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I came upon a nice article and it made me think. Did you notice that elders are sometimes so full of anger? On the caregivers, world, situation, themselves. They can't let it go. Well, maybe they should?

Here is a nice article about how forgiveness can make late life sweeter.

blog.oup/2014/11/forgiveness-gerontology/
scienceclarified/Ga-He/Gerontology.html
abc.au/science/articles/2014/11/13/4127054.htm

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"Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." And we all have a whole lot of both, I imagine, debts and debtors. Forgiveness, to me, is very important, very valuable, and absolutely necessary to obtain peace of mind and heart. I agree with those who point out that forgiveness does not make us a doormat again for others to abuse. Forgiving our debtors results in greater personal power for the one choosing to forgive. Wonderful responses here to this issue!
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50sChild: Your heartfelt statement about forgiving one's sel brought to mind this quotation.

“Acceptance of oneself is . . . the acid test of . . . life. That I feed the beggar, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ— all these are . . . great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ.
But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all, the poorest of all beggars, the most impudent of all offenders . . . . that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I myself am the enemy who must be loved— what then?”
—Carl Jung, Psychological Reflections, 239.
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BTW, it is also easier for a person to forgive if they have not been hurt repeatedly and severely over a lifetime. That would more likely make the person withdraw so they wouldn't be hurt again.
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I don't think forgiveness is very complicated. I think about a puppy dog. Dogs are know for their forgiving spirits. They forgive their people so eagerly. Now sometimes the forgiveness does take some atonement. Maybe the person swatted the dog on the rear end. What a hurtful insult. And maybe later the person came back with an apology and a doggy treat to atone. All is well.

I guess the only thing we need to decide if we choose to forgive is whether some atonement is needed. For example, it is easier to forgive someone after they wreck into your car if they admit their guilt and pay for the damage done.

I wonder if we make forgiveness too complicated, would we ever get it done.
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Oh geez, I meant "ON my bathroom mirror" not "for my bathroom mirror. Sorry!
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Kerfuffle, I have printed your pithy wisdom about foregiveness for my bathroom mirror. How lovely. I have been thinking about Sherpard's question so much since he or she posted. Forgiveness seems to be its own living entity, re-shaped as time goes on. And re-shaped as understanding and awareness deepens. What has been so difficult for me is to recognize being wronged. I have had a tendancy to try to get into someone else's skin and see everything from their point of view. So was never sure if abuse was abuse or if I deserved it. This dynamic plays out with my now-deceased mother as feeling I betrayed her when I separated from her. I forgive her easily, but now am stuck with being unable to forgive myself. Because I could not meet her needs. And I saw how she, in her mind, sacrificed everything for us kids. And I couldn't return to her what she never had the security of knowing in her own childhood (she, too, was abused). I have worked through this for over four years, and still am raw as can be. If I tell myself that I deserved independence and to protect myself and my own family, then I hold her in my memory as a destructive force. Yet, I love my mother as most kids do, even those who were abused. To forgive myself would be putting myself and my own life above hers. And I often feel she had a greater need than I, and I betrayed her. It's a pain in my heart I cannot work out, though I read about this so much. I feel my Mom's death is like the death of my baby. Everyone's answers here have been so thoughtful. I come back to this thread throughout the day. Thank you.
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Forgiveness does not mean that the wrong done to you was or is alright. Forgiveness does not mean that such treatment will be tolerated in the future. Forgiveness does not mean that you will forget it ever happened. What forgiveness does mean is that you give up your right to get even, take revenge or pay back.
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Many years ago I realized that a lot of my own anger was based on self-pity and that I was enjoying wallowing in it. That took a lot of the fun out of it! Many people think that "forgiveness" means saying that "it's all right." No, that's not it at all. If it was really "all right" it wouldn't need forgiveness! It means that yes, it was not good but you are not going to allow it to destroy you. We also need to remember that we are not responsible for the final judgment on the situation--that's a higher pay grade than ours. There will be consequences if appropriate. Sometimes we have to call a halt to a relationship, sometimes we have to ask for the grace to deal with it. Often we are given a different way of looking at the situation. We usually don't have the power to want what we know is right--that is what philosophers call "moral freedom" and it requires not our own will power but sacrificing our own selfish will.
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I try to feel forgiveness, I just can't forget,if I could just forget the things she has done in my life,unfortunately I would have to have some kind of head injury that caused amnesia.With her living in my house I get a daily reminder of the past, I can't get away from it.She doesn't even have to say or do anything it's just the sight of her,the sound of her walker.I know this will sound horrible but at this point I don't think I will mind her developing dementia if it means she will one day look at me and not recognize me, I will be just a stranger that takes care of her,for some reason when I think about that I get a sense of freedom and I don't know why.
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I'm the opposite. I tend to hold grudges for a long long time. Hurt me badly, and I have a very very difficult time forgiving you. That was my downfall as a Christian. I didn't think I deserved to be called a Christian because I just cannot forgive.

