Someone teach me forgiveness


#1

Married 20+ years. We married late. My wife was my first and only partner. My wife had a horrible upbringing (not her fault), one result of which is that she had many (-many-) partners prior to meeting me.

My wife is beautiful, wonderful, loving, and totally devoted to me. She has been faithful to me and I to her. I think of all her prior experiences as her 'wandering in the desert'. She had to live all the bad before she could recognize good -- she found it in God and says she saw it in me. She is a better person than I am now. She's a better Christian and a better Catholic. She's a better human being. She's dealt with it and moved on.

Early in our relationship, she sat me down and had the 'here is what you must know' conversation. It was very sad and very hard, hard, hard to hear. Drugs. Causual relationships. Abortions. She was honest, sad, and repentant. Always has been. I loved her. We married and have wonderful children and a wonderful life, almost.

Now 20+ years later, I have become nearly obsessed with her prior life. I've been seeing a psychologist for a year and have worked through a lot of the issues. But I CANNOT GET OVER the thoughts of her with others. It is killing me and going to kill the marriage. I have periods where I can't even look at her because it just hurts too much.

I've reached the point where I know only God can fix my problem. I now realize I really can't run my life; I need God to do that. I beg for forgiveness and beg to learn forgiveness.

How do I overcome the rage and hate? Anger at my wife for not waiting for me. Utter hatred at the men who were so abusive. Anger at the world. I feel I can't even confess the anger and hate, because I know that it will just continue.

I am just at a total loss. I beg God to fix me. So far my prayers are unanswered.


#2

Sometimes, the easiest doorway for Satan to attack us is through our injuries (emotional, etc.). Satan is an intelligent being, far more so than us humans. He knows where and when to attack. We are all in a mortal combat for our souls! When Satan finds a weakness, like any good field commander, he exploits it.

Unforgiveness only hurts you, no one else. You cannot change the past. You can only change the present and future. What’s done is done. Satan won one back then. He exploited your wife’s weaknesses. Don’t let him win another one by exploiting yours! You gotta man up and kick his butt back into hell from whence he came!

So, here’s what I’d do. Time to go to boot camp. Time to get in shape and fight the good fight! You can’t fight the good fight if you can’t even get to the battle field! :slight_smile:

Go to confession regularly, if you don’t already. Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa of Calcutta went weekly. We’re certainly not better than them! At least I’m not! Make a good examination of conscience very night before going to bed.

Pray your rosary every day. It is the preferred small arms weapon of God’s army. And I don’t care if you don’t like to say it. Just do it. Like a drill Sargent ordering you to do 20 push ups. It’s not a option! :slight_smile: Our Lady is His Commander here on earth. It is her heel that will strike the serpent’s (Satan’s) head. Listen to her. She commands that we say the Rosary, which is the prayer of the Gospel.

Make visits every week to the general headquarters (the Eucharist!) and try to pray for 1 hour. There is significance to the 1 hour. Jesus asked His Apostles if they couldn’t pray 1 hour with Him. That’s the only thing He really asked them for, was the 1 hour. Fast and offer sacrifice in reparation for sins. You need to be the company commander of your family. Set the good example! Lead them in the Rosary. Teach them to use the preferred small arms weapon of Our Lady’s Army well!

Once you’ve done all this, you won’t have time to listen to Satan tempt you with all that rubbish from the past! And he won’t have time to tempt you, because you’ll be kicking his butt!

God bless, and good luck, soldier! :slight_smile:


#3

I second the “Pray the rosary, every day” suggestion. Just do it. You will be distracted with evil thoughts during this, the devil doesnt want you to do it. But fight through it. Just keep your head down (figuratively), keep praying, and pray each rosary for the Grace to forget. I think that your problem, as is mine, is not an inability to forgive, but an inability to forget, which makes you feel like you cant forgive.

I cant tell you how much the Rosary will help you, I grew up with horrific things being done to me and those around me, and the Rosary has helped me so very very much.

FSC


#4

Pray for good things for those with whom you are angry. Angry thought comes up about someone? Pray for them.

Yeah, it sounded crazy to me too when someon first proposed it, but it works!


