For Wise Warriors Only-How do you forgive and forget ppl that ruined your life as a child?

19 replies
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I am an adult and still having trouble over things that happened to me as a child aged 11-18.

Before that I was a very happy, popular kid with a ton of friends and always playing sports and at sleep overs. Then we moved to a not so good town for lack of better words and thats when all the really bad stuff started happening and bad, bad stuff happened for years and years until 18 when I got out.

Sometimes I still have nightmares and am having trouble forgiving and forgetting. I hate thinking about what "could have been" it kills me. Cause all that was taken away. My childhood from 11-18 was ruined when it could have been good. have tried but can't seem to just let it go once and for all. I really want to just forget about it forever but is there a way.

ps. by people I mean parents. They were not good parents.
  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    You don't need to, and probably couldn't, forget - or forgive. Just accept.
    We all have a reason to be here and sometimes it takes experience to learn what we need to know to fulfill our purposes. Sometimes that means bad experiences. You were linked up with those people for a reason, nothing is accidental. They also have a purpose and you were linked with them to
    fulfill purposes that fit for both of you. It doesn't do any good to hate them for it - or to pity them. Just accept that things were as they were and if you are going to think about it at all, which you will no matter who tells you it is wrong or debilitating to do so, just try to see how the experiences shape
    the lives that were involved. See how the experience might lead you to create specific situations for others, and if you see a negative progression, change it.

    Do try to do more looking ahead at where you are going than looking back at where you came from though. If your head takes control and keeps you looking back at least you will have the right perspective so that you can stop obsessing over it. Remember who hurt you and do be aware of what they are capable of doing if you still associate with them so they can't repeat it on you - that is learning.

    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Forgiveness is a choice. You won't feel like forgiving at first.

      There is a whole lot that I have had to forgive, but I knew that if I did not forgive, it would destroy me.

      Take it day by day - and simply choose to forgive.

      It won't happen overnight....but it will happen.
      "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Sal is right. I had a horrible childhood. My dad left right on my 5th birthday
      and from kindergarten all the way up to 8th grade (ages 5 to 13) I was
      picked on and beaten up almost everyday.

      I haven't forgotten and I certainly will never forgive those *******s, but I've
      moved on and can now go through my life without really giving it much
      thought. It's part of my past and I leave it there.

      Besides, I'm having too much fun now making all this money and having a
      wonderful wife and kid and making all these friends on the WF to give a
      rat's behind about what happened.

      Make your life now a good one and you'll be able to live with the past that
      much easier.

      At least it works for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      it was what it was
      it is what it is

      You can't change the past - but if you focus on "not fair" and "not right" - you just carry it with you into the future.

      You also likely create the nightmares by focusing and thinking about it.

      Life doesn't come with guarantees that bad things won't happen or with a guarantee for carefree childhoods or anything else.

      Don't try to come to terms with the anger and resentment because you probably can't. Just accept that you have a right to hate that period of your life - and then leave it in the past where it belongs.

      When you move past the bad time - when you quit brooding over it or connecting things that happen now with "what happened then" - it starts to lose its power over you. You may not ever be able to accept what happened - but you can accept it ended and you moved past it.

      When you find your mind going back to the bad time, move ahead a bit in your thinking to the relief you felt when you got out. Focus on how good it was to leave that situation instead of how bad it was to be in it.

      I know this works - I've done it. The anger and frustration and fear don't disappear - they just go into a box in your mind labeled "bad times" and no longer are connected to your life now.

      The key is to accept "it is what it is".


      edit: just reread your title - and you're wrong. People damaged your childhood - but that will only ruin your life if you allow it to.
      Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

      You should always be yourself...unless you can be a Unicorn. Then you should always be a Unicorn.
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  • Profile picture of the author valerieSONORA
    Well Kay I have really tried hard to forget once and for all and just get over it. I left a ton of stuff out b/c that would be like writing a book.

