The issue of forgiveness has been a big one for me lately, with tensions running high in my family situation. And I admit that I am not good at forgiving.  I am a student of A Course in Miracles, which states that people’s bad behavior stems from the perception of not being loved. All ”

Forgiveness: The Real F-Bomb

Forgiveness: The Real F-Bomb (Photo credit: bangart)

evil” is a result of this flawed perception. When we recognize that we are all good in God’s eyes then we can forgive.

Easy to say, but hard to put into practice.

Because quite frankly, I believe that there are times when we need to be angry.  In situations where there is abuse, anger protects us.

Abuse happens when someone violates our boundaries. Healthy people who have strong boundaries know when they are being violated and know how to make their needs known in an appropriate way.  However those of us who have experienced long-term abuse do not have strong boundaries and tend to question our perceptions of what is really going on.

When we don’t have strong boundaries then we can let people hurt us in a fundamentally wrong way.  We let the abuser dictate to us who we are. We internalize their perceptions that we are wrong and deserve to be treated badly.

In cases like this, the only way we know how to defend ourselves and take back our power is through getting really angry. That is right and appropriate.

Problems do arise though when we make that our primary way of relating to people. This is where I get in trouble.  I see attack when it is there, but I also see attack where it is not there.  My bipolar disorder clouds the issue. I literally don’t know how to respond to situations because I don’t know what is real. (See my article The Fallacy of Being a “Good Person.”)

Because I question my perceptions I often go back to blaming myself and letting others run right over me. When I have had enough, I blow up again.

Anger has been a great ally to me at times, but I realize now that it was never meant to be my primary defense.  Having healthy boundaries should be my primary goal. I believe that this will help me in my forgiveness process.

See also my article Shedding Light on Angry Emotions.

I found some very useful articles that have helped with my thinking on this: What Are Boundaries? and Invalidation. I also include this article: The Myth of Forgiveness. Although her view of forgiveness is different from mine, it does highlight the problem of feeling pressured to forgive others when you are not ready.