Excerpt from Divorcing a Narcissist –Chapter on Forgiveness and Acceptance:
There is a great deal of discussion surrounding the power of forgiveness. When it comes to Seth, I’ve learned to practice acceptance rather than forgiveness. I accept that Seth is who he is. I don’t expect him to change. In order for me to move on, I have to accept Seth and come to terms with the situation. That doesn’t mean that I have to accept what he does to my daughters. There is a huge difference.
I was sitting in church this morning and the subject of forgiveness came up again. It seems to be a reoccurring topic in church and one that I’ve listened to and struggled with on multiple occasions. The pastor was talking about the different types of forgiveness and one example hit home for me. Forgiving someone based on the premise that they just don’t know any better.
I had an “ah ha” moment earlier this year when I came to the sad realization that Seth will never know true love or have a real relationship. What is life without love? In my mind, that particular diagnosis would be as tragic as a terminal illness. He will go through life pretending to feel and pretending to love but the lies and deception will slowly leak into the relationship – it’s inevitable. With that realization, my feelings changed from anger to pity for Seth.
I am going into the New Year with a different perspective. While I cannot forgive nor can I accept Seth’s actions as they relate to our daughters, I can forgive him for the things that are out of his control. In my opinion, he did not choose to be a narcissist. He doesn’t hold the power to change the personality disorder. There is no magic pill he can take nor is there a therapist who can fix him.
My mission to protect my daughters doesn’t change but I personally have a bit more peace– which we could all use more of as we each struggle to make sense of this battle.
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