It is amazing to me that people aren’t content with destroying our lives once, they want to continue to destroy it over and over again. It is a very sick world that we live in. Rick and I have lived with and experience this kind of pain on a daily basis, so I know to a small extent what you are feeling when the pain comes again and again. I have been thinking about writing this post for months. I know for some of you I have switched to meddling.
I keep asking myself over and over, what do you really need to do to heal from parental alienation. So many of us are victims of this horrific form of child abuse. We have been the brunt of lie after lie, many of us have been destroyed financially, and worst of all we have lost our children because of the actions of a very selfish individual. We feel so powerless, the situation is totally out of our control and there is nothing we can do about it. You are absolutely right, the sad reality is that no matter how hard we try we can not change our ex-spouses and we can not stop the abusive behaviour. But we do have the ability to change some things. The real question is what can we change?
I know from my own personal experience that as long as I held on to the hurt I gave my ex-husband power in my life. I desperately wanted to be free from him and I found that freedom through forgiveness. Forgiveness has helped me so much over the years in dealing with the courts, my ex-husband, Rick’ ex- wife and all the losses we have experienced.
I have posted a brief exerpt from Neil Anderson’s book Bondage Breakers – chapter 12. I hope that this helps you the way it has helped me.
“Most of the ground that Satan gains in the lives of Christians is due to unforgiveness. We are warned to forgive others so that satan cannot take advantage of us. (2 Cor. 2:10-11). God requires us to forgive others from our hearts or He will turn us over to our tormentors (Mt. 18:34-35). Why is forgiveness so critical to our freedom? Because of the cross. God didn’t give us what we deserve; He gave us what we needed according to his mercy. We are to be merciful just as our heavenly Father is merciful (Lk 6:36). We are to forgive others as we have been forgiven (Eph.4:31-32).
Forgiveness is not forgetting. People who try to forget find they cannot. God says He will “remember no more” our sins (Heb. 10:17), but God, being omniscient, cannot forget. “Remember no more” means that God will never use the past against us (Ps. 103.12). Forgetting may be a result of forgiveness, but it is never the means to forgiveness. When we bring up the past against others, we haven’t forgiven them.
Forgiveness is a choice, a crisis of the will. Since God requires us to forgive, it is something we can do. (He would never require us to do something we cannot do.) But forgiveness is difficult for us because it pulls against our concept of justice. We want revenge for offenses suffered. But we are told never to take our own revenge (Rom.12:19). “Why should I let them off the hook?” we protest. You let them off your hook, but they are never off God’s hook. He will deal with them fairly — something we cannot do.
If you don’t let offenders off your hook, you are hooked to them and the past, and that means continued pain for you. Stop the pain; let it go. You don’t forgive someone merely for their sake; you do it for your sake so you can be free. Your need to forgive isn’t an issue between you and the offender; it is between you and God.
Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin. Forgiveness is costly; we pay the price of the evil we forgive. Yet you are going to live with those consequences whether you want to or not; your only choice is whether you will do so in the bitterness of unforgiveness or the freedom of forgiveness. That’s how Jesus forgave you — He took the consequences of your sin upon Himself. All true forgiveness is substitutional, because no one really forgives without bearing the penalty of the other person’s sin.
Why then do we forgive? Because Christ forgave us. God the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor.5:21). Where is the justice? The cross makes forgiveness legally and morally right: “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all” (Rom.6:10).
How do you forgive from the heart? First you acknowledge the hurt and hate. If you forgiveness doesn’t visit the emotional core of your past, it will be incomplete. This is the great evangelical cover-up. Christians feel the pain of interpersonal offenses, but we don’t acknowledge it. Let God bring the pain to the surface so He can deal with it. This is where healing takes place. Ask God to bring to your mind those you need to forgive as you read the following prayer aloud:
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the riches of Your kindness, forbearance, and patience, knowing that Your kindness has led me to repentance (Rom. 2:4). I confess that I have not extended the same patience and kindness toward others who have offended me, but instead I have harbored bitterness and resentment. I pray that during this time of self-examination You would bring to mind only those people that I have not forgiven in order that I may do so (Mt. 18:35). I also pray that if I have offended others You would bring to mind only those people from whom I need to seek forgiveness and the extent to which I need to seek it (Mt.5:23-24). I ask this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.”