituality without religion. We are both agnostic-ish. I guess I keep thinking that if I find the "right" religion for me, I could be a believer. Still, the most spiritual experiences of my life have been in nature (e.g, hiking through the Sierras, or sitting silently in an open field). That feeling of being centered and part of something bigger at the same time. I don't think religion has a the monopoly on goodness or morality and believe myself to be a moral and good person in the absence of religion.

This has been good enough for me for a long time; but lately as I am in recovery from shame and a highly dysfunctional past, I am questioning again this idea of spirituality without religion. It is a required step in healing for various recovery programs, and I understand the necessity of believing and putting your faith in something other than yourself, I'm just not sure how.

Is anyone else struggling with or working successfully through this?


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
scaredyKat
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Member # 25560
Default  Posted: 1:38 PM, May 4th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Many in recovery use the words "good orderly direction" as their higher power.

There are also 12steps written from a secular POV on the first page in the Spouses of Sex Addicts forum.


Me-BS-60
HIM-SAFWH-63
Damn autocorrect is responsible for the silly errors, sorry!

Posts: 3670 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: In my head
Althea
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Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 2:40 PM, May 4th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks scaredyKat, I will check it out.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
Maxiom
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Member # 26001
Default  Posted: 1:55 PM, May 5th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Is forgiveness really a religious thing

I just had to highlight this. I wonder this myself. I personally think forgiveness is highly overrated. I understand where those from both the theistic background and from the atheistic background think this is somehow necessary for ones own healing. Even in the case of the most heinous crimes. However, i do not think forgiveness is necessary.

I have not nor will i ever forgive the doctor whose sheer laziness and negligence left my cousin in a vegetative state until his death at the very young age of 25. He doesn't deserve it.. and if I were to forgive, I feel I would be doing my cousin's memory a disservice.

However, that doesn't mean i haven't let it go. My blood doesn't boil over like it used to just thinking of it, but i could actually be in the same room with this guy. I wouldn't shake his hand, but neither would I punch him. No matter how much that narcissistic waste of flesh would deserve it.

That's not to say I couldn't forgive anyone. There are usually mitigating factors, and a good deal of remorse from the person who has wronged me or my family would help, but i simply don't feel compelled under any circumstance to truly forgive. I actually feel this forced forgiveness is a detriment to ones healing. We're almost told to hurry up and get it over with yet I feel its far better to allow the anger to works its way through at its own pace... and by the time we are truly willing to let it go.. we realize that forgiveness wasn't required in the first place.


Me: FBS/WS 41
Her FWS/BS 41
My DDay - March 10, 2007 Whole Truth - May 2007
Her DDay - March 2, 2011
True NC March 3, 2011

Posts: 462 | Registered: Oct 2009 | From: Canada
Razor
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Member # 16345
Default  Posted: 2:09 PM, May 5th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

That's not to say I couldn't forgive anyone. There are usually mitigating factors, and a good deal of remorse from the person who has wronged me or my family would help, but i simply don't feel compelled under any circumstance to truly forgive. I actually feel this forced forgiveness is a detriment to ones healing. We're almost told to hurry up and get it over with yet I feel its far better to allow the anger to works its way through at its own pace... and by the time we are truly willing to let it go.. we realize that forgiveness wasn't required in the first place.

IMO forgiveness must be EARNED if it is to be had at all. Otherwise quick and blanket forgiveness seems as if it would just give the offender permission to act out again. If there is no consequence and what ever is done is just forgiven and forgotten. Then why not do it again?

Anger and resentment exist in us because they served a evolutionary purpose. In other words these emotions helped our primitive selves survive in a hostile world. I believe the world had not changed that much since then. Civilization is just a veneer finish over the base hostility that still lurks beneath the surface of us all.

Without anger and resentment we set ourselves up to be future victims. And until my WW shows real remorse and really works to win me back, I will still feel those emotions. And I make no apologies about that.

[This message edited by Razor at 2:09 PM, May 5th (Monday)]


Forgive and forget = Relive and regret.

Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.
Friedrich Nietzsche


Posts: 3483 | Registered: Sep 2007
LosferWords
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Member # 30369
Default  Posted: 2:15 PM, May 5th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Forgiveness is a choice. On the flip side, there is a lot to be said about choosing NOT to forgive. I was able to let go of a lot of things that were really eating me up inside when I actively decided to never forgive OM. Choosing not to forgive was my only shot at getting to the point of indifference with him. Choosing not to forgive is highly underrated, IMHO.

