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Buddhism, abuse, and forgiveness

For starters, I'm using a throwaway. The stuff here isn't stuff I typically like sharing, so I'd prefer to keep any shred of identity as far from it as possible, regardless of my standard account being fairly anonymous. I hope you can understand that I may or may not be able to respond to anything here.

Anyway, I grew up in an extremely violent household. My mother would snap, seemingly at random, and would Beat me pretty badly, throw things, humiliate me, break my belongings, etc. Then she would cry and beg me to forgive her once she calmed down, tell me she loved me, buy me my favorite foods to apologize, etc. This wasn't the odd occurrence of losing her temper, it was several times a week. I remember the first day of 7th grade, she threw me into the wall, partially caving in a spot the size of my torso , and beat me pretty badly with the back of a hair brush because I was late and didn't brush my hair well enough. She chased me out of the house, and I turned away from her to see all the kids in the neighborhood just staring at me as my mom screamed for me to not come home and I wasn't welcome there anymore, that she hated me, etc.

Unfortunately, as she was a single mother, I was sent to my grandmother's house when she was at work. My Grandmother was even worse. She would humiliate me and beat me as a means of making me study, for "underachieving", for getting in trouble at school, etc. She, too, would do the teary-eyed apologies. It took me long into adulthood to finally make sense of things like trust and love, as you can probably imagine. She was recently in town, and we spent a lot of time together. It was nice to see her again, but the whole time I couldn't wait for her to leave, and I haven't really talked to her in the couple weeks since she's been gone.

I've shared some of this with my fiancee, who was curious about why I've got issues with understanding and expressing emotions. Occasionally, if she comes into the room while I'm asleep, I wake up screaming and trying to get away from the door. Naturally she had some questions, so I did my best to open up about it. Every time I have, I tell her that I've chosen to forgive them and move on because making peace feels better than holding on to the anger of it. The problem is that I haven't actually done that. I still have nightmares and intimacy issues, I'm suspicious of kindness, etc. I've got what appears to be a super close relationship with my mom and grandmother, but every time I talk to them, there's some memories that just burn in the back of my head. I've never confronted them about it, and I'm not sure that I'd even have the courage to do it. I don't want to unload that burden of guilt and pain on them, I'd rather just stomach it and move forward.

I guess what I'm asking is if anyone has any advice for coming to grips with the past and letting go of that pain and anger, or any specific teachings to point me toward. I've been studying Zen for a while, and practicing meditation has certainly helped, but I've still got a long way to go. I don't want to forget anything, I just want to be at peace with it and move forward with compassion and love at the forefront of my interactions with them, rather than dwelling on the past. Bonus points awarded if accompanied by a good joke.

Thank you.

submitted by /u/throwingitawaynows
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from Buddhism

This post first appeared on Bodhisatva India, please read the originial post: here

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Buddhism, abuse, and forgiveness


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