When I found this site about 2 years ago, I was able to vent, purge the bitterness within. I thought I was ready to learn to forgive. I bought books, read articles online. And just cannot find it in me to complete those books. Like you, Jessie, I read this yesterday - over and over. Typed, erased, typed, erased, typed, erased. In the end, it remained unposted. Yes, forgiveness is for us - not our offenders. But obviously something is stopping me from learning to forgive. Or maybe I just don't know HOW to forgive. Reading books are one thing. I most likely would need therapy to learn the steps of how to forgive myself first, then to forgive those who hurt me.
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I go back and forth on this question. I know it is good to forgive. I have always been one who is quick to forgive. Someone can do me wrong, then be nice, and I'll put the resentments behind me. But then they do it again. Grrr. Am I dumb or what? Sometimes I think it would be better for me if I weren't so willing to forgive.
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Foregiveness seems to be a multi-bladed sword. Innocent forgiveness is the grace of allowing another's existence. Complex forgiveness adds in your own existence and consciousness. Sometimes it feels that that the transgressor did not give the same regard to you as you gave to them (ie, narcissistic relationship). That should not be judged as good or bad. It was, as needs dictated, and as manipulated was comfortable with manipulator. Natural bargaining. If you were duped somehow, as happens, then doesn't it mean that the person you are questioning gave you the gift of consciousness to ask if forgiveness is appropriate? Alice Miller, psychologist, would say never forgive. How could you forgive Hitler or a mother who abused you? But that said, she did confirm that as as one matures emotionally from abuse (may take decades), one should strive for understanding. Forgiveness or non-forgiveness don't matter. Understanding of how this affected you does matter. If the human race could strive for such understanding, we could be good for each other. You have an absolute right, and probably a need, to not forgive right now. But do allow yourself to take in any new insights that you might have in the future, that may violate your current needs. This is the unfairness of having taken on the pain of another person.
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I have picked up something from everyone of these Answers. I have always been a forgiving person and always will. BUT, I will never forget and will not allow myself to be trampled upon, degraded or abused by the one's I have forgiven. My Mother is so bitter than my Father died, and she wants to make everyone of her children pay for it. Newflash, he couldn't help it. His body was wore out from Agent Orange. I took the high road with my son's funeral. I included his Father in everything even though he wasn't there for my son the majority of his life. The Funeral Director told me that he had never witnessed such Dignity and Grace during the preparations, wake and funeral of a child from Divorced Parents. He told me that I set the bar for other's to follow because he had to intervene in some knock down, drag outs. Sad to me that people can't come together and bury a child in peace. I am thankful for this topic. Got to get a lot off my chest.
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Forgive Or Else. . . .
“There were admonitions about the self-destructiveness of not forgiving people . . . this usually doesn’t hurt other people as much as it hurts you. In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
—Anne Lamott, Small Victories, 2014, page 51.
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Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. When you forgive, you stop giving that person power over how you feel.
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I not sure I've truly forgiven, but I have reached peace. I still love my mom and I treat her as I would want to be treated, with patience, love,understanding. That's how I get through it. I know her time is short, my time could be short for that matter, so I choose to be respectful and caring and to make both our lives as good as they can be. I'm trying to live a gratitude life. She says she has no regrets...so we won't ever get that "I'm sorry" we wait for....but im okay with that now. I look forward and make sure my children feel the love and support everyday.
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I know all to well about anger and depression and how badly it affects yourself and those around you. It's a whole process that starts with feeling out of control. Life does not always go the way we would like it to and it's so easy to build resentments and take it out on yourself and and the ones closest to you. I finally realized that no one can control everything but you can ontrol how you choose to handle it. I think when your much older it's even harder to cope with change and even more loss of control, mix in some dementia that everyone talks about, and it's easy to understand how out of control your parent can be. After you make sense of it all, Forgiveness, I believe, is the final outcome of that whole process, God willing.
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It sure is easier if the offensive behavior is not going on constantly. During a breathing space of alone time and after coming down from caregiver frustration, hurt, etc, THEN I can remember: oh, I need to forgive. In the activities of friendship from others, time with God, and refueling my mind with other things, I can then come around to compassion, love, and forgiveness.

Understanding the elder's rage and frustrations as they progress to weaker stages helps the process of forgiveness. When I can feel that understanding I certainly feel more inner peace and release.
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There is no burden heavier to carry than a grudge
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Forgiveness is the best way to release YOUR anger, hostilities, etc. toward another and by doing so will give you inner peace. You can only change YOU!
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it's the only thing you can do, be it with parents or ex spouses, because if you don't the bitterness ruins the present for you. Forgiveness doesn't mean letting the perpetrator walk all over you, forgiveness is for YOU, your own self, not anyone else. When we're caring for a loved one (or not so loved one),I guess the thing is to do for YOU, so it makes YOU feel worthy, and from that standpoint what you do start to feel worthwhile and that makes a world of difference to what ever you are doing. I found that had to ask God for forgiveness, it didn't come from myself, but that's how I got to forgive all kinds of hurts - and believe me I have had a goodly few of those. Hope this helps someone
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