#5

I have a similar issue with my husband. He had three girlfriends in sexually active relationships previous to meeting me and had been to several strip clubs and had lap dances, etc. And it bothered me for a long, long time.
I had only had one previous boyfriend in high school and college, and I dumped him so the relationship was completely over for me whereas all three of his girlfriends dumped him. This left me wondering whether he still loved them, especially since his blog posts suggested her still wanted to go back to one ex in particular for many years afterwards.
The only thing that helped was time, prayer, and for him to stay away from his exes (he wanted to be close friends with all of them). I also had to remind myself that no matter how much he loved them then, he loves me now. It's easy to lose sight of that, especially when he's around his exes.
It's a hard thing to get over and it might take years like it did for me, but it can be done. I feel a lot better about it now than I did at first. Talking with a psychologist might help too if it really starts to impact your relationship like it did mine.


#6

I am praying for the two of you, as you are not two, but one flesh before God. Please consider that this is a product of your ego suddenly flaring up. God has forgiven all and allowed your wife to move on. Your wife has not only sought forgiveness, but has forgiven herself. The problem is within you, or has come upon you in the form of a spiritual attack. Our enemy, the enemy of all that is good and holy, is ego itself, as personified in the devil. He was, is and will forever be defined by his massive and rebellious ego. He would not serve God, but demanded to be served, and was cast out of heaven for his sinful and disordered desire. He is the father, not only of lies, but of all sin: anger, jealousy, revenge, etc. He uses these to destroy all that God has built up. I believe there is a strong chance that he is using these tools of his sinful trade to destroy you, if not your marriage. If you had no ego, you would care not one bit about those who knew your wife before you. She pledged herself to you, and you to her. There is no objective reason for your current torment.

Who and what is under attack here? Your marriage. Two fleshes made one in God. Who seeks division rather than unity? Not God, but the evil one. The evil one had a firm grip on your wife until she repented. He lost that grip through her conversion of heart. Such things enrage him, and he has all eternity to seek revenge. Since the evil one is pure ego, he very well could be sending you a spirit of ego, jealousy and resentment in an attempt to destroy that which not only God loves, but which you also love. Our Lord Jesus taught us that "No one who puts hand to plow and looks back is worthy of me". So, just who is causing you to look back? And who is giving in to that temptation? As long as you look back, you are frozen in time. You are obsessing over something about which you have no control - and about which you should have no interest.

A psychologist deals with symptoms, since the causes are largely unknown. I believe that you should look into spiritual direction and healing - and do not rule out Catholic-based counseling, since whoever counsels you must do so from the basis of your faith. Partake of the Sacraments frequently. Evil hates to abide with the purity of God. Communion with Jesus will help drive out the evil one and his servants. Reconciliation, weekly if needed, will restore your spirit.

I would concentrate on the state of your soul, since there is no actual problem in your marriage. The problem lies entirely within you, and that which you have known about for years. Why is it a problem only now? It came on suddenly, which is also a hallmark of a spiritual attack. Diving deeper into your faith can cause it to leave just as suddenly, but not without some pain. However, that pain will be far less than the agony that both of you are suffering now.

May Christ's peace be with the two of you.


#7

stratos,

the woman of whom you speak-- the woman of sexual sins, abortions and drug use-- she is dead. you are not married to her. she is dead.

the woman to whom you've been married for twenty years **is and has long been **a new creation in Christ. it was CHRIST'S perfect will that she become a new creation in HIM. and All Glory to God!!! so she is!

the sinful woman of whom you write is dead. you are married to a new creation in Christ.


#8

You are too self absorbed. This is all about you, and if you let it go, you won't have the little "poor me" cross to hang from any more. You are the only one stuck in the past, everyone else has believed that God has forgiven them, and they have all grown in God and moved on. Meanwhile, poor you is stuck in your self made hell, thinking that you are better than God, and don't have to forgive. You say you don't want to be like this, but I beg to differ. You LIKE marinating in this, because if you didn't, you would let it all go. But instead, you are holding on for dear life! Holding on to this makes you think (on some level) , that you are morally superior, and if you let it go, you lose your "moral angered outrage." How you can be this mad and angry over something that happened before she even knew you existed, is really stupid, and you are choosing to go out of your way to do it daily. She is not the same person she was 20 years ago and her old boyfriends aren't, but you are punishing them as if they were. The statute of limitations is up on this, let it go.
Why you are so hell bent on distroying your marriage over something like this is beyond me. I think your wife must be the saint in your family, she now is so way morally higher up than you it's a wonder you can even see her. YOU are the one disobeying God by not forgiving, so should SHE maybe never forgive YOU????????
Sorry I've had to be so blunt, but I really think you need a kick in the butt to wake you up!
DUDE,.............. LET............... IT............. GO!!!


