I am 55 years old now, when I was 14 my dad made inappropriate suggestions to me, just those words devastated me, i told my mom, she didnt punish him, he died several years ago without saying “I’m sorry”, i have never been able to trust anyone, been married 3 times, I was a single mom,catered to my 2 sons now they have abandoned me, I have tried over and over to forgive, it’s been 5 years since my last divorce, i can’t seem to get over him, he’s definitely gone on with his life and i’m still crying about him,the only person I considered my “best friend”, my sister, got married and never spend time with me anymore, I woould support her in everything but as i go through this pain, she is not there for me, I’m so tired of the ‘pity parties”, i know it’s wrong, I want so much to forgive and get pass the anger and pain.

You have a remarkable and important insight: Your father’s inappropriate behavior when you were 14 has affected each of your important relationships ever since. I recommend working on forgiving your father first because it is central to the rest of your life’s story. Please consider the material in Chapter 12 of The Forgiving Life¬†book, which centers on forgiving one’s parents.

Now, once you have walked that path of forgiving your father, you have a very important question to ask yourself: How has my own behavior toward others been affected by my father’s inappropriateness? You may be tossing your own angers and disappointments onto others who had nothing to do with the abuse you suffered. If this is the case, I recommend two approaches. First, work on forgiving yourself through the exercises in Chapter 10 of The Forgiving Life. Then approach those whom you have hurt and seek their forgiveness. These issues are discussed in Chapter 14 of the book. That chapter walks you through the somewhat complex path of forgiving, seeking forgiveness, and reconciling.

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness