Review: 'Through the Shadowlands’ describes Julie Rehmeyer's ME/CFS Odyssey
I should note at the outset that this review is based on an audio version of the galleys and the epilogue from the finished work. Julie Rehmeyer sent me the final version as a PDF, but for some reason my text to voice software (Kurzweil) had issues with it. I understand that it is...
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How to forgive

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Aerose91, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    I ask this about family members and friends who have labeled us psychiatric. I want to forgive them. Not in the sense that i want them close to me again or back in my life, that ship has sailed, but for my own emotional well being.

    It's people close to me who i see or converse with often- my father, both my aunts and uncles and all but 3 or 4 of my friends. After so many years i no longer have the desire to rectify the situation or plead my case, so as such i have just let them go.
    That's not the difficult part, however. I'm fine with the situation and have moved on. What bothers me is i still hold some disdain for them so every time i see them i know what they think and it makes me angry. I want to not care anymore and not have it bother me, but it does. If i could just forgive them in my head i could move on and it wouldn't be any problem for me anymore.
    How do you forgive someone who you know will forever think you're a psych patient?
     
  2. Jan

    Jan Senior Member

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    I don't really think you can as the anger stems from them, and the world in general, believing something that just isn't true. Maybe send them some of the latest research and tell them you are hibernating ;):sluggish:. I'm beginning to think most people can't handle chronic illness full stop, whatever the cause. You're supposed to get ill, see a doctor or have surgery or chemo, then either get better or die. Empathy seems to run out pretty swiftly when you don't follow these rules.
    Hopefully one day soon we will at last have indisputable proof of our organic illness and we can at last stop :bang-head::bang-head::bang-head:
     
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  3. Hutan

    Hutan Senior Member

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    It's a good question.

    I think possibly thinking about how easy it is to believe the psychogenic idea and also thinking about how your loved ones, as well as you, have suffered as a result of their belief in that idea might help.

    First, while, the psychogenic idea might not hold up to much close rational scrutiny, it is easy to believe. It's been the prevailing theory, spouted confidently by so many in authority. Unless your friends and family have had a chronic untreatable illness themselves, they probably still think modern medicine has all the answers. So, when you have an illness that doesn't reveal itself in any of the tests commonly done by doctors and all the authorities they know are saying it has a psychological cause, it isn't surprising that they believe it.

    Even I, who had an un-traumatic childhood and am experiencing this illness for myself every day and had two children become sick with this at exactly the time as me and have spent hundreds of hours reading about the biology and politics of the illness, sometimes wonder, when well-rested and feeling relatively good, if I am somehow imagining this. (And then, the crash comes and I know that I'm not).

    So, I think we should cut our loved ones a bit of slack when they still harbour doubts about the cause.

    The other thing is that I am sure it has been painful for your loved ones to think that your illness is psychogenic. Especially you father will have wondered if he should have done something differently or if he should be doing something differently to help you recover. He will be torn by wanting to help you pull yourself out of this by thinking positively and getting out of bed and by not wanting to upset you when you say all of that will not help.

    It would have been so much easier for all of them if your illness could have been, say, MS - so that both you and they would have been supported by the medical profession. When they helped you rest, they would have been admired, not blamed as somehow facilitating the illness. The father of an MS sufferer who is involved in his son's care has some status and is admired in a way that the father of a person with a psychogenic illness is not.

    So, I think if we can think of our loved ones who do not believe that we have a 'real illness' as victims of those who have peddled this awful lie, then maybe we can forgive them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
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  4. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    Thank you guys for your input.

    The thing is, none of these people know much of anything about my diagnosis or medical history with it. They just think since im still sick after this many years that it must be made up. Apart from my father, they havent been to any doctors with me or seen any labs.

    They just came to their own conclusions. Like i said, ive moved past that and dont care to try and convince them anymore. I am perfectly fine with them being out of my life, i just need to personally get over the resentment for them
     
  5. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member

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    For a short answer, I would say you cannot forgive those who do not acknowledge a wrong, and then ask for forgiveness. (that sounds really dogmatic, I know.)

    It might be good to believe that your anger is justified? You can understand why things happened as they did, but that does not mean you can't also be angry.

    Could you try and turn this situation into something that brings good? There is a long tradition of people who try and make sure these things are less likely to happen to others, or support similar victims, and find a purpose and consolation in that. You might already be doing this to the best of your limited capacity already.

    I am thinking as I write, but in an extreme situation such as spousal abuse for example, the abuse does not stop when the abuser is forgiven, it continues on until hopefully the abused finds a way to say no and safely walk away from the situation.