Posts: 7562 | Registered: Dec 2010
nekorb
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Member # 40306
Default  Posted: 3:44 PM, May 5th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Interesting thoughts about forgiveness.

Do you think forgiving equals being willing to have that person in your life again?

How do you forgive someone who hasn't asked for it?

Do you think forgiving and letting go are two separate issues?

I'm having a really hard time with the idea of not being angry to the core of my being right now. My adult child laid on my bed and sobbed last night because her dad "has just ruined everything". She is mourning weddings and how she thought things would be with her kids and us as grandparents etc.

For me, I think the critical missing piece is my WH's remorse. He has none that I've seen and I never even saw him shed a tear about ripping our family apart until the night we told the kids.

I JUST DONT GET IT.


Me: BS 44; Him: WH 47 aka CAT- colossal asshat; Married 22 years
D-day: July 17, 2013, with TT to follow
D filed July 16, 2014, 363 days later than I should have
Psalms 27:14
Wait for The Lord; be strong and take heart. Wait for the Lord.

Posts: 1838 | Registered: Aug 2013
scaredyKat
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Member # 25560
Default  Posted: 4:26 PM, May 5th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Yeah, well, I don't forgive, but I've learned to live with the whole reality. I've never believed in the whole redemption thing even when I did think I was a christian. Nor do I think it's necessary for reconciliation.

Nekorb. You call your daughter an adult and yet she clearly is not. She is so young. And, of course heartbroken. I guess you have to be the adult here and tell her the new truth. Things WON'T be the way she pictured them, but you will do your very best to make the new reality just as beautiful or better than what she envisioned. I know that isn't what you are really feeling, but, as parents, we too often have to sugar coat things for our kids.

Hugs to you and your babies. You have evolved to such a compassionate and strong woman through this nastiness. You will get through this, too.


Me-BS-60
HIM-SAFWH-63
Damn autocorrect is responsible for the silly errors, sorry!

Posts: 3670 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: In my head
LosferWords
♂ Guide
Member # 30369
Default  Posted: 8:19 PM, May 5th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

(((nekorb and kids)))

Do you think forgiving equals being willing to have that person in your life again?

I think it is different for everybody, so I can only speak on my behalf. For me, having that person in my life is a big part of it. In my case I view forgiveness as an act, versus a final destination or disposition. The fact that I am still here every day is an act of forgiveness... the fact that I continue to tell my wife that I love her is an act of forgiveness. The way that I see it in my head and in my heart, that doesn't mean that she is "forgiven". I don't know if I'll ever get to that stage. It's more of a day to day thing that are reflected by my actions, and by how I feel in my heart.

How do you forgive someone who hasn't asked for it?

Janis Spring addressed this in her book, but to be honest I kind of skimmed through those chapters, because they didn't really apply to me. I do remember her talking about examples of people forgiving their dead parents, etc. That's a tough question. My wife hasn't asked for forgiveness... but she is remorseful and doesn't expect it. It is a totally different scenario when someone has wronged you and is not remorseful. I don't know if I would be willing to forgive in that situation. Probably not.

Do you think forgiving and letting go are two separate issues?

For me, I think they are two separate issues. For me, the "letting go" is more of an acceptance of things that I can't change or control.

You have every right to be angry to the core, nekorb. In fact, I think it would be highly dangerous and unhealthy for you to try to bottle that anger up or sweep it under the rug. That anger doesn't go away if you try to do that. It is still there, and causing you damage. Let it out. For me it was talking about it, talking about it, and talking about it.

I am sorry you are hurting, and that your daughter is hurting too. Hang in there... keep talking and posting out here on SI in whatever forums you are comfortable posting in. We're here for you.


Posts: 7562 | Registered: Dec 2010
Ascendant
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Member # 38303
Default  Posted: 9:04 PM, May 5th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Timely subject, forgiveness.

I posted in another thread (I believe) that forgiveness is something that I've never done consciously. Meaning that never once have I said to myself, "Ok, now I am going to forgive [person] for [transgression]" during the entire course of my life. I don't even know what that means, or how it manifest itself IRL.

(It should be known, however, that I've been accused of being vindictive by people and/or personality tests. FYI.)

When I've forgiven people, it's been something that happened gradually, organically. It just happened with enough time and emotional distance from the hurt done against me.