    But I've met new ppl and when they ask Qs about that period of my life I just say something like I don't wanna talk about it and they say I'm withdrawn or secretive for not wanting to talk about it.

    Also I moved back to the town I was happy in 5-10 or 11 and have run into some ppl who remembered me from way back cause I was a "sports star" and pretty popular in elementary school and it really hurts thinking about what "could have been" if all that bad stuff didn't happen. And I don't mean 1 or 2 bad things I mean YEARS from age 11-18. It was not just bad things it turned into a bad existance and lifestyle. I got out as soon as I legally could 18.

    So I decided long ago to forget about it and move on, leave it all in the past but its just really hard. Sometimes stuff just comes back. Especially when I have nightmares.

    ps- im not choosing to hold a grudge. its just hard to make it be gone.

    I am using the WF for free therapy again.

    siggy taking a break...

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    • Profile picture of the author Elmer Hurlstone
      Hi Valerie,

      There are wise words in the responses you've already received.

      No matter how hard you try to get past things that have occurred in your life sometimes they insist on rearing their ugly heads.

      I'm not a counselor in real life or even on WF so I can't advise you how to get past the things that are making your life, sometimes, miserable. One thing I do know is the more you think about a thing the greater its impact on you. It's also impossible to not think of something just because you're told not to.

      For some folks diversion works well. When the bad stuff comes to the fore don't concentrate on not thinking about it, instead pour your efforts into something completely different.

      You are a skilled writer, write more. Try to look at the absolutely stupid, silly and ridiculous side of something and then write about it.

      Would that I could do more...

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      • Profile picture of the author marcanthony
        I'm going to paraphrase my story...

        I fell out with my dad just before I hit 15 years old... he did some pretty shitty things to me psychologically - I'd say unknowingly.

        From age 15 to present times (28 - will be 29 this week) he and I never mended any of our issues that caused our fall out.

        He passed away on August 6, 2008 - I made the decision to take him off the machine that was keeping him alive... didn't want him to suffer any longer.

        Anyhow... weeks before he passed away - I visited him a few times in the hospital. The only problem was that I couldn't speak to him.

        See... he was hooked up to a ventilator that was doing all of his breathing for him and couldn't speak to me at all... at least not vocally.

        But, he was able to look at me. His eyes spoke to me more than ever... I held his hand (I can still feel the pressure from his hand squeezing my hand) and all of a sudden - all of my pain from our tarnished relationship was just water-over-the-bridge.

        I forgave him immediately.

        I don't know what you've been through... I have no idea how f'ed up your parents were towards you. But, here is my take...

        Forgiving someone is easy... the hard part is getting over your own hurt feelings.

        Here's a thought...

        We are all products of our upbringing... our upbringing can influence our adult lives in ways that we will never be able to fully understand.

        -A girl who is molested by her father at age 8 - may grow up to be in porn

        -A boy who grows up in gang infested neighborhoods without a father - may grow up to be a criminal

        And... sometimes our parents upbringing may have an influence on how they raise us.

        Again, I don't know what your parents did to you. But, here's my advice...

        Try to work on making yourself feel better...

        Then work on forgiving them by taking into consideration that just maybe their parents didn't do the best job of raising them to be good parents to you.

        I hope that you understand where I am coming from. Sometimes I go all over the place. Especially when I share information like this.

        Anyhow... I hope that somewhere in this post you can, at least gain a new perspective.

        Take care
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        • Profile picture of the author gareth
          I had alot of bad things happen to me. I nearly got murdered by a child molester when I was 12 - got abducted walking down the street.

          My parents used to fight all the time - us kids used to get beaten and screamed at all the time. I got in with the wrong crowd - became a drug addict / alcoholic. Parents divorced etc.

          At my lowest point I was only 84 lbs like a skeleton.

          I live for the future, not the past.

          Also when I was in trouble years ago I always found it best to talk to people and let them know what was going on, some shit I simply could not talk about - like when I went cold turkey off the drugs and booze and lost my mind.