    For a very long answer, here is an essay about forgiveness, http://kevinannett.com/2012/06/06/the-forgiveness-fallacy-standing-by-our-painful-truth/ , I found parts of it very wise, parts interesting such as this;

    I'm sorry if this in not much use, it's a complicated subject, and a painful one. :hug:
     
  6. Asa

    Asa Senior Member

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    My thoughts are jumbled, but I'll still try to share... A once friend of a friend used to frequently say, "If it [in reference to whatever topic at hand] were easy, everyone would do it." Perhaps that applies here too.

    There's got to be books and books and books written on anger, I'm guessing. What comes to mind for me right now is practice. Like when you're in a situation that's becoming or has become heated, you learn to call a time out to cool down. And with time, you get better at preventing unhelpful escalation.

    I also try to analyze my anger. I try to think through why I am angry. Do I have a personal problem that I need to get in check?

    And/or has someone down something hurtful? What's the anger telling me? So, here I think anger is good. It informs us that we are in an unhealthy situation. The anger alerts us to something. I guess the key and harder part is to hold on to the message that we need to change an unhealthy situation while we let the anger go because its purpose has been served -- to inform or alert -- and to hold on to it is harmful and wastes energy.

    Maybe it's helpful to think of it within the framework of energy conservation, that we (especially) can't afford to actively hang on to the anger.

    I also feel though that I can't forgive someone who hasn't changed their harmful behavior. It seems that that behavior is always going to make me angry because it's hurting me and others -- so I have to remove myself as best I can from this harmful behavior, if the person will not stop their harmful behavior.

    Maybe we have to try to be uber utilitarian though. Maybe anger is something like a smoke alarm. We need to pay attention when it goes off and investigate. But once we know there's a fire, we don't need a smoke alarm screeming at us. (Not the best analagy perhaps, but maybe the idea still came across.)

    I think though that the people who treat us (and others) badly, I think they are the ones with the "psych problem". They can't accept the nightmare consequences of ME (as they now are), so they refuse to see reality and stay in a place of ignorance that makes them feel safe. Maybe ignorance is their drug of choice.

    I've changed. I didn't ask for this BS change that is ME, but life smacked me down with it anyway. To survive, I've had to change and adapt. Lots of people don't like change though. And so it seems that they hold you personally accountable for this change that they did not want. And they find a way to justify to themselves that their unwillingness to change and adapt is the "healthy" way.

    Ultimately, it's a betrayal. They betray us. Society, friends, family -- all know to say yes, yes I want to help sick people. But look at their actions. They can't handle what we carry every single day. They are the ones who are "sick" and weak even, actually. It helps me to think of it this way.

    Every single day, they have an opportunity to educate themselves and to be a healing, healthy part of something huge. The ignorance and struggles associated with ME will not last forever. Humans will eventually solve this or greatly improve this situation at least (and the info gained in the process will most likely benefit people far beyond the ME community). In the meantime though, such nightmares cut to the core of what is really valuable in life and what is BS.

    A good many people with ME aren't "living", we're "surviving". Our lives have been razed, and a lot of people don't want to face that. Again, they don't want to change...

    With those who anger us though, the more intimate the relationship, the worse the betrayal and I guess the worse the pain and anger... If betrayal is bad and unhealthy, maybe we have to counter it by putting something good and healthy out into the world -- giving it to someone who appreciates it. Not squandering it on people who are most likely angry that we've changed and disturbed the image of life they're clinging to. (Still be kind to these people - but don't throw pearls before swine and such. But maybe when life nails them one day, they'll remember your kindness and grace under fire, so to speak.)

    I personally would as much as possible, try to avoid the problem people. Seeing them, might even be a way of enabling their anger and bad behavior... I suspect we just have to live a very different life, and if they want to be a healthy part of it, they can. "Be the change you want to see in the world." If they don't want to be a healthy part of life, then maybe instead of anger, we have to pity them because they had an opportunity to be something beautiful in someone's world -- in many someones' world, and instead they chose to be small-minded asses. Reject their small-mindedness. Invest your mind and energy in something big and beautiful and healthy.

    I think sometimes of Joseph Campell's Hero's Journey (though I have not yet read it). And it may sound odd, but I think we have to think of ourselves as heroes. We have huge, huge challenges to overcome. We have to be disciplined (which takes practice) and utilize the acquired wisdom of humans who walked difficult paths before us. If your life were a book or film, what would you be rooting for your character -- the "main" character -- to do, to be? To honestly struggle but to grow and then use this growth to help others? I think we have to try to embrace this. Maybe with betrayals, we have to accept that we'll have scars. But a scar is still healed. It's not a festering infection. And to let the betrayers' actions over-own too great a space in our minds -- maybe this is like a raging infection...

    I didn't mean to write an essay!! And now I'm tired! I think though that it's just going to take practice to minimize the negative space that betrayal occupies in the mind. (It sucks, and it's hard. But it's better than the alternative which is living with the betrayal over and over again.) The betrayal doesn't have to or need to fully go away. It's a lesson learned. But we can't give it more room in our minds than it deserves. This is what I'm gonna try to tell myself anyway!
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  7. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Use compassion and try to put yourself in your family members shoes. Should you really feel angry at them when they have been given the wrong messages again and again in the media? Is it their fault they were decieved?. I suggest to redirect the angry away from the family members and more at the actual cause of the issues. One feels less hurt when its not family members who have hurt you.
     
