How I Found Forgiveness

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Today’s post is a response to The Red Dress Club prompt on forgiveness.

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I was 18 when I found out that I was pregnant. I was 18 and I was in a very unhealthy relationship . Throughout the pregnancy, he wanted to get married and I refused.

I knew that I couldn’t marry him. I knew that I shouldn’t marry him.

He was a liar. He was a cheater. He was abusive. He was a drug addict. He was manipulative, wrapping my entire family – my entire support system – around his little finger, turning them against me at the times when I needed them the most.

Don’t ask me why we dated to begin with – some 15-odd years later, I can’t recall a single positive thing about him. I was miserable for the majority of our relationship, and as hard as I tried during my pregnancy, I just couldn’t see myself being married to him for the rest of my life. I was an emotionally fragile person and I knew, without a doubt, that I would not survive a marriage to him.

Three weeks before my due date, he slept with a stripper at a local strip club. That was the last straw. I left and I never looked back. At that point, the viel over my family’s eyes had been lifted and they finally saw what a monster he had been. They welcomed me home with open arms and until I married three years later, they were 100% there for my daughter and I. Honestly? I would never have survived raising my daughter those years without them. I can’t even imagine what would have happened to us if it weren’t for them.

My daughter’s father continued to live his life as he had while we were dating. He was heavily involved with drugs. He lied to me, he lied to his family, he lied to our daughter. He did drugs in front of our daughter. When she visited him one summer and came down with the flu, he refused to buy medicine until I threatened to call his parents. He took our daughter to the bar and made her sit in the truck while he got drunk, then had her breathe into the court-mandated breathalyzer in his car. He told her vicious, horrible lies about my family. He rarely contacted her, unless it was almost time for a visit to his parents.

I hated him. I hated him with a passion so intense, so definite, that when he called, I cringed. I became angry when I heard his name. When my daughter spoke of him, I wanted to scream into a pillow.

Almost three years ago, this wretched man that I had hated for so long – he killed himself.

The first few days, I held strong to my hatred.

But as it turned out, he did have a soul. As much pain and suffering as he had inflicted onto me, our daughter and my family, it was nothing in comparison to what he had done to himself. As I walked into his memorial service, I was overcome with sympathy for his family. When I looked at the memory boards his sister and cousins made with his childhood photos, my sympathy transformed into empathy.

He was a human being. He was more than that monster that terrorized my family for all of those years. He was a person. A son, a brother, a friend, a cousin, a classmate, a coworker, a choir member – he was MORE than those horrible things he had done.

And I forgave him.

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Ouch.

    I was right there with you in hatred for this guy. Thinking “what a bastard!”

    And then I got to the end. And he became a person. And that makes things more complicated. And easier all at the same time.

    I think you communicated your feelings and the situation very well. I really identified with what you said.

    ~visiting from TRDC

  2. says

    Oh this post is so very raw and honest. You’ve led such a road, thank you for sharing so much of it! It’s so hard to let go of old hurts. I’m impressed that you were able to do that!

    It really struck me when you wrote about the memory boards. Everyone is someone’s baby.

    This can’t have been easy to write; I for one am so very glad that you got some of it down and out. I read and heard every word that you wrote!

  3. says

    This made me want to punch him. I felt the heat of your anger, repulsion. But I felt it lift when you said “it was nothing in comparison to what he had done to himself”. These people who abuse themselves, others, making everyone around them miserable? They were once beautiful babies, hopeful 5yo kids blowing bubbles, starry-eyed little kids who see adulthood as something mysterious and distant. So when they become these people, they are ruining their chances of being a loved husband, a cherished friend, a daddy that someone earnestly looks up to. I get all this from your post. Great job.
    Came from TRDC.

  4. The Imperfectionist says

    Wow! You’re a bigger person than I am. I don’t know him, but I hate him and what he did to you and your daughter. That’s a testament to your writing. Great job.

  5. says

    Wow. I’m amazed by your heart. You are truly a giving person. I’m with the previous poster–I’d hate him if it were me.

    I think you did a really nice job conveying both his wrongs and your feelings at the funeral.

    Visiting from TRDC.

  6. says

    Wow. I can’t believe what you and your daughter have been through! You are so strong!

    And I am humbled by your forgiveness of him! That inspires me to try to be a more forgiving person.

    Thank you for your kind comment and for sharing on my blog today! I’m glad we’re connected now!

  7. says

    I was ready to kick his ass. No. Really. And I’m not a violent person. But when he made your daughter blow in his breathalizer and then, I assume, drove home? I was ready to punch him.

    And then, somehow, in the end, you made me realize that he was someone who had people who loved him.

    I’m glad you were able to forgive him.

    One tiny concrit: You misspelled “veil” five paragraphs in.

  8. says

    Forgiveness is a hard thing, but when you do forgive you’re freeing yourself from all those emotions and opening yourself up to something better. I know it probably wasn’t easy but I’m glad you were able to forgive.

  9. says

    All that destructive behavior- drugs, alcohol, sleeping with skanks, destroying important relationships with his child and the mother of his child- it sounded like he hated himself and was a lost soul. I’m glad you didn’t sink with him, and have a much better life now (you are a sweet person and deserve that). I’m glad you were strong enough to break away. A lot of women don’t, and their children suffer for it. He was truly just lost.

  10. says

    This is tragic and very beautiful. I am sorry what all you and your daughter had to endure. I hear the familiar Forgiveness is not optional, but that is a difficult task for me as most people. I am glad that you found some peace in the end. We are all cut of the same cloth, some just stray so far from who they should have been as you had empathy for his family. I think you are a survivor and a strong and honorable woman. Just to finally find it to forgive after what you and your daughter had been through just amazes me and admire you!!

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