Back in November I started therapy. My therapist suggested I pick up a copy of The Grief Recovery Handbook. The reason for this was to grieve the relationship I never had with my mom. Strangely enough the first relationship I completed was my dad.
I was wrong
If you would’ve told me I’d be doing this work a year ago, I would’ve laughed and said NO. I had no interest in forgiving anyone. Also, I thought cutting people out of my life would magically cut out all the pain and frustrating emotions associated with them too. I was wrong.
To summarize this book, you do a loss history graph. This is a straight line with all the losses you have been through added to it. Then you use each loss to create a relationship graph. This is basically the highs and lows of the relationship. Then, and this is the hard part, you have to put each item from the graph into categories. These include apologies, forgiveness and significant emotional statements.
Admitting you made mistakes can be very hard
Yes, you have to admit you made mistakes too.
For those who suffered through trauma, this can be a very tough pill to swallow. You then have to write a grief recovery completion letter using these three categories. They stress how important it is to say goodbye at the end of the letter.
I never thought I’d get to this point
When I started writing the letter to my dad, I broke down halfway through. The same thing when I read it to my husband. However, when I finished the letter to my mom I didn’t cry at all, which really surprised me.
Since I read that letter out loud, it’s as though a huge weight has been lifted off my chest. I never EVER thought I would get to this point.
Is it good to keep destroying yourself with hate and anger?
Some people say they’ll never forgive, and that’s understandable. There are things that seem so…terrible…that we cannot even conceive forgiveness. But think of it this way, you’re not hurting the person who hurt you. YOU ARE ONLY HURTING YOURSELF. Holding onto all that anger, secretly hoping something bad happens to that person, or plotting revenge only holds YOU back. The person you hold this anger against might have moved on and could be living their life while your heart is heavy with hatred for them. Ask yourself, ‘What good is it for me to keep destroying myself with this hate and anger?’
You’re not getting back at them.
It isn’t easy but it’s worth it
Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning what they did. It simply means that you will be free to live without the constant pain. It isn’t easy but it’s so worth it.
Reproduced with permission, originally posted on Chasing Out The Darkness