#9

[quote="monicatholic, post:7, topic:209450"]
stratos,

...
the sinful woman of whom you write is dead. you are married to a new creation in Christ.

[/quote]

*I wish you knew how true that was. * Since I met my wife, I have never once ever seen another woman that I wanted. She is everything that I ever wanted and more.

I was praying the other night (begging,actually). Amidst all the mental noise, as I was praying, I heard my voice as if it came from someone else. Cutting through all the noise I heard "I sent you a gift". It was unmistakable. I'm not schizophrenic. I think God was sending me an answer.

She is and has been a gift. How dare I question if?

But I do. Others have mentioned being under attack. I don't dismiss that. I am ashamed how quickly my mind switches from prayer to anger and recrimination.

I know that only God can fix my problem (and it is solely my problem). I like the idea of praying the rosary, I will. I think I do need spiritual bootcamp.

The good thing is that I really, really now understand that, left to our own free will, what we humans do always leads to misery. Only by understanding 'Thy will be done' will I ever truly be happy.


#10

I think the above posters are heading in the wrong direction by saying "just let it go". I think there is a valid feeling that is being redirected to the wrong person.

1) Anger at yourself that as a man you cannot protect your beloved wife from everything. This is a very deep wound to the male psyche. It also builds the fear that you cannot protect your children.
2) Anger at the world that these kinds of things REALLY HAPPEN. I know good men who deeply struggle when faced with the abuses of the world. (rather than just on TV)

I think that you have yet to get to the root of the sorrow or what have you. I think you may also mourn the lost children, which, again, is very natural. But insted of feeling that loss you have anger towards your wife.

Also these words are an amazing help, "God I claim this anger as YOUR victory." This sounds strange...how can something sinful be claimed as God's victory? Thing is you're feeling what you're feeling. You have tried to alter your will, you have tried prayer and psycology but it isn't working. So activly vividly give it to God. Give God EVERY feeling you have as HIS victory. Perhaps God finds a sort of prayer in your anger a passion that you do not want this horrible suffering to continue, and if it is spiritual there is nothing the devil hates more than turning his work over to God.


#11

Best answer yet. Number 1 is probably the EXACT thing that OP is feeling. I constantly feel number 1 and 2 - and I'm not even dating anyone. I just feel it in general! For women, for my female friends, at myself for how I once was, etc.


#12

I don't agree. Since he is willing to ruin his marriage, (therefore his wife will no longer be living w/ him and he will be even less able to protect her), this can't be about him feeling helpless to protect women. It has really gotten to him that she didn't "wait" for him, and that he wasn't her "first" (he even says it right up front). If he were HONEST with himself, he knows the truth. He is totally making something out of nothing. It's all about him, not her. He "waited" until marriage (which was HIS choice), and it bothers him to no end that she didn't "wait" until marraige (he also stated that fact).
She is now surpassing him in every other way (which he also stated), because he is CHOOSING to stagnate, and fall further and further behind. He is doing this to himself.
Like I said, he needs a kick in the butt!!
When he wrecks his marriage because of this, then his wife will go up even higher on being more moral than he is, because this failed marriage will be his fault, his sin. All this because HE choses not to let it go and forgive.


#13

Monicatholic is right: stratos' wife is a new creation. So, why this sudden problem? Since there is apparently no physical reason for this torment, I am sticking with a spiritual source. That is, if all medical reasons have been ruled out. Sudden attacks after two decades are even more suspicious. Now, the OP might unknowingly have been involved in or with something that made him vulnerable to a spiritual attack - maybe completely unrelated to his marriage. That is for his priest or spiritual advisor to delve into. Know this: our enemy is invisible. That's why it's all the more important to know him and his methods.

Stratos, have you heard of, or tried praying a Catholic spiritual warfare prayer? If it is a spiritual attack, it works.


#14

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Whenever you get a negative feeling; reflect on that sentance from the Lords prayer for two or three minutes.


#15

You asked how to get rid of anger and rage?
The best way I know is to go outside (mountains, ocean, forest) , somewhere where you can be alone, and you just start yelling, screaming and crying out every hurt, anger, dissapointment, etc. that you've ever had....everything! Even go back to when you were a little kid. Just get it all out as loud as you can. Be as angry and full of rage as you can, the more the better. Just let it all out and let it go. You'll feel like a new man!
After that start saying a Rosary for God's peace.