Forgiveness, to me, is when the manner in which you hurt me is no longer the first thing I associate with you when I think of you....and I don't think it's possible to train the brain to do that. It's just something that happens with enough time...new memories begin to take prominence over older ones, because they play a more active role in your (day-to-day) life.

I just finished a book entitled "Getting Even: Forgiveness and Its Limits". It sounds like a written rationale for vengeance, but it's really not. However, as a person with strong vengeful feelings it is a very affirming book, because it's very validating of 'vindictive passions' in general. A brief synopsis:

Even as we rightly preach the virtues of forgiveness, we should recognize that victims deserve to have their vindictive passions respected and to some degree validated. Even if these passions should not be the last word, they have a legitimate claim to be the first word. Even when they should not control, they should be listened to with respect instead of met with pious sermons and sentimental, dismissive cliches. We may grant that the vindictive passions represent a darkness within us that we hope ultimately to drive away.

This darkness sometimes gives a hit of initial relief, however, as it partially shields us from the painfully intrusive light cast into our souls when we are deeply wronged by our fellow human beings-a light that shatters our innocence by illuminating our fragility, our vulnerability, our openness to suffering and betrayal.


Some crimes never probably never deserve forgiveness, and some criminals (moral or otherwise) are never repentant enough to earn forgiveness.


I keep my mind on my future/and my eyes on the sky/I don't really smile much/If you were there you'd know why.

Posts: 2175 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: City in the Midwest/Best In The Whole Wide World
nekorb
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Member # 40306
Default  Posted: 9:15 PM, May 5th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks for the thoughts and ideas.

sK - you're right, she is still a kid...but being forced to grow up really quickly through this process. She really has a good head on her shoulders. I'm so thankful for that. I do tell the kids that we are going to be ok. I have no idea what that means, but I will make it true!

She got baptized at her church at college a few weeks ago. That was hard for me - really triggery with all the past abuse issues I have and the atmosphere and whatnot. I got through it though. It made her happy and I'm ok with her finding her own way...I just worry that it was a knee jerk reaction to feeling the need to belong somewhere...but, it will be ok.

I'm going to keep pondering the forgiveness thing.

Thanks everyone.


Me: BS 44; Him: WH 47 aka CAT- colossal asshat; Married 22 years
D-day: July 17, 2013, with TT to follow
D filed July 16, 2014, 363 days later than I should have
Psalms 27:14
Wait for The Lord; be strong and take heart. Wait for the Lord.

Posts: 1838 | Registered: Aug 2013
Althea
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Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 12:49 PM, May 6th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Claudia Black says forgiveness is not forgetting, but remembering and letting go. I like that because it leaves room for being angry from time to time, remaining mindful of old dysfunctional patterns; but allows one to let go of the need to hold a grudge or have vengeance.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
Jrazz
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Member # 31349
Default  Posted: 1:43 PM, May 6th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Claudia Black says forgiveness is not forgetting, but remembering and letting go. I like that because it leaves room for being angry from time to time, remaining mindful of old dysfunctional patterns; but allows one to let go of the need to hold a grudge or have vengeance.

Love this.


Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it. - François-Marie Arouet

Posts: 17860 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: California
Ascendant
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Member # 38303
Default  Posted: 2:01 PM, May 6th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I agree (mostly) with the idea that Claudia Black presents there.

I've found that with me personally, once the forgiveness has taken place, I don't even really get angry from time to time; there's no longer any sting to the wound.

That being said, in the past I've usually been able to give myself some physical distance from the person who has hurt me for a period of months and/or years, and in my estimation that made the healing easier.

It could also explain why I'm having a rough go of it so far, re: the affair.

[This message edited by Ascendant at 2:01 PM, May 6th (Tuesday)]


I keep my mind on my future/and my eyes on the sky/I don't really smile much/If you were there you'd know why.

Posts: 2175 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: City in the Midwest/Best In The Whole Wide World
Maxiom
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Member # 26001
Default  Posted: 2:03 PM, May 6th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Claudia Black says forgiveness is not forgetting, but remembering and letting go. I like that because it leaves room for being angry from time to time, remaining mindful of old dysfunctional patterns; but allows one to let go of the need to hold a grudge or have vengeance.

A nice sentiment, but really I do firmly believe forgiveness and simply letting go are not necessarily the same thing. Again.. I can let go without forgiving. However, I do accept that this is now largely a semantic argument.