          Generally its the stuff you dont share with others that can cause the most damage.

          Basically there are a few people I should have put in the ground in my past. But then I would have just gotten in more trouble, and I'm glad I got my life straightened out compared to many people.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    "Free Therapy" = Friends.

    You have become part of a community here. You are a neighbor in a place where people are all different, yet understand the concept of neighbors and accept that everyone has differences - yet we have sameness as well. Pull up a chair, have a cup of java, and chat about it.

    It's not uncommon to not want to tell "whole stories". The whole community doesn't need to know everything. From time to time you will find someone special within the community to confide specific info to and chat more privately with.

    Bad dreams can be a pain in the butt for sure. They can steal your focus. They can even induce emotions that are not appropriate to anything that happens to you at the time. Probably everyone has had a dream in which someone has done something bad to them and they awake mad at that person. I have woken up so mad at people I have asked them to please leave
    me alone for the day. LOL.

    I have bad dreams too periodically. They usually happen when I am totally alone with no one to turn to for help and have reason to have some fear in the outcome of the situation. Not much you can do about it but keep working on getting over the rough spots and move ahead. These dreams can zap your resolve and energy to work something out - but that's when you really need to get tough and find a way to get around the roadblock. It's the only way to get the dreams to leave you.

    Now you have had problems lately, been saddened over losing a friend, moved your residence, just to hit what you have posted about. You are probably just undergoing a bit of insecurity from being juggled around so much at one time. Do something today that validates your value to yourself. It will help remind you that you can't be held down against your will - you have escaped before and you can do it again if need be.

    I hope that knowing that people here have come to know you, like you, and care what happens to you helps make a difference.

    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

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  • Profile picture of the author acreativetouch
    I was kidnapped as an infant and raised by a sociopath who thought I was out to break up his marriage. I think he had severe ptsd from WWII and the Korean War. He believed I was the "enemy", and tried several times to kill me (or threatened to several times). My mom was too beat down to protect me. I was also bullied in school. Those kids were as psychotic as my adopted father. Then, I married "dear old dad". My X was also psychotically abusive.

    So how do we cope? I dive deeply into my faith. I resolve to use my life to honor my biological family who DID love me. I also ( as crazy as this sounds ) believe that all things, even the worse ones have a purpose in our lives. Just like a beautiful painting has to have dark contrast to bring out the lighter, more vibrant colors, so do our lives. can you forgive a person being what they are? A snake is a snake. A crocodile is a crocodile. These people are who they were destined to be. AN SO ARE WE. The thing is, we choose who we are every minute of every day. I chose to not be a clone of those people but to honor the good things in life. We always have a choice between good and evil, our good inclinations and are evil inclinations. By choosing good, I dismantle a bit of their programming, and empower the positive energy in my life.

    I use acupuncture, somato-emotional release, herbs to help release the emotional cysts of repressed pain that has been encapsulated, a protective mechanism. I write, journal which releases pent up emotion. Fiction, short stories are a way that I cope. Also there is painting, artwork. All the the aspects in life are tools. It's learning how to use the tools given us...even horrible childhoods is one very important key.

    I cannot undo the past. I work daily to not live in the past ( I do that one a lot ). I can accept what was, and move forward with my life now. this forum helps a lot. Friends, getting out of the house, focusing on positive things helps. Exercising releases endorphins which combat depression and helps with focus.

    I hope this helps, just keep going forward, appreciate the good things given to you.


    Dorothy Carlson
    Phoenix Natural Health

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  • Profile picture of the author valerieSONORA
    Dorothy what is somato emotional release and what herbs help?
    I also do writing to help.

    siggy taking a break...

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  • Profile picture of the author Li Weng
    I know it's difficult but you have to focus on your life now rather than thinking about the past. When you do think about the past, choose to think about the good times and not the bad.