Also every Friday I make myself say all my prayers only for anyone I don't like.It is easier most of the time to forgive the person than to have to keep on praying for them. When you choose to let things go, then they're gone.


#16

[quote="stratos, post:1, topic:209450"]
Married 20+ years. We married late. My wife was my first and only partner. My wife had a horrible upbringing (not her fault), one result of which is that she had many (-many-) partners prior to meeting me.

My wife is beautiful, wonderful, loving, and totally devoted to me. She has been faithful to me and I to her. I think of all her prior experiences as her 'wandering in the desert'. She had to live all the bad before she could recognize good -- she found it in God and says she saw it in me. She is a better person than I am now. She's a better Christian and a better Catholic. She's a better human being. She's dealt with it and moved on.

Early in our relationship, she sat me down and had the 'here is what you must know' conversation. It was very sad and very hard, hard, hard to hear. Drugs. Causual relationships. Abortions. She was honest, sad, and repentant. Always has been. I loved her. We married and have wonderful children and a wonderful life, almost.

Now 20+ years later, I have become nearly obsessed with her prior life. I've been seeing a psychologist for a year and have worked through a lot of the issues. But I CANNOT GET OVER the thoughts of her with others. It is killing me and going to kill the marriage. I have periods where I can't even look at her because it just hurts too much.

I've reached the point where I know only God can fix my problem. I now realize I really can't run my life; I need God to do that. I beg for forgiveness and beg to learn forgiveness.

How do I overcome the rage and hate? Anger at my wife for not waiting for me. Utter hatred at the men who were so abusive. Anger at the world. I feel I can't even confess the anger and hate, because I know that it will just continue.

I am just at a total loss. I beg God to fix me. So far my prayers are unanswered.

[/quote]

It appears that it didn't bother you enough when you married her, but it bothers you now. What has changed?


#17

Is this thread worth continuing? I hope you think so because I find it interesting. Thanks for the advice.

1) I'm over 50 years old. I consider myself to be a kind of spit-on-it-and-rub-it-in tough guy. I think I'm pretty mature and mentally strong in other areas of my life.

2) Saying "Get over it" hasn't worked. I said it 1,000 times before I went to the psychologist. 90% of what the psychologist said amounted to "Get over it". The point is, I am not able to just "get over it". If you think I need a swift kick in the --- to get over it, you are about 5th in line. I was first in line. It hasn't worked.

3) Is it my problem? yes, totally. Is it due to deepseated issue with self hate? yes. Lack of self esteem? yes. You name a weakness and I probably had/have it. Again, the psychologist and I have identified a lot of issues. Many of them have been resolved. Some, obviously have not.

4) Believe it or not, my psychologist (after checking with peers who agreed) says that my principles are killing me. That I need to "recover those experiences I passed up so as to be able to better understand" my wife's. In other words, become a serial cheater. Seriously. When I said "not going to happen", she suggested that maybe I could watch porn and pretend I'm with other women. Seriously. The point of telling you this: I have reached the end of getting useful results from psychology. I know WHY I do this. I haven't learned HOW to stop it entirely.

5) Why did it start at my age? Because my parents marriage failed when my father was 50. Basically I was using my wife to try and go back in time to fix what my parents got wrong. That was the basic psychological issue. Had to create a situation in order to "fix" it.

6) What was the trigger? That's the interesting part to me. One year ago, I promised myself to read the Bible from cover to cover. My homework assignment. I'd never seriously read the Bible before. Two pages into it, a lot of loose pages fell out of the back. They were records of family history of my wife and I. As I was reading hers, I got to the end where the box said Name of Bride. In that box was "Jane Doe Jackson". My wife's name is "Jane Doe Smith". I knew she had been engaged twice. She never married Mr. Jackson. The reaction I had was immediate, physical, and devastating. I knew perfectly well she'd been engaged to the guy. Now, all of a sudden, it was as if I had found pictures of my wife in the act of cheating. My psychologist said the reaction/symptons I had were EXACTLY what happens when someone catches a cheating spouse.

OK, so what is the point of all of this? I have reached a point where I know that a psychologist cannot fix all of what ails me. I know that I have been unsuccessful and I do not believe that I have the power to fix this on my own. I now realize that ultimately only God makes things right and that I have to leave myself open to His will and that if I do that He will only do what is right for me.