  8. xrunner

    xrunner Senior Member

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    Forgiveness, I learnt is an act of the will. You can find peace by willing to forgive them. This does not mean you have to forget what they did to you. What matters is that going forward you sincerely wish only good to those who hurt you.

    This is the theory. In practice, you're going to have to battle it out against the evil one (who influences our emotions to rob us of our peace). For eg. any time you realise feelings of resentment rise inside you, by an act of the will just honestly wish them (the best you can, doesn't need to be perfect) in your mind something good (e.g.send a blessing, a prayer etc). And when you talk about them to other people just say something positive about them.
    If you persist in willing to forgive, and don't much give importance to your feelings (these count nothing) I guarantee, from personal experience, that very soon you'll find true peace.

    PS:
    A true story (about feelings being irrelevant):
    Mother Teresa walked up to a wealthy man and holding out her hand asked "give me something for the poor". The man spat in her hand! She closed her hand to make a fist, placed it to her heart and said "that was for me and my sisters". Then holding out her other hand, she asked " give something for the poor". The man did; and continued to do so for the rest of his life!
     
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  9. Mel9

    Mel9 Senior Member

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    'You're supposed to.'
    Exactly!

    I see this attitude by family members also against another family member with a (chronic) mental illness.
     
  10. IreneF

    IreneF Senior Member

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    It takes a lot of maturity to accept that a person can get sick and stay sick for no particular reason. There has to be a reason; there has to be something the doctors can do. Otherwise, it means that this can happen to anyone, including themselves. So they blame the sufferer.
     
  11. tudiemoore

    tudiemoore Senior Member

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    When I divorced I developed more of an angry, etc. attitude toward my ex-husband, due the trials of legal stuff and his negative influence with our children, then I ever had when things were propelling us to divorce.

    This hung on so long and was so intense--it was pretty constant in my life.
    I thought of all the reasons to forgive, talked about it, but came to a dead end.

    Then I read--don't know where--To forgive is not saying that what happened was okay or that we have to include that person in our lives or any of that--it just means, to me, "Okay, you did, said, etc, and it was wrong, hurtful, etc. I will remember this for the rest of my life, you were wrong, but I am going on and leaving all this behind me."

    This was profound for me--not the "letting go" sort of things Hallmark note cards have on them, or "you should", or "better for the children" but really just forgiving.
    Physically freeing as well as mental, emotional-

    I have been fortunate to not have friends or family express destain and/or disbelief about my health.
    Or maybe not--nobody has pretty much said anything over the years--but really better that way overall.

    Richard Horowicz writes, in his most recent book on Lyme, about dealing with the emotional pain we have suffered from just these actions, the damage on top of the terrible pyhsical illness we have.
    Something to think about--
    tm
     
  12. skipskip30

    skipskip30 Senior Member

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    Im not sure I could ever forgive them personally. Does the anger cause you problems or do you just feel its wrong to be angry at family members?
     
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  13. tudiemoore

    tudiemoore Senior Member

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    skipskip30--well, both--with my marriage situation I was really negative so often--just problematic in so many ways
    And secondly, yes, good people forgive and forget--don't they :confused::confused:???

    tm
     
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  14. skipskip30

    skipskip30 Senior Member

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    If it’s causing you problems then absolutely try to find a way to forgive them, they have caused you enough pain as it is.

    I don’t think not being able to forgive them makes you a bad person though. This illness is hell on Earth sometimes and while I don’t expect everyone to understand it I do expect them to believe me!

    I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t forgive them, I just don’t want you to think you are wrong. Do what makes your life as peaceful and as easy as it can be.
     
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  15. tudiemoore

    tudiemoore Senior Member

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    skipskip30--Thank for your response.

    Actually, my statement "good people forgive, etc." was meant tongue-in-cheek but my two little blue emjois didn't get my point across I guess! I will have to choose more wisely next time--and put on my glasses!

    Until the past two years I lived very far away from my family so I can't say they were showering me with concern or with disbelief.

    At times, thinking of friends and family and their recognition of my health does feel somewhat--not sure--wistful maybe--"Well, did you notice?",
    But I am the oldest child, not only of my sibling group, but a whole generation of first cousins!

    Friends turning away, as they did in droves, was very painful at times. Many were nearby and could have been a help and a delight to have in my life.

    I appreciate your kind reply and concern, skipskip30.
    Affectionately, tudiemoore
     
  16. skipskip30

    skipskip30 Senior Member

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    I think most of us have been there with friends turning away or just drifting away, it’s never easy.

    Best of luck
     

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