Archive for the ‘conflict’ Category


The Power of Forgiveness

August 15, 2020

Forgiveness is a powerful thing, especially for survivors. It sets us free. When we are not able to forgive, we lock ourselves into a prison of our own making. The other person may not even be aware of our resentment and bitterness. They go free while we are obsessed with visions of revenge, whether we can carry them out or not.

Forgiveness is also very misunderstood. People will say, “forgive and forget” while not even recognizing that forgiving and forgetting are two separate things. That is why the word “and” is in that phrase. Forgiving is not forgetting. It is not pretending nothing happened. It is not trusting the one who hurt us. It does not even require having any kind of current relationship/connection with the person. If someone slipped you a date drug and raped you, does forgiving them really mean you should go out with them again? Of course not! Yet, that is the logical endpoint of “forgive and forget”! People do not realize what they are saying makes no sense!

Over the years, I have seen survivors locked in the prison of unforgiveness because they have been told they must trust the person completely and treat them as if they have done nothing to harm them. Naturally, this creates conflict within the person. How they can they forgive with that criteria? So, when they would ask me how I could forgive, I would explain how I see forgiveness in two levels.

One level is my releasing them from my desire for revenge. I remove myself from the self-imposed roles of judge, jury and executioner. (That does not mean I don’t participate in legal proceedings against them if it is appropriate.) I release them from taking up space in my head and heart. But I do not trust them and may not even have relationship with them. This person may or may not have even acknowledged their actions against me. They may or may not have asked for forgiveness.

The other level of forgiveness involves giving them a chance to prove themselves trustworthy again. This means the person seems to be genuinely sorrowful for what they have done and asked for forgiveness. I do not trust them immediately, of course, but give them a chance to earn it. In other words, I might allow someone who stole from me into my house, but I sure won’t leave my purse in the same room with them. It can take a long time to rebuild trust, if ever.

Those are two pretty rough divisions, but they really helped them to find the freedom of forgiving. Years later, I found Dr. Stephen Marmer on a Prager U video talking about forgiveness. He does a much better job and divides it into three categories. I highly recommend it. It is only about five minutes long. The video is on both YouTube and their site. You can download the transcript from their site. I am giving you the links to both.

This is the Prager U site where you can get the transcript to download.


Living Life in the Face of Nastiness…

March 30, 2012

There are people in life who are simply nasty. They are mean, disrespectful and really don’t care how what they do affects others. When confronted with such people, we have choices to make. We can either react to them, wherein we lose ourselves by allowing them to control our lives and determine how we will live. Or, we can respond to them, wherein we maintain our own autonomy and integrity and choose how we shall live. I prefer the latter. That is my choice.

When I am confronted by nasty negative people I choose to remember that I, too, have had my “moments” of being nasty or ugly. It may not have been intentional. I may not have even been aware of how I was coming across. Or, I may have realized it as it was happening, but did not know how to “fix” it. Or maybe there was no fix…the damage was already done. Any way you look at it, I have had a negative impact on others at times in my life. So, I believe it is worthwhile to remain humble toward others, recognizing that I am certainly not perfect, either!

I also try to remember that everyone is the way they are for a reason. For good or bad, we have all had negative and positive experiences in life that have helped to shape us into what we are today. Sometimes, the balance between positive and negative was fairly even overall. But for some of us, one heavily outweighed the other.

For those whose positive experiences heavily outweighed the negative it can be difficult to understand those of who whose lives were the opposite. We may fumble where they do not. We may react to things that do not faze them one bit. I think it is good when each person can believe another’s story and try to imagine living in that reality. It can help us to be more empathetic toward others.

For those of us who weigh heavily on the negative, and some even in the extreme, it can be difficult to imagine life without that. We see the way others live and struggle to comprehend how they can do that. It just isn’t even on our radar.

Thankfully, though, there can be some good experiences even in the midst of craziness and evil, that give us some positive skills for life. For me, knowing my Creator made a HUGE difference. It is part of what helped to shape me and, I think, to temper how the abuse affected me.