So, after 50 years of believing (silently) that I really could take care of myself, I have been shown that that was a lie. I wasn't listening to God and doing what He asked. I was nodding my head yes, not listening, and pretending.

I guess I was asking for help to get back on track NOW. Confessions and the Rosary now make sense in way that they didn't before. I appreciate you all listening and I do appreciate any prayes.


#18

My friend, after reading your posts, I don't actually see any spiritual problem here. You have demonstrated that you reject these thoughts and that they are not your choice.

I would like to suggest that you might simply be caught in a negative thought loop. Over time, the brain reinforces thought patterns that are constant and repeated, making them stronger and harder to ignore. This is good because it allows us to learn new things and practice them; however, it can be bad when we accidentally "learn" a thought process that is destructive to us. The thoughts seem to harass us for no reason.

If you think this describes your problem, then I recommend the book "Change Your Brain Change Your Life" by Daniel Amen. He discusses Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) at length and how to work them out of your life. To make a long story short, getting over these thoughts is like lifting weights--you start practicing an opposing, good thought, you start small, then as the days go by, you increase the presence of the good thought. For example, tell yourself out loud "My wife is forgiven, the past is in the past" or something like that. Just say that several times a day. It sounds like a silly technique, but over time, it really does have an effect! Prayers for you,

Chris


#19

The circumstances surrounding this are highly indicative of a spiritual attack. Not a guarantee, but a strong indication. Consider: A 20 year good marriage. A decision to read scripture. A personal weakness or susceptibility. Look at when the trigger appeared, where it appeared and how it appeared: Your marriage was happily sailing along. You decide to know more about God through reading the scriptures. Then, just two pages into reading, BAM! This is not a coincidence, as you have been yourself your entire marriage. Nothing had changed within you, except your desire to know more about God, and to improve your knowledge of, and relationship with him. "At an opportune time", something approached you from without. It carefully exploited a series of events to bring jealousy, anger, resentment, confusion and discord into your life. And not only into your life, but also into your marriage and your relationship with God. It catered exactly to your weakness, which is a sure sign of temptation. It pushed your strongest button. Temptation does not come from God, and it does not come from within. It is an external ploy to use your weakness against you, your marriage and your relationship with God. Who would do this?

You have correctly noted than man cannot solve this, as man is not the source of it. God alone is the solution - but it may take some time, as your reaction was quite strong, (as was intended, I believe). Have you discussed this with your priest/confessor? The Sacraments are the foundation of your faith, but the Priest speaks for Christ and, I believe, holds the keys to the resolution of this.

Christ's peace be with you.


#20

the experience blindsided you. the feelings still overwhelm you. and all this happened as you were making a decision to deepen your communion with God through HIS word.

i agree it has distinct spiritual components to it. and i agree i think it's not coincidental, instead it seems very intentional.

stratos, the devil hates you. he hates you because God loves you and has redeemed you. he hates your wife. he hates your marriage.

my suggestions build on the already excellent suggestions of prayer and confessions. i'll add:

*fast. fast one morning, or even one day a week for your wife.

*eucharist. receive Jesus in the eucharist for the intent of your healthy marriage.

*healing prayers: and ask a good priest to pray prayers of deliverence over you. and prayers for the healing of your memories.

discipline and retraining: i agree with lontas' suggestion of disciplining your thought process-- retraining your thinking. you think, "she sinned. i'm devastated. " you *make the sign of the cross on yourself and pray, 'heavenly Father! the blood of the cross has redeemed my wife! my feelings** are NOT facts. what is TRUE is that my wife is a new creation in YOU!" then pray specific intercessory prayers for her needs today. ask the Lord to bless her business meeting or help her peacefully prepare for friday night's dinner company, or keep her safe as she drives to her mother's house.

so... right; you don't just get over it. but with God's good grace, you can beat it down, whack it powerless and hammer it into the ground with good old fashioned discipleship. you wrote it so well: So, after 50 years of believing (silently) that I really could take care of myself, I have been shown that that was a lie

on our knees, stratos. that's how we learn discipleship and that's how best we learn what's true. and the TRUTH-- the truth of your weakness, the truth of God's power, the truth of HIS redemption, the truth that your wife is a new creation in HIM, the truth that you, too, can become a totally new creation in HIM, the TRUTH of God's eternal and abiding love for you and your wife-- these TRUTHS will set you free.


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