Me: FBS/WS 41
Her FWS/BS 41
My DDay - March 10, 2007 Whole Truth - May 2007
Her DDay - March 2, 2011
True NC March 3, 2011

Posts: 462 | Registered: Oct 2009 | From: Canada
Jrazz
♀ Guide
Member # 31349
Default  Posted: 2:11 PM, May 6th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I've found that with me personally, once the forgiveness has taken place, I don't even really get angry from time to time; there's no longer any sting to the wound.

I agree with that. It's not so much anger for me after forgiveness, but there's definitely a brief echo of the feelings. There was this girl that was AWFUL to me in middle school. We ran into each other as adults and I realized that I disliked her to the exact same degree as when we were 12 when I set eyes on her. She made it a point to come immediately over to me and apologize. She took complete ownership of her behavior even though we were "just kids" and said that she thought about it a lot and wished she could make it right. Forgiveness came as easily as an exhale there, and we are fb friends now and ping about our kids from time to time. Sometimes, when I see her picture I remember briefly the tears and frustration from years ago, and then it's gone and I'm grateful that she reached out to me so I could let that all go.


Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it. - François-Marie Arouet

Posts: 17860 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: California
Ascendant
♂ Member
Member # 38303
Default  Posted: 2:40 PM, May 6th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Exactly, Jrazz.

Similarly, when I was 18 years old a buddy of mine and I got an apartment together. It ended badly; I was giving him my half of the rent money in order to pay our landlord because I worked weird hours. Come to find out that he was pocketing the money/spending it on who-knows-what.

We got evicted. I got angry.

He avoided me for like 3 years, even moving to Canada for a little while. Gradually, eventually, the 'active' anger faded. At some point, forgiveness took place and I just missed my friend. I didn't forget it by any stretch of imagination...I just never put myself in a potentially-compromising position with him again. That whole period of my life is just a part of our narrative now; we've even talked and joked about it.

I think that one of the key differences between a damaged relationship with a friend versus a spouse is that with a friend it's easier to alter the terms of the relationship and feel fine about it. With my friend, I learned that we can be cool and get along just fine, but he is in no way dependable going forward....which I keep in mind now. If I count on him for something, it's on me, because I should know better.

With a spouse, we have all these socio-cultural expectations about how marriages work, re: emotional vulnerability and/or interdependence. I know Jrazz has spoken of it before (as have I), but for some of us a part of reconciling is determining whether we want to be that enmeshed with our spouses going forward.

The longer I'm involved with healthy/healing people, IC, and healing literature, the more I've come to believe that the way we (as in our Western culture) conceptualize marriage is super codependent.

I used to think of marriage as two people in one car on a long, long trip. Sometimes I'm the passenger and she's the driver; sometimes it's reversed. If one of us falls asleep at the wheel, we both crash.

I conceptualize it differently now: we're driving two separate cars, but we've agreed that we're heading to the same destination together. However, if she falls asleep at the wheel, or turns off the highway, or gets lost, it's up to her to get herself back on the right path.

Her misadventures, missteps, and mistakes do not derail my progress. Nor mine hers.


I keep my mind on my future/and my eyes on the sky/I don't really smile much/If you were there you'd know why.

Posts: 2175 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: City in the Midwest/Best In The Whole Wide World
h0peless
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Member # 36697
Default  Posted: 10:58 PM, May 21st (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So I tried to talk to my Mom about the whole penis in the face at church thing today. I got tears and the classic "I don't know what to tell you..." response. Obviously she isn't going to be very helpful with this and I can't seem to adequately process it on my own. Time to look into going to IC again. I might look for a secular therapist this time. I liked the one I went to before but she sometimes had trouble with framing things in a non-religious manner and I really don't want that angle to pop up with this problem.

Posts: 1736 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: Baja Arizona
nowiknow23
♀ Guide
Member # 33226
Default  Posted: 11:10 PM, May 21st (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

h0peless - I'm glad you're seeking support to work through this, and I'm so very sorry that your mom isn't able to help. Sending you strength.


You can call me NIK

"If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment."
- Carlos Santana


Posts: 25776 | Registered: Aug 2011
NoDoormat
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Member # 43529
Default  Posted: 11:53 AM, May 25th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If anybody sees this, I could use some encouragement. My marriage of 21 years is falling apart, and if one more person tells me that what is supposed to happen will happen, I will just tear out my hair.


Me: MH 38, Him: MH 40
For-real separation for 3 months now.

Posts: 82 | Registered: May 2014
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