I still deal with the physical effects of trauma brain and I can still experience flashbacks that are part of PTSD and getting  triggered.  However, I have learned over the years how to cope and work around the aftereffects. I know what I can do and what I cannot do and I no longer feel guilt or shame over what I cannot do…even when others do not understand. It is frustrating at times when people look less favorably upon me for what I cannot do. They cannot comprehend how even the simplest of things can be overwhelming at times. But I have learned to live with that and simply accept that there are things they simply do not know and, even if they did, might not be able to understand.

Life is good…even when it is hard. I am OK with that. My heavenly Abba/Father/true Daddy walks with me. So does my Messiah…Yeshua. Their Ruach/Spirit lives within me and that strengthens and comforts me…especially when life is hard.

I refuse to give up. I refuse to hold grudges. I refuse to not forgive. I choose to walk in freedom with my head held high…even when I am shaking inside.


Yay! Angela Shelton for MacKenzie Phillips!

September 29, 2009

I am so proud of Angela Shelton! She spoke up for MacKenzie Phillips. MacKenzie has been taking a lot of flack for coming out and talking about how her father raped her over a period of years. See: High on Arrival – MacKenzie Phillips

It is tough enough for those who have been raped and abused to speak out. When it is a parent who does it…it is even harder. Harder for the child to accept it themselves and harder to share it. When that parent is high profile…rich and famous…and even beloved…it becomes even harder! The last thing these victims need is to be ridiculed and their integrity questioned.

So…yay, Angela. Thank you for speaking up. Somebody needed to. People need to wake up.

One of the things, too, that MacKenzie is taking flack for is her use of the term “consensual” once she turned 18.  Well…that is not surprising. When a child is raped by their parent…and that is exactly what it is…rape…the child is in a position of subservience to the parent. It is very difficult for a child to believe that a parent is evil or bad. A child takes on the idea that they have to be somehow at fault…that they somehow enticed or wanted it or???

The child is being groomed to be a “mistress” aka “sex slave” to the parent. This does not suddenly shut off at 18. In the mind of the child, it can seem consensual because of the age…but that does not make it so. Once groomed to be a sex slave, it continues until something happens to break the cycle. That something can come from within the child/now adult…or it can come from without. The parent might suddenly stop or someone else might find out and bring it to a halt. Any way you look at it…it is NOT consensual. It is merely the extension of a relationship that was based in rape and NOT consensual.

If a child is part of a ritual abuse family or group, going beyond 18 can be the norm. Or, even if it stops as a teen, it can be resumed later on as an adult. The child is groomed from an incredibly young age…oftentimes starting in infancy. It is not difficult for the parent (or other adult) to trigger the mental conditioning aka programming to get the person back under their control…and yes…even to the point of having sex with them.

I wish people would stop believing that people just cannot do these kinds of things. They can…and they do! It is time to bring this stuff out of the shadows and stop judging those who are brave enough to bring it into the light.

Go, MacKenzie! Go, Angela!


Behaving Out of Character and Self Care

June 4, 2008

I did something totally out of character for me the other day. Well, actually, I did more than one out of character thing in the span of a few days.

Unread spam I can ditch with no problem. Personal emails are a different story. Even if they are from someone I am in a conflict with, this persistent optimist always hopes there’s a way we can work things out.

All personal emails I read…eventually. Until the other day. That is when I realized I needed to do something different.

I thought a conflict situation was over…not healed…just over. Then I received an email from someone letting me know that she had been told something negative about me relating to the conflict situation. What she was told was true. I had blown it. So I emailed her back, apologizing and asking for forgiveness. I had also been accused of trying to do certain things that I had not tried to do, so I also tried…again…to explain what my true motivations were.

She had heard more facts about the situation, so I wrote her the rest of the story. I figured…might as well get it all out in the open so it could be finally laid to rest. That is why I cc’d the person she’d cc’d, plus the person who had told her more facts. Might as well finish dealing with it all now…once and for all. I wrote that I hoped it was the last email, but that if she really felt she needed to discuss it further, I would.

My email bounced back with a notice from her ISP saying that she had blocked my address. So, the email that I had hoped would bring final closure…she never got. (I like the fact that her ISP let me know I was blocked, so that I would know why it bounced back.) I was uncertain what to do. I did not want to appear to be hounding her, yet I did believe she should have the rest of the facts.

