Why it is so hard to forgive

Andrew Sullivan blogged the other day about the difficulty of forgiveness by posting this comment:

When Greg Bottoms’ older brother was 25, he tried to burn down his family’s house when his family was inside. After fifteen years in a prison psychiatric treatment facility, the brother tried to contact the family:

I told the social worker I could not speak to him, nor could my mother, who is in her 60s now, living a peaceful life after many years of a damn difficult one. Call me cold, but our problem—his problem, but ours by extension—is intractable. I wish I could offer some kind of easy prescription here—something to do with politics and policy, with therapeutic philosophies or biochemical treatment protocols. But the mystery of mental anguish, of the mind on the outs with itself, of a version of hell made manifest in a suburban living room, is the one thing in my life that has brought me to the point where my only option seemed to be to pray. To reengage my brother would be suicidal. What choice do I have? The past comes flooding back. I cut him loose to survive.

It has taken me a couple of days to think about this but the very idea of forgiveness in a number of areas os very difficult for me.

I have been aware for a number of months that a former business partner, one who went bankrupt rather than face the creditors, has been operating a business up the road from me. It has taken me nearly seven years to get to the point where this prick doesn’t enter my thoughts…and then I see him near my local takeaway, near the local dairy…I don’t think I can adequate explain the turmoil in my life this has caused. For the first time in a long time I had panic attacks. I was crossing the road on my walks rather than darken the door of his business with my shadow. I stopped going to the shops. This prick was back in my life.

He has always been lurking there, I am constantly contacted by former business partners who have likewise been ripped off by him. Dealing with even remembering him has been a struggle. The wreckage he leaves behind him is phenomenal. He is like a succubus for good credit. He finds a victim, uses their credit record, then moves on to another victim.

I’m not sure it is him I can’t forgive or me for falling for his bullshit for so long. Falling for the lies and the crap and the mental manipulations that caused in a large part my collapse and ensuing health issues. For some reason I simply can’t forgive…either him or me and it burns that this is the case.

Well the other day I saw locksmiths at the store…I was nosy…I waited until the store appeared closed…I looked in the window, my heart was pounding…this was difficult…I could feel a panic attack coming.

Then I heard a man speak to me…he was explaining through the fog and mist of my tunnel vision that he had taken back his business, he had kicked out the arsehole and was now doing a stock-take and should be open again soon. I crawled out of the darkness and asked him about his experience, I related my experience and the tactics and bullshit and it was all the same. Luckily for this guy he had been keeping an eye on things from across the road. He hasn’t lost anything. He was relieved though to know that he wasn’t the only one taken for a ride by this prick…you could see it in his face as he realised he wasn’t alone. And it was during my talks with him that I started to see that I could forgive myself, that it wasn’t all my fault, that others too had been taken in by this fraudster…for the first time I felt I could at least forgive myself.

I have worked out that forgiveness isn’t for them it is for me.

I don’t think I will ever forgive Paul Staples though. Ever.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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