You may not like me after you read this.

When I met my ex wife back in 2006 she had a 5 year old son. I was 26 at the time.

Christopher.

He had just started school.

Now here was a kid that had never met his dad. I cannot even comprehend what that must be like for a boy.

So here is my confession.

I treated that kid like crap. You have no idea. And I am so ashamed. Even as I write this tears are streaming down my face.

And here is the kicker. I have a great dad. The perfect role model.

So how is it possible that I treated this little kid so terribly?

Needless to say our relationship was volatile to say the least and it was all my fault. I cannot take back all the things I said and the way I treated him over the years. Nothing physical, just mental abuse.

I was angry all the time. I yelled at him. A little kid and I yelled.

Fuck.

I would give anything to be able to go back and redo that one part of my life. Just with him.

His mom and I were never going to work out so that doesn’t matter or mean anything to me.

I blame myself for everything that went wrong with him. The not doing so well in school, the experimenting with marijuana in high school and so on.

How could I have been such a prick? It sickens me.

I think about it almost every day. I am not sure that I even deserve any type of forgiveness. I mean, maybe there are things that a person does that are so reprehensible that they just should not be forgiven.

I actually worry about a lot more now and he is 21. He does not now this and wouldn’t believe it anyway.

Man I’d give anything to go back for that one reason.

Blown Wide Open

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31 thoughts on “Is It Possible To Forgive Yourself?

  1. For you to talk about it now and here is honest bravery…forgiveness is not easy but I think you have taken an important step to achieving that. And the good news is, there’s time to make up for it.

  2. One thing is very evident in reading this. You have changed. You recognize that what you did before was wrong, and would change that if it was in your power. That is a beautiful thing, because that is what heaven sees, and from that flows all true and lasting forgiveness. Everything is now possible…

  3. I commend you for reflecting on and realizing what you did. I would strongly encourage you to either tell him what you feel or at least write him a letter doing so. Even if he doesn’t believe you as you stated, it will impact him positively, at least in time. My father severely abused me (physically) when I was growing up. Nearly 40 years later from the start of the abuse, there still has been no acknowledgment by him of what deep harm he caused me. It would mean the world for me to have heard an apology at some point.

  4. My first thought when reading this post is: tell him. Tell him you were an ass and you’d do anything to take it back. Tell him to do whatever it takes not to let your mistake negatively affect his life. Don’t tell him for you, or expect his forgiveness. You likely won’t receive it. But this is one thing you can do that could make a difference to him.

  5. I agree with the other posters. You MUST find this kid and apologize to him. Email, letter, face-to-face, whatever. It will do you good to get it off your chest but that’s not the point. Your apology could make all the difference to this kid. It could change him. If you believe you are responsible for who he became you must believe you could help him now. It probably won’t “fix” his problems but it could be exactly what he needs to hear. Do it.

  6. How can I put this? Okay, I will attempt to, so hope this makes sense:
    Firstly, the person who is 21 is not the child they were, but carries that child with them along with the adult they have become and who knows what they are now and what their needs are? Then there’s you, and you are not the person you were back-in-the-day, but carry that person with you and are also the person you have become. Now you are ashamed because the new you would be telling off the person you were and would prefer to be calm and forgiving. So your dilema is to grow into being a person that forgives (what you call pricks) instead of being angry at them (so really you may still have deep seated anger issues in the here and now, when it comes to dealing with pricks). So you think you are stuggling with the past, but are you? No, because no one is actually, physically able to live in the past. So, here comes the first important points: THE PAST IS NEVER THE HERE AND NOW! THE PAST IS NEVER THE FUTURE!
    The second part of my advice is: Work out whether anything you can do now, will actually help the person that child has become or whether leaving them well alone is the best thing for that person, because that’s who is important right?
    Now the thing is, the next prick you meet, this is the one you have something in common with, so help them to be a better person, but how can you do that? Oh, that’s all I got, sorry, oh that and you really can only live at peace with the person you are now, when you can be nice and forgiving to the person you were then back-in-the-day you were immature (like we all were).
    Always live in the HERE AND NOW (What is to the left of you? look for something lovely; And what is to the right of you? hear something peaceful, be something peaceful…
    Namaste my friend I think you’ll be fine,
    eclectic X

  7. Its never too late to say your sorry. Even if you can’t say it in person. Write it out. I believe that we are all connected by invisible energy and that if we sit quietly we can connect mentally. Visualize yourself telling this kid sorry no excuses… Just your heart. And remember he did have a mom too. Blessings from one.

  8. I agree with others, you owe him an apology. In the name of simplicity you did wrong and you have to step up at tell him so. Long winded expainations are not necessary but an apology is needed. If you contributed to he is, then you need to contribute this as well….how to be an adult and feel shame, admit your wrongs and apologize with your whole heart behind it.

  9. Talk to a trained therapist. You need to forgive yourself first. This is the only part of the process that you can control. You may never have a relationship with your step son, but knowing your own heart must happen if you want to heal.

  10. I haven’t been following you for very long. I do enjoy most of your writings and usually find them inspiring. I do agree with all of the others that you need to forgive your self and then apologize to this young man.

    What I don’t really understand is why your are using a minimalist blog to confess your past sins. For me part of being a minimalist is not publicly burdening others with my emotional strain and looking to strangers to take on my hurt. Unfortunately for me, I feel others pain. I feel the pain of this young man and I feel your pain.