I finally decided to just let it go. I figured that, if God wanted her to see the email, He could make it happen. Since she had blocked my email before, I figured that was the end of things. Clearly, she did not want to discuss it further and I was OK with that. I really wanted it to be over.

Then I got three more emails from this person. I see no point in reading emails from someone who has blocked my address. Her responses prior felt very negative to me and I also did not want to subject myself to more of the same. Yet…what if she did see my email and had accepted my apology? What if she truly wanted to let it go…or wanted a real dialog? I debated in my mind what to do. In the meantime, there they sat in my inbox…unread. Very out of character for me.

I finally asked my hubby, who knew of the situation in general, to read them for me and tell me what the tone of each was. His take on them was that she was still very upset with me and did not want to dialog. So, I did something very uncharacteristic of me. I did NOT read them. In fact, I even took it a step further and asked him to delete them and then empty my trash folder so that I would not be tempted to read them later.

Then I did something else uncharacteristic for me. Since she had written to me after she blocked my address, and since she was not wanting to dialog, I blocked her address. My ISP won’t send her a bounceback, though.

Anyway…very uncharacteristic behavior on my part…to delete unread personal emails and to block someone’s email addy. I still don’t like having done it; but I guess I just have to accept that, sometimes, I need to expand my definition of self care.


Brokenness and Conflict

May 12, 2008

We are all broken in some way. Sometimes I am keenly aware of my brokenness and other times I am able to kind of push it away and focus on other things. It is not that I pretend I am not broken…I just don’t dwell on it and beat myself up over it.

Then something happens that slams it in my face again. I get reminded of how broken I really am. And of how easily my brokenness can effect others. I have to be careful not to start beating myself up over it.

Conflict is one of those things. I HATE conflict. I especially hate confrontation. I do everything I can to avoid them until I feel I have no choice. I don’t have a lot of experience with confrontation and conflict resolution, but I have done it. Sometimes it turns out really well, with both sides gaining a greater understanding and appreciation for each other. Sometimes it does not turn out so well.

Besides a lack of experience, it seems as if each time it is different anyway. You have different personalities involved, each with their own histories coming into play. When both sides are coming from a place of deep woundedness on top of the wounding within the current conflict…well, that just makes things all the more difficult. Or, it can anyway. It does not have to. I guess a lot of it depends on how willing…and on how able…all sides are to tough it out and work through things.

Sometimes one, or more (or even both/all), of the persons involved is coming from a place of such deep woundedness that they just cannot handle it. Or they are coming from a place of healing and strength and simply choosing to walk away. They withdraw…for their own sake. Hopefully, at some point, they can reach a point of being able to revisit it. But that may not happen. It may just become one of those never resolved things in life…a loose end.

It think it takes a lot of bravery for a broken person to enter into an arena where conflict might take place. I also think that it is smart for all involved to know when they need to take a break…or even to walk away for good. That is not always easy to determine…or easy to accept.

I find it ironic that I was recently told that two people had blocked my email address because of my refusal to let something drop. The reason I say it is ironic is because I had no idea that the one person had blocked it. Why did I not know? Because I had dropped the conversation and never emailed her again! I got no notice of blocking!

As for the other one…I did know, but it happened after only a few emails. I do recognize that I blew it big time in that conversation. My own humanness and brokenness comes in a lot with that. I really needed to keep two issues separate…and I failed horribly. I got them mixed together. When she started to withdraw, I pushed, which was another big mistake…again…due to the mixing of two issues. And, of course, mixing them also gave the wrong impression as to my motives. *sigh*

Oh, well. One can only do the best they can and then learn from their mistakes. The sad thing is, whenever one closes a door, it makes it kind of difficult to work things out. Well, actually, without communication, it makes it impossible.

Anyway, those are my thoughts at the moment on brokenness and conflict.

I am also working through a situation right now for which I have sought the advice of more than one pastor. What they told me, in unison, has caused me to now ask a lawyer/judge for his thoughts on it. Oy vey! That is one thing about seeking counsel. Sometimes you are told more than you really wanted to know. But once you know…what do you do? You cannot just ignore it…especially if it has legal ramifications on top of the moral ramifications. There is nothing like being between a rock and a hard place!

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