- act of pardoning somebody: the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing
- forgiving quality: the tendency to forgive offenses readily and easily
This morning, as I do most mornings, I was perusing the pop news articles, looking for interesting stuff to tweet to my followers. I ran across two articles that effectively demonstrated the polar opposite flip sides of the same coin.
The first was a piece about Christina Crawford, child of Mommy Dearest, all set to expose Mom Joan’s “naked tapes”: Burn!
And the second was an article about how Ryan O’Neal has found someone new to blame for his troubles with his daughter–Oprah Winfrey: Ryan O’Neal Blames Family Drama On Oprah Of course he does…:::Insert eyeroll here:::
Both of these stories really stem from tragic tales of children wronged somehow by parents during their years growing up, and even beyond, but choosing very different ways of dealing with that reality in order to move on with their lives.
One is society’s heroine, due to her apparent devotion to the ever growing, wildly popular forgiveness culture which dictates that in order to move on and heal from hurts inflicted upon us by others, sometimes those who were charged to love and protect us, we must forgive that person–at all costs. We have to “let it go” in order to be whole and happy. Is this true? I’m not sure, but it sounds a little too easy if you ask me. Yet Tatum, bless her tender broken heart, is doing her level best to forgive her Dad, who clearly–clearly is neither sorry, nor even aware that he has done anything the least bit wrong. If you’ve watched even a clip of the reality show on Oprah’s network starring Tatum And Ryan O’Neal, you’ll know exactly what I mean. In gut wrenching, painful reality scenes, Tatum so obviously wants nothing more than for her father to own up, and moreover, to be sorry for the past and agree to change the hurtful behaviors–or at least try. What is also obvious is that Ryan O’Neal has absolutely no intention of doing any of that, or even looking at himself seriously in any way. Yet Tatum soldiers on, and strives to forgive anyway, in the one sided, supposedly soul enriching way that is advocated by every self help guru and life coach, hiding under every rock these days.
And then there’s the one boo’ed by those experts and society at large in the Forgiveness Culture–Christina Crawford. Christina had this to say on the topic of forgiving her mother, explaining why she would have none of that hogwash, “Forgiveness is a two-way street and she never took responsibility for her behavior.” To me, this seems the more realistic perspective on the matter, and could be healthy for folks if they do not remain simultaneously obsessed with the offender, making a career out of their mother’s career, vengefully spending waking hours looking for dirt on her to exploit in the context of a one woman show. Yikes! This seems to be going too far the other way, when naturally running screaming from the Forgiveness Culture, which imposes what I think are unrealistic expectations on wronged people to forgive those who aren’t sorry and very likely would do the same things ten times over if given the chance.
I think what these two women and their experiences have to teach us is that the right answer is more than likely a response which is somewhere in between Tatum’s painful to watch, willingness to allow her narcissistic Peter Pan of a father to gut her as many times as he likes from now on in the spirit of forgiveness and enlightenment, and Christina’s cringe inducing, love/hate, don’t let it go even if it kills you, inability to separate herself and her identity from the mother who nearly destroyed her, in the name of backlash to a somewhat annoying, unrealistic Forgiveness Culture.
So what is that happy medium? Well, it beats me. But something tells me that not many of the experts, or relationship gurus and writers write about it because it’s not a solution you can guide masses of people to find easily with a $29.95 hardback and accompanying lucrative speaking engagements. It has to be a journey that is individual, thereby unique to everyone who undertakes it, with no clear or easy path to the end. And it has to be an undertaking that will leave you whole, nobody’s free ride or doormat, but letting the past go to the point where you are truly focused upon your own life, making yourself the best you can be, and cultivating healthy relationships, not necessarily remaining hell bent upon singlehandedly fixing the ones that perhaps, sadly, will remain unfixable, because forgiveness really is a two way street…
What are your thoughts on forgiveness?