    Did I wake up this morning looking to feel the pain of others? NO. I became a minimalist when I realized that all of the things I saw on T.V. affected me so personally. I got rid of cable and kept my t.v. and some DVD’s. I stopped listening to the news and now once a week I go online find out what is happening in the world and then move on. Did I decide to follow your blog to feel your pain. no. Please have respect for the people who respect you and your minimalist ideals and stick to that. Maybe you need to have a second blog where you can share all of your heartfelt hurts.

    1. I feel that the whole minimalist lifestyle ideal is also about being able to live in the moment, to be present in the here and now.

      I. At times struggle with that especially when it comes to this issue. I was simply looking to open up and express myself and to get some input from others.

      I did not wake up this morning looking for hurtful, negative comments on my blog but such is life.

      We are following our own path and just trying to do the best we can.

  11. I admire your courage and willingness to reflect upon yourself. Just go apologise in person to your step son. It will be so freeing. You cannot change the past but you can try to do your best in the present. We grow through mistakes. i was not good or perfect in my past either and have hurt but I remember not to do it now.

    Live simply, live with no regrets. The past cannot be undone

  12. Guilt and shame are strong emotions for a reason. We have them to tell us we have done wrong. By all means, apologize to the young man. But keep in mind that “I’m sorry” is only words, show through what you do that you mean it. You weren’t that the Dad he needed back then but you can still be the Dad he needs now.

    I have to ask, although it is none of my business really, what the hell was wrong with your ex-wife that she allowed her child to be treated so poorly? Most mothers would have called that a deal breaker. I don’t think you can blame yourself and only yourself for all the problems he’s had, clearly she played a big part in his upbringing as well.

    I think you are on the right path in posting this. Minimalism isn’t necessarily just stuff and media, how one treats others matters far more than what we do or do not consume. In the end, all that really matters are the relationships we have with others.

  13. Coming from an abusive home, I would love to have heard an explanation of why, if only to hear it wasn’t something I did. After that, it’s up to the young man to make his life what he wants. But first, before you write or speak to him, know in your heart what you are willing to give of yourself now. Do you just want to apologize? What if he should want to build a friendship with you? Are you willing to step back into his life now? Be prepared for a rejection as well.

    Once you apologize, if you should choose to do so, then what he makes of his life is on him. I knew I couldn’t go through life blaming others for who I became.

    Good luck to you with whatever you decide to do.

  14. I’ll put this as minimally as possible, I learned from my own children that, no matter how or when we apologize, they don’t have to forgive us and we have to accept the fact. Btw- I think you meant 1996.

  15. Okay, so it took me the whole morning to compose and now I am so fortunate to be able to go to the beach to collect shells, hear the waves as I close my eyes, breath fresh air and regroup yet more positive thoughts from our shared mother nature, but your blog post confession of guilt prompted probably my longest ever blog post, called: Living in FORGIVENESS, acceptance and guilt http://eclecticx.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/living-in-forgiveness-acceptance-and-guilt/

      1. I found far too many holiday makers on the beach, so walked a whole hedge, picking so many blackberries it fills a wok! Cooked in a little water, about to be sieved, then I get to make jam and the exbatts get the pips. Yum! Oh lovely planet, thank you. :o)

  16. A lot of great advice has already been given, and it’s true – the first step is admitting you’ve made a mistake which you have already done. Best of luck working through this.

  17. Wow, what an honest post. As someone who had parents who blamed me for almost everything wrong in their lives and a father who would get in your face and scream at you how pathetic you were…I would give ANYTHING for my parents to have had the kind of self awareness and realization that you have had. And I would give anything for an apology. If you talk to this young man I can guarantee you will help heal his heart and make a world of difference in how his life turns out. And you will heal yourself too. Good luck!!

    1. I hate to even try to imagine where you are coming from Kathy (yet I too have experienced the loss of a child) and can only guess how you may be feeling about missed opportunities (as I have also done this to myself [what if I had done this or that]), but only this older man can tell by really looking into where this younger man is right now, whether it is right in his heart to go back into that mans life in the here and now. Only he should work out if it will do more harm than good or if it will heal BOTH (especially the victim of what was back then). I am not looking at this for the healing of the older man, but replying within my perception from what I have gathered and experienced myself as a child, yet living now as an adult with the memories. Peace be yours this day.

  18. Wow, what a post! I apologize, it’s your first post that I read and I should probably not comment, but here’s what I would do:

    If you are in a position to give him assistance now (practical, financial, you name it) and be the step-father you would eventually have been for him if you and his mother had stayed together, I believe that would go a bit towards him forgiving you. I’ve found that I can’t forgive myself for things if the person I wronged doesn’t forgive me. I’d suggest, be generous. Do what you’d do for your own son; e.g. sign surety for a study loan for him or something big like that. Including him in your will is good too, but will only come through after you have passed away so the benefit of forgiveness will not be yours. His childhood was difficult (to begin with, his parents split up before he was even aware). But his adulthood can still be better than it would be without your help. If he asks why you should bother, tell him that you’re trying to compensate for being mean to him when he was little.

    There is also the theory of Karma. You may have been the unknowing tool for his karma; he might have had a certain path laid out and your not being good to him was part of the obstacles he needed to learn to overcome. But if one thinks about it, this line of reasoning can easily become an excuse for not doing anything about it. Remember the balance in the Karma theory: YOU have incurred karma too, by your harshness. And you can actually still do something about it.

    Don’t hesitate too long. Nobody’s survival until tomorrow is ever a certainty.

    Just my two unqualified pennies. Well done for disclosing.

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