    What's happened had happened and there's nothing you can do about it. You probably can't forget what you've been through and you don't need to, but you can choose not to think about it. Dwelling on negative events in the past doesn't help, because those events are not something you have control over now. And if you think about it, it's just going to bring you more unnecessary negative emotions. It's enough to have experienced it once, don't make yourself experience those bad feelings over and over again. You can make that choice.

    Don't look back. It's better to look what you have right now and appreciate it.

    - Insert backlink here -

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    • Profile picture of the author Wakunahum
      I lack the wisdom to give answers to such difficult situations.

      Here is a (((HUG))) to all those who have had all sorts of bad things happen to them in life especially their childhood.
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  • Profile picture of the author Patrician
    I always loved Gahlil Gibran ('The Prophet') who said

    'your children are born through you not to you'.

    I always took it as proof that parents have no business oppressing anyone or imposing their beliefs on them.

    ... but looking at it from another perspective, You are your own person and nothing anyone can do to you has to stick. Just peel it off a little at a time. The better you feel about yourself, the more negative energy you will strip away.

    Another one I like is 'Fathers, do not drive your children to wrath'

    I know extreme wrath and it is just more poison. GET UP OFF OF IT!

    So is feeling like a victim. We project it - it's like a sign that says 'kick me'. There are so many cruel people - some who I just don't understand how they don't realize they are.

    Like they say in Al-Anon - 'you can't change anybody else, all you can do is change how you deal with them.'

    Nobody is ever going to apologize either. Probably no prince on a white horse will come and kiss all of our OWies away. (I am having trouble accepting this one)

    So what can I say, we all just have to live with the 'wounded inner child' and try to be good to ourselves if nobody else will. (bummer nobody comes when you cry)

    I agree writing is very therapeutic - and I have written since I was a suicidal teenager. Great stuff. It is as if to write it all down just gets rid of it on some level.

    Since then I will write notebooks and boxes full of notebooks and then I have a big ritual and burn the whole thing.

    Music also really helps me get through rough spots. Punk Rock is great for wrath and angst. Regular rock is just good to feel happy.

    For a while I did the binaural beat tapes and brain training - hey that's what you need brain training! LOL

    It uses sound to reach places others meditate for years to reach. It is pretty powerful stuff alright. Very positive.

    The last suggestion is NLP - Neuro Linguistic Programming. Now I am no Life Coach but I did talk to one a few times.

    Just real real basic. When you feel like crap all the time you begin to carve neurological pathways in your brain - just like a car driving over mud will leave tire prints.

    You have to reprogram those pathways. Everytime you are starting to have a bad feeling or thought, you think of something happy and pleasant. Think of something you have accomplished or you did well.

    You have to practice but it doesn't take long to just replace all the bad thoughts with good ones if your are diligent. I am about 50% good at that, but still can get into a complete pit of dispair.

    Hope I said something that you can relate to and you find your thing that will help you get past the rough patches.
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  • Profile picture of the author valerieSONORA
    Ya know what's weird? Or maybe it's not. But I was listening to African tribal drums, these deep drums and it calmed, relaxed and soothed me. It helped me go to sleep I had them playing and then went to sleep before I knew it. That African tribal music is really therapeutic at least it was for me.

    Then I listened to a sample of elvendrums Drumstruck. Elvendrums ::: Sound - Drumstruck -listen to sample online. hmm I want that cd for xmas may be my gift for myself. Even though it's Irish which makes me think of that awful Thomas :p
    Same thing. No other music or words or singing just drums. It's good.

    So I was wondering if it was weird to be soothed by drumming then I came across some article about drums having therapeutic properties and sages n ppl used them for meditation, trances, healing, and ceremonies. So I guess I stumbled upon something therapeutic by accident.

    siggy taking a break...

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  • Profile picture of the author 4tune
    In your own time and way.. I would say know your not alone, It happens to more people than is known about and
    well I can't really say much more, we all do things differently to cope, Keep faith that justice will prevail in the end..

    Girl I have been a witness to Karma so many times, It's a real thing! And it's helped me to cope many a time with my own hard times. I should have kept journals!
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    • Profile picture of the author ConcordeWarrior
      Too much bad stuff happened to me, too. Horrible family life, insane parents, they constantly made it known that I owed them everything and the whole schmeer.

      Childhood was rough, a badly handicapped brother, I was made responsible for everything bad, I only had bad ideas, I was worthless... a zero... a good to nothing... oh well...

      I would have accepted it all if my parents had been Einsteins, some geniuses of sorts but they were none of it. There has been murders in the family, I mean really rough stuff. I had to witness in court oh... some really heavy stuff.

      No need to say I will never forgive them. I will never be able to forget. As friend Sal said I have to accept it.

      All that stuff is the reason why I never wanted to have a family of my own and became some kind of recluse loving planes and ships much more than people.

      I am not self-destructive, none the least. I see the future as being good for myself at least. I have put the bad stuff behind. More adventures in the sky are waiting for me.

      Airplanes and ships have never betrayed me. They have always made me happy taking me to the sky and on the seven seas.

      My life's dream: a trip to the International Space Station.

      If any of you know how to make the big bucks and can help me with my life's project I will forever be grateful and good karma will come back to you hundred-fold, there is no doubt about it.

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  • Profile picture of the author dantealigre
    I know that to forgive and forget is easier said than done. I highly recommend books of Philip Yancey such as "Where is God when it Hurts", "Disappointment with God" or Harold Kushner's "When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

    The wisdom I got from those books had helped me deal my own problem with deep hurts.
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    • Profile picture of the author ConcordeWarrior
      My mother is a true horror story. She is 89 and still provocative. She always tells me what a good life she has with all the money and all the facilities that my dad left her (she even hijacked whatever money was going to go to me after he died) while at the same time she is the only one responsible for his violent death!! So mean and selfish!!

      My attitude now is scr*w all these horrible people. What bugs me is that it always seems that the good people get the most difficulties when these wicked people have everything they need enjoying a really good life.

      Where's God in all that? I don't see any merciful God as said in the scriptures.

      I am very far from having an easy life allright but at least I try my best to live an interesting life unlike all the materialistic sheep that ruin our world.
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  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    My God , some great advice here and some terrible stuff.
    I see a lot of "I had a terrible life" posts. But the bottom line is, and you can believe me on this or not, but there is always someone out there that is in worse shape than you or is having a worse life than you.
    Another thing to realize is that it can always get worse for you.
    Over the years I have known many people that have complained about how they come from a dysfunctional family,like they were the only ones.
    I have not met ANY family that is not dysfunctional. It's part of life.
    I used to spend way too much time dwelling on what could have been, or or why did so and so do this to me ,or on why did this happen in my life.
    I've had a fairly good life,but only because I chose for it to be that way.
    Like many of the other posters in this thread,many things happened to me while reaching adulthood that were atrocious, but all that did was motivate me to do better.
    Now, I'm at that point in life that should have been a piece of cake,but isn't because my world fell apart on me two years ago.
    Even though I put up a blog about what has happened to me, I really don't think anyone can understand what I deal with on a daily basis.
    And every time I think I have overcome one obstacle, another is tossed in my way.
    I could go on and on, but I'm not going to.
    You may never be able to forgive and forget. You will run into people for the rest of your life that will try to ruin things for you, both personally and professionally,it's up to you to not let them.
    Pat gave some very good advice and information.Read The Prophet. I was about your age when someone first gave me a copy. And admittedly,it was hard for me to understand at the time,but over the years I read it again and again.
    NLP can be very helpful to some. My brother in law is a certified trainer.
    My oldest sister is a Reverend.
    I myself probably have one of the largest collections of books on dealing with the problems mentioned in this thread that most of you would ever see,because at one time I was studying psychology.

    I think the best thing you or anyone else can do is strive to be the best person YOU can be,and don't even thin about what was or what could have been. Only look to the future, the only thing the past is good for is to learn from it.

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